On Thursday John McCain welcomed the endorsement of John Hagee, but a day later the Arizona senator sought to maintain some distance from the evangelical leader after the Catholic League and the Democratic National Committee called on McCain to denounce his support, citing controversial remarks Hagee has made in the past on a variety of subjects.
“Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not,” McCain said today in a statement, “I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Catholic League President Bill Donohue released a statement Thursday entitled “McCain Embraces Bigot” and accused Hagee of a decades long “unrelenting war against the Catholic Church.”
A commenter suggests why McCain isn't coming down harder on Hagee:
tom- Mccain is worried about Tx, Huckabee is drawing in 1000 at his rally, I was at one yesterday, Huckabee wins TX it is all over 4 Mccain. The news don’t want people to know how well Huckabee is doing in Tx, but Mccain knows.
Comment by sam - February 29, 2008 at 6:20 pm
Here's the Catholic League Statement:
McCAIN EMBRACES BIGOT
February 28, 2008
Yesterday, Senator John McCain said he was “very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement.” The Republican presidential hopeful also called Hagee “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement,” citing the minister’s pro-Israel stance.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this today:
“There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’ To hear the bigot in his own words, click here. Note: he isn’t talking about the Buddhists.
“In Hagee’s latest book, Jerusalem Countdown, he calls Hitler a Catholic who murdered Jews while the Catholic Church did nothing. ‘The sell-out of Catholicism to Hitler began not with the people but with the Vatican itself,’ he writes.
“For the record, Hitler persecuted the Catholic Church and was automatically excommunicated in 1931—two years before he assumed power—when he acted as best man at Joseph Goebbel’s Protestant wedding. Hitler even bragged about his separation from the Church. As for doing nothing about the Holocaust, Sir Martin Gilbert reminds us that Goebbels denounced Pope Pius XII for his 1942 Christmas message criticizing the Nazis (the New York Times lauded the pope for doing so in an editorial for two years in a row). Much to Hagee’s chagrin, Gilbert also says that Pius XII saved three quarters of the Jews in Rome, and that more Jews were saved proportionately in Catholic countries than Protestant countries. Indeed, Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide credited the Catholic Church with saving 860,000 Jews. No religion can match that.
“Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee.”