Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 23, 2008

McCain's Crosses to Bear

Now that he is being bedeviled by two embarrassing preachers, the Republican standard bearer may be thinking back wistfully to 2000 when he took a stronger stand on the separation of church and state.

Yesterday, McCain officially dumped Pastor John Hagee, who has called the Catholic Church "the Great Whore" and claimed Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

But the candidate is still accepting the embrace of televangelist Rod Parsley, who calls on Christians to wage a "war" against the "false religion" of Islam with the aim of destroying it.

In 2000, when he was being pounded by evangelicals supporting George W. Bush, McCain said, "I recognize and celebrate that our country is founded upon Judeo-Christian values...but political intolerance by any political party is neither a Judeo-Christian nor an American value.

"The political tactics of division and slander are not our values, they are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.

"Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right."

In the intervening years, the driver of the Straight Talk Express has wooed those he was denouncing then and is now paying a political price for it by having to throw Hagee under the bus.

If this keeps up, McCain may have to rethink not inviting Mike Huckabee, a less controversial man of the cloth, as one of the possible running mates he is entertaining this weekend.

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