Assclown Alert: Embracing John Hagee's Christian nationalism with Nikki Haley

By asking Hagee to give the invocation at her campaign launch, Haley is signaling that she's no moderate.

click to enlarge San Antonio megachurch preacher John Hagee has drawn criticism for his inflammatory culture-war rhetoric. - Instagram / pastorjohnhagee
Instagram / pastorjohnhagee
San Antonio megachurch preacher John Hagee has drawn criticism for his inflammatory culture-war rhetoric.

Assclown Alert is a column of opinion, analysis and snark.

Anyone operating on the pie-eyed assumption that the launch of Nikki Haley's presidential bid will inject a moderate candidate into the Republicans' 2024 primary probably needs to think again.

The former South Carolina governor invited San Antonio-based TV evangelist John Hagee to deliver the invocation for the Feb. 15 launch of her campaign, a clear suggestion that she's leaning in on the Christian Nationalism that seems to have consumed the party.

Hagee, of course, is known for inflammatory rhetoric like his claim that Hitler was a "hunter" dispatched by God to help create the state of Israel, that Hurricane Katrina was a sign the Almighty was pissed off about gay people and that women are "only meant to be mothers and bear children."

Controversy also swirled around the pastor's Cornerstone Church in late 2021 when it hosted a gathering of far-right kooks and conspiracy theorists at which former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn demanded that the United States adopt "one religion."

While Hagee kept the controversy to a minimum during his opening prayer at Haley's campaign launch, the candidate herself uttered some words that should be alarming to free thinkers. When thanking Hagee for his words, she said, "I still say I want to be you when I grow up."

If she meant that she aspires to be an intolerant blowhard, she's off to a good start by inviting Hagee into the fold. Assclowns tend to flock together.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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