What happens when you accept an endorsement from an anti-Catholic pastor?

As soon as I say that faith has been cut out of the presidential race (see post below), it’s back. Sort of.

John McCain’s enthusiastic acceptance of an endorsement from fundamentalist pastor John Hagee is being criticized from numerous sides.

tjndc5-5ix47gpwemgrx5rocb5_layout.jpgHagee, who pastors a huge church in San Antonio and is at the forefront of evangelical support for Israel, happens to have a history of attacking the Roman Catholic Church.

You can hear Hagee “explain” his theories on YouTube.

The Catholic League, not surprisingly, does not appreciate McCain’s eagerness to fly to San Antonio to stand by Hagee’s side. Or Mike Huckabee’s disappointment at not getting Hagee’s endorsement.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue:

If Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama were fighting over the support of Louis Farrakhan, we’d say they’re nuts. So what are we to conclude about McCain’s embrace of Hagee, and Huckabee’s lament for not getting the bigot’s endorsement?

ADD: McCain just sent out this statement:

Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not.

I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.

(Photo: AP/Gerald Herbert)

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.