Tuesday, March 29, 2011


You know that Newt Gingich said he fears America could become "a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists" -- which, of course, makes perfect sense if you're right-wing, because the world is made up of two groups, Christians and not-Christians, the former being the only people on earth who are fit to live, and the latter being the embodiments of pure evil, and all basically indistinguishable from one another in any meaningful way.

Steve Benen is appalled not only by the remark, but by where Gingrich uttered it:

...In this case, the former House Speaker was sharing his unique brand of idiocy at a San Antonio ministry called Cornerstone Church. And who's church is that? It's run by a radical preacher by the name of John Hagee.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, John McCain sought out Hagee's support for his presidential campaign, but the Republican was ultimately forced to disavow the right-wing preacher and repudiate his endorsement.

As Jamil Smith recently explained:
... Hagee blamed gays for Hurricane Katrina and called Catholicism a "false cult" and a contributor to Hitler's anti-Semitism.
Hagee also believes Jews are to blame for centuries of persecution, called the Roman Catholic Church is "the great whore," and preached that Hitler and the Nazis had operated on God's behalf....

I'll just add that McCain and Gingrich aren't the only prominent Republicans to have reached out to Hagee in recent years -- Mike Huckabee preached in Hagee's chuch in late 2007, just before the Iowa caucuses, and called Hagee "one of the great Christian leaders of our nation."

How does Huck feel about Hagee now? Well, they seem to have become estranged after the '08 elections -- but not because of anything extreme Hagee has said. Huck, according to his '08 book Do the Right Thing, just became bitter because Hagee blew him off:

[Huckabee] also has words for the Texas-based Rev. John Hagee, who endorsed the more moderate John McCain in the primaries, as someone who was drawn to the eventual Republican nominee because of the lure of power. Huckabee says he spoke to Hagee by phone before the McCain endorsement while preparing for a spot on Saturday Night Live. "I asked if he had prayed about this and believed this was what the Lord wanted him to do," Huckabee writes of the conversation. "I didn't get a straight answer."

Ooh, snap!

As Kyle from Right Wing Watch said,

Doesn't it seem odd that instead of thinking that maybe he dodged a bullet by not getting Hagee's support, Huckabee is still mad about it?

Oh, and dozens of Republican candidates from Texas, including Governor Rick Perry, attended a Hagee service just before Election Day 2006. Perry didn't go to the 2010 service, nor did any of the big names running for statewide office -- after the bad publicity Hagee got in '08, I guess they were reluctant -- but the event did draw 71 Texas candidates (nearly half of them Democrats, alas).

So Hagee has never been a total pariah. What right-winger ever is? What right-winger ever falls so far into disgrace that he can't climb back? So Gingrich's embrace of Hagee is no surprise. Hagee's right-wing. He automatically gets a do-over.

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