Hagee’s non-apology

New to my inbox, an “official statement” e-mailed on behalf of the Rev. John Hagee, an evangelical pastor from whom Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain said he’s proud to have an endorsement.

hagee.jpg“As a believing Christian, I see the hand of God in everything that happens here on earth, both the blessings and the curses. But ultimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy. There but for the grace of God go any one of us.”

This, of course, refers to Hagee’s contention that God punished New Orleans with the hurricane’s devestation, a claim I think he first made to National Public Radio’s Terry Gross back in September 2006. “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans,” he said. “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God,” because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”

It’s a claim he repeated again this week. “What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God… In time, if New Orleans recovers and becomes the pristine city it can become, it may in time be called a blessing. But at this time it’s called a curse… It was a city that was planning a sinful conduct.”

MoveOn organized a protest of McCain’s appearance in New Orleans yesterday, and today Hagee offers this statement.

And what, exactly, does this mean? “Well, I don’t actually know what God was thinking, but I believe He believes being gay warrants divine retribution that ravages an entire region, kills more than 1,800 people, leaves thousands homeless, causes about $86 billion in damages… But hey, I feel for ya.

Seriously? Is McCain OK with this? (Yes, that would be the same McCain who yesterday blasted the Bush Administration’s “terrible and disgraceful” response to Katrina, yet won’t give a straight answer on why he voted against emergency funding for the region as well as against giving victims access to Medicaid and unemployment benefits.)

Where’s the “straight talk?”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • greg

    Did you post a similar “blotter” for Barack’s close relationship with Bill Ayers or Bernardine Dohrn. Two people who actually hurt our country instead of just making controversial remarks. Let’s see… two killers who wished they would have killed more innocent people vs. a pastor who makes controversial remarks, yeah you are right to quesiton McCain on this one. Typical

  • Josh Richman

    McCain actively sought, and said he was “very honored” by, Hagee’s endorsement long after Hagee made his incendiary, hateful comments. See http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/27/mega-church-pastor-in-texas-backs-mccain/

    Obama served on a nonprofit’s board with Ayers; received a $200 donation from him in 2001; and visited his and Dohrn’s home once, 14 years ago, as part of a political event organized by someone else. There is no “close relationship.” Obama didn’t seek and publicize Ayers’ endorsement. See http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8630.html and http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/02/obamas_weatherman_connection.html

    I defy anyone to tell me these are equivalent; it simply isn’t so.

  • sleepneat

    I see the usual suspects are at large in the Bay Area still, you can smear McCain but don’t dare say anything about His Majesty Obama’s mentor and father figure Rev Wright. Not to mention Bill Ayers who is a domestic terrorist along the same lines as Metzger and McVeigh, but of course the Liberals here deny that and really don’t care about the truth, just how it looks. Really, nothing to see here…….move along, move along.