Friday, May 23, 2008

Why Hagee and Parsley Matter

For those of you not aware, Senator John McCain has dumped the support of two radical and psychotic pastors whose support he sought on the path to the GOP nomination. For those that missed it, the Washington Post reports:

Sen. John McCain on Thursday repudiated the presidential endorsement of the Rev. John Hagee after learning about a sermon in which the megachurch pastor from San Antonio declared that God allowed the rise of Adolf Hitler because it resulted in returning Israel to the Jewish people.

The Arizona Republican's decision to distance himself from Hagee came after months of mounting criticism, particularly from Roman Catholics, over his acceptance of Hagee's endorsement in late February. Hagee has called the Catholic Church a "false religious system" and a "false cult system" and has suggested that the church played a role in the Holocaust.

Sticking with the "rejection Thursday" theme at Camp McCain, he dealt another blow to radical right:

After rejecting the three-month-old endorsement of televangelist pastor John Hagee on Thursday because of newly reported comments Hagee made about Jews and the Holocaust, Republican presidential candidate John McCain also rejected the endorsement of Ohio preacher Rod Parsley, who has said that Islam is inherently violent. "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement," McCain told the AP.
Here is a headline from the Arab press:
Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia): McCain seeks support of hateful pastor who insults the prophet and religion – Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain called for the support of an evangelist who calls for destroying Muslims and describes Prophet Muhammad as the "spokesman for Satan's evil conspiracy." McCain sought the support of this Zionist pastor of Ohio, Rod Parsley. In a campaign speech in Cincinnati, McCain described Parsley as "one of the great leaders of America, a moral compass and spiritual guide."
This is far worse than the Reverend Wright pseudo-fiasco. For starters, McCain sought these two men out, as a 70 year old adult, for the sole purpose of political gain. He has no spiritual connection with either of these clerics, and that makes the behavior all the more whoreish. To this point, McCain went on to say:
I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views," McCain said in the statement. "But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years." He added: "I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today.
That's right. You sought out religious figures solely for the purpose of political booty. While McCain is not alone in such behavior, such behavior is deplorable and against the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and the very idea of religious sanctity. Not to mention this sort of behavior is part of reason of why the American political system is floating in the toilet.

Remember, Obama's path with Wright began when he was in his mid twenties. He was new to Chicago and new to faith. At least, for the most part, the relationship was (I think) principally spiritual and not political, which in my opinion speaks volumes about his character. Again, the inital courtship was that of a 26 year old seeker, and not a 70 year old power junkie.

Pandering to known bigots for votes is a far greater transgression than the sin's of Obama and Wright, because it smells of desperation and the sale of McCain's integrity and soul.

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