McCain 'Embraces a Bigot,' Catholic League Says

Josiah Ryan | Staff Writer | Tuesday, March 04, 2008

McCain 'Embraces a Bigot,' Catholic League Says

( - Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has embraced a religious bigot, according to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which issued a statement Thursday denouncing McCain's acceptance of and endorsement by evangelical Minister John Hagee.

And McCain's refusal to publicly reject Hagee's controversial comments about Catholicism indicates he is "really stupid" and making a "monumental" blunder with Catholic voters, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, told Cybercast News Service.

"For the past few decades," Hagee "has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church," reads the Catholic League statement. "For example, he likes calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.'

"In Hagee's latest book, 'Jerusalem Countdown, he calls Hitler a Catholic who murdered Jews while the Catholic Church did nothing. 'The sell-out of Catholicism to Hitler began not with the people but with the Vatican itself,' he writes," the statement added.

"I'm very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement today," said McCain on Feb. 26, while at a podium with Hagee and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on the campus of USAA in San Antonio.

The Catholic League compared Hagee's anti-Catholic comments with those of Rev. Louis Farrakhan, who has called Judaism a "gutter religion" and said Jews are "bloodsuckers," as reported in The New York Times . Farrakhan has praised and all but endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.

The Catholic League called on McCain to follow in the footsteps of Obama's denunciation of Farrakhan's remarks by renouncing Hagee's endorsement of him for president of the United States.

Hagee has a history of expressing controversial views.

In March 1996, he angered many people announcing a "slave auction" in his church newsletter to raise money for a mission trip.

"Slavery in America is about to return to Cornerstone" read the item, as reported in the San Antonio Express-News. Hagee later apologized but then said he might "start calling my dog a canine American," which "might be sterile enough and politically correct enough not to hurt anybody's feelings," reported the newspaper on Nov. 3, 1996.

Donahue called on McCain Thursday to reject Hagee's endorsement. "Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee," said Donahue.

But McCain seemed unwillingly to budge. He released a statement on Friday, claiming that Hagee's endorsement of his bid for the presidency in no way implied full agreement with the minister. "In no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I, in turn, agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not," McCain said in his statement.

Donahue told Cybercast News Service McCain's statement was "a blanket, vacuous empty" comment. "Why couldn't he single out comments and say these are the kind of comments I won't put up with?" Donahue asked.

"McCain is really stupid. This is monumental," Donahue said, referring to the potential alienation of Catholic. "His stubbornness is going to kill him. All he needs to do is come out and say I don't agree with Pastor Hagee on this issue or that issue, and he is in the clear."

Make media inquiries or request an interview about this article.

E-mail a comment or news tip to Josiah Ryan