Monday, June 2, 2008

Pastor John Hagee: Thank You from a Rabbi

A media firestorm erupted last week against Pastor John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

In the aftermath of revelations regarding Barack Obama’s controversial intimate relationship of twenty years with The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the media have raised questions about John McCain’s endorsement by Pastor Hagee. The media critically have reported that Pastor Hagee calls the Catholic Church a “whore” and that Pastor Hagee has justified Hitler’s Holocaust as G-d’s plan for returning the Jews to Israel. Seeking to avoid further controversy, Sen. McCain has separated himself from Pastor Hagee, and the pastor has withdrawn his endorsement to quiet the media frenzy.

In a similar vein, the media are reporting that Pastor Rod Parsley, a televangelist based in Columbus, Ohio, who also had endorsed McCain, has spoken against the Moslem religion. To avoid the media firestorm generated by an endorsement from a Protestant theologian who rejects Islam, Sen. McCain has stepped away from Pastor Parsley’s endorsement.

I have considered what Pastor Hagee has written and said. He theologically disagrees with the Catholic Church. Well, of course he does. He holds different set of beliefs. But he has never used the terminology ascribed to him by the media in the way that the media suggest. And I am buttressed in my certainty that the media have it wrong because I know Pastor Hagee's support for Israel and for the Jewish People -- and they have it so wrong on that one, too.

I have written Pastor Hagee today a brief e-mailed communication. I share with you my brief note, which appears below my signature block. I also share with you Pastor Hagee’s statement (both in his words and in his voice) – and his Church’s response – to Pastor Hagee’s public statement in response to the media frenzy. You can read and hear it at:

Pastor Hagee’s message runs maybe four minutes, and I am struck particularly by the Church congregation’s impromptu response to one particular statement towards the end of his message. These are Christians in San Antonio, Texas.

Rabbi Dov Fischer
Rav, Young Israel of Orange County
Irvine, CA 92612

Dear Christians United for Israel:

I am a Jew. I am not only a Jew but a
Rabbi. I am not only a Rabbi but an Orthodox Rabbi. My rabbinical credentials
are solid, and I am established within my professional bodies, including the
Rabbinical Council of America, the Rabbinical Council of California, and the
Board of Rabbis of Orange County, California. Of course, because those bodies
include rabbis of widely divergent views on virtually all issues, I write only
for myself.

I write to express my strongest support for Pastor Hagee
during this time of pain for him, as he is criticized by a Left-inspired
communications media desperately struggling to sanitize the Obama-Wright
relationship. I understand what Pastor Hagee has said about the Holocaust and
the return of Jews to the Holy Land. I have quite different a theological "take"
on the matter, but Pastor Hagee's view actually is compatible with certain
Jewish rabbinical scholars and Torah authorities, including the author of Em
Ha-Banim S'meichah.

I understand Pastor Hagee's words. I understand
the sentiment and motivation behind his words. And I will have him in my prayers
this weekend as he endures the travails and suffering that come with an
hypocritical Left-induced media that cannot individuate between Pastor Hagee, a
loving man of G-d who speaks the truth of scriptures as he believes them, and
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a vicious and angry hate-monger whose message of
hate against America, against Israel, and against the Jewish People is offset
only by the kind words he speaks for Louis Farrakhan and those who would damn
the land that I love.

Rabbi Dov Fischer

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