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More minister madness

Who says the TV networks don't pay attention to what religious leaders say? They've been scrutinizing the statements of two of Sen. John McCain's supporters, much as they did for that other minister associated with Barack Obama.McCain now has rejected endorsements from the Rev. John Hagee and the Rev. Rod Parsley. The problem with Hagee was some bad Biblical exegesis in a sermon some time in the 1990s. Hagee preached on Jeremiah 16:16 ... "Look! I will send many fishermen, says the Lord, to catch them [the Israelites]. After that, I will send many hunters to hunt them out from every mountain and hill and from the clefs of the rock." According to CNN, Hagee said in the sermon that the Jews were the hunted and that Hitler was the hunter God sent. That is, that the Holocaust was part of a divine plan to hasten the creation of a Jewish state.Repulsive, yes. But what does a sermon from the 1990s have to do with the war in Iraq?Meanwhile, ABC News has directed its award-winning Brian Ross investigative team toward re-treading a Mother Jones magazine story about another McCain supporter, the Rev. Rod Parsley, and his nasty comments about Islam. We've already thrashed that out on dotCommonweal, and Ross has not added much to the story. But he did give it more exposure.I'd still rather see one of these reporters get an answer from the candidates on whether they think the U.S. should have participated in a major international conference this week in Dublin on banning cluster bombs. A Vatican diplomat is on hand, "working intensely" to reach an international agreement. The candidates disagree on whether to rein in the use of cluster bombs - it's a story! What would it take to get network coverage? The return of Princess Di to one of her signature issues?

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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"... bad Bible exegesis"? Is that the new euphemism for lies?

I was struck by Hagee's withdrawal of support from McCain--which occurred not thirty minutes after McCain's announcement. Hagee said, "I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues. I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Sen. McCain for president effective today, and to remove myself from any active role in the 2008 campaign." Does that include the attacks he received from his new friend William Donohue? Ever vigilant, Donohue has already issued a response: that has to do with anti-Catholicism, I have no idea.(Full disclosure: I am a member of Barack Obama's National Catholic Advisory Council.)

Does this end the tedious search for the moral equivalent of Wright?

John Hagge's entire view of the world (it does not qualify as theology) is based on bad biblical exegesis. I listened to the replay of Terry Gross' interview with him on Fresh Air last week, it was disturbing. It does bear mentioning (AGAIN) that McCain actively sought Hagee's endorsement! Besides, who is Bill Donohue to accept apologies, or to ask for them, on behalf of the Catholic Church? For my money, a letter to Archbishop Gmez of San Antonio, where Hagee's Church is located, would've indicated a more sincere, as opposed political, apology. For all his hubris, at least Wright owned what he said.

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