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Jews Don’t Need Friends Like John Hagee

For some reason, people are acting shocked about the news that John Hagee, the Texas evangelical preacher who thinks buggery caused Hurricane Katrina, thinks Muslims are mindless, indiscriminate killers, thinks the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon, thinks Harry … Read More

By / May 22, 2008

For some reason, people are acting shocked about the news that John Hagee, the Texas evangelical preacher who thinks buggery caused Hurricane Katrina, thinks Muslims are mindless, indiscriminate killers, thinks the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon, thinks Harry Potter fans are Satanists, and thinks the suffering of the Jews over the centuries is divine punishment, also happens to believe that Hitler was God's proxy on earth in His plan to return the Jews to Israel. But that's hardly news at all.

Yet on TV and all through the blogosphere, people are going nuts over the revelation that Hagee sees the Final Solution as God's work. Here's an example of our crazy political culture: It's a sure bet that Joe Lieberman will describe you as a latter day Moses and an "Eesh Elo Kim" if you organize millions of "pro-Israel" Christians to agitate for a war with Iran (so that Israel can be utterly annihilated in accord with God's wishes and you and your flock can build a stairway to heaven with Jewish bodies). Mention Hitler, however, and you might find yourself suddenly anathema. But since Hagee did mention Hitler in conjunction with his otherwise perfectly kosher, and indeed, Mosaic fantasies about finishing the job Hitler started, McCain—who was endorsed by the controversial pastor—finds himself in a pretty awkward position.

Of course, nobody thinks McCain shares Hagee's theology, though McCain apparently believes that it's legitimate to target his opponents with equivalent innuendo. Still, McCain didn't just wake up one day to find himself endorsed by Hagee; he deliberately courted Hagee's endorsement as part of a general strategy of shoring up his support among Evangelicals. Which could simply be chalked up to a poor vetting procedure by his staff, except that McCain specifically "admires" Hagee's foreign policy vision. It would certainly behoove McCain to clearly explain the differences between the belligerent policy towards Iran, Russia, and China that he wants to pursue, and the belligerent policy Hagee favors, but that would entail embracing nuance, which McCain has already made clear is tantamount to appeasement.

Moreover, McCain's support among religious and social conservatives goes back no more than a few months and is extremely fragile, compared to their now-dormant mistrust and loathing of McCain which were built up over years. What can McCain say about the surrogate he recruited as an ambassador to the Christian right who turned out to have endorsed the Final Solution? That Hagee is "an agent of intolerance"?

My prediction: McCain will impress us all with a bold stroke of mavericking that nobody could have anticipated.

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