The left’s silly attempts at morally equating Wright/Farrakhan/Hagee/Parsley (PLUS: VIDEO OF BO’S INTERVIEW ON H AND C ADDED)
It always, always happens. Anytime someone on the left is called to the carpet on a controversial comment, action, or association by the right, inevitably the left will, in turn, play the moral relativist card by claiming “but so and so on the right” has said/done the same thing. Saying “they all do it” is, of course, a cheap attempt at trying to negate any criticism, even when the criticism is legit. So it’s no surprise that since the heat started being turned on Barack Obama for his longtime association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has praised Louis F., who in turn endorsed BO, that The Usual Suspects would try to morally equate Wright and Louis F. with Christian megachurch pastors John Hagee from Texas and Rod Parsley from Ohio, endorsements from which McCain sought. Alan Colmes did it tonight on H&C, and other diehard moral relativist lefties both in the punditocracy and in the blogosphere have been doing it over the last few weeks as well.
As I’ve said before, when McCain attends Hagee’s church on a routine basis, writes both a speech and a book based on a Hagee sermon, often cites Hagee as a source of inspiration, goes to Hagee regularly for spirtual and political counsel, all of which Senator Barack Obama has done with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the black nationalist, Jew-hating preacher of the Trinity United Church of Christ – the church BO attends, then get back to me.
There’s probably not a Christian reverend/pastor/preacher in this country who hasn’t said something controversial that wouldn’t embarass any political candidate, and McCain has been right in distancing himself from Hagee’s more controversial remarks, but if he completely renounces Hagee’s endorsement, he might as well renounce nearly every endorsement he has rec’d from a Christian “leader,” because there aren’t very many who don’t say things that are highly controversial in today’s secular world, Hagee more so than others, it would seem.
Obama won’t use this as an attack line against McCain for obvious reasons, nor is McCain likely to bring up Rev. Wright in light of this. Then again, I doubt McCain would have brought up Rev. Wright anyway. They’ll likely let their surrogates battle it out, like the DNC is hypocritically doing with McCain re: Hagee.
Any assertions that the associations between each of them respectively are the same are absurd, though, for reasons noted above. Both candidates are getting endorsements from other people in addition to Hagee and Farrakhan that they’d probably just rather see wither away quietly into the night, but Obama’s relationship with Wright is more than just an “endorsement” – Obama has long been associated with Wright, admired him, and as I’ve talked about before, has sought counsel from him and has cited him as a source of inspiration for his second book and his 2004 keynote. He even consulted Wright on whether or not he should run for president. Farrakhan’s endorsement of BO probably would have elicted barely more than a chuckle and an eyeroll from people if Wright himself had not previously praised him.
I’ve done some research on some of Hagee’s controversial remarks, because I’ve found that rather than rely on the left’s interpretation of remarks coming from religious leaders, interpretations that are often wrong for reasons I’ll get into shortly, it’s better to investigate the claims myself. But before I get started, I want to stress that I’m not anti-Catholic. My arguments here are meant to show the differences between Hagee, Parsley, and Wright and Louis F. I’m going to primarily focus on what Hagee’s been condemned for saying rather than Parsley, because both of them have pretty much said the same ‘controversial’ things.
What I’ve found that regarding Hagee’s assertion about the Catholic church being “willingly complicit” in Hitler’s exterminiation of the Jews, well, he’s not the only prominent religious figure who has held views along the same or similar lines. This article covers the relationship that Pope John Paul II had with the Jewish community, and also talks about the strained (to say the least) relationship between the Jewish community and the Catholic church over the years. Also mentioned in this piece:
One of his first acts toward reconciliation occurred during his visit to Poland in 1979 when he knelt and prayed at Auschwitz. Seven years later, on April 13, 1986, he made an even more dramatic trip, this one just across the Tiber River, to Rome’s Great Synagogue, becoming the first pope to visit a Jewish house of worship. There he warmly embraced Rome’s chief rabbi, Elio Toaff, and described Jews as the “elder brothers” of Christians.
