A week after the audience at a conference hosted at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, were led into chants of “Let’s go Brandon," a euphemism for an insult aimed at President Joe Biden, Matt Hagee, the church’s pastor and son of the founding pastor, John Hagee, has apologized.
“Last week I allowed an event to be held at Cornerstone Church by an outside organization. Regrettably, the organization was not properly vetted. 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,” Hagee said in a statement published Thursday.
“I was invited to welcome the crowd where I thanked veterans for their service and thanked the crowd for their commitment to their faith. I deeply regret, and ask forgiveness, for what took place in the Cornerstone sanctuary as a result of my oversight,” he added. “In the future, Cornerstone Church will ensure that organizations using our facility are an appropriate reflection of our mission and vision.”
The event, the Reawaken America Tour, was held Nov. 11–13 and sponsored by Charisma News. Speakers included former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, political consultant Roger Stone and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Hagee’s apology comes in the wake of condemnation of the event by some in the Christian community.
Pastor Doug Pagitt, executive director of Vote Common Good, a nonprofit organization that advocates for politically progressive causes and electing Democratic candidates, told NPR's affiliate Texas Public Radio that he doesn’t think “Let’s go Brandon” should be associated with the Church.
“I just don't think it fits our civil discourse,” Pagitt, who identifies as a progressive evangelical, said. “If people disagree with Joe Biden and don't want him to be president, I think they should work as hard as they can to try to make him, not to allow him to be reelected. But what's going on here is something different, and it all fits, unfortunately, into a larger pattern of where the Donald Trump movement of politics has taken our country and has chosen to feel the followers of it.”
He added that churches need to reexamine their priorities and decide how they really want to function if they plan on engaging in these kinds of activities.
“I do think churches have to continue to make an argument if they want to function in the nonprofit sector, that they're going to behave for the public good and not for the good of a particular political party or of only particular subsets of our society,” Pagitt said.
“I think moments like this make churches and church leaders, as I am a church leader, have to answer the question, ‘Can we honestly, and with full integrity, say that we exist for the common good and for public benefit?’”
Dr. Richard Land, president emeritus of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also expressed his dismay over the event.
"The phrase 'Let’s Go Brandon,' a euphemism for an obscene anti-Biden rant should be abhorrent to all Americans regardless of their political affiliation. And for this vulgar chant to be proclaimed in a church is blasphemous." tweeted Land, who's also the executive editor of The Christian Post.