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McCain Rejects Pastor John Hagee Endorsement

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Friday repudiated any views of a prominent televangelist who endorsed him last month "if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics."

 

McCain has come under fire since televangelist John Hagee endorsed him on Feb. 27, but until Friday his response had been tepid. The Arizona senator merely said he doesn't agree with everyone who endorses him. He said Friday he had been hearing from Catholics who find Hagee's comments offensive.

 

John Hagee is senior pastor of Cornerstone a non-denominational Pentacostal mega-church in San Antonio, Texas, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore" and called it a "false cult system" and "the apostate church." Apostate means someone who has forsaken his religion. John Hagee is CEO at his non-profit corporation, Global Evangelism Television (GETV).

 

McCain rejected Rev. John Hagee's endorsement Thursday after an audio recording from the late 1990s surfaced in which the preacher suggested God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land.

 

In March, McCain took a stronger stance on Hagee's views in an interview with The Associated Press.

 

"We've had a dignified campaign, and I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee's, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics," McCain said.

 

"I sent two of my children to Catholic school. I categorically reject and repudiate any statement that was made that was anti-Catholic, both in intent and nature. I categorically reject it, and I repudiate it," McCain said.

 

Hagee's endorsement had been intended to shore up McCain's support among evangelical or born-again Christians, many of whom distrust McCain for some of his more moderate views and his willingness to work with Democrats.

 

McCain gave the interview backstage as he prepared to address the Council for National Policy, a group of the country's most influential social and Christian conservatives.

 

The council meets three times a year, with discussions strictly off-the-record to promote frank discussion, according to participants. His appearance was televised in a separate holding room for journalists.

 

Asked about the influence of religion in his life, McCain said, "It is an important factor in my life, obviously, very important."

 

McCain also invoked his faith at a campaign event Friday morning at the headquarters of Chick-fil-A Inc. in Atlanta. The company's founder, S. Truett Cathy, is a devout Baptist who closes his restaurants on Sunday so his employees can rest and honor God.

 

On September 2006, Pastor John Hagee told NPR’s Terry Gross that “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God,” Hagee said, because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”

 

"It's harder and harder trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan," McCain said of Washington.

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