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May 23, 2008

Problem pastor purge: John McCain rejects Parsley and Hagee

John McCain has rejected the support of mega-church pastor and Ohio Republican power broker Rod Parsley. McCain was for Parsley before he was against him. McCain praised Parsley stage at a Cincinnati campaign rally as a moral compass, a spiritual guide, and one of the greatest leaders in America.

Brave New Films and Mother Jones deserve the credit for McCain's reversal. They co-produced this wildly popular video juxtaposing John McCain's effusive praise for Parsley with footage of Parsley calling for war on Islam.

McCain's rejection of Parsley is a big deal. McCain sought him out in the first place because he's a big political player in Ohio.

McCain also kicked Pastor John Hagee to the curb this week as part of his ongoing purge of prejudiced pastors. McCain aggressively courted the endorsement of the high-profile homophobe, prominent anti-Semite, and noted Catholic-basher. McCain would probably still be basking in Hagee's selective Christian love if the news hadn't come out that Hagee had praised the Holocaust and Hitler.

Not to be outdone, Pastor Hagee withdrew his endorsement of McCain.


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It may surprise you, but I agree with everything you've said here.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League gets a tactical assist on dealing with Hagee, as Donohue was openly critical of both Hagee, and of the Hagee/McCain relationship. Donohue extracted an apology out of Hagee for some of the "pastor"'s anti-Catholic rantings.

To be fair to Hagee, I don't see any indication in your link that Hagee praises Hitler, or even, in any real sense, the Holocaust. According to the article, Hagee says that Hitler and the Holocaust happened both to punish Jews for disobedience, and to cause the creation of Israel. This isn't necessarily anti-Semitic; in fact, this view is held by a large number of Orthodox Jews, perhaps even a majority. It's part of a fairly basic fundamentalist view of history, whether fundamentalist Jewish or fundamentalist Christian. In the Old Testament, God regularly uses neighboring nations to punish Israel, or arrange things the way he wants, and there's no indication that this means that the other nations are good, or that the bad events are good (except to the extent that everything that happens is good, because it's all what God wants). In fact, often, a little bit later in the Old Testament, the neighboring nations will be punished for the terrible things that God arranged for them to do to punish Israel.

As an atheist, I find these beliefs insane; I'm just saying that they're not necessarily anti-Semitic insanity. At any rate, Hagee is definitely anti-Catholic, so it's good that McCain rejected the endorsement.

Hsgee got dumped for saying that Hitler was doing God's work by perpetrating the holocaust of the Jews because genocide helped force Jews into Israel in accordance with the Christian God's plan. Hagee's mask slipped a little, revealing what this high profile "Christian" Zionist really thinks Jews are good for. To him, Jews are just objects to be shuffled around and slaughtered if necessary in order to fulfill Christian prophecy.

Well, yes, but my point is that according to many orthodox Jews, Hitler was operating under God's plan by perpetrating the holocaust of the Jews because genocide helped force the Jews into Israel in accordance with the Jewish God's plan. Under both religions, all people of all religions get shuffled around and killed to fulfill prophecies.

But actually, I retract my previous post. I forgot that when Christians talk about Jews being punished for their disobedience, that's always understood by other Christians as the disobedience of not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Which makes the emphasis very different.

Where do you get this "many orthodox Jews" thought that Hitler was operating under god's plan?

Is anyone actually surprised that we get all this Rev. Wright, Parsley, Hagee baloney when the masses demand their leaders share their atavistic superstitions?

God bless America.


Some Jews have proffered the notion that the holocaust was God's retribution upon his chosed people. This is brought out in the film "The Quarrel", based on the play "My Quarrel with Hirsch Resiner" by David Brandes and Joseph Telushkin. I recommend the DVD of the film. It's very moving. Rebbe Hirsch says to Chaim, his childhood friend and fellow holocaust survivor, that we (Jews) did not cause the holocaust, but we are not totally blameless either. He says that Jews are culpable for trying to be like other peoples (translation: other peoples = gentiles).

Catholic writings before 1964 (the Second Vatican Council called by Pope John XXIII) were very explicit in using passages from the Hebrew bible that called the Jewish nation harlots and justified the suffering of Jews as being appropriate because they were not living up to their side of the deal, the Covenant between them and God. The church didn't even need to invoke the Jews' refusal to accept Jesus. The church simply restated the words of some of the prophets and made an easy association to recent history. Until Vatican II, there were obligatory prayers after every Latin mass for the conversion of the Jews. Pope Benedict the XVI is reviving the preVatican II Latin liturgy. Guess what's coming along with it?

During the presidency of Ronald Reagan I used to watch the TV evangelizing of John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and others. I had to keep it a secret from some people who knew me and who could not imagine that I would be interested in or fall for these fools. I told some of my friends that if they wanted to understand the policies of Ronald Reagan and the motivations of many in the military and politics that they had to understand what the televangelists were saying and doing. The media, in its entirety, gave a pass to the Reagan campaign and presidency because they believed, in part, that no one could take seriously the insinuation of apocalyptic theology into political and military thought.

As a small example, I listened to a TV interview of James Watt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1983. I forget who the interviewer was, but he was pressing Watt on things like protecting the environment, protecting wildlife, oil production in wilderness areas, the government's stewardship role, etc. At least part of the interview was filmed while the the interviewer and Watt were on horseback in some protected wilderness area out west. After a good amount of give and take on the questions and answers Jim Watt blurted out somethings very close to the following: "But this all doesn't matter anyway because the prophesied end times are at hand".

