In his effort to curry favor with conservative Republican activists, John McCain has worked hard to cuddle up to Religious Right leaders. But voters should know who exactly he’s been courting.
This week McCain campaigned with Rod Parsley, founder and president of “The Center for Moral Clarity” and leader of the right-wing “Patriot Pastors” (a church based campaign that was infamous for referring to political opponents as “secular jihadists,” the “forces of darkness,” and the “hordes of hell.”)
Just yesterday, he accepted the support of John Hagee, founder of “Christians United For Israel” and a vocal supporter of preemptive, religious war with Iran.
Rod Parsley, whom McCain has called a “spiritual guide” has in the past:
- called hate crimes legislation a “deceptive ploy of [the] liberal, homosexual agenda.”
- advocated criminal prosecution of adulterers.
- compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.
- declared “I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!” at a “War on Christians” conference.
- urged voters to “let the Reformation begin! Shout it like you’re going to carry the blood-stained banner of the cross of Christ the length and breadth of the Buckeye State!” at a political rally.
Not one to make a right-wing supporter feel left out, McCain said, “I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.” Hagee has:
- predicted God will allow terrorists to strike the United States if the government is insufficiently supportive of Israel.
- preached that US invasion of Iran is foretold in the book of Esther.
- claimed that George Washington designed the Great Seal of the United States to include a hidden menorah in the eagle’s tail feathers.
- accused the Catholic of joining with Hitler in “a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.”
- argued that “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”
“For a man the media loves to call a maverick, McCain sure spends a lot of time holding hands with the Religious Right,” said People For the American Way Political Director Mary Jean Collins. “McCain’s embracing Parsley and Hagee is a sign that either he’s changed his mind about what constitutes an ‘agent of intolerance’ or he’s decided that a little extremism in pursuit of power is no vice.”