Texas Televangelist Could Be a Big Problem for McCain
The John Birch Society
May 15, 2008
After issuing stridently offensive remarks about the Catholic Church, John McCain supporter Reverend John Hagee backed down and apologized. Will he also back down from his call for a "pre-emptive" strike against Iran?
Follow this link to the original source: "Televangelist John Hagee apologizes to Catholics"
John McCain recently traveled to San Antonio to seek an endorsement from Reverend John Hagee. He got it. Then Hagee delivered a blistering sermon criticizing the Catholic Church. His outburst brought a demand for an apology from William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights. Like McCain, Donohue got what he wanted.
John Hagee leads the 19,000 member Cornerstone Church on the north side of San Antonio. He has claimed that the Catholic Church was anti-Semitic, even that its attitude had shaped Hitler's views toward Jews. He characterized the Catholic Church as the "apostate church" and the "great whore" mentioned in the Bible. He now says that those characterizations are used by others in their anti-Catholic literature.
In his response to Donohue, Hagee wrote: "Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful." Donohue said he accepted the apology and added that he intended to meet with the Texas preacher.
Asked if he or anyone in his campaign staff had pressured Hagee to issue the apology, McCain said there was no such effort on his part or from anyone on his staff.
Hagee is also a popular televangelist who reaches likeminded groups from coast to coast with his broadcasts and travels. A powerful influence politically, he is a strong backer of Israel and a determined foe of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmedinejad whom he calls "the new Hitler." His "Christians United for Israel" sends a steady stream of messages to Congress and claims the support of 50,000 members in churches representing two million parishioners. At a 2007 event he conducted in the nation's capital, Hagee read a welcoming message from President Bush, and introduced Senators McCain and Lieberman for their speeches.
In addition to his headline-grabbing comments about the Catholic Church, Hagee has also called for the U.S. to join with Israel "in a pre-emptive strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West." He claims such a conflict "is a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation," and that undertaking it will lead "to the Rapture, Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ."
John McCain hopes to receive the votes of many Catholics. Now that Hagee has retracted his anti-Catholic remarks, many will probably forget that incident and support his White House bid. But even more, the Arizona senator craves the votes of the large plurality in America who want the war in Iraq ended, not expanded into a conflict with Iran. If McCain won't distance himself from the San Antonio televangelist, he must be thought of as a supporter of inflaming more of the Islamic world and widening the already costly conflict in the Middle East.