The Slatest

Critics Question Whether Pastor Who Said Hitler Was Sent by God Was Good Choice to Speak at U.S. Embassy in Israel

John Hagee standing with his hand over his heart in front of an American-flag backdrop with an Israeli flag to his left.
John Hagee in Jerusalem in 2010.
Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Slate’s Ruth Graham wrote Monday morning about Robert Jeffress, a prominent Dallas pastor who was invited to speak at the opening of the U.S.’ extremely controversial new embassy in Jerusalem despite having noted that he believes Jews will suffer for eternity in hell. Jeffress wasn’t the only evangelical figure in attendance the event, though—and in fact, he didn’t even have the hottest take on Judaism of the two who were there. Here’s CNN on San Antonio pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, who delivered a benediction at the new embassy Monday:

Audio from one of Hagee’s sermons in the 1990s was leaked that seemed to suggest that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by aiding the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

“God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. … Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters,’” Hagee said, according to a transcript of his sermon. "’And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews. … Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.”

Hagee’s Hitler sermon became an issue after he endorsed John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign; at the time, Hagee clarified that he had not meant to condone the Holocaust and that Hitler was a “monster.”

In any case, the U.S. opened an embassy in Jerusalem, triggering a massive outbreak of violence in the occupied territories, in part to satisfy a Texan extremist who thinks that doing so means we have now done our part in a process initiated by Hitler to fulfill biblical prophecy.

Good End times!