Monday, March 10, 2008


With friends like these (GOP edition)

Last month, Sen. John McCain was endorsed by Pastor John Hagee, who heads the 5,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. If you've ever watched more than 10 minutes of programming on religious television network, you've probably seen Hagee in action.

Hagee truly is a sight to behold. He is 400 lbs of fundamentalist fury who doesn't so much preach his sermons as much as he shouts them. And what he shouts can certainly get a feller's eyebrows to raisin'.

Hagee knows everything about the coming Battle of Armageddon - right down to what color uniforms the opposing sides will wear - except for the exact date on which it will occur ... and he can ballpark that down to "soon, very soon."

Hagee often tells his flock that it's not only important to help Jews from all over the world immigrate to Israel, it's extra-important that they be converted to Christianity (thus hastening the End Times you see).

A Nutritionist, Dr. Ted-something, often appears at Hagee's church instructing congregants to eat Biblically - that is, to eschew consumption of the unclean animals mentioned in Leviticus - in order to lead healthy lives. Of course, the extra-rotund Hagee is anything but the picture of perfect health; and his son, Pastor Matthew Hagee, needs but a couple-dozen trips through the Luby's buffet to look just like his old man.

Hagee's most disturbing comments, however, have been reserved for the Roman Catholic Church. He often refers to the Catholic Church as "The Great Whore," an "apostate church," and the "anti-Christ." On more than one occasion he's compared the church to a cult. Now, I don't agree with all of the Catholic Church's theological positions, but I would never resort to calling the church a "whore" or referring to its parishioners members of a cult. (When I think of how many devout Roman Catholics I admire as artists and thinkers, such as William F. Buckley, G.K. Chesterton, and Flannery O'Connor, Hagee's anti-Catholic bellowing become even more offensive.)

Catholic League President Bill Donohue last week called on John McCain to renounce John Hagee's endorsement of him for president of the United States. I'd like to see him do just that, but I'm not going to hold my breath ...

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