Televangelist John Hagee responds to criticism of his McCain endorsement

A controversy about San Antonio televangelist John Hagee’s endorsement of GOP presidential aspirant Sen. John McCain heated up this afternoon, as Hagee responded for the first time to accusations that he is anti-Catholic.

At a news conference today in Phoenix, McCain said: “It’s simply not accurate to say that because someone endorses me that I therefore embrace their views.”

According to the Catholic League and other Catholic groups, Hagee in past statements has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “the great whore” and called it a “false cult system” and “the apostate church.”

He also has linked Adolf Hitler to the Catholic Church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism, according to The Associated Press.

John Hagee Posted at
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Bunk, Hagee said in a statement. This is his full statement:

“I have always had great love for Catholic people and great respect for the Catholic Church. My wife comes from a Catholic family and millions of my viewers are Catholics. I am shocked and saddened to learn of the mischaracterization of my views on Catholics that has spread while I spent the weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of my entry into the ministry with family and friends.

“Throughout my career I have been a strong critic of Christian anti-Semitism. But any fair review of my record will demonstrate that I have consistently criticized all Christians — Protestant and Catholic alike — for the sin of anti-Semitism. In fact I rarely address this topic without castigating the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, for the horrendous anti-Semitism he spouted towards the end of his career. It is a bitter irony that in my zeal to hold my fellow Christians accountable for our past anti-Semitism, I now find myself compared to an anti-Semite.

“To call me ‘anti-Catholic’ makes about as much sense as calling me ‘anti-Protestant.’ I am, most assuredly, neither.”

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Austin American-Statesman, USA
Mar. 3, 2008
Mike Ward

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014