Today there are two kinds of televangelists that should give us worry. The lesser of the two evils are the ones that are flat out trying to make a lot of money. They can be recognized by a consistent theme of casting your bread upon the waters [of the preachers in ground pool] and reaping a hundred fold. Some even feature separate segments of preaching and theology on biblical economics. Don't laugh, God wants you to be rich.

The more terrifying group are those who seek political power by either creating it themselves or allying with those who can bestow it. They want to be the sole arbiters of truth, national policy, and how our military power should be visited upon the rest of the world. They can deliver votes to the highest bidder or sycophant politician who will prostrate himself before God's anointed preacher.

John Hagee and John McCain were standing together on a mountain top and looking out over world. Hagee stretches his arm out over the view of the landscape and says to McCain, "All of this I will give to you if you will bow down and worship me." McCain answers, "Do I prostitute myself now, or after I meet with Rod Parsley?"

"After a good amount of give and take on the questions and answers Jim Watt blurted out somethings very close to the following: 'But this all doesn't matter anyway because the prophesied end times are at hand'."

Because Breznev's eyebrows, no doubt, were prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

If at least some members of the current administration hold a similar belief it would explain a lot. The apocalypse, unfortunately, is all our own.


I forgot to mention that not a single one of the major media outlets picked up on Jim Watt's expectation of an imminent apocalypse as justification for dismissing worries about the environment. Even the interviewer let that one go by with even as much as a raised eyebrow.

Today barely a handful of commentators and reporters are willing to tackle the deification of the U.S. Presidency, the elevation of The Declaration of Independence and Constitution to the status of revealed truth, and a theory of governance that asserts only good people make good decisions and become good leaders. A president who knows the Lord has the home team advantage in the arena of world conflict. Separation of church and state must mean that apocalyptic theology cannot become the basis of U.S. policy in the world.

I agree with you that if there is going to be an apocalypse, it will be our own making. Is anyone else afraid that end times ideologues might fulfill their own prophesy?

Imagine if the 'forced' Christianization of the U.S. Airforce Academy was not exposed and went unchecked. Remember, Colorado Springs is also home to the largest single congregation of Christians with an apocalyptic view. That is not an accident. Would I be an alarmist or doom sayer if could imagine a U.S. Airforce populated with true believers who were doing the work of the Lord? One thing that has come out of recent studies on the psychology of suicide bombers is that they are not fanatics, crazies, or disturbed personalities. They are normal people with an allegiance to a belief system. It's a belief system that can't be wrong because it feels so right.

President Bush talked about consulting a higher power as a basis for his decision making. Now imagine a squadron of B2 Stealth Bombers piloted by believers who just finished consulting their higher power in preparation for the flight of their lives - and ours with them.

Mudkitty, if you're curious, here's an excerpt from "The Face of God: Thoughts on the Holocaust" by Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm:

. . .almost all of those (few) Orthodox thinkers who have ventured into this area [of Holocaust theodicy] at all offer variations of the mi-penei hata'einu ("because of our sins") thesis, . . . They see the Holocaust as punishment for Israel’s sins.

He goes on to describe the three main arguments as to why Jews would need to be punished, namely (1) support of the Zionist movement (2) failure to support the Zionist movement and (3) Reform Judaism/not following the Law. I'm not sure what percentage of Orthodox hold such beliefs. The main web page describes this position as an ultra-Orthodox position, while the article they cite describes it as more common.

From the theological to the political, keep an eye on Catholic voters. They will remember that McCain is in the pocket of the fundamentalist right, that he will do their bidding. Many will still hold their noses and vote for him, the hard-core pro-lifers probably will,

But there are many middle-of-the-road Catholic swing voters who look at people like Hagee and Parsley and the entire theocratic South and remember what their grandparents told them about right-wing fundamentalists of another era. Of Klan harassment and occasional outright persecution of Catholics, of Chick tracts condemning the Pope as the Antichrist. Most devout Catholics look at people like Hagee as buffoons.

For such men as Hagee it was once written that for a Catholic to stop being a Catholic he must lose his faith, but to become an evangelical Protestant he must first lose his fundamental self-respect and sense of history. Whether this is fair or not, it is an unstated sentiment among many Roman Catholics and probably Eastern Orthodox voters, both relatively numerous in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

imagine a squadron of B2 Stealth Bombers piloted by believers

Yay, smite the infidels with hellfire and deliver them unto wrath of God!
The whole Colorado Christian Air Force thing is just way disturbing.


I was attending a rather liberal college back in the day (SUNY Binghamton) and I recall being informed by my politicized friends about James Watt; his devotion to end-times nonsense and the way he used it as an excuse to gut enviromental regulations.

One of the really dangerous things about the merger of Republican politics with fundamentalist biblical dogma is this absolutely horrible disbelief in the future.

Politics is all about people getting together to plan ahead, yet we now have people in the highest levels of govenment who believe that it's all going to come to a rapturous end so why even bother. And that's fucking insane.


I agree. Not to quibble unnecessarily about words, but most people don't realize these folks are not insane. These are normal, rational people with a belief system that easily explains where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. It seems to be peculiar to the U.S. in the strength and allegiance of the faithful. Europeans can't figure us out on this. I expect it will get worse regardless of the outcome of the presidential election.

Notice Phantom doesn't say he agrees with dumping his fellow raghead-basher, Rev. Rod Parsley.

>Notice Phantom doesn't say he agrees with dumping his fellow raghead-basher, Rev. Rod Parsley.

Are you gonna respond to this Phantom? Or just use the standard Bigot Wussout of silence?

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