Beliefnet
Benedictions: The Pope in America

The elaborate courtship of Texas televangelist John Hagee–who is covering McCain’s evangelical flank–and the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, who accused Hagee of anti-Catholicism for his “Great Whore” sermonizing and other standard anti-papist barbs, always seemed to hold about as much suspense as a prearranged marriage. The diligent ministrations the designated Catholic shadchen for the GOP, Deal Hudson, were put into play early and often to avoid any real danger to McCain, as our own Dan Gilgoff has documented here and here, and as Mark Silk has shown at Spiritual Politics. Indeed, in retrospect the whole affaire Hagee begins to look more like a pre-nuptial vaccination than a real virus.
The consummation was last Thursday, with the Hudson-brokered meeting at Donohue’s offices in New York. While all but the credulous assumed this was a political dance to help the GOP, Donohue was surprisingly candid (I thought) about his political intentions, according to Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater, who got behind the scenes:

A meeting between Mr. Hagee and Mr. Donohue was arranged for Thursday at the Catholic League office in New York. Mr. Hudson recalled the scene.
“I hear a Southern accent,” declared Mr. Donohue with a Boston Irish ring. “It must be Pastor Hagee.”
The two got along fine, Mr. Hudson said.
Mr. Donohue showed the pastor and his wife the window where, from the 34th floor, he’d watched the Twin Towers fall on 9/11. He expressed shared support for Israel against Islamic extremists and said it’s important, politically, that conservative Catholics and evangelicals work together.
“That is the liberals’ worst nightmare,” Mr. Donohue said.

Not much subtlety there, and that’s Bill’s virtue, as long as it isn’t the League’s undoing.

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