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.
“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?”