hagee2.jpgIn 2004, a handful of Catholic bishops publicly bashed John Kerry for being pro-choice. That no doubt contributed to Kerry’s loss of the Catholic vote, despite his own Catholicism. Democrats took note. So in 2008, a high-ranking Catholic Democratic National Committee official is bashing John McCain over his endorsement this week from John Hagee:

“As a Catholic, I am personally offended by John McCain’s embrace of such a divisive figure. I join many others in the Catholic community calling on Sen. McCain to immediately distance himself from Hagee and denounce his remarks,” said DNC Executive Director Tom McMahon.

Minutes after the DNC announcement, John McCain issued this statement:

Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not.
I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.

The back and forth tells us two things. First, Democrats are no longer content to let Christian conservatives to enjoy a monopoly on alleging religious discrimination. Second, the McCain team is out of its depths in navigating the choppy waters of Christian Right endorsements. Will those two facts make religious voters more likely to embrace Democrats or to choose to stay home rather than pull the lever for McCain? God-o-Meter knows only that the outcome of the race may turn on the answer.


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