Rev. John Hagee reaffirmed his pledge to combat anti-Semitism and defend Israel following controversy over his Holocaust theology.
An old sermon by Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel, in which he explains the Holocaust as part of a divine plan to bring about the founding of Israel, came under scrutiny recently because of Hagee’s endorsement of the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). As a result, Hagee and McCain cut ties.
In a statement delivered Friday at his San Antonio church, Hagee said the ruckus “disappointed” him. His critics – including some Jewish leaders – had confused theological probing with defending the Nazis, he said, which was “heartbreaking.”
“Our search for an explanation for evil must never be confused with an effort to excuse it,” he said. “What is more important than how we answer the question of where was God during the Holocaust is what we as men and women do here on earth to make sure that there will never be another Holocaust. We must give meaning to the words ‘Never Again’ through our actions. It is to this effort – this effort to fight anti-Semitism and to support Israel – that I now return.”
Several Jewish leaders have come to Hagee’s defense.
“John Hagee is of the Jewish people’s best friends,” Los Angeles talk show host Dennis Prager said during his program.
Rabbi Aryeh Scheinebrg of San Antonio’s Orthodox Congregation Rodfei Sholom participated in a press conference in support of Hagee. The pastor is also being defended by David Brog, who is the Jewish executive director of Christians United for Israel.