The Maverick and the Armageddon Advocate

Last year, when John McCain’s presidential campaign was floundering, we noted that he was making in-roads with fringe right-wing figures like Armageddon advocate John Hagee, who harbors a not-so-secret desire for the US to start a war with Iran in order to bring about the subsequent return of Jesus Christ.

At the time, there didn’t seem much to worry about because McCain’s campaign appeared dead-in-the-water and though, over the coming months, McCain continued to court Hagee, the pastor appeared content to stick to his rabid theologizing and warnings to the United States:

If America does not stop pressuring Israel to give up land, I believe that God will bring this nation into judgment, because I believe what this book says. And if God brings this nation into judgment, He will very likely release the terrorists that you’ve already let get here through the ridiculous immigration policy you refuse to stop, and this nation is going to go through a bloodbath that you have permitted because of what you have done. You have disobeyed the law of God, and now, we as a nation are going to pay a price for that.

And then, just before Christmas, Hagee seemed to be leaning toward Mike Huckabee, whom he hosted at his church in San Antonio, which angered people like Bill Donohue, who blasted Hagee’s anti-Catholic record and accused him of “slandering the Catholic Church.”

But now that McCain appears set to wrap-up the Republican nomination in the near future, all his hobnobbing with Hagee is about to pay off:

John McCain’s efforts to bring wary members of the Religious Right to his side gets a big boost later today when San Antonio televangelist John Hagee is expected to endorse him. Rev. Hagee has a big following among religious conservatives and is a leading figure in Christian Zionist movement.

The announcement is expected later this afternoon during a McCain campaign visit to San Antonio.

Yesterday, McCain made news by repudiating statements attacking Barack Obama made by right-wing radio talk show host Bill Cunningham at an event in Ohio.

What are the chances that McCain will take the opportunity of Hagee’s endorsement to repudiate Hagee’s reprehensible statements such as saying that “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that … Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”