This week, John McCain was forced to reject the endorsement of Reverend John Hagee when some of the evangelical pastor’s highly controversial statements were highlighted in media reports. John Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas and the president of John Hagee Ministries.
But are Reverend Hagee’s statements really as offensive as they appear at first glance? Happy Valley News Hour took a closer look at some of these ostensibly offensive statements and found that most had been taken out of context — another case of the mainstream media twisting someone’s words to present him in the worst possible light. Below we examine more closely six of John Hagee’s most controversial statements.
‘Offensive’ Statement 1.
“As millions of people anticipate the release of the latest Harry Potter book and film, we’re reminded once again of Satan’s ongoing attempt to deceive and destroy. The whole purpose of the Potter books is to desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult.” Source 1. Source 2.
Analysis: This statement is not offensive so much as it is a bit nutty and extreme. But is the quote above everything that Reverend Hagee had to say on the subject? No, it’s not. Take a look below at the quote in full.
“The whole purpose of the Potter books is to desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult. That said, the night the seventh book came out, there I was at the bookstore at the stroke of midnight, all decked out in my Dumbledore costume. Then I stayed up all night reading it. What a finish! I just can’t get enough of those rascals Fred and George Weasley, and don’t get me started on that lovable lunk, Hagrid. But ooh, that Lucius Malfoy! How I hate him! I’d like to hit him with a Cruciatus Curse of my very own! If this is the gateway to the occult, sign me up for a one-way ticket!”
‘Offensive’ Statement 2.
Reverend Hagee has received criticism for his views on the Catholic church. He has called the church the ‘Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’ He has also been quoted as saying, “Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.” Source 1. Source 2.
Analysis: While accurate, these quotes make no mention of the many favorable comments Reverend Hagee has made about the Catholic Church, such as below.
“Yes, yes, the Catholic Church is the Great Whore, the Most Holy Harlot, the Papist High Priced Call Girl. That said, I have to admit, that Pope Benedict has got one heck of a fashion sense. And the Vatican? Suh-weeet! I wouldn’t mind having me one of those!”
‘Offensive’ Statement 3.
“Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.” Source.
Analysis: Again, these statements are accurate as far as they go, but any reckoning of their intent should include the entire quotation.
“Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist. Do you know the difference between me and a sparrow? None! Fly, fly, fly, little bird. I am a beautiful little birdie and I can flyyyyyyy!” (Flaps wings.)
‘Offensive’ Statement 4.
“Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans” because it “had a level of sin that was offensive to God,” as evidenced by plans for “a homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.” Source.
Analysis: Accurate, but incomplete. See the rest of the quote below.
“Now keep in mind that I also believe that Branson, Missouri should be destroyed for all that horrible dinner theater and that Gatlinburg, Tennessee should suffer the wrath of a vengeful God to atone for the existence of Dollywood. And while I’m on the topic, I’d like to see Miami Beach taken out as well — old people really give me the creeps.”
‘Offensive’ Statement 5.
“An anti-Semite is someone who is driven by hate. A Christian is someone who’s driven by love. Therefore, there’s no such thing as a Christian anti-Semite.” Source.
Analysis: Context, people, context. See complete quote below.
“There is no such thing as a Christian anti-Semite. There is also no such thing as a chicken dog. Or a shark lion. There is no such thing as a blimbunny blarnybuster. Or a kooka kooka chocka-hooka. There is simply NO SUCH THING!”
‘Offensive’ Statement 6.
A July 27, 2006, Wall Street Journal article about Hagee noted the following incident: To help students seeking odd jobs, Hagee’s church newsletter, The Cluster, advertised a “slave” sale. “Slavery in America is returning to Cornerstone,” it said. “Make plans to come and go home with a slave.” Mr. Hagee apologized but, in a radio interview, protested about pressure to be “politically correct” and joked that perhaps his pet dog should be called a “canine American.” Source
Analysis: As Reverend Hagee noted in his apology, this is yet another case of political correctness run amok. The Cornerstone church is well known for its innovative and off-beat fund raisers, including the following perennial favorites:
The Fall Organ Harvest Hoedown: An annual dance where guests can pay roving teams of “doctors” to “knock out” other guests, who awaken in a “recovery room” to find that their internal organs have been illegally harvested for sale on the black market. It’s all in fun, of course. No real organs are harvested (unless you don’t tip the doctors, that is!).
Small Pox Blanket Knitting Circle: The Christian Womens Club’s annual fundraiser is a good old fashioned knitting circle — with a twist. The group knits six blankets for auction, but one of the blankets is secretly “infected” with the “small pox virus.” The lucky winner of the small pox blanket will “develop” fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting and severe muscle aches about seven days after exposure, eventually developing pus-filled papules over most of their body. It’s fun for the entire family!