peas in a pod

Pastor John Hagee Blamed Gays For Hurricane Katrina. Now He’s Newt Gingrich’s New Pal

Eve John McCain thought Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee was a lunatic. But that’s not stopping Newt Gingrich from cozying up the man who blamed The Gays for Hurricane Katrina: The 2012 presidential hopeful will be Hagee’s guest at his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio in a couple weeks.

McCain accepted Hagee’s endorsement during his 2008 presidential run only to renounce it once everybody pointed out the man is a crackpot; “crazy and unacceptable” is how McCain went on to describe him. Even Catholic League President Bill Donohue dubbed the man an “inveterate bigot”; they’ve since made up, and Donohue says the pair are “are on friendly terms today.”

But none of that has made Hagee off-limits for Newt! Mother Jones relays:

“Every so often [Hagee] pops up like a Whac-A-Mole and then goes away again,” says Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, who was part of the anti-Hagee choir three years ago. “Why does someone like Newt Gingrich feel like he has to have a public association with this person? Clearly it’s about politics.”

[…] The pastor’s history of incendiary comments meshes with his unique brand of Christian Zionism. He’s warned, for instance, that the anti-Christ would be, gay, part Jewish, and president of the European Union. In his book, Jerusalem Countdown, he writes, “[M]ost readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.” (He has since apologized, acknowledging that there were “thousands of righteous Catholics…who risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust.”)

Hagee and his supporters—like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League—contend that his most inflammatory remarks have been taken out of context. He’s stated that his remarks on Katrina weren’t meant to imply cause and effect. (He said the hurricane was “the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans,” which “had a level of sin that was offensive to God.” He then pointed out that “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”) Hagee has also emphasized that his hawkish foreign policy and end-times theology are mutually exclusive, because “humans are utterly powerless to change God’s timetable.”

So why is Newt buddying up? Because becoming BFFs with Hagee shows the religious right that, despite his own extramarital sins, he has the bigoted bona fides to deserve their vote. And what happens when you pair up two infamous persons with questionable ethics? Their powers combine, and become an unavoidable force of ill will. [Mother Jones]