I can appreciate the fact that Joe Lieberman has finished off the McCain Kool Aid. I also realize Lieberman is completely on board with everything McCain says, does, and believes, and will defend the Republican presidential campaign against any charge, regardless of merit.
But I’m a little surprised Lieberman is willing to go so far as to defend radical televangelist John Hagee. We’re obviously well past any and all shark-jumping moments for Lieberman, but given some of Hagee’s thoughts on Judaism, I thought Lieberman might still have a shred of principle in him. I stand corrected.
From a Fox News interview earlier this week, between FNC’s Megyn Kelly and Lieberman:
KELLY: It’s great to have you again. I want to ask you about this Hagee thing before we get to the environment because it’s, you know, the late-breaking news of the day. The DNC already came out with a response to this saying this is insufficient, they want McCain to do more.
Let me show you what they said. They say, “unless John McCain’s idea of being a new kind of Republican includes cozying up to radicals who compare women to dogs, hold racially insensitive fundraisers and call one of the worst natural disasters in our country’s history God’s punishment, he should renounce John Hagee’s endorsement immediately.” They don’t seem prepared to let this die. Where do you think it stands? How do we go forward on this?
LIEBERMAN: Well, look, I think that the DNC is obviously doing this because they set Pastor Hagee as some kind of response to Reverend Wright Enhanced Coverage for Senator Obama. But I don’t think that’s fair in the basic way that everybody’s already said which is that never went to Pastor Hagee’s church. He accepted his endorsement. He represents a lot of people in this country, particularly Christians who care about the state of Israel. He founded a group called Christians United for Israel.
Actually, McCain did more than “accept” Hagee’s endorsement. McCain actually worked for a year to engage Hagee, seek his support, and earn the radical preacher’s endorsement. It was active, not passive, and to say otherwise is misleading.
As Lieberman’s general praise for Hagee’s work, I’m going to have to assume that Lieberman has no idea what Hagee has actually said about Jews and Israel.Ben Smith explained
yesterday, for example, that Hagee’s support for Israel is “rooted in the belief that the Jewish state will — soon — be the site of Armageddon,” and his “brand of Christian Zionism closely links support for Israel to the end of the world and the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.”
Hagee’s predictions are very clear. Armageddon, the final battle, could begin, he wrote in his 2007 book “Jerusalem Countdown,” “before this book gets published.”
The Antichrist “will be the head of the European Union,” he writes.
Using geographical calculations based on the Book of Revelation, he writes that Israel will be covered in “a sea of human blood” in the final battle.
The Jews, however, will survive the battle, Hagee says, long enough to have “the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus of Nazareth.”
Hagee also believes Jews have been persecuted over the centuries, but as far as he’s concerned, it’s their own fault
“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.”
[Hagee] argues that a strike against Iran will cause Arab nations to unite under Russia’s leadership, as outlined in chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel, leading to an “inferno [that] will explode across the Middle East, plunging the world toward Armageddon.” During his appearance on Hinn’s program at the end of last March, for example, the host enthused, “We are living in the last days. These are the most exciting days in church history,” but then went on to add, “We are facing now [the] most dangerous moment for America.” At one point, Hinn clapped his hands in delight and shouted, “Yes! Glory!” and then urged his viewers to donate money faster because he is running out of time to preach the gospel.
So, it’s not that Hagee loves Israel, so much as he foresees a blood-soaked war in the Middle East that leads to Jesus’ return, at which point the Jews who survive will become Christians.
But that’s all fine, according to Joe Lieberman, because Hagee “represents a lot of people in this country, particularly Christians who care about the state of Israel.”
I can’t help but wonder if Lieberman will soon have any friends left outside the far-right evangelical Christian community. I kind of doubt it.