April 17, 2008
Obama's Own "Hagee" Problem
Barack Obama was stunned when numerous sermons of his deeply racist and America-hating "spiritual mentor," Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ, Obama's church in Chicago, hit the airwaves. The candidate's surrogates responded by immediately denouncing John McCain for accepting the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee, who some have called "virulently anti-Catholic."
"Well you're another!" appears to be Camp Obama's preferred non-sequitur to almost any charge, however well founded -- in the Wright case, by Wright's and Obama's own words. Just yesterday, George Snuffleupagus asked Obama about the latter's association with hippie revolutionary wannabe Bill Ayers, and whether he would apologize for staying on a board of directors with Ayers even after the latter used an interview (published on September 11th, 2001, emetically enough) to brag about his bombing campaign and sigh that he only regrets not having bombed enough. Obama responded by demanding of Snuffleupagus whether he, Obama, should also apologize for his friendship with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK, 100%) -- a well-known right-to-lifer, which is surely worse than a mere terrorist bomber.
But what about Hagee? Will he be a problem for Catholics who might otherwise support McCain?
Hagee has certainly made a number of accusations against the early Catholic Church, but many of them are actually true: He accuses the mediaeval Church of being deeply antisemitic, which it was (it endorsed a number of Jew exterminations during the crusades, as well as expulsions of Jews, such as the one committed in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain); he blamed the Church for the atrocities committed during the crusades (well, who else would be responsible?); he accused the Church of judicial mass murder for the Inquisition (obviously); and he blamed the Church for the Dark Ages, which is an absurdity: The Roman Empire didn't fall because of Christianity.
Hagee also argues that the Church was too chummy with the Nazis in the 1920s and 30s; here he's on shakier ground: Pope Pius XI (r. 1922-1939) issued the 1937 encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge that explicitly condemned Naziism, racism, and totalitarianism. Many have said his successor, Pius XII (r. 1939-1958), didn't do enough; but Hagee goes too far in implying complicity.
However, I've always been befuddled by this liberal accusation against McCain, linking him with the "anti-Cathlic" John Hagee. What bothers me is that liberals themselves appear to be more virulently anti-Catholic than John Hagee... so why would they care that McCain was endorsed by Hagee? (In my head, I keep hearing the line from Jesus Christ Superstar: "What is this new respect for Caesar? Till now this has been noticeably lacking!") It's as if Obamaniacs denounced John McCain by saying, "how can you vote for him? He's one of those global-warming alarmists!"
But the most amusing element of the hypocrisy, à la "the biter bitten," is that we have someone far more poisonously anti-Catholic than John Hagee could ever be on his worst day, someone who attacks the Church with reckless abandon in the vilest terms, who claims that the Catholic Church actually had a doctrinal policy of molesting children, and who claims that the current Pope, Benedict XVI, "used to be a Nazi."
The bigot is Bill Maher... and on February 1st this year, Maher endorsed Barack H. Obama for president. I'm still waiting for liberals to demand that Obama denounce Bill Maher and his endorsement.
Here, according to Newsbusters, is some of what Maher said about the Church, Catholicism in general, the pope, and Catholics everywhere on April 11th, 2008; it echoes what he has said about them for years, so it cannot have come as a shock to the Obama campaign:
In fact, whenever a cult leader sets himself up as God’s infallible wingman here on Earth, lock away the kids. Which is why I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That’s right, the Pope is coming to America this week and ladies, he’s single!
The pope, Joseph Ratzinger, was born in 1927, three years after Hitler was released from prison for the "Beer Hall Putsch." Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany when Ratzinger was six years old. World War II began with the invasion of Poland when Ratzinger was twelve. And the Nazis were destroyed, Germany lay in ruins, and Hitler was a suicide two weeks after Ratzinger's 18th birthday. I'm not exactly sure when the future pope would have had time to "be a Nazi."
Perhaps Maher meant the fact that at age 14, Ratzinger became a Hitler Youth -- I suppose Maher was unaware that this was mandatory in the Third Reich at the time; pure German children were actually drafted into the Hitlerjugend. Maher is likely also ignorant of the fact that the Ratzinger family was vehemently anti-Nazi. By all accounts, Ratzinger was never an active member of the HJ and only attended meetings when compelled.
Or maybe Maher meant Ratzinger was a "Nazi" because he was drafted into the German army two years later in 1943. After training, he deserted. But mayhap Maher is one of those people who believes that all Germans are Nazis, regardless of their personal beliefs about Naziism.
But it's Maher's remarks about the sex-abuse scandal and the Catholic Church that are particularly vile and unjust:
Now I know what you’re thinking: "Bill, you shouldn’t be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy Texas cult." For one thing, altar boys can’t even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands, all over the world. Cults get raided, religions get parades. How does the Catholic Church get away with all of their buggery? Volume, volume, volume!
