Earlier this week, right wing pastor John Hagee, a supporter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), re-embraced his oft-repeated belief that Hurricane Katrina represented “the curse of God” for the sins of New Orleans. Though the media have put McCain on the spot over Hagee’s characterization of the Catholic Church as “the Great Whore,” they have been reticent to press McCain on Hagee’s homophobic comments.
To his credit, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly asked McCain last night about the “bad things” Hagee has said “about Catholics and gays and other things like that.” McCain only repudiated the statements about the Catholic church, however, tacitly refusing to denounce Hagee’s despicable homophobic slurs:
O’REILLY: OK. John Hagee is a guy…
O’REILLY: …that you sought his endorsement in San Antonio, Texas. He said bad things about Catholics and gays and other things like that. And your opponents are saying, hey, you know, McCain hangs around with Hagee. Obama hangs around Wright. No difference.
MCCAIN: I do not embrace a view that he stated about the Catholic church. I steadfastly reject it and repudiate it. I’ve never been in Pastor Hagee’s church. I know him, but the fact is that I accept his endorsement.
Throughout the controversy, right wingers have completely ignored Hagee’s anti-gay comments. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich said McCain “should make clear that he disagrees with statements of anti-Catholicism.” He was silent, however, about Hagee’s homophobia. In the past, McCain has repeatedly rejected Hagee’s Catholic comments, but has refused to distance himself from Hagee’s anti-gay comments (even rejecting a question from a reporter on the subject as “nonsense.”)
O’Reilly suggested that McCain had little interaction with Hagee other than “having breakfast” with him once. In fact, as Newsweek pointed out, “McCain personally wooed Hagee for more than a year.” Indeed, Hagee’s endorsement was an integral part of McCain’s attempts to woo religious conservatives.