Mowbray on the Hagee Smear

The Barack Obama campaign has been in full denial mode regarding his relationship with Pastor Jeremiah Wright; denials that have proven flimsy as more revelations have come to light regarding the close ties between the Obama family and Pastor Wright and the fact that Barack Obama himself admitted in a 2004 interview that he was a fixture in the pews for many years. The latest tactic by the campaign has been to "distract" (and we know how Barack Obama likes that term) Americans by trying to link John McCain to Pastor John Hagee. (I thought the Obama campaign considered "guilt by association" a smear?)

This is absurd on its face: McCain was not a member of Hagee's church, he has not made the church the major beneficiary of his charitable bequests, he has not been married in Hagee's church, he has not raised his children in the church. Hagee merely endorsed McCain. Nevertheless, the campaign has continued to push this smear -- promoted by Obama supporters in the press including the New York Times theatre critic turned omniscient political commentator Frank Rich. In a particularly harsh column, Frank Rich attempted to convey an image of John Hagee sharply at variance with the facts, portraying him as an anti-Catholic bigot whose support for Israel is inspired by apocalyptic visions and who has, at best, ambiguous views towards the Jewish people. It might be noted that the Obama campaign has had a very difficult time garnering support from Catholics and that it would give a boost to the campaign to try to link McCain to a figure that can be "smeared" as anti-Catholic.

The superb journalist Joel Mowbray offers a sharp rebuttal to Rich this morning in the Washington Times by focusing on the facts and not the myths that Rich peddles. Furthermore, Joel Mowbray notes that a representative of John Hagee had tried to contact Rich before the column was published to try to inform him of relevant facts but that Rich declined the offer.

Writes Mowbray:

Mr. Rich flipped the truth on its head-and it would stretch credulity to think he made an honest mistake. In the YouTube video the Times columnist paraded as evidence of bigotry, Mr. Hagee is actually doing what he has done for decades: combating anti-Semitism.

In other words, Mr. Rich branded Mr. Hagee a bigot when, in fact, he was actually fighting bigotry.

Describing a now-infamous YouTube video clip-which lasts all of one minute and 17 seconds-Mr. Rich wrote:

"Wielding a pointer, [Mr. Hagee] pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is ‘the Great Whore,' Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking ‘the blood of the Jewish people.' That's because the Great Whore represents ‘the Roman Church,' which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust."

What the columnist neglected to note is that "the Great Whore" is not Mr. Hagee's term, but rather the Bible's....

But those are simply deceptive tactics. Here's the big lie: Mr. Hagee never said that "the Great Whore" was the "Roman Church." Certainly not in the video, and it appears, not ever. Mr. Hagee quite clearly said that she represented "the Apostate Church." Later in his monologue, Mr. Hagee cited Adolph Hitler's boast that he was merely following in the footsteps of the "Roman Church." (Many Protestants have used the "Great Whore" to further anti-Catholicism, but Mr. Hagee has not.)

Rich also attempted to besmirch Hagee and his views of Jews or at least that Rich's column might create that impression. This is wrong. Mowbray notes that Hagee has long fought anti-Semitism and has been in fact one of the "most prominent Christian leaders fighting anti-Semitism" who wants to "purge anti-Semitism from Christendom".

Read the whole column. Just the facts....

For further information on the reason why evangelicals, such as John Hagee, support Israel see today's American Thinker piece by Ed Lasky interviewing David Brog who wrote a book about Evangelicals supporting Israel.