He visited Israel in 2000, publicly apologizing for the persecution of Jews by Catholics over the centuries, including the Holocaust, and depositing a note pleading for forgiveness in a crack in the Western Wall.
In 1998, the Vatican released a 14 page report that apologized for the Catholic church’s silence during the Holocaust.
This is an argument that has been going on between the Catholic church and the Jewish community for decades (here’s one example), and one in which Christian leaders have also weighed in on as part of a broader theological argument, and Hagee is taking the side of the Jewish community. He is not the only Christian reverend who has taken the side of the Jews over Catholics on this argument (I’ve heard this discussed at churches I’ve attended in the past, for example). Regarding his comments on God punishing New Orleans because of gays, it is not unusual to hear a Christian reverend/pastor/preacher assert things like this – Hagee (and Parsley) just do it in more outspoken ways than most.
To fully understand such arguments, one would have to, at the very least, regularly attend a traditional Christian church on Sundays, and/or have more than just a passing acquaintance with scripture as it is interpreted by traditional Christians. Many traditional Christian churches preach as per the Bible’s teachings that the downfall of man will come due his embrace of sin and rejection of God, and those sins include homosexuality. Those same churches also believe that both natural disasters and man-made destruction are a form of God’s punishment for sin. The arguments along these lines are, again, largely theological in nature in a way that many liberal secularists and liberal Christians do not understand. Hagee’s exact remarks weren’t just about homosexuality – he said prior to his remarks about gays that Katrina was God’s way of punishing NO for “a level of sin that was offensive to God.”
The way Hagee words things is what makes him sound more controversial than the overall points behind what he asserts, because his underlying assertions are made by many Christian preachers. And if you think Hagee’s remarks about gays are bad, make sure to read what this black pastor had to say about homosexuality, which is most definitely not something you hear often in your average traditional Christian church. Hagee’s also made the argument that the Koran teaches followers to kill Christians and Jews. This, again, is a “controversial” assertion primarily to two groups of people: 1) obviously, those who practice the Islamic faith and read the Koran and 2) liberal secularists/liberal Christians who don’t understand the theological arguments against the Koran made by Christian leaders. Any Bible-believing traditional Christian preachers worth their salt preach against the Koran, too, in part, for the very reasons Hagee talks about.
I say all of this to explain a little deeper the roots of where Hagee’s remarks come from, which, again, are primarily controversial to liberal secularists/Christian liberals who don’t fully understand the theological/historical basis behind them and Catholics and Muslims, who take offense to what he’s asserted respectively about the Catholic church and the Koran for reasons I’ve already mentioned. After reading up more on Hagee’s remarks, I know now that the comparison between him and Louis F. and Rev. Wright is faulty in nature, because his underlying messages are also preached by many a traditional Christian preacher (like Parsley), none of whom could remotely be compared to the hateful Louis F. Hagee nor Rev. Wright. Both Hagee and Parsley just word their arguments in ways that definitely garner them extra attention and scrutiny.
I don’t particularly cotton to the preaching styles of Revs. Hagee and Parsley, because somewhere along the way it becomes less about the sermon and God and more about the person delivering the sermon. But that doesn’t make their points invalid or wrong, just debatable in religious circles, not the political arena. The arguments Hagee makes re: Catholics and Jews, sin and Katrina, and against the Koran are not new and have been preached/discussed/debated by many. He argues that Catholics were complicit in the Holocaust primarily for their silence, which from what I’ve linked to here is something that the Vatican has tried to make amends for on numerous occasions, he’s argued that God will punish sinners if they don’t condemn sin and accept God into their hearts – which is true according to the Bible, and he has said that the Koran preaches the killing of Jews and Christians which – from what I understand – is correct.
I suspect McCain’s acceptance of his endorsement was more on a general level of wanting the support of more in the Christian community in Texas (same same regarding Parsley in Ohio), rather than any blanket acceptance of any “controversial” theological/historical arguments Hagee, Parsley, and others have made as they relate to Catholics, gays and sin, and the Koran.
