Saturday, May 24, 2008



This morning's NY Times applauds McCain for belatedly severing ties with two of the crazed bigots whose endorsements he had so assiduously pursed for so long in the battle for the Republican nomination. Of course, now that he has the nomination, he needs to persuade normal Americans that he's one of them and not a follower and devotee of fanatics, extremists and snakehandlers.
It took a long time for him to do it, but Senator John McCain has finally rejected the endorsements of two evangelical ministers-- one whose bizarre and hate-filled sermons deeply offended both Catholics and Jews and the other who has used his pulpit to attack Muslims.

Mr. McCain had it right in his unsuccessful primary campaign eight years ago when he denounced the Christian right’s Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” who exercised an “evil influence” over the Republican Party. It was particularly disturbing to see him cynically pander this year for the support of that same Christian right.

His belated decision to distance himself from two of the most extreme ministers was long overdue-- and we suspect driven more by political ambition than by the principles he espoused in the past.

Mr. McCain had sought the endorsement of the Rev. John Hagee, a televangelist, for more than a year and finally won it in February, only to have the Catholic League denounce Mr. Hagee for waging “an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church.” Mr. Hagee called it “the Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” and a “false cult system.” The pastor apologized and said his remarks had been misconstrued, a truce was declared and Mr. McCain still welcomed the endorsement.

Then a recorded sermon emerged in which Mr. Hagee suggested that Hitler and the Holocaust had been part of God’s plan to drive the Jews from Europe into Palestine-- a final straw that led Mr. McCain to reject the Hagee endorsement. He also rejected the backing of the Rev. Rod Parsley whose anti-Muslim sermons have argued that America was founded, in part, to see “this false religion destroyed.”

But not everyone agrees with the Times' assessment. Earlier today we talked with Georgia state Senator Regina Thomas, who is running for the Georgia congressional seat currently held by craven Blue Dog John Barrow. One of the unspoken problems Regina has in winning-- even though her mainstream values perfectly mirror those of the district while Barrow represents no one but his corporate contributors-- is that his huge warchest is allowing him to pay off cash-hungry ministers in the district to buy their support. Hagee's psychotic ministry of Armageddon has been extremely generous to Jews-- and whereas 99.9% of Jews are smart enough to see through his crazy apocalyptic game-- there are always a few kooks-- either too thick to understand or too greedy to care.

Hagee left it to Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg of Congregation Rodfei Shalom, a modern Orthodox synagogue in San Antonio, to provide an explanation of his offending comments.

Standing with Hagee at the news conference, Scheinberg called it "ironic and absurd" that Hagee's words were twisted and labeled anti-Semitic when Hagee was lecturing on one Jewish perspective of the Holocaust.

"Pastor interpreted a Biblical verse in a way not very different from several legitimate Jewish authorities," Scheinberg said. "Viewing Hitler as acting completely outside of God's plan is to suggest that God was powerless to stop the Holocaust, a position quite unacceptable to any religious Jew or Christian."

Scheinberg called Hagee a courageous Christian and a man guided by "an unparalleled moral compass."

And how many pieces of silver has Hagee given Rabbi Scheinberg precisely?

Most mainstream Americans of all faiths reject the divisive, hate-mongering rhetoric from Parsley and Hagee, no matter if they're targets are Catholics, Jews or Muslims. Most people realize that these outbursts are motivated primarily by hucksterism and a drive for donations from the crazed faithful. But the real problem is for the Republican Party and John McCain. According to Kathryn Kolbert, president of People For the American Way, an organization originally founded by mainstream Jews, Protestants and Catholics to battle the excesses of the religionist right, McCain's pastor problem hasn't gone away; it's gotten worse.
“For years, the Republican Party has relied on right-wing king-makers like Hagee and Parsley to bring their troops to the polls and win elections. But now, the American public is starting to understand just how far out of the mainstream these preachers and their political agendas are.

“McCain himself once called the leaders of the radical religious right ‘agents of intolerance,’ but changed his tune when he decided to run for president and knew he’d need their support. Now he’s got a hard sell: convince the public he’s a moderate, despite his conservative views, and try to win over the so-called ‘patriot pastors’ without acknowledging them publicly. Going in through the front door with endorsements backfired. Now, he’ll try the back door. After all, radical right leaders may well swallow their pride and back McCain based on his promise to give them the Supreme Court of their dreams.

