McCain’s “Spiritual Guide” Wants a War With Islam
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about John McCain being “honored” to receive the endorsement of the pro-Apocalypse, pro-destruction-of-Israel preacher John Hagee, an endorsement which John McCain has refused to repudiate, even after the revelation of Hagee’s bigoted and outright nutjob ideas. Now it turns out that Hagee isn’t the only crazy religious bigot with whom John McCain wishes to be associated with:
On February 26, McCain appeared at a campaign rally in Cincinnati with the Reverend Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, a supersize Pentecostal institution that features a 5,200-seat sanctuary, a television studio (where Parsley tapes a weekly show), and a 122,000-square-foot Ministry Activity Center. That day, a week before the Ohio primary, Parsley praised the Republican presidential front-runner as a “strong, true, consistent conservative.” The endorsement was important for McCain, who at the time was trying to put an end to the lingering challenge from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite among Christian evangelicals. A politically influential figure in Ohio, Parsley could also play a key role in McCain’s effort to win this bellwether state in the general election. McCain, with Parsley by his side at the Cincinnati rally, called the evangelical minister a “spiritual guide.”
And what does Parsley preach, you might ask? Well, as it turns out, Parsley is notable for calling for the United States to be at war with Islam. Not violent Islamic extremists, mind you–the religion of Islam itself.
Parsley is not shy about his desire to obliterate Islam. In [his book] Silent No More, he notes—approvingly—that Christopher Columbus shared the same goal: “It was to defeat Islam, among other dreams, that Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World in 1492…Columbus dreamed of defeating the armies of Islam with the armies of Europe made mighty by the wealth of the New World. It was this dream that, in part, began America.” He urges his readers to realize that a confrontation between Christianity and Islam is unavoidable: “We find now we have no choice. The time has come.” And he has bad news: “We may already be losing the battle. As I scan the world, I find that Islam is responsible for more pain, more bloodshed, and more devastation than nearly any other force on earth at this moment.”
The spirit of Islam, he maintains, is one of hostility. He asserts that the religion “inspired” the 9/11 attacks. He bemoans the fact that in the years after 9/11, 34,000 Americans “have become Muslim” and that there are “some 1,209 mosques” in America. Islam, he declares, is a “faith that fully intends to conquer the world” through violence. The United States, he insists, “has historically understood herself as a bastion against Islam,” but “history is crashing in upon us.”
At the end of his chapter on Islam, Parsley asks, “Are we a Christian nation? I say yes.” Without specifying what actions should be taken to eradicate the religion, he essentially calls for a new crusade.
These are not ideas that the Presidential nominee from a major political party should so publically associate himself with or encourage. One of the major founding ideals of the United States of America was the ideal of freedom of religion. And last time I checked, Islam was a religion that one is free to practice in this country. Indeed, a lot of proud members of our Armed Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are Muslim. Islam qua Islam is not an enemy of this country, and any suggestion of such is not only deplorable, but it speaks against one of the core principles of our culture.
I do want to get something straight–I do not mean to suggest, either in this post or in my last, that Presidential candidates should avoid being seen with or endorsed by key religious figures. I understand that one can be endorsed by and appear with a person with whom one disagrees. There’s no question of that and there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it.
That said, there are religoius leaders and there are bigoted, nutjob demagogues, and candidates should not appear with the latter. Both Hagee and Parsley comfortably fit into the “bigoted nutjob” camp. So why is John McCain, Mr. “Straight Talk”, Mr. “Integrity and Honor”, so willing to appear with them?