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McCain should reject right-wing reverend's endorsement

By Dave Noble, Director, Public Policy & Government Affairs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

Why hasn’t Hagee been rejected and denounced?

Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said he was proud to receive the endorsement of the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio. The mainstream media have only focused on some of Hagee’s bile statements, including his claim that “the feminist movement today is throwing off authority in rebellion against God’s pattern for the family,” and when he wrote, “Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

What’s been lost in some of the coverage is that Hagee blamed LGBT people for Hurricane Katrina and the destruction it brought to New Orleans. Take a look at this Hagee quote from a September 2006 interview on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air program:

“The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment.”

Will this be another example of Republican candidates for office embracing some of the most dangerous hate-mongers in America in an effort to pump up their extreme right-wing base, and the media basically letting them get away with it? John McCain owes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans a clear explanation of why he’s proud to stand with extremists who spout divisive, hateful rhetoric.

There was widespread disgust when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed LGBT people for the Sept. 11 attacks. Yet more than six years later, John McCain is still embracing leaders who make these sorts of wild claims. A media concerned with the truth about who John McCain is and what he truly stands for should hold him accountable and ask tough questions about why he’s proud to accept this endorsement.