One Prejudiced Pastor Down, One to Go

Well hallelujah! John Hagee, the prejudiced pastor who backed McCain, is apologizing to Catholics for calling The Roman Catholic Church "the Great Whore." This is Hagee's attempt to make peace with Catholics and Evangelicals after Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, put out a statement in February entitled "McCain Embraces Bigot." Of course, we haven't seen an apology from Hagee to the LGBT community for calling Hurricane Katrina "the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans."

Nor have we seen any sort of apology out the equally offensive Rev. Rod Parsley, McCain's "spiritual guide" who literally wants to destroy Islam. As David Corn reported in Mother Jones last week, Parsley referred to Islam in a 2005 sermon as "the greatest religious enemy of our civilization and the world."

Parsley draws no distinction between Muslims and violent Islamic extremists, as he blamed the entire religion for the attacks of September 11th. He referred to September 11th as "a generational call to arms" to destroy the "false religion" of Islam.

The world (and in particular the Muslim community) ought to be livid over the fact that McCain has praised and campaigned with Parsley. McCain should demand Parsley apologize to the Muslim community immediately, and he should reject Parsley's endorsement.

Of course, the latter part seems unlikely. Parsley leads the World Harvest Megachurch in Ohio, a state he helped deliver for Bush in 2004 with his army of social conservatives. So it seems unlikely McCain would drop his support. Still Hagee's apology leaves me wondering about the politics behind all of this.

If Hagee and Parsley represent McCain's attempt to cozy up to the religious right, then it's no surprise that Hagee reconciled his differences with Catholics and Evangelicals. Parsley, by contrast, hasn't criticized the Republicans' religious base. He's only denigrated the world's second largest religion, whose followers have comparatively little say in the Republican party.