Why Christian conservatives oppose Chuck Hagel’s nomination

Chip Somodevilla GETTY IMAGES Chuck Hagel, a Republican and former U.S. senator from Nebraska, addresses the National Newspaper Association’s Government … Continued

Chip Somodevilla


Chuck Hagel, a Republican and former U.S. senator from Nebraska, addresses the National Newspaper Association’s Government Affairs Conference March 22, 2007.

It is unquestionable that the Secretary of Defense is one of the most important cabinet level positions in any presidential administration. With Iran quickly pursuing nuclear weapons, Israel under constant threat from terrorists, and growing instability in the Middle East, the secretary must be someone who understands these threats and who is willing to stand in defense of our most important ally Israel.

Former Senator Chuck Hagel is not such a man.

Even before his nomination, many on both sides of the aisle warned President Obama that a Hagel nomination would face severe opposition. The Washington Post’s editorial board recently put it succinctly; “Chuck Hagel is not the right choice for defense secretary.”

Among the reasons to opposed Hagel’s nomination, including his desire for “huge cuts” in defense spending that could leave America vulnerable abroad, two stand particularly disturbing to evangelicals and many Americans: Israel and Iran.

Chuck Hagel has repeatedly stood against Israel and the American people’s support for our greatest ally in the Middle East.

From blaming the “Jewish lobby” to snidely quipping, “I’m not an Israeli senator,” he has not only made clear his opposition to the Israeli people but he has stood in direct opposition to the American people who support Israel. Hagel was the only member of the U.S. Senate to refuse to sign a letter condemning anti-Semitism in Russia.

Also problematic: his stated goals for a “solution” to the strife between Israel and Palestine.

Instead of calling on the Palestinian people to reject terrorism and sit down at the negotiating table with Israel, he has said that, “Terrorism is not a strategy.” He has repeatedly called for direct talks with the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, enemies of the state of Israel.

In fact, it was then-Senator Hagel who refused to support efforts to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Not only has he stood in opposition to American interests as Israel’s ally, he has also taken a very troubling stance towards the radical Islamic Republic of Iran.

As a U.S. senator, Hagel consistently opposed sanctions against Iran and urged direct talks with a nation known for being a state sponsor of terrorism. He voted against labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. He repeatedly voted against sanctioning Iran, and was reportedly solely responsible for blocking sanctions against Iran for its growing nuclear program, as recently as 2008.

Hagel has repeatedly called for “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the government of Iran” – a position that puts him squarely against long-standing U.S. policy toward the radical regime.

This is the same Iranian regime that imprisons Christians and other religious minorities, including Pastor Youcef who was re-imprisoned on Christmas day for two more weeks before again being released and American Pastor Saeed Abedini. Saeed stated in a recent letter that while in prison, “one day I am told I will be freed and allowed to see my family and kids on Christmas (which was a lie) and the next day I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus.” His case was recently turned over to one of Iran’s “hanging judges.” This is the same regime that calls for the destruction of Israel and its people, and directly defies international sanctions against its nuclear program.

When it comes to Iran and Israel, Hagel is far outside the mainstream.

The American people, especially Christian conservatives, stand unwaveringly in support of Israel and the Jewish people. As Christians we share common bonds with the people of Israel, common values, love of freedom and respect for human life. As we have said before, our support for Israel is more than just spiritual. In addition, to scriptural promises like, “I will bless those who bless” Israel, as Americans we support Israel because Israel is our greatest ally. In the Middle East so full of radical regimes that oppose American interests, Israel stands with us in defense of freedom and democracy.

Hagel’s statements and actions have called into question whether he can be trusted to support and defend our ally Israel.

The Republican Jewish Coalition and many others have said that the “appointment of Hagel would be a ‘slap in the face’ for pro-Israel Americans.”

At the ACLJ, we were one of the first to engage in a grassroots effort to defeat Hagel’s nomination, and already over 110,000 Americans have signed our petition opposing this anti-Israel nominee.

We believe it is not in the best interest of our Armed Forces, our foreign policy, and our longstanding relations with those nations who have always stood by our side to nominate someone who continually displays a propensity to oppose our allies and appease those who stand in direct opposition to our freedom, values and way of life.

Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Matthew Clark is an attorney at the ACLJ.

  • RetiredOfficer

    Hysterical. Jordan Sekulow pontificating about Christian values. The astoundingly relevant Pat Robertson University makes it’s statement. Who cares?

  • angie12106

    Even the newspaper Haaretz has used “Jewish lobby” for Israeli lobby.

    This is much ado about nothing from Neocon “christians”.

  • It wasn’t me

    It is only Anti Semitic if Goyim uses it

    When another Jew calls it Jewish Lobby then Zionists are in all out war against “self hating Jew” or whatever other insult might suit their purpose.

  • dswg123

    Religion has no place in the decision making of politics, government or Nations. The US is NOT based on one religion nor Christianity. And anyone believing that – or making it an issue will only better our chances for coming to an end.

    Hagel is the right choice because he makes decisions without political or religious peer pressure or influence. All members of Congress should take note of this. make decisions on what is BEST not what your party or peers want. Congress is scared to death of Hagel because he threatens the BS network of liars they have built.

  • dcrswm

    He thinks we should cut our bloated military budget? No wonder the right doesn’t like him.

  • TheGaines

    There is NOTHING Christian or Right about the “Christian Right”.

  • Jacobjos

    Another SecDef who won’t bring the end of day for them.

