Category Archives: John Hagee

Another squirmish* in the culture wars

In the category of self-refuting worries (by now noticed by all of the web), here is disgraced former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich:

"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

A secular atheist country dominated by religious fundamentalists.  


The Wright Stuff

As far as I know, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright does not work for the Obama campaign.  Obama has, in fact, "rejected and repudiated" some of what the good reverend has to say.  But that has no bearing on those, like George Will, who insist somehow that Wright stands for Obama:

Because John McCain and other legislators worry that they are easily corrupted, there are legal limits to the monetary contributions that anyone can make to political candidates. There are, however, no limits to the rhetorical contributions that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright can make to McCain's campaign.

Because Wright is a gift determined to keep on giving, this question arises: Can persons opposed to Barack Obama's candidacy justly make use of Wright's invariably interesting interventions in the campaign? The answer is: Certainly, because Wright's paranoias tell us something — exactly what remains to be explored — about his 20-year parishioner.

Do they now.  What would they tell us about Obama?  Will of course follows this with selected and outrageous passages from recent (post-Obama disavowal–but that's really beside the point anyway) remarks by Reverend Wright.  One of these, by the way, is the wholly obvious suggestion that something about our foreign policy has made us the targets of terrorism.  I know it has always been 

The crux of the matter, of course, is whether (1) there is any reasonable connection between Obama's beliefs and Wright's, and (2) whether Wright's beliefs are that outrageous in the first place.  

Let's take two first.  Certainly some of Wright's beliefs hinge on the conspiratorial (in case you don't know what a conspiracy is, that's like saying "global warming is a hoax" or "tax cuts produce more revenue" or "Iraq had weapons of mass destruction" or "Iran is the new Hitler" or "the world was created in six literal days a few thousand years ago" and "there is a gay agenda"–you get the idea).  But we might remember that McCain has welcomed the support of a Pastor who advocates immanentizing the eschaton in the most literal of ways.  And no one thinks McCain must believe the same thing.  Many of Wright's statements–such as the one about terrorism–seem hardly outrageous.  But it's clear in any case that Will doesn't care to have a discussion with Wright.  

He's more interested in cultivating (1) Wright's connection with Obama.  Here it is: 

He is a demagogue with whom Obama has had a voluntary 20-year relationship. It has involved, if not moral approval, certainly no serious disapproval. Wright also is an ongoing fountain of anti-American and, properly understood, anti-black rubbish. His speech yesterday demonstrated that he wants to be a central figure in this presidential campaign. He should be. 

Umberto Eco once observed, about computers, that MacIntosh is Catholic, while DOS is protestant.  With Catholicism, you're not really free to pick and choose (thus the criticism of John Kerry–why don't you agree with every last thing the Pope says?  Your disagreeing makes you dishonest!!!!); with protestantism, it's expected you pick and choose (of course John McCain doesn't have to agree with every last crazy belief of Hagee et alia–they're protestants!).  So why should this be any different for Obama?  

Besides, as far as I know, Wright's church does not have a doctrine of infallibility.  That would be crazy.


Sheep and goats


God's ways are a mystery, unless you're gay:

HAGEE: Well, I’m not saying it’s a result of sin, I’m saying it’s a result of God’s permissible will. You cannot say that everything on the Earth that happens is sin. It was carried in a newspaper that there was going to be a massive homosexual rally there the following Monday. Ah, but and I believe that homosexual marriage is sin and I believe that it’s an abomination because Moses said it was. But it is wrong to say that every natural disaster is the result of sin. It is a result of God’s permissive will, but who no man on Earth knows the mind of God…

PRAGER: Right, but in the case, did NPR get, is this quote correct though that in the case of New Orleans you do feel it was sin?

HAGEE: In the case of New Orleans, their plan to have that homosexual rally was sin. But it never happened. The rally never happened.

PRAGER: No, I understand.

HAGEE: It was scheduled that Monday.

PRAGER: No, I’m only trying to understand that in the case of New Orleans, you do feel that God’s hand was in it because of a sinful city?

HAGEE: That it was a city that was planning a sinful conduct, yes.

PRAGER: Ok, so that is the only I think, frankly, it’s the only one they can get you on because people don’t like to hear that sort of thing. But even so, I think that, I’ve always given religious people leeway, religious leaders on saying that we ourselves have sinned, and God has his own judgments. I mean the prophets used to do that, so that’s you know, that’s up to anybody to interpret the way they want. I mean, when the left says that we sin against the environment and we end up getting x or y, nobody says that that’s illegitimate.

HAGEE: Well, I know that in our society, that is what I call politically correct, no one likes to hear that there is a God who has the power to correct man for his behavior that does not fall within the parameters of the word of God. That’s why secular humanists hate the bible because it gives a definite standard of right and wrong. There’s light and darkness, there’s wheat and pears, there’s sheep and goats. You can’t be all things to all people. You either do live by the word of God or you don’t live by the word of God. And there’s nothing in between. And…and our secular permissive society, that’s just a hateful idea.

PRAGER: Alright, I’m going to let you go, but…and I’m going to take calls that are coming in on this.

So, everything is a result of God's permissive will (God knowingly lets it happen), yet no man on earth knows the mind of God.  Seems every man on earth knows plenty: what happens is what God meant to happen.  It seems if you're going to claim you can't know the mind of God, you're going to have to claim that you can't know the mind of God–and when it comes to claims about the mind of God, you'll sit respectfully silent.  There's sheep, after all, and there's goats.  To some secular humanists this logically permissive rhetoric is just hateful.

**UPDATE (7PM)**

No doubt reeling from The Non Sequitur's penetrating analysis, Pastor Hagee has retracted his comments about Hurricane Katrina.  Good for him.  But it certainly took him a while.

“As a believing Christian, I see the hand of God in everything that happens here on earth, both the blessings and the curses,” Hagee said in a statement issued through his public relations firm. “But ultimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy. There but for the grace of God go any one of us.

We'll be looking to see if he retracts his other mind of God comments.

King of the Faeries

Sometimes it gets rather tiresome sorting through the nuanced yet sloppy reasoning of the typical national newspaper pundit, so let's just gaze with wonder at how bad things could be.  Enter Pastor John Hagee, unrepudiated and unrejected friend and supporter of John McCain, maverick:

HAGEE: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Let's say it was.  Now the parade might have been canceled, but lots of non-gay people had their lives and homes destroyed.  I suppose they were just collateral damage. 

UPDATE 4/26/2008

Pastor Hagee has retracted this claim.