McCain Dumps Hagee Over Holocaust Remarks:

Sen. McCain has rejected the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee, whose controversial, inflammatory statements on a variety of matters have caused him to be a liability to the McCain campaign. The final straw was a sermon from the late 1990s in which Hagee said, interpreted biblical prophecy about the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel: "Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. ... How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, 'My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.'"

This is a pretty stupid idea, but I don't find it "anti-Jewish." That's probably because I've heard similar statements from Orthodox Jews. For example, when I was in elementary school in an Orthodox day school, we were discussing why the Holocaust happened. One of my classmates volunteered that his father told him something like that it was necessary "for us to get Israel." As I understood the comment at the time and his further elaboration on it, his father was saying something like "God did something horrible to us for reasons known only to Him, and then paid us back (collectively) with a lasting benefit."

Even as a fourth-grader, I thought this was a repugnant idea, and that anyone who believed it should cease worshiping this particular God immediately, unless they were only doing so out of fear of what nutty, cruel thing He might do next (an attitude that admittedly is reflected in many Jewish prayers). But it reflects the trap you're in as an orthodox (small "o") believer trying to make sense of the Holocaust. Either (a) God really hates the Jews (and there are plenty of Orthodox Jewish rabbis who have suggested that the Holocaust was punishment for the sins of the Jewish people); (b) God isn't all-powerful, or doesn't care to use His power to prevent horrific crimes against His people; or (c) the Holocaust had to be part of some broader Divine master plan that would ultimately redound to Jews' benefit. The fact that Hagee takes the latter position hardly makes him an intellectual giant, or speaks well of his moral imagination. But color me unoffended.

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