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Remember when affairs were the big campaign killers?

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 16-32September of 2006: Pastor John Hagee suggested to NPR that the devastating, life-robbing Hurricane Katrina was God's judgement against New Orleans for the "homosexual parade" that was to be held in the city the following week.

Picture 17-28February of 2008: Hagee endorses John McCain for President. This is an endorsement McCain has said he's both "very honored" by and "glad to have."

April 22, 2008: Hagee, apparently feeling like he hadn't made his ideas about God's contempt for drag queens marching down Bourbon Street clear enough the first time, said the following on the talk show of conservative host Dennis Prager:

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.

November 2008: Voters wise up and realize that even though McCain might seem more moderate and reasonable, there's a very good chance that his presidency will feature a leader willing to entertain the same sort of cruel, polarizing rhetoric that has sullied the first part of the 21st century?

Says Hurricane Katrina Struck New Orleans Because It Was ‘Planning A Sinful’ ‘Homosexual Rally’ [Think Progress]

**SEE ALSO: And let's not forget about Rod Parsley:

**UPDATE, 4/24: McCain was asked about Hagee's comments today. This from the AP:

Separately, McCain again was asked about the comments of a supporter, Texas televangelist John Hagee, who has said Hurricane Katrina was God's retribution for homosexual sin. McCain again repudiated the remarks but declined to renounce the pastor's endorsement. In doing so, he took a backhand slap at Barack Obama, whose former pastor's incendiary remarks also have come under the microscope.

"I didn't attend Pastor Hagee's church for 20 years," McCain said. "There's a great deal of difference between someone who endorses you, and other circumstances."

McCain to New Orleans: Never again [AP via Google]

**UPDATE, 4/28: Hagee has kinda-sorta backed down from his Katrina comments

**UPDATE, 5/4: Frank Rich also sees McCain's Hagee problem.

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Your thoughts

Rod Parsley would make a great drag queen name

Posted by: Ron | Apr 23, 2008 5:11:15 PM

Didn't god promise Noah after that fabled flood in the good-book (a flood, I might add of which there is no geologic evidence) that he would never again use floods to act out his anger on humanity?

So, then is seems pretty obvious to me that someone is lying . . . either about the flood in the first place, and/or about Katrina. Do those bible-shirts (like Hagee, Robertsen, the departed Falwell, and the like) actually believe the crap that they claim to believe? Or only when it is convenient?

Dick Mills

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 23, 2008 5:53:43 PM

The fact that the bible is available at Wal-Mart is enough to conclude that any old idiot can add and subtract whatever the hell he wants to the book, to fit whatever agenda the individual has.

Posted by: Scott | Apr 23, 2008 6:20:18 PM

OH oh oh oh but what about Dennie McClurkin endorsing Obama. That means, gasp gasp, that Obama is a raging homophobe doesn't it!!!!!

Well, no. Of course it doesn't.

Just like the endorsement by Hagee doesn't mean that McCain is either. I mean, c'mon, who did you expect him to endorse. Before it's over I imagine all the right wingers will endorse the Republican candidate and the left-wingers will support the Democrat candidate regardless of how centrist either one may be.

Yes it is relevant to pay attention to who endorses whom. But it really takes a stretch to see this as an indicator that McCain is suddenly going to adopt an attack-the-gays attitude.

It's not like he sat in Hagee's pew for 20 years. We know what McCain's church teaches and it isn't pro-gay theology. But it also isn't homophobic ranting and, for a baptist, Dan Yeary is one of those "love the sinner" types that seems releatively loving.

BTW, something equally as ill-thought-out is going on in N. Carolina. There the GOP is running an ad about Wright and arguing that because the senate candidates support Obama that therefor they are guilty of all of Wright's anti-American, anti-white rhetoric. And that is downright stupid and dishonest.

Let's not try to out-stupid the N. Carolina Republicans.

Posted by: Timothy | Apr 23, 2008 8:25:04 PM

However, all the above said, if I were McCain I would distance myself from Hagee. He's a raging loon.

Posted by: Timothy | Apr 23, 2008 8:50:02 PM

Timothy: I think you know me well enough to know that I would never give a pass to things like McLurkin. In fact, I didn't -- I couldn't have been a more harsh critic:


Wright was not, by and large, gay-centric, so it was not really addressed on G-A-Y. But it's not like I'm picking and choosing to whom I'm going to give a pass.

