Religious Right's Last Stand to Block Chuck Hagel

While it is becoming extremely unlikely that the GOP will be able to muster enough votes to filibuster Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary, Religious Right groups and their Republican allies continue to make new and more over-the-top overtures to activists hoping to block his confirmation.

For example, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that “we can’t afford to allow someone who has been that cozy with the terrorist groups that are out there to become Secretary of Defense.”

Inhofe went on to say that Hagel wants to “disarm us” and shows “hostility” toward the U.S. and Israel. Inhofe also cited Sen. Ted Cruz’s questioning of Hagel where he egregiously misrepresented the nominee’s speeches and interview with Al-Jazeera.

Inhofe: That is what is so scary about this; we’d be confirming a secretary of defense—

Perkins: That wants to basically disarm.

Inhofe: Who wants to disarm us. Before I run out of time, Cruz came up with something just great, he’s a new senator from Texas and he’s on my committee, the Armed Services committee, and he came out and he actually used…a spot that came from Al-Jazeera, this was Chuck Hagel being interviewed on Al-Jazeera a short time ago when he agreed with the call-ins at that time that Israel committed war crimes; Hagel admitted that Israel committed ‘sickening slaughters’; admitted that America is the world’s bully. And this is the guy that is trying to become the secretary of defense; it’s a scary, scary thing.

Perkins: Senator before I let you go, just one question: do you know why he seems to be so indifferent if not hostile toward Israel?

Inhofe: And the United States, Tony. I just don’t understand it. Of course, he denies that he is and you know the record confirms that he has this hostility to it. By the way, almost every group in Israel is lobbying us and calling us and saying, ‘please don’t let this happen.’ They’ve been just as concerned about Obama, this is the first time that any President of the United States has trashed Israel in my memory. So I can’t answer that question.

Matthew Hagee, the son of televangelist John Hagee who has been lobbying with Christians United for Israel against Hagel and called him “dangerous to America’s security,” said on the Hagee Hotline that Hagel’s contentious confirmation hearing was an answer to their prayers.

At the end of the day, Pastor Hagee and those 400 [pastors] who joined him were very confident that what they had done was all that was in their physical power to do to not only represent their views as Americans but the views of the body of Christ and the kingdom of God and to stand up on behalf of God’s chosen people, Israel. All that was left to do was to remain in prayer and to be hopeful that the actions that they had taken would make a difference. If you saw any of the headlines following the Senate committee’s interview of Chuck Hagel, you know that a difference was made. You saw that the Senate firsthand was able to expose Hagel’s weaknesses and you saw the difference that the prayer of the righteous and faith in action can make.

Just today the Family Research Council asked activists to pray for Hagel’s defeat and FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell said Hagel’s nomination invites “chaos and confusion at a time of international peril.” Eagle Forum told members in an action alert that “Chuck Hagel is a threat to America’s strength and safety” and Rick Santorum claimed “his confirmation would be a direct threat to our national security.”

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer also weighed in, saying that Iran “loves” Hagel because he wants to “disarm” the U.S.