SAN ANTONIO — Senator John McCain got support on Wednesday from an important corner of evangelical Texas when the pastor of a San Antonio mega-church, Rev. John C. Hagee, endorsed Mr. McCain for president. Mr. Hagee, who argues that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive, biblically prophesized military strike against Iran that will lead to the second coming of Christ, praised Mr. McCain for his pro-Israel views.
“John McCain has publicly stated his support of the state of Israel, pledging that his administration will not permit Iran to have nuclear weapons to fulfill the evil dreams of President Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map,'’ Mr. Hagee said at a news conference at the Omni Hotel in San Antonio.
Mr. Hagee also praised Mr. McCain for his “solid, pro-life voting record for the past 24 years.'’
Mr. McCain, who has been on a steady search for support among conservative and evangelical leaders who have long distrusted him, said he was “very honored'’ by Mr. Hagee’s endorsement. Asked about Mr. Hagee’s extensive writings on Armageddon and about what one questioner said was Mr. Hagee’s belief that the anti-Christ will be the head of the European Union, Mr. McCain responded that “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.'’
Looking at this move from a political perspective, this is a great endorsement to have for the Arizona Senator. It might ease some of the concerns of the evangelical Republican voters about McCain's stance on the issues, by watching one of their own side with McCain. He's going to need the votes of the evangelical crowd in order to win the White House.
My personal opinion is that I wouldn't want that fundamentalist kook even a few inches from me. Check out the history of Hagee, and you'll see what I mean.
He argues the land of Israel never belonged to the Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians because sovereignty went from the Ottoman Turks who controlled the land for centuries prior to World War I, to the British, to the United Nations which authorized the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. He emphasizes the land was first renamed Palestine after the extinct (and non-Semitic/non-Arab) Philistines to punish the Jews for their revolt against the Romans, that there is no Palestinian language and most of those who now call themselves Palestinians immigrated from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and other Arab nations shortly before 1948.
Hagee has said Iran is a threat to Western civilization and does not believe the "Islamofascist" mentality will ever respond favorably to diplomacy. He supports an American-Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran to eliminate its nuclear capability and supports the Neo-Conservative movement in the United States.
Think that's nuts? Check out what the Pastor foresees in the near future.
In his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee interprets the Bible to predict Russia and the Islamic states will invade Israel and be destroyed by God. This will cause the anti-Christ, the head of the European Union, to create a confrontation over Israel between China and the West. A final battle between East and West at Armageddon will then precipitate the Second Coming of Christ. In a discussion concerning Muhammad, he claims Muhammad was a man of war and this influence on Islam is the cause of the troubles of Jerusalem.
Theologically, Hagee believes in the "baptism of the Holy Spirit", the "absolute authority of the scripture", miraculous healing, anointing with oil, baptism by immersion, the importance of evangelism, and the "worship of the Lord through singing, clapping, and the lifting of hands."
As I said in my title, John McCain would be smart to stay clear of this Christian extremist, but with many conservatives not fully warming up to the prospect of McCain becoming the Republican nominee for President, he'll take whatever conservative/evangelical influence he can get.