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PFAW President Decries Double Standard on McCain, Obama and Religion

Press Release
Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter
People For the American Way
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In the aftermath of the firestorm surrounding former pastor Jeremiah Wright’s remarks and Senator Obama’s speech yesterday, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert decried the double standard applied to Obama and McCain, and urged scrutiny of McCain’s ties to the leaders of the radical Religious Right. She had the following statement:

“Barack Obama made a remarkable speech to the nation yesterday with a principled call for racial reconciliation and a straightforward denunciation of statements by his former pastor that could divide, not unite Americans.

“So, is it finally John McCain’s turn?

“When do we see John McCain’s speech repudiating the hate-filled, divisive rhetoric of his spiritual advisers, John Hagee and Rod Parsley?

“Hagee, who says that Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment on the city of New Orleans, and that God will allow terrorists to strike the United States if we do not sufficiently support Israel?

“Parsley, who compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis? Who advocates criminal prosecution of adultery? Who falsely argued that hate crimes legislation could lead to your grandmother being charged with a crime for expressing her opinion?

“John McCain, who once called the leaders of the radical Religious Right ‘agents of intolerance’ now is actively seeking their support and trumpeting his pride in it. He has largely escaped scrutiny for his supporters’ broad range of outrageous and divisive beliefs. Does he embrace those beliefs?

“McCain has made half-hearted attempts to distance himself from Hagee’s anti-Catholic diatribes. That’s not good enough. Meanwhile McCain has apparently made no effort to distance himself from Parsley, whom he called ‘one of the truly great leaders in America’ and a ‘moral compass.’

“Race is not the only issue that divides Americans. Intolerance rooted in religion is just as wrong, and just as poisonous to the promise of equality and justice.

“It’s time to end the double standard. Senator McCain’s belief in the statements of his spiritual advisers should receive scrutiny from the press and the public, and McCain should address them.”

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FACT SHEET: McCain Cozies Up to Agents of Intolerance John Hagee and Rod Parsley



  • Rod Parsley is founder and president of “The Center for Moral Clarity” and leader of the right-wing “Patriot Pastors” (a church based campaign that was infamous for referring to political opponents as “secular jihadists,” the “forces of darkness,” and the “hordes of hell.”)
  • McCain has called Parsley his “spiritual guide.”
  • What’s Parsley’s record? He has:
    • called hate crimes legislation a “deceptive ploy of [the] liberal, homosexual agenda.
    • advocated criminal prosecution of adulterers.
    • compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.
    • declared “I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!” at a “War on Christians” conference.
    • urged voters to “let the Reformation begin! Shout it like you’re going to carry the blood-stained banner of the cross of Christ the length and breadth of the Buckeye State!” at a political rally.

Read more about both these leaders at Right Wing Watch.