“The American public has a good nose for sniffing out hypocrisy, and People For the American Way will help. For months, we’ve been pointing out McCain’s flip-flopping on Religious Right leaders, and posting the outlandish statements and over-the-top videos of Parsley and Hagee ranting away. Now the truth has reached a wider audience. We’re going to keep it up, watching for the next chapter.”


Rabbi David Saperstein is one of the wisest men of faith I have ever met. He wrote about the conundrum Jews face when thinking about allying themselves with a chacater as demented and twisted as John Hagee.
Jews can empathize with Sen. McCain because we have faced the same dilemma with Rev. Hagee. No fundamentalist Christian is more overtly supportive of Israel, raised more money for Israel, nor used his religious and political clout to more energetically mobilize support in America for Israel. Further, he was an evangelical who made clear that his relations with Jews over Israel would not be used to try to convert us. Yet, his fundamentalist views had led to reprehensible statements about gays, Catholics, and even the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

And his particular understanding of the Bible led him to use his political clout in efforts to undermine support for the Israel- Palestinian peace process and a two-state solution. Nonetheless, it had become common to find Jewish leaders joining in Pastor Hagee’s “Salute to Israel” events around the country and paying public tribute and homage to the pastor for his efforts. Two months ago, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, challenged Reform Jewish rabbis with the contradictions of participating in such events with someone who held views that were anathema to our commitment to tolerance, pluralism and intergroup respect. While I hope that Rev. Hagee continues his support for Israel, which I assume he gives for its own sake, we should refrain from allying with him in any manner that gives our stamp of approval to him generally or to the deeply troubling views he has expressed.

Labels: , , ,


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous me said...

When McBush wanted the support of the thumpers, he kissed up to the head thumpers. When he wants the support of normal people, he stops sucking thumper dick.

This is not the behavior of an honorable person.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Lee said...

our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves with these bible thumpers.

I was mowing the lawn..and I needed a break so I came in and plopped down on the sofa and turned on the tv. I found Jesus Camp and tuned in just in time as the group was worshipping a cardboard cut out of Bush!.

Lets hope the rank and file see McCain for what he is.A stupid opportunist

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jewish apologists for Christians who foresee the Holy Land as theirs and the Jews as just temporary renters are pretty short sighted.

But of course, none of them make any sense.

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

"Mr. McCain had it right in his unsuccessful primary campaign eight years ago when he denounced the Christian right’s Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” who exercised an “evil influence” over the Republican Party. It was particularly disturbing to see him cynically pander this year for the support of that same Christian right."

Amen. McFeeble would do ANYTHING after whatever these dark thumpers did to him (ewwww) behind closed doors. Shame.
I did respect the above referenced McCain quotes, now blasphemy.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe weall knw the saying: Do not judge, for you will be judged by the same things also. Remember when te GOP pundits and some Dems nd angry white folks were all over Obama regardin the REv. Wright Issue? Who' in the hotsoup npw? I guess th chickens are really coming home to roost- the self-righteous that is.

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a stupid game we play! What real difference does it make who endorses whom? Just more BS to sell melodramatic hyperbola to the masses.
Obama said "I think the Democrats are going to be focused on who's going to stop the war, who's going to be making Supreme Court appointments, who's going to have a serious energy policy, who's going to bring good jobs and good wages, who's going to continue the Bush tax cuts and who's going to give a middle class tax cut,"
He is right on this by the way and it will be the Supreme Court appointments that will get my vote for McCain. I can not tolerate the thought of total domination of the entire government by either party and if the House, Senate and Presidency go to the Democrats the Judicial will be the only check/balance left to stand between Democracy and Dictatorship! This IS THE important issue and is the ONLY reason to vote McCain!

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Catholic, I find it appauling that McCain didn't feel a need to reject this man after calling me and others in my church "whores". If talk in the pews is any indication, McCain has already lost the Catholic vote. This man has strayed so far from the straight talk express. He now rides the "double speak" express.


Post a Comment

<< Home