Saturday, March 08, 2008


It's not often I find myself agreeing with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. In fact, I think this is the first time he and I have been anywhere near the same wavelength. But life is strange, and outrageous events may create outrageous alliances. Here, via Catholic Online, is what Donohue has to say about John McCain's thrilled acceptance of the endorsement of notorious anti-Catholic bigot John Hagee:

Catholic League: McCain's Next Move

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

“So no one should take from my criticism of McCain on this issue that I in any way think he is anti-Catholic."
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Catholic League) - Catholic League president Bill Donohue issued the following remarks today regarding Sen. John McCain’s ties to Pastor John Hagee:

“Now that he has secured the Republican nomination for president, and has received the endorsement of President Bush, McCain will now embark on a series of fundraising events.

When he meets with Catholics, he is going to be asked about his ties to Hagee. He should also be asked whether he approves of comments like this: ‘A Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years produced a harvest of hate.’

“That quote is proudly cited by David Brog in his recent book, Standing with Israel. Both Brog and Hagee clearly identify the Roman Catholic Church as spawning a ‘theology of hate.’

“This is nothing if not hate speech. There are so many good evangelical leaders in this country—Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Richard Land, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Dr. Al Mohler, Chuck Colson—and none has ever insulted Catholicism. To be sure, they have expressed theological differences, and that is to be expected; that is all fine and good. But they have never sought to denigrate Catholicism.

That’s what makes this situation so outrageous. Of all the great evangelical leaders, the one McCain cites as ‘the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement’ just happens to be a Catholic basher.

“In 2005, when I was fighting with those senators who were making it all but impossible for pro-life Catholics to get on the federal bench, I said the following: ‘So as not to be misunderstood, let me repeat what I’ve said before: the Catholic League believes there are no anti-Catholic senators.’ That remains true.

“So no one should take from my criticism of McCain on this issue that I in any way think he is anti-Catholic. If anything, John McCain has been a good friend to Catholics. But he and his staff have thus far grossly mishandled this issue. We await their next move.”

In case you're unaware, here's the deal: Televangelist Hagee, who has charmingly referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “the Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” the “anti-Christ,” and “a false cult system” (indeed, he cites the Catholic Church as Hitler's inspiration for the Holocaust), last week endorsed McCain, who said he was "very proud" to receive the hatemonger's blessing.

At the time I had this thought: More than once, I have been informed by someone whose opinion I did not solicit that I could not "call myself a Catholic" and a member of the Democratic Party. The flip side of this would be that "good" Catholics can only be Republicans. Well, now they have a Republican presidential candidate--all but nominated--who has enthusiastically accepted, after prolonged wooing, the endorsement of a Catholic-hating bigot.

Leaving me to wonder what "good" Catholics will now do. Do they vote for a godless baby-killing Democratic candidate (whoever that may be) who does not cleave to the church's party line? Or do they vote for the GOP candidate who embraces a Catholic-hating TV preacher but who spouts the right kind of rhetoric?

I'm only kidding--I knew all along that they'd come up with some way of lamely justifying McCain's buddy-buddyness with Hagee, and now the McCain camp

Now the McCain camp has thrown them just the sort of bone they'll need to pretend they're not doing what they're doing, viz., backing a candidate who in turn is backed by someone who would just as soon see them dead. Here's what's come out of the Not-So-Straight-Talk-Express in light of the Hagee scandal, per the Associated Press:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain repudiated any views of a prominent televangelist who endorsed him last month "if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics."

If. If? Has there ever been a better non-repudiation? Can it really be that Senator McCain, who is quick to point out that he sent a couple of kids to Catholic school, really not see that Hagee and his comments are offensive, are incendiary, are hate-filled? Note too that he doesn't repudiate Hagee--and he certainly doesn't reject Hagee's endorsement--but rather falls limply back on stating that he doesn't agree with everyone who endorses him.

But he doesn't do very much to distance himself from Hagee...or, more to the point, the equally hate-filled voters who agree with Hagee's bigotry. Rather, he's trying to win votes from both Catholic and Catholic-bashers.

Once upon a time I had a fair amount of respect for the Arizona Senator, and was one of those who thought it would interesting if he ran as John Kerry's VP back in 2004.

Now he's emerged as just another politician who will do anything, say anything, roll in any mudhole with any pig, just as long as it translates into votes.