If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you 'Pope.' It’s like, if you can’t pay your mortgage, you’re a deadbeat. But if you can’t pay a million mortgages, you’re BearStearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the BearStearns of organized pedophilia -- too big, too fat. And that’s the Church’s attitude: 'We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,' which is fine, far be it from me to criticize religion.
In the world according to Maher, the sexual shenganigans of some priests were the actual doctrine of the Church itself: He calls them examples of "organized pedophilia" and refers to the sexual assaults as part of the actual "religion" of Catholicism.
Where to begin? In the first place, there is no question that the Church (under the previous pope) did too little to stop the problem. But let's be more honest about what that problem was: The huge majority of what people often call "pedophilia" (they mean pederasty) actually comprised gay priests having "consensual" sex with teenaged boys, some of the "victimization" continuing long past the age of consent and even into the "victim's" twenties: The Church has been ill-served by its 1960s policy of accepting still-practicing homosexuals into the seminaries, then not disciplining them when they continued having gay sex there and even after being ordained.
(I put consensual in quotation marks above because the law says a 16 year old cannot "consent;" but if the law says that 16 year olds cannot or do not actually make such choices, however ill-advised they may be -- then as Beedle Bumble said, "the law is a ass.")
A lot of the putative "molestation" occurred in Catholic seminaries, some of which were reportedly turned almost into gay brothels. I have read that some heterosexual seminary students were pressured to either put out or shut up -- or get out. Lamentably, this is considered normal sexual behavior among a small (but still too large) subset of the gay male community... call them "bathhouse gays." (I have heard similar stories from acquaintances of mine in the theater, in dance, and other areas that end up being dominated by aggressive gays.)
Every study I have seen indicates that the gay male community in general is significantly more promiscuous, having more sex with more partners and less concern about relationships or consequences than the straight community. Obviously there are monogamous gays and heterosexual swingers; there is always more variation within a group than between groups. But it's equally obvious that the community-wide trends are very different.
The priests in this category were clearly violating canon law and the Commandment against adultery (sixth or seventh, depending on the sect or religion). Some may even have been violating laws against statutory rape or workplace regulations against sexual harassment. But ephebophiles by definition are interested in post-pubescent teenagers -- not children. This sort of sex, while it can be traumatic to the teen, is not in the same league, legally, medically, or morally, as actual child molestation.
A much smaller number of priests were committing actual child molestation or actual forcible rape. For example, child rapers Brendan Smyth, Jim Grennan, John Geoghan, and Sean Fortune.
There is no question that the Church did not act in a timely fashion to stop such molestation and inappropriate sexual contact. There is no question that the Church, afraid of being sued out of existence by victims and their parents, chose to cover up the problem instead of root it out. There is no question that some guilty priests were shunted around in a game of musical molesters, where they preyed upon more children instead of praying upon their knees for forgiveness and the strength to just stop.
But there is also no question that the Church did make a real, concerted effort to stop the sexual madness, particularly when word finally filtered up to Pope John Paul II. The cardinals forced the resignation of some very high-ranking officials, including several bishops and even Cardinals Bernard Francis Law and Hans Hermann Groër. And the Vatican itself was never implicated; John Paul took strong action against a horrific practice that threatened to destroy everything the Church stood for and drive people away from the belief in God.
But Bill Maher (remember him? this post is about him) is not interested in nuances, shades of gray, truth; it's much funner for the arrogant, outspoken atheist to lash out at the Church as a "cult" of "pedophiles." And he's not above out and out slander, either. After saying Pope Benedict "used to be a Nazi," Maher adds this gem to his anti-Catholic rant:
When the current pope was in his previous Vatican job as John Paul’s Dick Cheney, he wrote a letter instructing every Catholic bishop to keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the Statute of Limitations ran out.
Maher lied in his teeth, as Newsbusters so ably demonstrates. The letter spoke only about the ecclesiastical trials of those accused. It said nothing whatsoever about criminal trials by states and other secular jurisdictions and certainly did not tell any priests to conceal evidence until charges could no longer be filed. Maher simply made it all up.
Even under the highly restrictive standards of "actual malice" and "reckless disregard" for the truth that apply to public figures since 1964, Pope Benedict would easily win a slander suit against Maher, were the pope interested in such foolishness -- which of course he is not, a reluctance that Maher relies upon when he pronounces such slanders on his HBO show. (HBO would also be a defendant in any such lawsuit, because they broadcast the slander; I wonder if they've run that past their crack legal team?)
But of course, Barack H. Obama, as a presidential candidate, cannot skate with a standard of "Not sued for slander yet!" He has to deal with the fact that a lot of Democrats are Catholics, and a lot of non-Catholic Democrats nevertheless do not applaud anti-religious hate speech. It's even possible that some Democrats were appalled by Hagee's endorsement of McCain because they literally believed that Church-haters (whether or not Hagee actually is such) should be shunned.
