McCain's Televangelist Ally Believes God Damns America

Since Democrats began complaining about (and the media kept ignoring) the controversial relationship between John McCain and radical televangelist John Hagee, the Texas megachurch pastor has kept a fairly low profile. It’s hardly surprising — McCain probably encouraged him to avoid major media attention, and Hagee, anxious to help his political ally, obliged.

In fact, a month ago today, the New York Times ran an edited interview with Hagee, in which the Times’ Deborah Solomon asked, “Let’s talk about your much-quoted comment that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for a gay rights parade in New Orleans.” Hagee responded, “We’re not going down there.” He called the subject “off-base.”

Now, however, Hagee is willing to go down there.

On September 18, 2006, Pastor John Hagee — whose endorsement Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said this past Sunday he was “glad to have” — told NPR’s Terry Gross that “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God,” Hagee said, because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”

On his radio show yesterday, right-wing talker Dennis Prager asked Hagee to respond to “the various charges made against him” in a fact sheet put out by the Democratic National Committee. Asked about his comments on Hurricane Katrina, Hagee said “the topic of that day was cursing and blessing.”

Hagee told Prager, “What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God, in time if New Orleans recovers and becomes the pristine city it can become it may in time be called a blessing. But at this time it’s called a curse.” When Prager sought to clarify if Hagee believes “God’s hand” was responsible for Katrina “because of a sinful city,” Hagee responded, “That it was a city that was planning a sinful conduct, yes.”

Obviously, Hagee is entitled to his religious beliefs, but I suspect the notion that a deadly, devastating hurricane was the result of divine intervention and God’s “judgment” is the kind of thing most Americans would find kind of nutty.

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Atrios adds a great point: “God Damns America ... and it’s okay as long as conservatives think so.”


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