So, it turns out that John Hagee isn’t John McCain’s only problem when it comes to crazy pastors. Rod Parsley, who has endorsed McCain and appeared at events with him, has this to say about Islam.
I can’t begin to tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam. That we see it for what it really is. In fact…I do not believe that our nation can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam…I know that this statement sounds extreme. But I am not shrinking back from its implications. The fact is that…America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed. And I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we no longer can afford to ignore.
Now, I don’t know how close McCain is with Parsley or how vehemently McCain sought Parsley’s endorsement. But whatever the circumstances, this seems to be to be far more damaging than McCain’s association with Hagee, or at least it should be. Not because of the political distastefulness of Parsley’s views. I think that Matt Yglesias is likely right that “anti-Muslim bigotry is a fairly mainstream and popular sentiment in the United States so associating with the Daniel Pipes’ and Rod Parsley’s of the world is only a problem in the actual, substantive sense of indicating that McCain’s foreign policy views are bad and dangerous, not in the freak show “this’ll hurt in November in Pennsylvania” sense.”
But these views are really, really bad. If McCain were to become President this is the sort of thing that would make for a dynamite al-Qaeda recruiting video. If we are really serious about combating al-Qaeda, this is really the sort of thing we need to work to avoid. The video of McCain appear with this nut job would galvanize all sorts of people in the Muslim by convincing them that American actions in the Middle East really are a war on Islam and that American foreign policy really is designed to destroy Islam. This is the sort of guy we really need to marginalize if we are to be successful in fighting al-Qaeda and their ideologically related organizations, as it confirms the stereotype of America that al-Qaeda is already working hard to project in the Muslim world.