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.
Bunk, Hagee said in a statement. This is his full statement:
“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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