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Cornerstone Pastor Matt Hagee apologizes for radical-right rally hosted at his San Antonio church 

click to enlarge Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Matt Hagee speaks during a sermon at his San Antonio megachurch. - VIDEO CAPTURE / TWITTER / PASTOR MATT HAGEE
  • Video Capture / Twitter / Pastor Matt Hagee
  • Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Matt Hagee speaks during a sermon at his San Antonio megachurch.
Matt Hagee, senior pastor of San Antonio's Cornerstone Church, has apologized for hosting a far-right political rally that made national headlines after one of its speakers proclaimed the U.S. should adopt "one religion."

"Regrettably, the organization was not properly vetted," Hagee said in a message posted Thursday on Cornerstone's website. "It was not appropriate to allow this event at our church. The Church is not associated with this organization and does not endorse their views."

During the "ReAwaken America" rally, Nov. 12-14, former Trump White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said that for the United States to have one nation under God, "which we must, we have to have one religion." Viral video from the rally also showed attendees in the pews chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon!” The phrase, popular among the Trump-won crowd, is a code for "Fuck Joe Biden."

After news of the rally broke, the church issued a press statement saying it wasn't associated with the rally's organizers and "does not endorse their views."

However, additional video shot at the event showed Hagee, the son of church founder John Hagee, welcoming attendees and telling them he's "proud" of them for making their individual decisions to show up.

“[B]y being here, you have made the conscious decision to live in your faith rather than die in your fear,” Hagee says in a clip shared on Twitter by pastor and author Brian Kaylor. “And I want to tell you how proud I am of that decision.”

In his online apology, posted two days after that video clip surfaced, Hagee asked for forgiveness, adding that, in the future, the church will make a better effort to ensure "organizations using our facility are an appropriate reflection of our mission and vision."

Hagee acknowledged that he spoke onstage at the event but appeared to downplay his participation. 

"I was invited to welcome the crowd, where I thanked veterans for their service and thanked the crowd for their commitment to their faith," he said.

Both Hagee and his father have used the pulpit to deliver right-wing political messages for years. The elder Hagee, for example, has called for a U.S. preemptive strike on Iran to protect Israeli interests. During a 2019 sermon, Matt Hagee likened federal welfare programs to Egypt's enslavement of the Israelites and praised Donald Trump for standing up against "socialism."

Beyond Flynn, the "Reawaken America" event at Cornerstone featured extremists and conspiracy theorists including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who's tirelessly spread lies about the integrity of the 2020 election, and InfoWars founder Alex Jones, who was recently found liable for defamation over his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school shooting.

The San Antonio rally was a stop along a national tour that began in Tulsa in the spring and will conclude in Phoenix in January 2022, according to Religion News Service.

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January 12, 2022

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