McCain distances himself from evangelical pastor
ROUND ROCK, Texas – John McCain on Friday distanced himself from evangelical leader John Hagee two days after the Republican presidential front-runner appeared with the controversial preacher to receive his endorsement.
“When he endorses me it does not mean that I endorse everything that he stands for,” McCain said at a news conference. “I don’t have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy.”
Hagee, who leads the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, is best known for his unwavering support for Israel. In his books, he describes a blood-soaked apocalypse in which the anti-Christ turns out to be the head of the European Union.
Hagee has also written some not-so-nice things about the Catholic Church. In his latest book, “Jerusalem Countdown,” he accuses the Church of conspiring with Adolph Hitler to destroy the Jews.
McCain declined to comment when asked about Hagee’s writings on Wednesday.
“I am very proud of Pastor John Hagee’s spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and freedom of the state of Israel,” McCain said. “That does not mean I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor Hagee may have said nor positions he may have taken on other issues.”
We’ll see if Hagee appears at any events with McCain when the Arizona senator returns to San Antonio next week.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi (McCain during a town hall meeting.)