Previously posted at Ponderings on a Faith Journey

John McCain’s attempts to connect with a religious group he once called them agents of religious intolerance, but in 2008 he has sought to rebuild the bridges he once seemed to burn. Besides courting Jerry Falwell, he went after other right wing voices including Rod Parsley and John Hagee. Hagee’s embrace has become a liability of late, first as word of his anti-Catholic tirades became known. Now excerpts of sermons suggesting that God used Hitler and the Holocaust to push Jews to Palestine — so that the foundations of the second coming of Christ could be put in place — have become public. Today word comes that not only has McCain broken with Hagee, but Hagee has withdrawn his endorsement. McCain suggests that his relationship with Hagee is different from that of Barack Obama with Jeremiah Wright. This is true, Hagee wasn’t McCain’s pastor, but McCain did seek his support, probably because of Hagee’s Christian Zionism made him seem like a supporter of Israel. What McCain seems not to have understood is that Christian Zionism doesn’t support Israel out of a love of Judaism, but because a restored Israel is needed to start Armaggedon.

More problematic for McCain is the support he has sought from Rod Parsley, a rabidly anti-Muslim megachurch pastor from Ohio. Hagee is caught up in his end times scenarios, while Parsley echoes medieval calls for an anti-Muslim crusade. If John McCain wants to ever bring troops home from Iraq, choosing support from Parsley makes that infinitely more difficult. McCain’s camp has said that they didn’t properly vet Hagee, obviously they’ve not properly vetted Parsley either.

One thing to point out regarding Obama, Obama never sought his pastor’s political endorsement. Indeed, he’s made it clear that he didn’t seek his pastor’s poltical advice, though Wright’s commitment to social justice does influence his own commitment to social justice. Politically, however, they have taken different routes to accomplish this task.