OK, Anonymous, here are my thoughts.
Both Rev. Hagee and Dr. LaHaye have made many comments regarding the Catholic Church. It is these that we shall examine first, keeping in mind that I, myself, am a Roman Catholic.
Christianity, as a whole, has never been a monolithic whole. From the very beginning, there were divisions and schisms. The earliest was between the followers of the Apostle John and the followers of the Apostle Paul, regarding the necessity of first becoming Jewish in order to become a Christian. This schism was ultimately settled by the Roman Empire in 70AD with the sacking of Jerusalem and the Diaspora, leaving only the followers of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, to carry the Gospels to the rest of the world.
That being said, there has long been a simmering tension between Roman Catholics and the Protestant Reformists. Among many of the bones of contention was the selling and awarding of indulgences, certified notes and trinkets that bestowed absolution, regardless of confession or the forgiveness of the Church.
The Protestant Reformists have long denied the powers of the Pope, and have rejected many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. To their minds, the Reformists were returning the Faith back to the roots of the Gospels. As such, the Roman Catholics were apostates, having deviated from the Truths taught by Jesus in the Gospels.
The Rev.'s Hagee and LaHaye are merely products of the long-standing traditions of fundamentalist Protestant teachings. Of course they would consider the Roman Catholic Church apostate, or, in the words of Rev. Hagee, "The Great Whore". This is nothing new, at these sort of ideas have been around a lot longer than the United States.
Personally, it is my belief that, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church was in the wrong. It was using absolution as a fund raising tool. It was also virulently anti-Semitic, which is yet another criticism leveled by Rev. Hagee. But that was then. Nowadays, the Catholic Church is trying, at least, to rid itself of that old baggage, to varying degrees of success. That some in the other Christian schisms aren't ready yet to let those bygones be bygones is hardly surprising and is a measure of how far all Christians have to go.
But this is far removed from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his slanderous and racist accusations leveled at America, whites, and Christians. Whereas, Hagee and LaHaye are rooted in historical theological thought, Wright spews hate and bile for the country that made his ministry possible. Worse, he has to lie about America. Hagee and LaHaye are merely on a different point of view from the Roman Catholic Church.
Rev. Hagee is also tagged with his devotion to the State of Israel. Of course, to the Left, Israel represents all that is wrong with the Mideast and with American policy in the region. What do you think Liberals mean when they complain about "neo-cons"? The word is nothing short of code speak for "Jew". They look to Israel as the only reason for bloodshed in the Mideast. In any fight between Israel and the Arab world, you can count on the Left siding with the Arabs. Anybody recall Jimmy Carter?
But what really gets the Left all in a twist is Rev. Hagee's comparison of Islam with Christianity. The sermon wherein he makes this examination can be viewed on YouTube. He uses quotes from both the Bible and the Qu'ran to make his points. And, I have to admit, he's absolutely correct in saying that Islam is a false religion.
Am I going too far? Well, consider the writings of Dr. Mark A. Gabriel. Here is a man who was raised in Egypt as a devote Muslim, becoming a scholar of Qu'rannic studies. But when he had a crisis of faith and embraced Christianity, he was forced to flee his native land, lest his father carry out the dictates of the Qu'ran and kill him. If anyone would know about Islam and Christianity, it would be him.
Dr. Gabriel (this isn't his real name, which he has to keep secret to prevent retribution aimed at his family still in Egypt) definitely supports Rev. Hagee's arguments. Just wander the Internet, and you can find myriad other scholars who have come to the very same conclusion. There is a definite difference between bigotry and actual study of a religion's beliefs and scriptures. Having read the Qu'ran, I am forced to acknowledge that Rev. Hagee is doing nothing but reporting the truth about Islam, regardless of what you might think of Christianity or his particular brand of Christianity.
But, even if Hagee and LaHaye were every bit the bigots that the Left claims them to be, the problem of their endorsement of John McCain is miniscule. After all, McCain was never a member of their congregations, nor had he a twenty year association with them. Nor has McCain used any of their sermons as a springboard for a book.
Saint Obama, on the other hand, does have that and more on the record. Rev. Wright was Obama's pastor. He married the Obama's and baptized their children. The title of one of his books, The Audacity of Hope, was lifted directly from one of Wright's sermons. Indeed, Obama prayed with Wright on the eve of his announcement of his candidacy. And it was only this week that Rev. Wright stepped down from his role in the Obama campaign.
As near as I can tell, John McCain has absolutely none of this baggage regarding Hagee and LaHaye, other than the endorsements.
Tomorrow, we'll look at Saint Obama's big race speech, and the Audacity of Rope-a-dope.
Copyright March 18th, 2008