Bintel Blog

Does John Hagee Love Jews Too Much for His Own Good?

By Daniel Treiman

  • Print
  • Share Share
One thing that’s easy to miss in the brouhaha over McCain endorser Pastor John Hagee’s supposed anti-Catholicism is the context in which he made his controversial remarks.

Many of the remarks that have been pointed to by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights chief Bill Donohue as evidence of the pastor’s anti-Catholicism were made by Hagee in a presentation assailing historical Christian antisemitism.

In other words, Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, has landed himself in hot water as a result of his zealous defense of Jews.

Note Hagee’s explanation of his controversial remarks:

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.

To be sure, Hagee has effectively courted the charge of anti-Catholicism by using polemical theological language in addressing the issue of antisemitism: for example, his use of the phrase “The Great Whore,” which, according to Donohue, has long been used by anti-Catholic Protestants to describe the Roman Catholic Church.

Hagee’s defense:

I’ve learned that some have accused me of referring to the Catholic Church as the ‘great whore,’ of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I refer to the ‘great whore,’ I am referring to the apostate church, namely those Christians who embrace the false cult system of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.

And it’s not only Catholics who’ve taken offense at some aspects of Hagee’s philo-semitism. Indeed, as Huffington Post’s Daniel Radosh notes, Hagee’s theological anti-antisemitism has also landed him in hot water with some conservative Protestants.

Critics have argued that Hagee’s articulation of his belief in the Jewish people’s special relationship with God runs contrary to traditional Christian views that salvation is only attainable through Jesus Christ. He has also been scored for not using his pro-Israel activism as an opportunity to proselytize Jews.

Hagee’s book “In Defense of Israel” includes a defense of Jews from those who have attacked them for refusing to embrace Jesus as the messiah. It apparently caused enough disquiet in some Christian circles that the pastor felt compelled to revise his book and to issue an explanatory statement (currently featured prominently on his ministry’s home page) expressing regret that his language “has caused some confusion and actually led some readers to question whether I believe that Jesus is the Messiah.”

UPDATE: JTA’s Ami Eden has a good analysis of the whole Hagee affair.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Evangelicals, Catholics, John Hagee, Bill Donohue

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Prince Modest Fri. Jul 10, 2009

Well those people over there actually are not Jews. They are Khazars. To be a Jew, you have to come from the Lost Tribe of Judah. Read Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 and it clearly says that those who say they are Jews are not but do lie. For even more evidence go to youtube and watch the video Khazars. It help shed more light on the matter. In defense of Israel? Or in offense of Israel? Hmmm?




Find us on Facebook!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.