Friday, May 23, 2008

McCain renounces endorsement of Hagee and Parsely

John McCain has now rejected the endorsements of both of the extremist religious figures that had been associated with his campaign. (See here and here.) But in doing so McCain made the distinction that he had not been a member of their church for 20 years as Barack Obama had been of Jeremiah Wright, which would seem to indicate that the McCain camp intends to make Wright an issue in the election.

Two points:

1. Jeremiah Wright has a blindspot for the extremism of Louis Farrakhan and holds some personally ridiculous beliefs, but nothing, absolutely nothing he has said that had been played non-stop by Fox News and AM radio compares with Hagee's statement regarding Jews and Hitler and other such extremist comments from he and Parsley. (See Gary Kamiya's article putting Wright in perspective.)

McCain is making a false equivalency.

2. McCain accidentally gets to the crux of the issue. McCain did not have a personal relationship with either figure, but he was attempting to forge a political relationship with both. And the theological extremism of both figures was no secret ... McCain's explanation that he was not aware of specific comments is no excuse for having overlooked their openly on display general views in the first place.

Hagee has a doctrinal desire for global armageddon and nuclear holocaust, and Parsley shares Hagee's apocalyptic Manichean worldview, as Sarah Posner has pointed out.

If McCain wants to make an issue out of Wright - who holds no political power within the Democratic Party - he must be expected to answer why it is that he felt the need to insincerely seek out the approval, support, and endorsement of Religious Right extremists whom he had previously identified as agents of intolerance. That answer, of course, being that the Republican Party has to a large extent transformed into "the first religious party in U.S. history."

While our media is busy worrying about how Obama's personal relationship with Wright might somehow translate into policy, mabye they could spend an equal amount of time examining how the Republican Party's political relationship with the Religious Right has already translated into actual policy.

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