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Hagee's Heresy

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After endorsing John McCain, Texas pastor John Hagee has come under a
bit of criticism for some of his href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=uViQ0hVV57Q">comments about
Catholics (and for generally being a href="http://www.forward.com/articles/12824/">dangerous href="http://www.alternet.org/story/46753/">war-whooping href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/the-real-problem-with-rev_b_89580.html">nutjob).
But among some fundamentalist Christians, the real problem with Hagee
is comments he may have made about Jews. What could be more
offensive than calling someone's church a "great whore"? Well if you
can believe this, Hagee might actually have said that Jews -- if there
are any little ones reading this you might want to cover their eyes
for their own protection -- can go to heaven.

Appalling, right? Don't worry. Hagee denies it. But still, the murmurs
persist in the darkest reaches of the church that John Hagee might be
dangerously soft on sending the Jewish people to eternal damnation.

The rumor began in earnest two years ago when a columnist for the
Jerusalem Post, writing about the launch of Hagee's Christian Zionist
organization, reported that Hagee believes in something known as dual
covenant theology: "that the Jewish people has a special relationship
to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore does not need 'to
go through Christ or the Cross' to get to heaven." More alarming to
conservative evangelicals, the writer added that Jerry Falwell had
signed on to this too. (The blog Bartholomew's Notes on Religion had a
thorough
round-up
at the time.) Remember back in October when Ann Coulter
pissed some people off by saying that Christians want Jews to be
"perfected"? In her attempt to defend herself, Coulter said that she,
like all Christians, including "Falwell himself," believe that Jews go
to heaven. In fact, most Christians do not believe anything of the
sort, and as
I wrote at the time
, Coulter's ignorance about something so basic
just might indicate that she's not quite the devout Christian she's
recently been posing as.

Falwell convincingly href="http://www.theconservativevoice.com/articles/article.html?id=12741">repudiated
the Jerusalem Post, but Hagee's denials were more vague. Which is why
you can still find ministry web sites accusing him of href="http://www.cephas-library.com/assembly_of_god/assembliesofgod_dual_covenant_theology.html">"spiritual
correctness" and condemning him for href="http://apostasywatch.com/wolves3/page7.html">refusing to target
Jews for conversion at "Night to Honor Israel" gatherings. Hagee's
writings on Jews have been href="http://truediscernment.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/john-hagee's-dual-covenant-duplicity/">parsed
within an inch of their lives. Other teachings of his have been href="http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/john_hagees_heresy.htm">equally
scrutinized
and found
wanting
.

So what impact will any of this have on the presidential race? Some
fundamentalists href="http://saintluke.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/huckabee-hagee/">turned
on Huckabee when Hagee embraced him back in December, but these
folks were never going to vote for McCain anyway. If you actually
clicked any of those links, you could pretty much tell that these
folks are the lunatic fringe of evangelicalism. Hagee, you might say,
is in the lunatic center. And McCain hopes that his endorsement will
carry weight with the non-lunatic majority. If he knew about Hagee's
anti-Catholic views, he may have assumed, with some justification,
that they are, if not a plus, not exactly a minus either for most
evangelicals. The Dual Covenant issue, however, may catch him by
surprise.