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God-O-Meter

hagee2.jpgOn Friday, when the story broke that Catholic groups were furious with John McCain over his embrace of John Hagee’s endorsement, God-o-Meter wondered whether the story had legs. It turns out that it does, and not just because the Democratic National Committee refuses to back off its call for McCain to reject the endorsement.
Rather, it’s the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, typically a GOP stalwart–the group played a major role in tarring John Kerry among Catholics in 2004–that keeps beating the drum on McCain/Hagee.
In its sixth of seven (!) press releases calling for McCain to reject Hagee, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Obama’s handling of his near endorsement from Louis Farrakhan–Obama said he rejected and denounced Farrakhan’s record–set the bar for what should be expected from McCain with regards to Hagee:

….The difference between the way Obama and McCain have handled their endorsements by bigots is enormous. Even worse, McCain actually solicited Hagee’s endorsement. And if Karl Rove is right to criticize Obama for not being strong enough in his denunciation of Farrakhan, what does that say about McCain’s response to Hagee’s endorsement? In short, Obama has set the bar for McCain. Whether he wants to clear it or walk away is his choice.

Senator Sam Brownback, a McCain backer who’s lent the Arizona senator a hand in reaching out to Catholic and other religious constituencies, has released a statement reinforcing McCain’s rejection of anti-Catholicism:

To any citizens and fellow Catholics who might have been offended by Senator McCain’s meeting with Pastor John Hagee, John McCain certainly never intended for that to happen and will take every measure to prevent any such inferences from being made in the future. While John McCain certainly cannot be expected to defend or espouse the views of every individual who has thrown their support to him, McCain completely repudiates any and all remaining elements of anti-Catholicism in America today.

But the Catholic League wants to hear from the candidate himself:

On Friday, Sen. McCain said he doesn’t agree with everything that Hagee has said. But he didn’t list a single example. As such, his response strikes us as pedestrian: Is there anyone who agrees with everything said by someone else? Sen. Sam Brownback was more specific about what McCain allegedly believes. In a news release his office sent to us Friday afternoon (McCain’s staff has not contacted us at all), Brownback said, ‘While John McCain certainly cannot be expected to defend or espouse the views of every individual who has thrown their support to him, McCain completely repudiates any and all remaining elements of anti-Catholicism in America today.’ That’s a great statement. Too bad it didn’t come from McCain.

As if McCain’s problems with the GOP’s evangelical base weren’t enough. Now the Catholic group that’s largely responsible for John Kerry losing the Catholic vote four years ago has it out for him.


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