John (McCain) the Baptist?

ABC News' Bret Hovell Reports: Sen. John McCain's campaign staff identified him as "Episcopalian" in a questionnaire prepared for ABC News' August 5 debate, notwithstanding the presidential candidate's claim that he has long identified himself as a Baptist.

On Monday, amid questions about his religious persuasion, the Arizona Republican said he has been attending a North Phoenix Baptist Church for many years.

"I'd like to add there's been some talk about my religious persuasion," McCain said in Lexington, South Carolina, speaking to reporters after a rally on the final day of his "No Surrender" tour.

"I was raised in an Episcopal church and attended high school at a high school called Episcopal High School. I have attended North Phoenix Baptist Church for many years, and the most important thing is that I'm a Christian. And I don't have anything else to say on the issue," McCain said.

McCain's presidential campaign says he has been attending the Phoenix area church for more than 15 years.

Curiosity about his religion was sparked Sunday when McCain, who has long been identified as an Episcopalian, was asked what role his Episcopal faith plays in his life.

"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain told the Associated Press after a rally in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

But the Senator's biography in the 2007 edition of the Congressional Directory lists his faith as Episcopalian.  McCain also attended an Episcopal high school in the Washington D.C. area. 

At a recent Fox News debate, each candidate was introduced with a short description that included religion. McCain's was described as Episcopalian, and neither the candidate nor the campaign issued a correction or clarification.

The ABC News questionnaire was sent out to each of the candidates participating in the Republican debate, which was moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos. The McCain campaign's director of advance Davis White returned the form to ABC.

The campaign stuck with McCain's statement earlier in the day.

"The Senator has made it abundantly clear that he's a Christian and that's the most important issue here," said campaign spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.

McCain's wife, Cindy, is Baptist and so are their children. The campaign describes his faith as a private matter.

Later in the day Sunday, after his comments in Hilton Head, McCain was asked if he would be making a public declaration of his faith.

"I've made that hundreds of times," he said.

ABC News' Teddy Davis contributed to this report.

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