Bipartisan Pandering to John Hagee and the Religious Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 02:49:31 PM EST
Until recently, John Hagee was not exactly a household name. But he has, as leading Christian Zionists before him have been, a larger than life figure to those whose political world centers around rightwing Israeli politics. This includes elected officials and senior staff of both major parties in the United States.
We have seen this recently with John McCain's hot pursuit of Hagee's support for his presidential bid (as well as that of Rod Parsley of Ohio). And we have seen it most recently in former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman's plan to stick by his man Hagee and be the headliner at Hagee's upcoming Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington, DC.  

While Lieberman will draw the most attention (there is an effort to get him to withdraw called Don't Go Joe!)  --  he is not the only elected official with a prominent role on the agenda. One session chaired by religious right leader Gary Bauer, and featuring Fox News talking head William Kristol, also features members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:  Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN):

1:30PM- 3:30PM: Middle East Briefing
Gary Bauer, President of American Values
Congressman Elliot Engel (D-NY)
William Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard
Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN)

Engel is a senior Democrat on the Committee and Pence is the senior Republican on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia --   postions that make them among the top figures in American foreign policy. For his part, Sen. Joe Lieberman chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Last year Bill Moyers reported:

At the recent annual CUFI summit in Washington, D.C., prominent politicians were present to pledge support for this growing movement, including Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, as well as former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Lieberman particularly sang Hagee's praise:

"He is a Ish Elokim, a man of God and those words really fit Moses he's become a leader of a mighty multitude, even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the promised land."


So lest anyone think that CUFI is no longer important since McCain was compelled to renounce Hagee and then CUFI Regional Director Rod Parsley, or that the broader religious right is dead, dying or irrelevant, we can take this as one small example of the way that Washington works -- and why profound changes are needed.

Let's take a quick look at the CUFI senior leadership, which epitomizes the continuity of religious right as a significant factor in American politics and public policy.   The eight member CUFI executive board includes, in addition to Hagee and executive director David Brog (the former chief of staff for Sen. Arlen Specter  (R-PA):

Gary Bauer, the founding honcho of the Family Research Council now headed by Tony Perkins.

Jonathan Falwell, who is his father's successor as the Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, as well as as a CUFI board member.

Michael Little, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network

George Morrison the pastor of a megachurch in Arvada, Colorado and has chaired the board of Promise Keepers.

Mac Hammond a megachurch pastor from Minnesota, who has run into controversy with the IRS for among other things, by endorsing a Republican congressional candidate from the altar.    

Keith Butler, a longtime controversial religious right and Republican Party leader in Michigan was courted by Huckabee but became a co-chair of John McCain's presidential campain in that state.

makes clear... there are religious right dimensions and influences in the Democratic Party.

We can also point to the role of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's network of influence as detailed in John Gorenfeld's book.

There is an historic shift to the Democratic Party going on, and the religious right will make its accomodations and adjustments.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 01:03:53 PM EST

No matter what party, politicians and religious fundamentalists both see how easily people can be lead, once an USvThem mindset is injected into the equation. The Religious Right is a perfect example, and as we can now see with crystal clarity, the Dems in Congress have no intentions of rocking the boat. The voices of the few true statesmen left in DC are hard to hear when they're drowned out by the insider's silence on issues, in particular the assault on the wall of separation.

by trog69 on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 02:12:55 PM EST

I know that Mr. Clarkson's a busy man, so I'm throwing this out to the readers; Can someone point me in the right direction for learning about what M-o-o-n really spells?

by trog69 on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 02:19:04 PM EST
John Gorenfeld's book Bad Moon Rising (scroll down this page to find his recent posts on Moon and click through the links). His book is a good primer. To say that Moon wants to rule the world just doesn't do justice to the breadth and depth of his activities.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 08:21:46 PM EST

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