That Senator McCain continues to get a pass on his ties to religious zealots astounds me and its is not just his ties but the strange netherworld that his own convictions or lack of in regards to religious affiliation, New Baptist John McCain Returns to His Old Episcopal High School
But McCain’s faith-based swap (an experience a recent Pew study showed is shared by 44% of Americans) is more complicated than it first appears. Despite the fact that his wife Cindy and their two children were baptized at Yeary’s church, John McCain himself has yet to take the plunge (so to speak). As Reuters suggested, that still rankles McCain’s minister:
Yeary declined to comment on McCain’s reluctance to finally undergo a baptism ceremony, a key ritual of the faith. “John and I are having continual dialogue about his spiritual pursuits,” Yeary said.
Even more curious is McCain’s shifting positions when it comes to what he religion now considers himself to be. In June 2007, McClatchy reported, “McCain still calls himself an Episcopalian.” But as the 2008 South Carolina approached, McCain had a change of heart as he appealed to the Palmetto’s State’s massive evangelical base. By September 2007, McCain announced he had in fact switched teams:
“It plays a role in my life. By the way, I’m not Episcopalian. I’m Baptist.”
Of course, John McCain’s personal religious faith is his own business and normally should not impact voters one way or another. But with the media’s obsession with faith-based politics in general and the Obama-Wright imbroglio in particular, McCain’s confused conversion (and possible Palmetto State pandering) on the way to the White House shouldn’t be ignored.
In an opinion piece posted just 6 hours ago on Yahoo former New York mayor Ed Koch writes,
I am dumbfounded that there has been no drop in Barack Obama’s standing in the polls following revelations that he sat in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and did nothing, publicly or privately, to voice disagreement with Wright’s hate speech. Indeed, Obama’s poll numbers are going up. The most recent Gallup national tracking poll shows Obama with 51 percent and Hillary with 43 percent of Democratic voters.
I’m dumbfounded at Ed’s dumpfoundedness ( Obama did publically renounce Wright and we’ve had no such speechs from McCain or any other Republican). Why have Americans tolerated the right-wing hate speech of Republican supporting religious leaders like Pat Robertson who agreed with Jerry Falwell that America deserved 9-11 for its sins. A sentiment shared by McCain cheerleader the Reverend Hagee. Even the often referred to moderate Senator Arlen Spector(R-PA) has ties to Hagee through David Brog, his former chief of staff who sits on the board of Hagee’s CUFI’s board of advisers.
He speaks simultaneously to two audiences about Iran’s nuclear capabilities: one that fears a terrorist attack by Iran and another that embraces a biblically mandated apocalypse. To impress the fearful, he mimics Bush’s deceptions about Iraq’s capacity to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction, Condoleezza Rice’s warnings of mushroom clouds, and Dick Cheney’s dissembling about an alliance between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
Whatever one might think of Rev. Wright he hasn’t try to goad America into yet another disastrous war, acting as a back door surrogate of the Bushies to spread more of its carefully massaged rhetoric. Koch among many others seem to be in need of a priorities adjustment along with a deep hypocrisy check.
You write about the Texas pastor John Hagee. Hagee does not receive as much media attention as some other ministers on the right, yet he seems to have a good amount of political influence and even has the support of some Jewish organizations because of his backing of Israel. Hagee claims to be moderate. What are his views really like?
Hagee was recently thrust into the spotlight after he endorsed John McCain for president. McCain came under criticism for embracing Hagee, particularly because of Hagee’s anti-Catholic statements. But the picture of Hagee, who is extremely popular especially among Pentecostals/charismatics, as well as Christian Zionists, is bigger than that. He views the world through the prism of “spiritual warfare,” preaches the prosperity message and believes the Bible foretells a series of events leading to the ultimate showdown at Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus. Connected with the neoconservative foreign policy establishment, his view of biblical prophecy informs his position that, for example, a military attack on Iran is prophesied in the bible and will lead to the apocalypse.
In the framework of the Russert-led establishment press, white evangelical Christians are, by definition, entitled to great respect no matter how radical, extreme and hateful their professed views are. These are, after all, religious Christians — People of Faith — and, as such, it is wrong, even bigoted, to suggest that they should be repudiated. There is nothing ever radical, hateful or dangerous about the views of white evangelical Christians like Hagee.
Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have been Christians for years. To most people jsut listening to the sound bites that was the radical Right’s litmus test. Be a Christian and you’re red, white and blue, but it was never really that simple. The Right obviously doesn’t care if most Democrats believe in God or Jesus, it has always been about having all your ideological ducks lined up perfectly in sync with End Times prophecies and neocon dreams of unlimited Republican-American hegemony.
As I’ve discussed previously — see for instance here and here, and as Jane Mayer has reported in great detail, the March 14th Yoo memorandum, and the April 2, 2003 DOD Working Group Report that incorporated its outrageous arguments about justifications for ignoring statutory limits on interrogation, was secretly briefed to Geoffrey Miller before he was assigned to Iraq, and became the source of all the abuse that occurred there in 2003 and early 2004. (In late 2004, new OLC head Jack Goldsmith reviewed the March 2003 memo, was stunned by what he later called the “unusual lack of care and sobriety in [its] legal analysis” — it “seemed more an exercise of sheer power than reasoned analysis”
Yoo’s so called legal analysis and the twisted reasoning behind it is symtimatic of modern Conservatism. They don’t have principles as such. They have feelings, desires, wants and attitudes then try to create legal justifications for them.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. ~ Thomas Jefferson