Should John McCain reject and denounce Minister John Hagee?
Anisa Abd El Fattah
The February 26th debate between Democrat’s Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama may have opened a Pandora’s box that will swarm the political debate in this country with issues related to Church and state separation, the true meaning of the US Constitution’s anti-establishment clause, US unconditional support for Israel, and the role of Evangelicals and Jewish groups in shaping US public policy. It may also set off a competition between denominational religious groups of various faiths, all seeking to be represented in the political process and most specifically the 2008 Presidential election.
Hillary Clinton, in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to create a wedge between Obama, AIPAC, the Jewish Lobby, the Jewish community at large, and Evangelicals, while attempting to rattle Obama, opened Pandora’s box when she suggested that Barak Obama should denounce and reject the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan had issued a public statement saying that Barak Obama is the hope of the United States and the world. Clinton premised her demand for renunciation and denouncement of Farrakhan upon previous Jewish accusations that Farrakhan is an anti-Semite. Farrakhan, many Muslims and non-Muslims, who know him, vehemently deny the charge, a charge, which seems to surface at least once in every Presidential political cycle. It is a charge that is perhaps part of a larger effort to politically marginalize the US Muslim and Arab American communities, and their various branches of Islam, hoping to prevent our view of the Palestine/Israel conflict, and our critique of US foreign policy in the Middle East from reaching the US mainstream media, or being included in the political dispute over US foreign policy, including the preemptive strike policy and the so-called war on terrorism.
Among the contents of Pandora’s Box, the one that might prove to be the most contentious is the issue of Jewish and Evangelical political activism, contrasted by government pressure and media complicity in discouraging Muslim and Arab political activism and outright ignoring the political sentiments and issues that interest US Muslims and Arab Americans. There is little doubt among Muslims and Arabs that the detainment and imprisonment of US Arab and Muslim pro-Palestinian activists such as Dr. Sami Al Arian, and the raids and attacks on Muslim charities, mosques and organizations by the FBI that began prior to 9/11, and picked up afterwards, were intended to frighten Muslims and Arabs away from mainstream assimilation, and also the political arena. These raids and other acts of intimidation reached their apex during the run up to the Iraq war, which lends to the suspicion that a government and media attempt to silence Muslim and Arab political speech and to prevent Muslim political activism is, and has been underway. The scurrilous attacks by leaders of the Jewish and Evangelical communities and the talk radio hosts that promote their brand of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim and Arab hatred and hysteria, not only added to the intimidation, but created a rift between US Muslims, Arab Americans and their fellow Americans that has resulted in a general apathy and disinterest in Arab and Muslim 1st amendment rights, even though this apathy threatens the rights of every American to hold a dissenting view, or as members of religious or other minorities, to enjoy unfettered, their Constitutionally protected civil liberties and rights.
In response to Hillary Clinton’s provocation, Barak Obama did reject and denounce Minister Louis Farrakhan. In less than 24 hours after his denouncement of Minister Louis Farrakhan, Republican political candidate John McCain appeared in a televised news conference with the Islamophobic religious extremist and radically pro-Israel, anti-Muslim and Arab activists Minister John Hagee. Hagee is the leader of Christians United for Israel, which calls itself a Christian version of AIPAC. According to Hagee, who is also the head of a mega church in Texas; the primary aim of his organization is to prevent the US from “ramrodding” Israel into giving up too much land to the Palestinians. His organization is opposed to the US roadmap, which calls for a two state solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict. He also preaches that there will be a “pre-tribulation” rapture of Evangelical Christians and Jews who are covered by the Old Covenant, into heaven to meet Jesus. According to Hagee, a Russian/Islamic alliance will prevent Israel from destroying the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem, and as a consequence, God will destroy all Muslims and Russians with his supernatural powers. Hagee also says that the fire and brimstone mentioned in the Biblical Book of Revelations is a metaphor for Israeli nuclear weapons that will rain down, killing all Muslims and Arabs (Hagee, Beginning of the End, pgs. 143-158, and Final Doom over Jerusalem, 144-146).
Hagee’s designation as a Minister and Church leader, as well as the head of an organization that is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, and all Muslims and Arabs with Israeli nuclear weapons should raise some eyebrows. Why isn’t anyone asking if John McCain should be prodded and forced into rejecting and denouncing the boisterous and unapologetic Hagee’s endorsement? Should Hagee, his organization, or the GOP be subjected to a DOJ investigation for what appears to be a clear and brazen breech of the US Constitution’s establishment clause? Should their offices be raided and any or all of them detained for seeking to undermine the peace process? According to the Supreme Court, the establishment clause requires government to avoid excessive involvement with religion? It also, according to other interpretations, prevents the merger of denominational religion with the state, and it prevents the state from promoting one religion, or faith group over another.
Hagee’s brand of Muslim and Arab hatred, and Islamophobia should be no more tolerable to the American public, or government than anti-Semitism. Farrakhan was called an anti-Semite because of his rhetorical comments regarding Zionism’s distortion of the Jewish faith, a position that is supported by many Jews, including Rabbi Dovid Weiss of Neturai Karta, an orthodox Jewish movement that opposes Zionism and the establishment of a Jewish only state in Palestine. Hagee, on the hand is clearly a racist and religious extremist ideologue that is shamelessly preaching not only hatred of Muslims and Arabs, but also their destruction with Israeli nuclear weapons. Should John McCain denounce and reject the political endorsement of Minister John Hagee? Of course he should, but don’t hold your breath because Hillary wont press him on it, and neither will Obama.. The special treatment that such groups have received as a result of their pro-Israel stand, and the protection they receive from their Zionist cohorts in our government includes the absolute acceptance of their hateful and divisive brand of Judeo/Christian political activism, that is perhaps the cause for the chilling, and deprivation of US Muslim and Arab American civil rights and liberties in the US. If that doesn’t warm your blood, consider that Hagee’s crusading is likely one of the causes of death of nearly 4,000 US soldiers and Marines in Iraq, and more than one million innocent Arab and Muslim Iraqis, along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian and Israeli lives, lost over the years in the ongoing and illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, supported by Hagee and his Judeo/Christian movement, and our government. They are also a major force behind potential wars with Iran and Syria and the use of nuclear weapons to settle such disputes. It’s hard to imagine that Hagee’s endorsement will do much to help McCain. It’s pretty clear that it will do nothing to help our country get out of Iraq with honor. Short of nuclear Armageddon, Hagee also has nothing to offer either Israel or Palestine, except more of the same hatred and violence.
Visit Anisa Abd El Fattah’s site American Lamentations at http://namaw.blogspot.com/2007/02/who-will-save-west-from-itself.html
If McCain embraces a lunatic, and the media doesn’t care, does it really have an impact? http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/14776.html
John Hagee’s McCain endorsement sparks uproar http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/29/john-hagees-mccain-endor_n_89189.html
HAGEE DIGS HIS HEELS IN: McCAIN HAS A NEW PROBLEM http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1398
Media focus on Farrakhan, largely ignore Hagee’s long history of controversial statements http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0304-06.htm
Why is John McCain allowed to embrace Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement while Barack Obama is forced to distance himself from Louis Farrakhan? http://www.selectsmart.com/DISCUSS/read.php?16,622324,622708
Why Russert won’t ask McCain to Denounce Hagee http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_fundamentalist030508
Will MSNBC devote as much coverage to McCain’s embrace of Hagee’s support as it did to Obama’s rejection of Farrakhan? http://mediamatters.org/items/200802280018