  • OleBamaDude

    Math quiz! Today we spend about 47% of all the money spent by all combined nations of the world on military expenditures. If we cut our costs on our military by 50%, what % of the world’s combined military expenditures would we still be spending on our military?

    Answer: still about 31%, and plenty in my mind. From almost half to almost one third. Our wonderful nation would still rule!

  • lesparsley

    A good example of why the Christian fright-wing should stay out of politics.

  • TheGaines

    If we really want to reduce the deficit, we can begin by lifting the tax-exempt status of all the Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples, and all the other loony scam-artists promising eternal life in exchange for a few bucks.

    They are businesses any way, let them pay taxes like everyone else.

  • xexon

    The problem with most Christians is they can’t tell a real Jew from a zionist look alike.

    “White” Jews from Europe and Russia are converts. They were a warrior culture back before they converted to Judaism and they remained so after that conversion. They represent the face and power of Judaism in the modern day. Israel is THEIR’S.

    Moses doesn’t know these people. Most have traded the God of Israel for this racist, atheistic, nationalistic movement called zionism. Jewish nazisim.

    They have made a pact with the more fundamentalist segments of Christianity here in the US who can’t see them for what they are. This has resulted in over 60 years of unrestrained support for the zionist state. We’ve been protecting a demon as it grows stronger in our world.

    Some of it’s minions even penned this article…

    “Beware of those who call themselves Jews but are not.”


  • xexon

    See? It’s this kind of belief that blinds you.

    And it makes you suckers for the very kind of political manipulation the zionists and neocons are famous for.

    The people who left Israel for exile 2000 years ago are NOT the same people who returned. Fake semites, most of them. Semites are related to Arabs, not white people from Europe and the Russian steppe. The ancient Hebrews were people of color.

    You want to know what they think of Christians? You’re cattle to be milked for your money and your protection. That’s why they cater to Christianity. At some point, they will be done with you and bite the hand that feeds them.

    And then you too will realize what you have unleashed upon the world. A 4th reich. Build upon the bodies of the “faithful”.

    People like Hagel don’t play that game and that’s why he’s the man for the job.



    Christian conservatives support for Israel is not “spiritual”; it is support of a lunatic interpretation of the book of “Revelation” in their bible in which they believe that the war at the end of the world will be kicked off in Israel and that the Jews will be their cannon fodder.

    This interpretation is from such intellectual luminaries as Hal Lindsey and psychic Jeanne Dixon.

  • longjohns

    Our most important ally??? What do you mean? Israel was not an ally at all until we realized we can use Israeli national interest to keep our foot in the ME. At this point, Israel has become a liability as our interest diverge. Israel will be on its own at some point. Unfortunately, that point may come before it makes peace with its neighbors. This article is misguided in that it is trying to change that tide by speaking of how Chuck Hegel is not a friend of Israel. What should be argued instead is how Israel can maintain its relevance in United States politics by staying relevant to American interest. Failing to heed that has been the greatest blunder Mr. Netanyahu has made–no matter if he can look good for a few moments by publicly slapping Mr. Obama in the face.

  • ThomasBaum


    You wrote, “Israel will be on its own at some point. Unfortunately, that point may come before it makes peace with its neighbors.”

    Seems that the only way that Israel could make peace with its neighbors would be to cease existing.

  • ThomasBaum

    Farther down dswg123 wrote, “Religion has no place in the decision making of politics, government or Nations.”

    If a country does not take the religion of another country into consideration especially when the leaders and spokespersons of the other country considers that it is a sacred duty to annihilate either them or an ally or both, would this be considered willful blindness and deafness to the reality of the situation?

    Or would they think that those that call for this annihilation are just kidding?

  • PhillyJimi1

    Christian conservatives oppose anything and everything Obama likes, suppports or wants. If Obama somehow cured cancer they would find a way oppose it the trappings of the anti-christ.

    Let’s get honest here. I am white. I know how white people talk when they are around other white people they know and think they can trust. The haters freely express call our President “That N-word”. Of course if someone off the street asked them if they are a racist they would say no.

    Behind closed door they “HATE” Obama. I can’t stress enough how much they HATE him. It is the ugly head of racism.

    Make up all the excuses you want but if Obama could bring back Regan from the dead and appoint him to a cabint position, the Christian conservatives (ie white folk) would oppose it. The Christian conservatives even oppose things Obama supports that are core Christian conservatives issues.

    Sometime I need to check my calander to make sure it is 2013 not 1953.

  • nkri401

    It’s a mystery – Christians love Israel but not so much the Jews.

    Not that other parts like trinity makes any more sense…

  • nkri401

    Ipso Facto, Christian Conservaties oppose, Mr. Hagel has my vote.

  • longjohns

    thomasbaum. “only way….” It is precisely this type of extremism in thinking that has prevented flexibility in Israeli politics at this point. It is very very odd since one of the most important characteristics at the founding of Israel was a supple and flexible set of tactics. Israel needs to create the illusion of flexibility if not actually being flexible. Mr. Rabin had a vision for how Israel could do this. Unfortunately for Israelis, Mr. NetanYAHOO is no Mr. Rabin. Instead, it is all about how Israel is a mighty country that has G_d’s blessing on owning all the land etc… The attitude has shifted from flexible to hardline.

  • ThomasBaum

    This “extremism” comes straight out of the mouth of the leader of Iran and also from among others, to deny reality does not make it go away or to change reality.

    One thing that I have to give to the leader of Iran is that he is being truthful in what he would like to see come about as opposed to those that speak “with a forked tongue”, so to speak.

    Islam is about world domination, it is that simple.