Mrs. Clinton’s choice of a place of worship Sunday morning surprised some Puerto Ricans, and has been discussed on local radio. On an island that is predominantly Roman Catholic, she ended up going to the Pavilion of Victory, an evangelical church in Hormigueros, in the southwest corner of the island.
Among those Protestant strivers, who had been worked into a state of enthusiasm by an hour of singing and dancing to rock and salsa-flavored hymns before her arrival, Mrs. Clinton obviously felt at home. She talked, in English and mostly without translation, not only of her political program, but also of her faith, and in terms that seemed to refer to her uphill struggle and recent difficulties.
She urged the congregation, for example, not to be “deterred by the setbacks that often fall into every lifeâ€ and also said: “Do not fear to go forward, do not give up.â€
“There isn’t anything we can’t do together if we seek God’s blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life.â€
She added, “If I had listened to those who have been talking over the last few months, we would not be having this campaign in Puerto Rico today.â€
Dan Gilgoff, whose God-o-meter puts McCain one spot away from a secularist, helps to explain some of these pastor problems.
For McCain, the most glaring example of his unwillingness to treat religious outreach seriously is that his campaign still lacks a fulltime religious outreach director. Bush had a handful of such strategists aboard his 2000 and 2004 campaigns, including such talented figures as former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed. Both Obama and Clinton hired fulltime religious outreach directors as soon as they launched their campaigns early last year, and have filled out their faith-based teams with more personnel since then.
It appears the the same person vetting McCain’s lobbyist advisers may also be moonlighting in religious outreach.
Last week, scrubbing away under the political pressure, Bill Donohue followed the need of McCain and absolved anti-Catholic John Hagee for his whore of Babylon language.
Now, with Talk to Action‘s release of new audio evidence that Hagee also thinks that God led Hitler to kill Jews for the good of apocalyptic theology, McCain has denounced his Hagee man, but Donohue seems stuck between his flip and his flop. Does he stick with his new pal who was anti-Catholic last week, or stand up for serious Catholic theology which finds no room for arguments that God had six million Jews killed in order “to hunt” the rest to Israel to set the Rapture stage?
Thus far, Donohue has released a statement sticking with his first flip to Hagee calling him sincere, friendly and “a genuine friend to Israel.” With friends who sing and pray for the destruction of Jerusalem, who needs to listen to actual Jews? Say like president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie (back on May 15):
“Christian Zionists, and especially Christians United for Israel, do not offer unconditional support for the Jewish state. They offer support for a particular religious vision, particular Israeli leaders, and particular political factions, all of which reflect their own prophecy-driven view of the Middle East,â€ Yoffie said in an April speech, calling Hagee and his group “extremists.â€
Yoffie thinks that Hagee “is not the kind of friend that Israel needs,â€ said spokesman Donald Cohen-Cutler.
Now, what will McCain do about his other pastor problem, the Ohio Hot Rod?
Plans by some conservative Christians in Fresno to organize another “Christian-only” National Day of Prayer service at Fresno City Hall were thwarted when members of the Interfaith Alliance of Central California showed up holding signs saying One Nation/Many Faiths. For the first time in 16 years – in this 54 sec video, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, graciously integrates the day of prayer.