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McCain rejects Hagee endorsement

Posted by Skeptigator on May 23, 2008

So let me see if I can get this straight,

McCain & Hagee;

Catholic Church = The Whore of Babylon, McCain has no problem with that.

God-created Holocaust = Bring my people home, McCain has a problem with that

Obama & Wright;

Racially-divisive rhetoric = Black preacher’s message; Obama ok with it since he “didn’t hear it himself”.

AIDS = U.S. government conspiracy to kill blacks; Obama “sees that one” and denounces him.

Clinton & no ties to any discernible religious figure;

*crickets* (or some tenuous and odd connections to The Family)

Politics and Religion

My question is this, Isn’t the mere association with religious figures a risky behavior? Doesn’t the volatile nature of merely being associated or endorsed by a particular religious figure illustrate how divisive religion and politics can be?

Does the U.S. benefit, or more generally does religious freedom benefit, from the mixing of politics and religion in this way? How much damage is done to a candidate like Obama when he has to spend time discussing his pastors social/political/religious views? Here’s an interesting question, when Rev. Wright takes the pulpit and says (from the Rolling Stone article),

“Fact number one: We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college,” he intones. “Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!” There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. “We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!” The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: “And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!”

Which part of this sermon is political and which part is religious??? Is it a problem that you can’t tell?

To further illustrate the problems inherent (not specific to this instance but actually inherent) in the mixing of politics and religion is the influence that religious belief has on political decisions. Imagine for a moment that you are a dispensationalist, someone who believes that the return of the Jews to Israel is a precursor for the return of Christ. Imagine that as someone who is obsessed with “end-times” prophecy and actually bringing about Armaggedon you have the ear of the President of the United States of America. (video here, transcript here). For those who don’t know you were just imagining John Hagee.

In case you are wondering why McCain would disavow Hagee (and didn’t read the link above) he said the following,

He goes on: “Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

“Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.

Perhaps the most disturbing part (you know, besides the obvious offensiveness of it) is that Hagee believes that his omnibenevolent God actively sought the murder of 6 million Jews that He (God) knows will go to hell because they rejected Christ. To those Christians out there, Is that your God? Is this the man you want whispering in the President’s ear?

Bottom Line

Many people have made the statement on TV, to me personally and to some extent I say the same thing. Should the candidates religious belief even matter? Why not evaluate them on their records and what they say? I wish I could and here’s the important part, I cannot only evaluate them in a religiously neutral manner because they won’t let me. That’s right. The candidates themselves have made their religious views a major point of their platform. If it is that important to them in their bids for the presidency you can be assured that it will influence their decisions in the White House.

I am obviously biased (aren’t we all) but I believe that the Founding Fathers of this country hit upon an amazing concept. That the greatest way to protect the Freedom OF Religion was to guarantee that our government was Free FROM Religion.

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6 Responses to “McCain rejects Hagee endorsement”

  1. Agnohumanist said

    Great post, Skeptigator. I hope that since Obama and McCain have both had a “pastor disaster” now, perhaps candidates will stop seeking official endorsements from specific religious leaders. After all, it wouldn’t take a very thorough search of the past writings and sermons of almost any preacher to find something ludicrous, discriminatory, or hateful that he or she has said.
    BTW, I’m registered here (obviously), but what hoop do I have to jump through to be able to post? Drop me an email with directions if you have time. Thanks!

  2. Paster Disaster would have been awesome name for this post but I’m just not as clever as you are. I’ll email you today or tomorrow with instructions

  3. agnohumanist said

    Full disclosure: I stole the term “pastor disaster” from a tv or radio show or somewhere. Dang! Wish I’d thought of it. “Sinister minister” is mine, though. lol

  4. Theo Doersing said

    Well, that’s what religion does, it influences everything and typically not in a positive way. Politics are no exception.

    The main problem is the perception that an individual cannot live a life separate of religious ideals and that these ideals permeate every facet of our lives, so it is only natural to assume there is a guiding religious morality that not only supports a candidate’s platform, but IS the platform.

    This perception needs to change. It is not entirely the fault of the candidates who are forced to make a display of religious adherence because that is what is currently demanded by much of the population and media.

    Religion in politics is an effect, not the cause. The cause is the indistinguishable preaching of religion and politics in church because most religions see their God as giving them political direction through His commandments. To them, both subjects fall under the same category and sphere of influence.

    Obviously, the more well-funded and aggressive the religion, the more predominately it will be represented in our politics and our public discourse.

  5. dystressed said

    The events detailed in your post are perfect examples of why church and state should be separate.

  6. […] that come when Politics and Religion get in each other’s business. I just blogged about this, McCain rejects Hagee endorsement, and here we are talking about it […]

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