Saturday, May 17

GREAT THOUGHTS OF JOHN MCCAIN'S PREACHER PAL

BEN SMITH, POLITICO When Sen. John McCain was forced to distance himself from Pastor John Hagee earlier this year, he denounced the pastor's attacks on Catholicism. But asked why he wouldn't "repudiate" Hagee's endorsement of him, McCain found something to praise. "I'm grateful for his commitment to the support of the state of Israel, and I'm very grateful for many of his commitments around the world, including to the independence and freedom of the state of Israel," he told CNN's Campbell Brown on April 29. . .

Hagee, who leads the evangelical group Christians United for Israel, is a proponent of U.S. aid and support for Israel, and he is a major ally of Israeli conservatives who reject any "land for peace" formula in dealing with the Palestinians. But Hagee is viewed with distrust by some Jews and Israelis because his brand of Christian Zionism closely links support for Israel to the end of the world and the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.

Hagee's predictions are very clear. Armageddon, the final battle, could begin, he wrote in his 2007 book "Jerusalem Countdown," "before this book gets published." The Antichrist "will be the head of the European Union," he writes.

Using geographical calculations based on the Book of Revelation, he writes that Israel will be covered in "a sea of human blood" in the final battle. The Jews, however, will survive the battle, Hagee says, long enough to have "the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus of Nazareth."

"They will be blessed beyond their wildest imagination," he writes.

A spokesman for McCain, Brian Rogers, said, "John McCain's commitment to the state of Israel is clear, and he respects Pastor Hagee's commitment as well.