Getting the facts right

Yesterday, I read Frank Rich’s most recent NYT’s column (to which I will not link), in which he tried to excuse away Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled diatribes by saying that, because of John Hagee’s allegedly anti-Catholic rants, conservatives having placed themselves in a glass house and barred from criticism. My desire to write a blog boast on this column got sidetracked, though, when I wasn’t instantly able to find authority for the principle that Hagee didn’t say what he’s alleged to have said. I wasn’t absolutely certain that this last was the case — maybe Hagee really is a foaming at the mouth anti-Catholic — but I sure wasn’t going to take Frank Rich’s word for it.

Had I written that post yesterday, the main thrust of it would have been that one can’t compare Obama’s 20 year embrace of the race monger Wright to the fact that McCain received an endorsement from someone he may not even have known made anti-Catholic statements. Still, I didn’t feel that I could get to my central point without first establishing to my own satisfaction that, in terms of saying rotten things, Hagee and Wright are brothers under different colored skin.

It turns out that my instincts were correct, and that Frank Rich is completely wrong (not that a little thing like factually accuracy would bother him, I’m sure). Dennis Prager explains:

As for Rich’s attack on Hagee for the pastor’s “anti-Catholicism,” the Times columnist got his facts wrong. Hagee was not calling the Catholic Church “the Great Whore.” That is an eschatological New Testament term in the Book of Revelation. Hagee teaches that the “Great Whore” will be an “apostate church” and a “false cult system” made up of all those who claim Christianity yet reject the gospel, whether Catholic or Protestant. He has stated explicitly and publicly — and should continue to reassure Catholics — that he does not believe that the “Great Whore” of Revelation is the Catholic Church. For Hagee, the sure sign that a Christian has rejected the gospel is an embrace of anti-Semitism. In the video referenced by Rich, Hagee chooses his examples of “apostate” behavior — the Crusades, the Inquisition and a Hitler quote referencing the Catholic Church — not because they are Catholic, but because they are anti-Semitic.

But while Rich and others could have honestly, if mistakenly, believed that Hagee was referring to the Catholic Church in that video, it borders on slander to compare John Hagee with Jeremiah Wright. Hagee has been preoccupied with the suffering of the Jews at the hands of Christians. One would think that the preoccupation of a major Christian leader with Jewish suffering at the hands of Catholics and Protestants — Hagee has been just as critical of Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism as with that of the Church — would be welcomed by a liberal Jew such as Frank Rich. After all, liberal Jews and liberal non-Jews have been unsparing in their criticism of Christian, especially the European Catholic Church’s, oppression of Jews. But for Rich, pointing out historical anti-Semitism is apparently less important than exaggerating contemporary American racism.