ABC's Brian Ross filed this investigative piece today on Senator John McCain's pal Pastor Rod Parsley, whom McCain has publicly proclaimed as his "moral compass."
On the one hand, McCain talks about earning the trust of Muslim moderates so that they can turn back the Islamic extremists. Then he turns around and solicits and embraces the support of the hate-mongering Pastor Parsely, not only aligning himself politically with that solicitation, but going one step further and declaring himself morally aligned with Pastor Parsely as well.
David Corn at Mother Jones first broke this story back in March, 2008 in a piece titled "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam":
Why would McCain court Parsley? He has long had trouble figuring out how to deal with Christian fundamentalists, an important bloc for the Republican Party. During his 2000 presidential bid, he referred to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as "agents of intolerance." But six years later, as he readied himself for another White House run, McCain repudiated that remark. More recently, his campaign hit a rough patch when he accepted the endorsement of the Reverend John Hagee, a Texas televangelist who has called the Catholic Church "the great whore" and a "false cult system." After the Catholic League protested and called on McCain to renounce Hagee's support, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee praised Hagee's spiritual leadership and support of Israel and said that "when [Hagee] endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for or believes in." After being further criticized for his Hagee connection, McCain backed off slightly, saying, "I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee's, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics." But McCain did not renounce Hagee's endorsement.
McCain's relationship with Parsley is politically significant. In 2004, Parsley's church was credited with driving Christian fundamentalist voters to the polls for George W. Bush. With Ohio expected to again be a decisive state in the presidential contest, Parsley's World Harvest Church and an affiliated entity called Reformation Ohio, which registers voters, could be important players within this battleground state. Considering that the Ohio Republican Party has been decimated by various political scandals and that a popular Democrat, Ted Strickland, is now the state's governor, McCain and the Republicans will need all the help they can get in the Buckeye State this fall. It's a real question: Can McCain win the presidency without Parsley?
BraveNew Films produced the following video clip on this subject:
Related at Wizbang Blue:
- "McCain Backers Want to Destroy Islam" - Lee Ward, May 8, 2008
- "The Religious Personality Cult Problem" - Paul Hooson, May 2, 2008
- "McCain Plans MLK Speech In Memphis After Voting Against MLK Holiday" - Paul Hooson, April 4, 2008
Update II: McCain has now rejected Parsley's endorsement as well.
ABC News's Bret Hovell reports: Sen. John McCain rejected the endorsement of a second controversial pastor Thursday, saying there is no place for the Rev. Rod Parsley's comments about Islam.
"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement," McCain said in a statement.
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