McCain, Hagee, and Sympathy for the Assassin

John Hagee – pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, founder of Christians United for Israel, and eager herald of End – has endorsed John McCain for president of the United States. One reason that Hagee gave for his choice was McCain’s “support of the state of Israel.” Hagee also claimed that he personally backs Israel because it is a democracy, not because of its place in apocalyptic scenarios. One must presume that after saying these words at a San Antonio press conference, the good minister turned and gave an immense wink to anyone who has read his books.

In 1996, Hagee turned out “Beginning of the End: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Coming Antichrist.” It fits a genre of “prophecy” works churned out by popularizers of dispensational premillennialism: To prove that the final seven years of history are about to begin, he presents a standard list of verses and his own collection of headlines that supposedly fulfill scriptural predictions. His description of the last seven years – the so-called Tribulation – is pornographically violent. (Despite Hagee’s disrespect for Catholicism, I’d bet Mel Gibson would love to film the gore that Hagee describes, which includes a 200-mile river of blood.) The ultimate proof that the End is coming is the creation of the State of Israel. Hagee manages to bend the murder of Prime Minister Rabin into additional evidence. As a good dispensationalist, Hagee portrays the seven years ending with Jesus’s return and the Jews accepting him en masse.

Before getting to the End, Hagee express uncommon sympathy for Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Yitzhak Rabin. Israeli society, Hagee explains, is divided between Jews “who put more faith in man than in the God of their fathers” and those “motivated by a Biblical imperative to redeem the Land of Israel.” Hagee spends several pages quoting scripture to support the latter group. Then he indicates that Amir acted because he belonged to the believers. Hagee is smart enough to avoid giving his explicit blessing to Amir, but if you follow his argument, the implications roar.

So far, McCain has mostly taken heat from Catholics for cuddling up with Hagee. The minister has called Catholicism “the great whore of Babylon” – which is also pretty standard dispensationalist fare. (Tim LaHaye’s giga-selling Left Behind books, as I’ve written, have long, wild riffs against Catholicism as handmaiden of the antichrist.)

Jews should be joining Catholics on this one. If McCain were as pro-Israel as Hagee says he is, he’d want nothing to do with Hagee. You don’t back a democracy by siding with someone who regards a handgun as the means to change policy. There is a certain dissonance between supporting a country and giving theological justifications for the murder of its elected leader. We don’t even have to talk about Hagee’s earnest hopes for war on Israeli soil, or his classic theological delegitimization of Judaism.

Mr. McCain, do you know how to say “denounce and reject”?

8 thoughts on “McCain, Hagee, and Sympathy for the Assassin”

  1. Hi, Haim, Looked at your blog – good luck with it. Regarding Hagee, I suppose you know that Joe Lieberman loves him. In case you have missed his speech to the Christians United for Israel, here is the link and a noteworthy quote:

    “I begin by thanking your founder, Pastor John Hagee. I would describe Pastor Hagee with the words the Torah uses to describe Moses, he is an “Eesh Elo Kim,” a man of God because those words fit him; and, like Moses he has become the leader of a mighty multitude in pursuit of and defense of Israel.”

    Not only does McCain neither denouce nor reject Hagee, he is thinking of Joe Lieberman for VP!!! Unfortunately, the democrats are pretty suicidal as usual and will probably succeed in losing the election – Hilary is just out for herself and Bill. I had great hopes for Obama but in this country you seem to be able to fool all the people all the time; I used to be an optimist but I am beginning to think this country if just going to pot. Hope I am wrong. All the best with your blog – Renee

  2. Obviously not, as he has also accepted the endorsement of President Bush. One wonders if these endorsements, and the support of the fundamentalist Christians which will follow (a holy grail, if you will, in the Republican party), is worth the ostracizm of millions of more mainstream voters…

    And I don’t know if you two have read it, but this reminds me of the section in Jessica Stern’s book (Terror in the Name of God) in which she interviews a couple of Jewish terrorists. They didn’t go so far as to support Amir, but at least one mentioned understanding his actions because halakhic law tells us to protect the Jewish people. Ostensibly, Rabin was doing harm to the Jewish people…crazy crazy crazy. Anyway, if you all have read it, but it’s fascinating. As is the chapter on Hamas (pre-pullout).

  3. Courtesy of Mr Hagee:
    “It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day… Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people.”

  4. As an old man having read Isaiah 65:17-19 there is no doubt for me where the remnant people Israel will be gathered when the Messiah comes. So also I know who the remnant elect will be after the end times and last day as told in Ezekiel 20:33-38, to be gathered back into the Promised Land and New Jerusalem.
    False teachers and prophets such as John Hagee only prove to me who the real enemy of the true Jewish people are, these are unbelievers warned of by Saga’s and holy men since the scattering into all the nations, only the one true G_d and Messiah will accomplish this gathering, also establish G_ds’ Sancturay among His people forever.
    As a Gentile Christian I know also this is a Jewish religion from which I believe, and am thankful many obedient to G_d and the Torah reside in America.

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