What must they think about Obama cheerfully accepting the endorsement of Bill Maher and saying nothing at all about Maher's despicable hatred of the Catholic Church, every other kind of church (except perhaps the Trinity United Church of Christ, which may get a Maherian dispensation), all other religions except Islam (I suspect he secretly hates Moslems, too, but is too cowardly to say so out loud), and of course God Himself?
If Obama gets to the general election, he must deal with Independents, moderates, libertarians (all eight of them), and even Republicans, many of whom also actually believe in God, who believe in Judeo-Christian religion, and who do not believe in slandering churches.
So when will Obama be forced to give a "Bill Maher" speech, to rack up alongside his "Jeremiah Wright" speech, his "Antoin Rezko" speech, his "Nadhmi Auchi" speech, his "Bittergate" speech, and his "Bill Ayers" speech? At some point, every press event will become an effort to explain away yet another weirdo crony, endorsement, or misstatement.
I fully expect before November that we'll hear speeches from Obama explaining why we shouldn't pay any attention to his salad days in PETA, his missionary work for Brother Theodore, going rabbit-hunting with Jimmy Carter, glad-handing Pee-Wee Herman, and his years as financial advisor to Raul Castro. Golly, I'm looking forward to this campaign!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 17, 2008, at the time of 6:40 PM
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Tracked on April 18, 2008 10:47 AM
The following hissed in response by: hunter
I am Catholic by conversion and I have no problem with McCain due to Hagee.
I even find some of Hagee's message interesting and surprisingly well thought. His presentation style is more of a traditional African American preacher, but there is a serious message.
Some of his history, is, alas, correct. But no religion is free from error or serious mistake. Religion is made up of humans, and humans will always have the ability to make terrible mistakes.
The following hissed in response by: hunter
I do find that BHO's comparison of Sen. Coburn to his terrorist pal demonstrates a lack of comparative analysis ability that is only going to show up later in the race in a self-destructive fashion to his candidacy.
Obama is truly over rated. He is becoming shallower and shallower as the campaign proceeds.
Ferraro had it right: Obama is only where he is because people are pulling punches on him. Of course for that fragment of truth she is in exile.
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
You're too reasonable. Think less emote more.
Hagee is opposed by the left because he is religious. He has said almost nothing that in any way equates with what Bill Maher has said, or even Wright. But that is besides the point.
Hagee is a moralist. The worst sort of moralist because he actually believes the things he says. The fool actually believes that there is a right and a wrong in this world.
So too is Wright.
So if the right can excuse their crazy moralists who believe in absolutes, why can't the left excuse their moralists too?
It's not the content that matters. There is no difference between a Christian who believes abortion is wrong and a Muslim who believes the infidel needs to be conquered and killed. Both are silly absolutists who think there is truth in this world and therefore both are equally foolish.
Does it really matter what they are foolish about? Not to the left it doesn't.
Spend some time arguing with them and you shall see what I mean.
The following hissed in response by: nk
I don't know, Dafydd. We had a mountain lion in the middle of Chicago four days ago and an earthquake three hours ago. I think these may be signs. Do we dare further renounce the Obamessiah He-Who-Tethers-Catastrophes-Using-A-Snake-For-A-Rope-From-Whose-Navel-Springs-The-Lotus?
The above hissed in response by: nk at April 18, 2008 5:13 AM
The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07
There is no way that you can honestly believe these two sentences go together:
The fool actually believes that there is a right and a wrong in this world.
So too is Wright.Sneering at people as "moralists" is a totally futile system. All people have "morals", by your definition -- because by your definition, that's required is a system of reasoning to describe / justify your actions. In that case, there isn't an amoral person on the face of the planet.
Morality defined as believing right and wrong exist isn't much help; in that case, Hitler was a moralist, as well as Satan himself.
You've managed to scoff at good and evil, right and wrong all at once...Pick a side other than utter ambivalence and perhaps you'll begin to say something.
"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?"
The following hissed in response by: David M
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 04/18/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
The above hissed in response by: David M at April 18, 2008 7:47 AM
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
Of course I don't believe it. I'm describing what the left believes which is why Dafydd's reason will fall on deaf ears.
The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste
Tu Quoque has become one of the prime modes of argument by the left in the last few years.
You would think that people who are self-professed to be smarter and better educated than the rest of us would know that it's tu quoque is not a defense.
The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2008 5:54 PM
The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07
The sarcasm was wasted on me, Baggi; ill-timed Proverb sling and typo-laced post retracted.
The above hissed in response by: k2aggie07 at April 18, 2008 7:18 PM
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