McCain was diagnosed in July 2017 with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
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The longtime Arizona Republican senator, reared in the Episcopal Church, attended a Southern Baptist megachurch in his later years. He viewed himself as a Christian but had “a distrust of the religious right and a faith that is too public, too political,” author Stephen Mansfield, author of books about the faiths of presidents and presidential candidates, told Religion News Service in December 2017.
In a family memoir, a campaign ad as well as a televised interview with megachurch pastor Rick Warren, he recalled a guard in his prisoner of war camp in Vietnam who shared his faith one Christmas. “He’s a very spiritual per-son but… in his core, he’s a military man,” said Alexander, author of “Man of the People: The Maverick Life and Career of John McCain.” “They don’t feel comfortable talking about religion.” In his family memoir, “Faith of My Fathers,” he recounted how he “prayed more often and more fervently than I ever had as a free man.”
“He was a very good preacher, much to my surprise,” Day told RNS in 2008, when he was 83. “He could remember all of the liturgy from the Episcopal services … word for word.” Day died in 2013 and McCain spoke at his funeral.
On one Christmas in captivity, McCain recalled in the memoir, as “room chaplain” he was given a few minutes to copy passages from a Bible.
“It was more sacred to me than any service I had attended in the past, or any service I have attended since,” he wrote.