All I'm saying is that McCain ABSOLUTELY should distance himself from Hagee in a very clear manner. I mean blaming Katrina on the gays -- that's not a little thing. And if he doesn't make strides to distance himself, that's also no little thing.

In my estimation, there is a very genuine and valid fear that we could see more of the same anti-gay fellows in the bed of McCain's White House.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 23, 2008 11:00:12 PM

Dick Mills,

I think you have the Bible wrong. The story of Noah runs from Genesis Chapter 6 through Chapter 9.

Chapter 8 verse 21 (King James Version) has the Lord saying: "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

In Chapter 9 verse 15 the Lord tells Noah, "and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."

The phrases "every living thing" and "all flesh" mark God's promise not to destroy the entire world again. There is no promise not to destroy any one portion of the Earth! (Granted 9:15 is more ambiguous. It would be interesting to see the original Hebrew.)

As far as believing the Bible, I'm certain that men like Hagee and Robertson do. Genesis 6:4 reads:

"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

And Genesis 9:29 claims that Noah lived to be 950 years old. If Hagee and the like aren't phased by such verses, well.... you get my drift.

Posted by: David | Apr 24, 2008 1:18:20 AM

I agree with Timothy Kincaid's post except for the bit about the North Carolina GOP ad. Timothy is wrong about what the ad suggests. I've seen it and it what it actually says is that Obama is too radical for North Carolina and so the senate candidates are foolish and un-North Carolinian for supporting him.

Jeremy, you are definitely saying quite a bit more than "that McCain ABSOLUTELY should distance himself from Hagee in a very clear manner." Dealing with Senator McCain your post clearly stated "there's a very good chance that his presidency will feature a leader willing to entertain the same sort of cruel, polarizing rhetoric" that Hagee's been spewing.

This is actually highly unlikely. McCain has already said that his accepting Hagee's endorsement wasn't an endorsement of Hagee. And the very same McCain is right now angering a number of Republicans by calling for the North Carolina GOP to withdraw the aformentioned ad. So what real evidence do you have to justify your charge against the Arizona senator?

Perhaps your post should have read: Voters wise up and realize that even though Senators Clinton and Obama like to sound reasonable and in touch, they're actually such fanatics that they criticized the Supreme Court when it upheld the partial-birth abortion ban.

Posted by: David | Apr 24, 2008 1:39:01 AM

David: And then after saying it was not an endorsement of Hagee, he went on to say that he was glad to have his endorsement. Again, with rhetoric this harsh and downright nutty, I would hope he would make more of a repudiation (especially since Hagee has now repeated it). And if he doesn't, and keeps buddying up with folks like Hagee and Rod Parsley, there is a very valid fear for those of us on the progressive side of things that we will see more of this sort of thing from McCain as time goes by.

It's unfair for you to make this sound like a "charge" that I need evidence to justify. This is my opinion about what we might see under eight more years of the GOP. This is what we do in elections -- express possible scenarios culled from the situation at hand and our political beliefs. And just like you, a conservative, surely have ideas about what an Obama or CLinton presidency would mean, I have my own regarding McCain. And my opinion is that there is a very good chance we will see more of the same.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 24, 2008 7:42:07 AM

I think we all agree that Hagee is a nut and that McCain would be wise to distance himself.

And I think we all can agree that there will be plenty more endorsements of all sorts that will be "welcomed" by all candidates without it being some indicator of the attitudes of the candidates.

I agree that it is important to notice these endorsements and keep aware of any unseemly alliances.

But where I disagree with Jeremy is in that I don't see accepting an endorsement as "buddying up" - even if it's a candidate I don't support. I believe that kind of thinking can lead us to assumptions and stereotypes rather than to rational conclusions. They are good for casting aspersions and playing advocate, but they aren't much use in logical analysis.

And I don't much like tying a comment on Hagee to "cruel polarizing rhetoric" when - so far, at least - there hasn't been that sort of rhetoric coming from McCain. As best I can tell he's making a real effort not to use Bush election tactics.

I disagee with David over his assessment of the N. Carolina ad. I've also seen it and it's clearly not really about the specific Dems running for NC office. It's about Wright and Obama and tries to paint with a broad brush. It uploads Wright's views onto Obama and then downloads them to all of his supporters. Which is both unfair and strategically stupid (do they think no one going to notice the obvious irrationality?)

