Opinion Editorials, May 26, 2008
CAIR Calls on McCain to Renounce Second Bigoted Pastor, Welcomes his Rejection of John Hagee Endorsement
CAIR, May 26, 2008
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed Sen. John McCain’s rejection of bigoted Texas pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, and called on the presidential candidate to “unequivocally distance himself” from Ohio pastor Rod Parsley.
News reports today indicate that McCain has decided to “reject” John Hagee’s endorsement and “repudiate” his remarks. McCain’s rejection comes after recent reports that Hagee said, “Hitler was a hunter,” referring to the Nazi Holocaust. In his statement, McCain said of the pastor’s hateful remarks that he “did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement.”
McCain Rejects and Denounces Hagee (NBC News)
Rod Parsley, pastor of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio, similarly supported McCain’s presidential campaign after the candidate sought Parsley’s endorsement early this year. McCain has praised Parsley, saying he is "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide."
Video: McCain’s ‘Spiritual Guide’ Wants America to Destroy Islam
(Brave New Films)
Parsley has referred to Islam as an “anti-Christ religion” and has expressed support for “seeing this false religion [Islam] destroyed.” He also described Islam’s prophet Mohammed as "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."
SEE ALSO: McCain's Pastor Problem (Mother Jones)
In a statement, CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor said:
“Senator McCain said he chose to reject Reverend Hagee’s support after learning some of the hateful comments he has made. With similar disturbing statements by Reverend Parsley circulating widely on the Internet, it’s time for the senator to renounce the endorsement of this second bigoted pastor.
“Millions of American Muslims may feel unsafe knowing that a candidate for the highest office in the country would embrace a man who demonizes them as “spiritually evil” and believes our country was founded, in part, to destroy their faith.
“In the interest of best positioning any future administration to defeat the narrative of anti-American extremists, we call on Senator McCain to unequivocally distance himself from Pastor Rod Parsley.”
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, Tel: 202-384-8857, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; CAIR Strategic Communications Director Ahmed Rehab, Tel: 202-870-0166, E-Mail: email@example.com ; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Video: CAIR Rep Comments on McCain’s Pastor Endorsements (CNN)
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper comments on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on the anti-Islam comments of two pastors who have endorsed Sen. John McCain. The presidential candidate has since rejected the support of both pastors.
Click here to watch the video.
CRITICS TIE MCCAIN, TOO, TO EXTREMIST PASTORS
fter Sen. Barack Obama's pastor made some controversial comments in church, critics flooded the Web with videos and demands for answers.
Now, YouTube viewers are getting a look at two pastors close to McCain who have their own extreme viewpoints. McCain hasn't received a fraction of the criticism for the pastors' views, and some people say that's a double standard.
Critics have posted videos on YouTube showing the Rev. Rod Parsley, pastor of the 12,000-member World Harvest Church of Columbus, calling Islam a “false religion” that America was founded, in part, to destroy.
Parsley also says, “Mohammed received revelations from demon spirits, not from the living God."
Texas televangelist John Hagee has suggested that anti-Semitism within the Roman Catholic Church shaped Adolf Hitler's view of Jews and said Hurricane Katrina was God's answer to the sinful culture of New Orleans. Hagee was criticized for his comments and has since apologized to Catholics. Still, critics say there hasn't been nearly as much focus on McCain's supporters as the comments of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
McCain’s supporters say it’s not a fair comparison, because Wright was Obama’s longtime pastor and Hagee and Parsley are simply endorsing McCain, like lots of other people.
David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine and Web site, started writing stories online about McCain and Parsley soon after reading the pastor's book Silent No More.
He produced a YouTube video splicing Parsley's words with McCain's praise of him at a Cincinnati rally in February. The video has racked up more than 296,000 hits.
“Imagine if Barack Obama had campaigned with an imam from a mosque who had called for eradicating Christianity,” Corn said. “It would be on the front page of every paper.”
“John McCain has done exactly the same thing, except he campaigned with a fundamentalist preacher who calls for eradicating Islam,” he said. . .
Asma Mobin-Uddin, president of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said she's all too aware that Americans have different levels of tolerance depending on which faith is maligned.
McCain needs to distance himself from all people
“whose words are hurtful and designed to marginalize,” she said. (MORE)
McCain Called Pastor 'One of the Truly Great Leaders
Despite his call for the U.S. to win the "hearts and minds of the Islamic world," Sen. John McCain recruited the support of an evangelical minister who describes Islam as "anti-Christ" and Mohammed as "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."
McCain sought the support of Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio at a critical time in his campaign in February, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was continuing to draw substantial support from the Christian right.
At a campaign appearance in Cincinnati, McCain introduced Parsley as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide."
Campaign aides positioned Parsley right behind McCain for photographers, apparently unconcerned about Parsley's well-established denunciations of the Islamic faith in a book "Silent No More" and on DVDs of sermons about Islam.
"Islam is an anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world," Parsley says on the DVDs reviewed by ABC News.
"America was founded with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed," Parsley says, "and I believe Sept. 11, 2001 was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."
Parsley's views and his connection to the McCain campaign are now beginning to show up on Arab Web sites and newspapers.
Al Moheet, a regional Arabic Web site operating in Egypt, carries the story with a picture of McCain and the headline: "McCain's Spiritual Adviser Calls for the Destruction of Islam."
"If there is a McCain presidency, he will start with a serious handicap in the Arab world," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou. "And the handicap is that it is already assumed in Muslim countries that they will not get a fair shake from a McCain administration," said Kiriakou.
In a statement to ABC News about Parsley's comments, McCain's campaign said the senator "obviously strongly rejects such statements." The campaign did not answer the question of whether it was aware of Parsley's widely publicized statements prior to seeking his endorsement in February. (MORE)
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