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SAN ANTONIO -- Sen. John McCain picked up the support of Texas pastor John Hagee, an evangelical Christian who has made support for the state of Israel a centerpiece of his ministry.
Hagee endorsed McCain today, saying he did so because McCain is a pro-life, pro-Israel politician who has pledged to secure the country's borders. Link
Endorsements, I think, have little to no impact on political contests. Just my opinion. What usually happens, as in Tuesday night's debate, is that endorsements are used by Knee Padders, say, like Tim Russert, in an attempt to yoke a candidate to certain extremist or nefarious baggage that the endorser carries around with them.
In the case from the other night, Russert tried his best to pin the extremism of Louis Farrakhan concerning the Jewish faith, to the pinless lapel of Barack Obama. All because Farrakhan spoke well of the Illinois Senator. Russert actually humiliated himself with this line of questioning. Obama made it clear, that he was, in no way, yoked to the extremist thinking of Farrakhan. He denounced AND rejected.
Now we have John Hagee endorsing John McCain. Hagee, as the WashingtonPost.com piece states, has made American support for Israel, "a centerpiece of his ministry." Yet Hagee is an Evangelical Christian pastor.
Why would an Evangelical Christian leader, like Hagee, center his "ministry" on support of a religious people who do not believe in nor accept Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Saviour? What's the real reason for Hagee's support for Israel?
The man who is primarily responsible for Christian theology, the Apostle Paul, wrote this passage some 20 centuries ago...
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Link
Paul, the Apostle, was a very conflicted person. Inspired, or not, this Biblical writer had a kind of schitzophrenic belief regarding the people of Israel. They are "enemies" of Christianity's good news but their "election" is "irrevocable." Evangelicals, trying to make sense of these schitzoid accounts, long ago came up with an interpretive scheme called "dispensationalism" to help iron out the contradictory wrinkles. In short, God deals with man differently during different eras of earth's history. Requirements are different. Worship is different. Responsibility for misdeeds is different, etc. The Biblical God that "changes not", in dispensationalist thought, is always changing.
John Hagee is a full fledged believer in dispensationalist thought.
Paul's schitzophenic passages, coupled with the most bizarre, science-fiction-like interpretation of the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation, bring us full circle back to John Hagee and the "centerpiece" of his influential work: American support for Israel, God's elect.
Hagee supports John McCain because McCain is a neo-conservative. Neo-conservatives can be perfectly reasonable about many difficult issues facing the U.S., however, when it comes to the middle east and Israel, the reasoning leaves the tracks and goes all crazy-like. Hagee supports McCain because McCain wants to stay in Iraq with permanent military bases. Hagee supports McCain because McCain speaks threateningly about Israel's enemies, Iran and Syria. Hagee supports McCain because McCain wants to carry on the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive wars of aggression against Israel's enemies. Hagee regards all this, in his messed up head, as, somehow, fulfilling Biblical prophecy in preparation for the Secret Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus. The last dispensation.
Evangelicals in America believe Israel will be restored to it's Old Testamental stature under King David, just before Jesus returns. The literal Jerusalem Temple, last destroyed in 70 A.D., of which only a portion remains today known as the Wailing Wall, will be completely rebuilt and "cleansed" from all the centuries of unclean defilement by non-Jews. In this cartoonish depiction of the "end times", after Israel is restored, the unclean nations (Arabs), will gather together and prepare for the great battle of Armaggedon against God's "elect".....but Jesus will intervene with his appearance in the clouds where "every eye will see him".
Jesus, known in the four Gospels for his love, forgiveness and mercy, will bring flames of eternal fire down upon the enemies of the "elect", destroying them once and for all. Other than that God initiated Holocaust, everyone else lives happily ever after.
John Hagee, in his endorsement of John McCain, is hoping he and his followers can, you know, help God out a little. Sort of grease the divine skids by endorsing a man for president who wants to stay in Iraq, in support of Israel, forever. Preparing the way for his Lord to return by setting the table for the Jerusalem Temple to be restored. Something that can only be accomplished, in Hagee's head, if pre-emptive wars of aggression against Israel's enemies are spread throughout the entire middle east. That's exactly what John McCain has said he would do. Thus, the endorsement.
To say that this way of thinking is what comic books are made of is to state the obvious. Just because many American Evangelicals believe this comic book story, doesn't make it true in the least. But just because John Hagee is an Evangelical Christian pastor endorsing John McCain, doesn't mean he is not a dangerous, intolerant, warmongering moron with a desire and a fondness for never ending and costly bloodshed over in the lands of the Bible.
Barack Obama does not agree with Louis Farrakhan's extremism and has said so. Obama stands on no common ground with Farrakhan. John McCain, on the other hand, with his extreme neo-conservative foreign policy beliefs, has something in common with the extremist views of John Hagee.
Hagee's endorsement of McCain, though having little overall impact on the election, still yokes a religious extremist to a pre-emptive war extremist.