Why the Media Rejected John Hagee’s Apology

Deal W. Hudson
May 19, 2008

When Bill Donohue accused Rev. John Hagee of anti-Catholicism, the liberal media accepted his opinion as authoritative. After Donohue accepted Hagee’s letter of regret and announced “case closed,” the same media accused Donohue of lying to help John McCain’s candidacy.

Donohue’s veracity is unquestioned if it allows the media to bash a Christian leader aligned with the Republican Party. But his credibility evidently collapsed the moment he absolved Pastor Hagee.

First of all, let’s grant that the question of political motivation would naturally arise after such a turn of events. Did Donohue, in fact, make up with Hagee for political reasons? A moment of reflection on the history of the Hagee affair should be enough to lead any fair-minded person to a negative conclusion.

Why? As I heard Donohue tell a reporter from the San Antonio Express, “Why would I criticize Hagee in the first place if I was trying to help John McCain?” This is a complete refutation of the charge that Donohue was politically motivated, clear to anyone who understands the basic laws of cause and effect.

Donohue was fully aware that his criticism of Hagee would hurt the McCain campaign. Yet he did it anyway: For over a week, he released almost daily statements repeating his charges against Hagee and calling upon McCain to respond.

Fair-minded people will acknowledge Donohue’s acceptance of Hagee’s apology. But Obama supporters, anxious to keep the controversy alive, have already gone to absurd lengths to accuse Donohue and Hagee of hypocrisy.

Take the example of the Palm Beach Post, a newspaper with its own history of anti-Catholic statements. Calling Hagee’s apology “insincere” and “lame,” the editors offer the following unintentionally hilarious comment:

It frustrates the Obama campaign that the Rev. Wright has refused to back down from rhetoric that sounds so anti-American. At least that refusal displays a kind of integrity. The same can’t be said for the Rev. Hagee’s apology (emphasis added).

In the minds of the Palm Beach Post‘s editors, compared to Hagee, Rev. Jeremiah Wright possesses “a kind of integrity.” Hagee publicly expresses regret for offending Catholics, while Wright, at the National Press Club, repeats with apparent relish his racist, anti-American diatribe… and the Post pronounces Wright a man of character and virtue!

It’s one thing to read tortured logic in a liberal newspaper, but it’s quite another to find it in a column by an esteemed Catholic law professor like Doug Kmiec. Kmiec’s endorsement of Obama took the pro-life community by surprise, but next to calling Obama a “Catholic natural,” nothing he has said up to now surprised me more than his saying that Obama “is not pro-abortion, but of the view that the civil law best leaves this question to the mother in consultation with their own clergyman and doctor.”

Here Kmiec reveals how he has been able to justify for himself his support for a candidate who supports not only abortion-on-demand but infanticide. He has embraced the reasoning of pro-abortion Catholic politicians that being “pro-choice” is not the same as being “pro-abortion.”

Indeed, Kmiec is forced to accept this distinction, because a document from the bishops on “The Duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters,” which he had previously cited, reads: “A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.”

Kmiec’s attempt to justify his endorsement and the arguments of the Palm Beach Post represent both sophisticated and clumsy attempts to fit Obama into a palatable moral universe. If Wright’s stubborn pride is a problem for Obama, it will be dubbed “integrity.” If Obama’s support for abortion and infanticide is a problem for Catholic voters, it will be declared somehow “not pro-abortion.”

Meanwhile, the plain-talking Donohue is not going to let Obama’s Catholic supporters get away with it. While on Fox & Friends last week to discuss the Hagee affair, Donohue “broke” the story about the media blackout on Obama’s support of infanticide – the practice of providing no medical care to babies born alive after failed attempts to abort them. Donohue told me privately that no one he talked to on the Fox staff was aware that Obama held this position. (Kmiec has not addressed infanticide in any of his Obama apologias.)

How can Senator Obama, who has made health care for all a central theme of his campaign, deny that care to a helpless newborn? Many voters, not just Catholics, will need an answer to that question before they can even consider voting Obama into the White House.

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