I never saw this story as McCain’s own lunatic Pastor counterpart to Obama’s lunatic Pastor Reverend Wright.
But the nutroots did.
To their addled minds, a goofy, anti-Catholic preacher with a large following who endorses a candidate is the same as…nay, worse than a malicious, racist, Marxist with a large following (that actually includes the candidate) endorsing said candidate.
Yes, Reverend Hagee has had some bizarre things to say about Catholics. Most Catholics are aware that there are fundamentalists out there who consider the Catholic church “The whore of Babylon” and whatnot. Such people are annoying, but not dangerous. And although it’s impossible to know how much hate is preached from the pulpit in these churches, one can easily imagine that some unfortunate anti-Catholic rhetoric peppers some of the sermons. But one can not easily imagine them rising to the level of Reverend Wright’s shocking hate-speech.
That said, there is also the obvious difference between accepting an endorsement from a questionable Pastor (while repudiating his anti-Catholic pronouncements), and being closely associated with a problematic Pastor, (in fact, having him on your campaign’s ‘spiritual advisory’ committee), and being an active member of his congregation for 15+ years. Then, (finally!) throwing him under the bus only after he embarrasses you in public.
See?…there’s a minor difference there.
Still, I looked into the Reverend Hagee story, myself about a month ago, (out of curiosity) and found this story in Catholic Online, by Deal Hudson, some of which I’ll share with you, here:
A few days ago I met with Hagee and his wife, Diana, in New York City for a three-hour conversation.
The meeting came at the suggestion of a mutual friend who was concerned both for Hagee’s reputation and the relations between Evangelicals and Catholics. My friend, a national religious leader himself, told me, “John Hagee is my friend, and he is a good man. Also, it would be a pity if a wedge was driven between conservative Catholics and Evangelicals on the eve of the 2008 election.”
Since I had been critical of Hagee myself, I thought it reasonable that I sit down with him and discuss the anti-Catholicism charge. As a young man I was also an Evangelical from Texas, and I knew I could find some common ground with him — and maybe find out more about what appeared to be an open-and-shut case. (I called Donohue to tell him that a meeting had been proposed, and Bill said he appreciated my letting him know.)
Next, I contacted Hagee. He seemed genuinely hurt that he was being seen by the nation as anti-Catholic. He said, “Deal, how can people think I am anti-Catholic when my wife is an ex-Catholic, and a third of my congregation are former Catholics?” I bit my tongue. We really needed to talk; there were some things about Catholics he truly didn’t understand.
When we met later, I told Hagee about “biting my tongue,” and he looked surprised. I explained that Catholics don’t like being reminded of all those who have left the Church. As he started to nod in agreement, his wife Diana said, “He’s right, John.” She would repeat that sentence several times during our long conversation, and each time her husband would acquiesce in agreement.
You’ll want to read the rest of this edifying story. Because when you hear someone come out with a big apology, and there are political stakes on the line… it’s very easy to be, well….dubious of the sincerity. Yet when Hagee says:
“Out of a desire to advance greater unity among Catholics and Evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful. After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.”
I tend to believe him, after having read that article.
And, again, a compare and contrast is in order. What did Reverend Wright do when his teachings came under fire? Did he apologize, engage in constructive dialog with those who were criticizing him, or take any of it back?
Oh, HELL no. He just reiterated his words more forcefully.
Anyway, Bill Donahue of the Catholic League has accepted Reverend Hagee’s apology, saying:
“The tone of Hagee’s letter is sincere. He wants reconciliation and he has achieved it. Indeed, the Catholic League welcomes his apology. What Hagee has done takes courage and quite frankly I never expected him to demonstrate such sensitivity to our concerns. But he has done just that. Now Catholics, along with Jews, can work with Pastor Hagee in making interfaith relations stronger than ever. Whatever problems we had before are now history. This case is closed.”
Got that nutroots?
PS: The Obama/Wright Case?