Tuesday, May 13, 2008

John Hagee apologizes to Catholics (but not to gays).

Yahoo news reports that "Hagee's support for McCain has drawn cries of outrage from some Catholic leaders who have called on McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement", and that Hagee has attempted to heal this rift by writing the following to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights: "Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful."

And you know, that's great and all, but what bugs me is that he has taken great care to do this while conspicuously ignoring the outcry against his anti-gay remarks that occurred after Hurricane Katrina. Yahoo mentions this too, but barely. 21 paragraphs in, we get the following commentary on this issue: "Hagee is no stranger to provocative remarks. On National Public Radio in 2006, he said Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment because "New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God." He has written that the feminist movement represents "a rebellion against God's pattern for the family." On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee said that considering those and other comments McCain still should renounce Hagee's endorsement." I find it interesting that it takes this long for the article to even bring up the other controversial remarks that Hagee has made. Maybe they're just trying a little too hard for objectivity, but I feel like the tone of the article treats the anti-Catholic remarks as something for which an apology is needed, while the anti-gay and anti-feminist remarks that are glossed quickly over in paragraph 21 of a 24 paragraph article are treated more like something that certain fringe groups (like the Democratic party, every gay person, every feminist, and every person who knows and loves someone from either or both groups--hardly seems fringe to me, but what the fuck do I know?) have a problem with, but are not at all definitively established as hurtful and unacceptable slurs. Is this the level of discourse that we've reached in 2008? A level so rudimentary that, while race and creed are off-limits as factors for judgment, gender and sexual orientation are not? I suppose we saw a little bit of this when Hillary Clinton took some obviously sexism-fueled heat at certain points in her campaign, but it's not as if her womanhood was the only thing to criticize her for (oh, far from it). And she kind of ruined her own standing as a potential victim with her recent comments about how her support base is "white Americans".

So what are we left with? A (vaguely) liberal female candidate who isn't above playing the race card? A conservative political party who want to be regarded as viable in the 21st century but who won't repudiate anti-gay hate speech (Andrew Sullivan--who is actually trending liberal lately anyway--and the Log Cabin Republicans be damned)? Barack Obama is fond of saying that "the American people are smarter than that", and giving all of us credit for being tired of negativity and distractions. Well, for god's sake, I hope he's right, because there's sure going to be plenty of negativity and distraction thrown his way before all this is over. Meanwhile, John McCain can seek the endorsement of a televangelist who hates gays and feminists and expect minimal backlash. It doesn't exactly leave me feeling inspired.

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