Hagee is no more “bigoted” than any other Christian preacher worth his salt, because the word “bigot” denotes an intolerance of other viewpoints. In Hagee’s case (and that of many other preachers), the intolerance is for sin – because God himself wasn’t tolerant of sin. Christianity isn’t supposed to be tolerant. If Christian preachers were tolerant of sin then there would be no reason to preach the word of God because it would be anti-His message. This is the problem liberal secularists and liberal Christians get themselves into when arguments like this come up because they think that somehow they can somehow smoothly intersect secular tolerance for activities and lifestyles that are considered sinful and intolerable with traditional Christianity. It doesn’t work that way.
I’ve also seen equations made between Hagee’s assertion that the Catholic church is the “Great Whore” and Farrakhan calling Judaism a “gutter religion. This again goes back to theological arguments that liberal secularists and Christian liberals alike don’t have a good grasp of. I took the time to look up Hagee’s “Great Whore” remarks and not only found the video where he made them but also found that the “great whore” he is talking about is actually based on Revelation 17:1, which reads:
Revelation 17:1, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come hither; I will show you the judgment of the great whore who sits upon many waters’.”
The term “great whore” is directly mentioned in Rev. 17:1 – you can see in the video also that Hagee is referencing Rev. 17. Hagee is not the only Christian pastor who has made the argument that the Catholic church is the “great whore” and “apostate church” mentioned in Revelations. In fact, the argument that the Catholic church is the “Whore of Babylon” and is the “apostate church” has been made so often in theological circles that popular Catholic websites like Catholic.com have pages on their sites trying to disprove the assertion.
On the other hand, no credible argument can be made that Judaism is a “gutter religion.” Nor, for that matter, are there any credible arguments that can be made regarding Rev. Wright’s so-called “social gospel” about the “black Jesus” and “white supremacy” that he supposedly gets straight from the Bible.
BO has not completely distanced himself from Rev. Wright. BO tiptoed around expressly condemning LF himself and condemned his comments instead, because he had to walk a fine line, because supposedly there is a “complicated” relationship between the black community and Louis F. BO straddled the line with respect to the “anti-gay” no-longer-homosexual Rev. Donnie McClurkin because he wanted to shore up support with black evangelicals in the south. McCain tiptoed around Hagee’s more controversial remarks by saying he didn’t agree with everything he has preached.
Most politicians walk a fine line when they get the support and/endorsement of a prominent religious figure. I suspect that they accept these endorsements most of the time not because of any deep theological agreement with every single thing the religious figure has said, but because it likely will mean more votes from a particular religious group. That is what McCain has done with Hagee and Parsley, and BO has done with McLurkin, and to a certain extent Louis F. by criticizing his comments rather than the man himself. In the end, it’s all about votes.
But let’s be clear: The close association between Wright and BO is different for reasons I’ve mentioned in this post as well as others, and can’t be credibly equated with the endorsement of McCain by Hagee and Parsley.
By the way, I’m calling Barack Obama out on the outrageous lie he told today about not being present in Wright’s church when he made the offensive hateful remarks that have been circulating in the news media this week. As I said earlier, this is like Al Gore’s “iced tea” defense – and similar Bill Clinton’s stupid claim that he “didn’t inhale” a joint when he had one in his mouth. There is absolutely no way in you know where that in his 20 year association/mentorship/friendship with Rev. Wright that he never heard any of Wright’s controversial sermons/remarks. BO remarked tonight that had he heard any of them, he would have stood up and told Wright that what he was saying was “unacceptable” and went on to say that had he detected a “pattern” with Rev. Wright’s hateful sermons, he would have left the church. GMADB! He knew. He’s pulling the same ol ‘okey doke’ (see definition 3) that he slams “Washington insiders” for doing.
The video of Major Garrett’s interview with him is below, in case anyone missed it earlier.
Argh! Time for some Extra Strength Tylenol.