In light of the recent media and political frenzy over quotes from John Hagee's sermons in the 1990s, CJHSLA wishes to express its support for Pastor Hagee. Whether one agrees with his remarks or not, they are hardly controversial to those familiar with the conversation Jews have been having with and about G-d for thousands of years.
Pastor Hagee is hardly the first person to posit an interactive relationship between the hand of the Creator and the fate of the Jewish people. His opinion in this matter may be uncommon in the mainstream, but it is hardly singular, remarkable or exceptional among Holocaust survivors.
Founder and president of CJHSLA,
CJHSLA urges the public, especially the Jewish community, to recognize and appreciate Pastor Hagee's stalwart leadership in American Zionism, as well as his overt, compassionate and substantial support for
"What I know for certain," said Montrose, "is that 6 million Jews were brutally and systematically murdered over a period of twelve years -- from 1933 to 1945 -- because human beings here on earth did nothing to stop it. Pastor Hagee understands that better than most, and has made it his business not only to seek atonement for the sins of those who stood idly by, but also to ensure that history is not allowed to repeat itself.”
“At CJHSLA, we stand with John Hagee,” Montrose concluded. “He should be honored, not scorned.”
Two. This is the second media flare-up about Pastor Hagee in the last two months. In late March, the issue was his purported antagonism to Catholicism and gays. He addressed those concerns in a dignified statement before his congregation -- the five-minute video can be viewed here (scroll down slightly). (The Catholic League's May 13, 2008 press release commended Hagees' sincerity and courage in handling the controversy, and called it "closed").
At one point in the video, the congregation interrupts Hagee's statement with applause, which turns into a standing ovation. It comes four minutes into the video, right after this statement:
As most of you know, two years ago, I founded Christians United for Israel. I believed then and believe now that
Ever since I started speaking out for
Three. In early March, before the flare-up, Pastor Hagee appeared at Stephen S. Wise Temple in
So in February of 2006, I brought together 400 of the leading evangelicals in America -- pastors of megachurches, guys who did all the television five times a week nationally, people who own the radio and television Christian networks, presidents of universities -- people who are the impact people, and I presented the idea about a Christian Night for Israel.
And briefly, I said Israel is in a state of danger, we have a Bible mandate to stand up and speak up for Israel, we have never done anything as a Christian group that gets close to a unified canopy under which every person who calls himself a Bible-believing evangelical can speak up for Israel. And we’re a one issue organization –
And I said we will do a Night to Honor
They only care when you go in their offices, look them in the eye and say “I’m a Christian and I support
Four. In the sermon from 1990 that caused the current flap (via a video posted on YouTube on May 17, 2008), Pastor Hagee cited two Biblical sources for his belief that both the tragedy of the Holocaust and the miracle of Israel were part of God’s ultimate plan. Both were from the Hebrew Bible: Jeremiah 16 and Ezekiel 37.
These are not obscure references (at least to the “trained ear”). With respect to Jeremiah 16, perhaps it will suffice to note a story told on April 30, 2008 (on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day) in the pages of the Jerusalem Post, written by Naphtali Lau-Lavie, a former Israeli diplomat, who was among the last Jews of Buchenwald lined up at the gate of the camp on April 10, 1945 when American soldiers arrived:
Recently, while searching in the Yad Vashem archives, I came across the testimony of a survivor from Treblinka, who later immigrated to
"In the early morning [on October 21, 1942] we arrived at Treblinka on the transport from our ghetto. On the ramp the selection process had begun. Together with a group of youngsters, I was taken from the crowd and pushed aside. We stood and watched the groups being led in the direction of the gas chambers.
"Suddenly, we heard the familiar, strong voice of our rabbi. He was standing in the midst of the Jews of his community reciting the confessional viduy prayer, said when Jews know they are about to be martyred. The rabbi said a verse, and his "congregation" repeated it after him, verse by verse." . . .
The Jews described were from the city of
My father's life was taken at Treblinka after he said the viduy. . . . At our last meeting, as . . . we were standing on the doorstep, he recited from Jeremiah 16:6-7: "Both the great and the small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried; neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them; neither shall men break bread for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother."
Then he stopped for a while, looked straight into my eyes, and continued, again from Jeremiah, 13:16: "And there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord, And thy children shall return to their own border."
Next he addressed me directly: "If you manage to get out of here, go and return to the Land from which we were expelled, because only there will the Jewish people be itself and become strong enough to prevent such tragedies."
As for the reference to Ezekiel 37, perhaps an even shorter explanation will suffice. Above the parking lot at Yad Vashem in
Five. The significance of the current onslaught on Pastor Hagee was discussed by David Brog in American Thinker yesterday, and in a May 25 interview in Haaretz. In the Washington Times yesterday, Joel Mowbray contributed an important piece (noted here by Power Line), which describes in part Hagee's appearance at Stephen Wise Temple. Anne Lieberman had an eloquent post here that also sees the broader implications.
In the video linked above, reflecting the earlier March onslaught, Pastor Hagee said it was “truly disappointing to me to see how quickly accusation and rumor crystallize into fact in the hands of media outlets, which do not seem interested in subjecting these claims to serious review in search of the truth.” It is time for another serious review. The above links provide a start.