John Hagee announced today that Vice President Mike Pence will address Christians United for Israel, a group Hagee founded and chairs, at its annual gathering in Washington, D.C., in July.
Hagee, the pastor of a Texas megachurch and an outspoken figure on the Religious Right, was a vocal supporter of the Trump-Pence ticket. Pence has acted as the chief emissary of the Trump White House to the president’s Religious Right supporters, addressing events hosted by a number of Religious Right groups, including March for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.
Hagee’s views on Israel are closely tied to his belief that the apocalypse is imminent and the Antichrist will soon come to power. As Sarah Posner writes, “Hagee is ultimately less concerned with the fate of Israel or the Jews than with a theocratic Christian right agenda.”
Back in 2008, John McCain was forced to reject Hagee’s endorsement after Hagee’s extreme record gained national media attention. In one sermon that came to light during the 2008 campaign, Hagee said that God sent Adolf Hitler to the world in order to be a “hunter” of Jews, advancing a divinely inspired plan to push Jews back to the land of Israel:
Theodore Herzl is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the Holocaust.
Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.
Hagee has also claimed that the Roman Catholic Church is an “Antichrist,” “false cult system,” and “The Great Whore”; blamed homosexuality for Hurricane Katrina; and said that God was punishing America for Barack Obama’s Mideast policies with civil unrest, terrorist attacks, and the Ebola virus.
Now, Hagee will be greeting the vice president of the United States on the stage of his group’s annual conference.