Sen. John McCain last week rejected the endorsements of evangelical leaders John Hagee and Rod Parsley after a late-’90s Hagee sermon was found, in which he cited Jeremiah 16:15 to argue that God allowed the Holocaust so Jews would found the state of Israel. He referred to Hitler as a hunter sent by God. Parsley has rebuked Islam and called it inherently violent. Hagee argued that his critics are “grossly misrepresenting” his position. Do you think his views are being distorted, or was McCain right in saying his comments were “crazy and unacceptable”?

In the Book of Job, the patriarch’s friends inform him of the reason for his great suffering, claiming intimate knowledge of God’s dealings with humankind. Yet, God rebukes the friends, telling them they are in error and confirming that only God knows why He acts as He does.

Clergy and theologians, who arrogate to a divinatory discernment of God’s motivations, should recall His reproof to Job’s so-called friends. No matter how much we may know — or think we know — our knowledge amounts to the most meager insight into God’s plans and ways.

Therefore, Judaism forbids a person to tell another that the reason for his pain and suffering is that God is punishing him in the service of a greater good. Since God declares: “My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts,” it is impermissible to heap further pain upon the suffering by declaring certainty that it is God’s will.

Rabbi Mark Miller

Temple Bat Yahm

Newport Beach

I don’t want to believe anyone — whether Hagee, Parsley or Jeremiah Wright — would preach this stuff, regardless of the context. I have, however, been a part of news events in which a sound bite was taken out of context.

I think we will find that these statements are consistent with the theology of these men and that they were all caught with their theological pants down. It’s one thing to preach a message that tickles your congregants’ ears and makes you popular. It is another when those comments are subjected to the light of reality and scrutiny of truth.

Some people have a need to hear that all Muslims are evil, Hitler and hurricanes are agents of God, and that if no one else, their shepherd will tell them the truth.

Humanity is sick, sinners sin, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone with any theological training. It’s the world we live in. The problem comes when their spiritual leaders parlay that sin into a theology that justifies the sickness.

Ric Olsen

lead pastor, The Beacon

I think Hagee’s views are being distorted. Hagee is a friend and supporter of Israel. His view is that its difficult to find Israel on any globe; it is a thin sliver of land hugging the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by 23 war-mongering and non-democratic Arab countries.

Recent history has shown that Israel has won six wars with the help of a Biblical God. The prophets of Israel are Christian fundamentalists’ battle cry to flock around and support Israel. They believe that the messiah will come only with an Israel filled with peace. The Book of Joshua states, “Be strong and of good courage.”

The Bible portrays Muslim predecessors as evil. They have a passion to hate Jews. Israel’s Muslim enemies descended from the Biblical Amalek, cursed by God.

Any anti-Zionist waging war on Israel would be defined as an aggressor and pure evil in the God’s eyes; his disobedience would endanger Israel.

One cannot challenge the Torah or the Prophets of Israel. Christians worldwide must support Israel and work against all its enemies.

The Jewish people should be thankful for Hagee’s views and support of the State of Israel.

Rabbi Marc Rubenstein

Temple Isaiah

Newport Beach

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