Interestingly, it never mentions McCain so I guess that's how they can argue that he can't object to it. But in my opinion it is just nasty tacky politics at its slimiest.

Posted by: Timothy | Apr 24, 2008 2:49:38 PM

"And I don't much like tying a comment on Hagee to "cruel polarizing rhetoric" when - so far, at least - there hasn't been that sort of rhetoric coming from McCain. As best I can tell he's making a real effort not to use Bush election tactics."

Timothy: That's a little unfair. What I said is that there is a good chance that McCain would be willing to entertain "the same sort of cruel, polarizing rhetoric." I never said there has been that sort of rhetoric coming directly from McCain himself or that he's using the same Bush campaign tactics at this point. But the fear -- and I will unapologetically stand by it as a valid one -- is that as this rolls on and he gets more into the divisive game, there is going to be more and more entertaining of this social conservative, anti-gay nonsense.

I'm sorry, Timothy, but I can't believe that this man is anything close to a friend of our community.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 24, 2008 3:07:30 PM


I should probably clarify that I personally don’t believe the Noah story at least not literally. I also find it hard to believe that any reasonable and rational person would be able to believe the story as it is written without taking into account the context of the story – namely that the world to anyone living in Noah’s day would have consisted of the few dozen miles surrounding the place where they were born, lived and eventually died.

The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence that a global flood destroyed "all" living things on the earth and no evidence of any global extension event around the time of Noah. There also is not even any evidence that water has ever risen up to the levels that would be capable of killing all living things on the planet. Nor is there any evidence that there is even that much water on the planet.

Any reasonable and rational (thinkin’) person has to conclude that if there was a big flood that Noah did survive and if everything and everyone around him was destroyed, then it would have been a very local event -- just like New Orleans. And that very local event would have been what God had promised never to repeat. And, if you believe that God did destroy lives and property in New Orleans, then either God (or someone) lied, or the story never happened.

Religious people like to factor the context of their various writing into account when the absolute interpretation doesn’t support their personal xenophobic myopia. And then only take the text literally when it is convenient. I call that bullshit.

Dick Mills

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 24, 2008 3:33:19 PM


Yes there's a change McCain will use cruel, polarlizing rhetoric. There's a change Clinton will. There's a chance Obama will.

But so far we only have "chances". Anything is possible.

I know you don't much like McCain and are worried that he will follow in the mode of other Republicans and attack gays. But I think it is a bit unfair to base current posts on future fears.

I know your fear is real and is valid.

And I agree that McCain is not a pro-gay activist.

But I've observed him for a long time and I know with certainty that McCain doesn't like anti-gay posturing at all. He thinks it's beneath dignity. Further, McCain sees himself as a federalist and so is unlikely to run against gay issues on a national platforum.

I don't doubt that some folks who support McCain will use homophobic language. We've already seen all sorts of language from supporters of all candidates and the resignations of supporters of all stripes.

And if McCain says or does anything that is anti-gay BY ALL MEANS go after him.

But I think you are better than the partisan attack blogs. They will spend from now until November spinning and suggesting and hinting. I hope you will instead wait for real items to report.

Posted by: Timothy | Apr 24, 2008 4:59:36 PM

But Timothy, that's what we do in campaigns. We cast a judgement as to what sort of president we think the candidates will be based on logic, information, and the way we perceive the world. And I too have observed McCain over the years. Based on things like his support for Arizona's anti-marriage amendment, his need to play the GOP game in order to get elected, his lack of concern for our issues, etc., I at this point would encourage folks to vote for either Dem over McCain. And I make no apologies for that.

You can deem that a mindset that belongs more on partisan attack blogs if you wish. I am not going to pretend to be a McCain apologist. The possibility of that ship sailed long ago.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 24, 2008 5:09:13 PM

Timothy, we may be talking past one another. I agree that the North Carolina GOP ad ties the senate candidates to Rev. Wright's anti-American nonsense via Obama. But when you wrote that the ad suggests "they are guilty of all of Wright's anti-American, anti-white rhetoric," I took that to mean that the ad says they actually agree with Wright.

What the ad does is accuse the senate candidates of supporting Obama's decision to stick with Wright for 20 years. This doesn't strike me as the fairest of ads, but it doesn't strike me as the slimiest of politics either.

Posted by: David | Apr 25, 2008 2:40:02 AM

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