An adage spoken by the Chinese general Sun-Tzu in the 4th century before Christ that one should, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.” This might characterize the political maneuvering by Senator John McCain and his recent endorsement by the evangelical Reverend. John Hagee. The anti-Catholic sentiments voiced by the Reverend Hagee are indeed the type of hostile religious animosity that the McCain campaign does not need in their pursuit of the White House. John Hagee is no friend of Catholics. John McCain needs Catholics in order to live on

Pennsylvania Avenue

in January 2009.

While the endorsement by John Hagee is important to the evangelical vote, this miscalculation by the McCain camp frankly irritates the Catholic voter block, and highlights even more the underlying sentiments of anti-Catholicism that still run deeply in this country. John McCain’s acceptance of any type of endorsement that potentially alienates approximately 23 percent of the electoral vote…namely Catholics illustrates the true weight our Catholic votes hold in this election. The most frightening aspect of this political union between the vehemently anti-Catholic Hagee and the conveniently non-committal McCain is that Catholic voters need to interpret all of this confusion on their own. While there has been no real directive by the American Catholic Bishops on the viability of any candidate for the White House, it seems reasonable to anticipate such negatively Catholic groups such as Hagee should be viewed with skepticism. Perhaps the McCain entourage is keeping Hagee very close in order to neutralize his overt and offensive ramblings against the Catholic faith. Regardless of reason, Senator McCain does not need friends like Hagee, nor does he need any type of enemies that are resonant of Hagee’s biased and racial defamation against the Catholic Church. Catholic voters need to use their best moral and ethical judgment in gauging the implications such an inflammatory personality such as Rev. Hagee disproportionately contributes to the endorsement of John McCain.

Catholics as has been previously indicated in this election are offered with the moral dilemma of the lesser of two evils. However, the perhaps lesser evil in this election comes with a biased, anti-Catholic, and fundamentalist group of friends that are very dangerous for Catholic theological and moral principles.

Rev. John Hagee is indeed an enemy that needs to be kept very close, so he is exposed as the enemy of Catholicism he portrays. Catholic voters know very clearly this political season there are many divisive political endorsers in the arena. Every ally frankly offers the potential for political division and rancor in a candidate’s campaign. As Catholics, we have the responsibility to carefully study and consider the implications each candidate endorsers bring to the political table. Rhetoric against the Catholic Church and its ethical and moral teachings that is prominently declared in the primary elections will not disappear in November. As rational, thinking and responsible Catholic voters, it is very important that we keep our theistic enemies close, but we also need to use our political and moral practical understanding to make their anti-Catholic proclamations known to our fellow Catholic voters. Just because this enemy, Rev. John Hagee is close does not mean his proximity to John McCain will change his sentiments towards Catholic voters. We should also not expect the Republican heir apparent to offer Catholic constituents any favors either. Vote Catholic and do not be misled by the pseudo-political intimacy Brutus offered to Julius Caesar.


Hugh McNichol is a freelance Catholic author that writes commentary on Catholic topics. He writes daily @

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