McCain Recalls POW Prayers, Tests of Faith

Generally quiet on religion, candidate open about Vietnam
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2008 3:26 PM CDT
McCain is private about his religious life, but still describes himself as a man moved and informed by faith.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – John McCain has kept relatively quiet about his religious beliefs and practices, but he speaks freely on the spiritual significance of his captivity in North Vietnam from 1967 to 1973. Ahead of tomorrow's sit-down with Rick Warren, the candidate tells the Chicago Tribune about his harrowing experience in the Hanoi Hilton, where he took part in an uprising over the denial of what he calls "a fundamental human right."

In February 1970, McCain took part in what is now known as the “church riot” after their captors denied him and his fellow POWs permission to hold a church service. His actions later led to his informal appointment as prisoner chaplain. One "lesson," a term he preferred over sermon, concerned the prisoners' fate, McCain recalls: "We were doing Caesar's work when we got into prison, so we should ask for God's help to do the right thing."