Pastor John Hagee: ‘America is Becoming a Pagan Society’ Because of Our Embrace of Secular Humanism

Pastor John Hagee, whose wrath has been directed at Harry Potter readers, Ouija board users, and rock music listeners, has some more wisdom for the people who attend Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

On Sunday, he told his congregation that “America is becoming a pagan society” because of our embrace of Secular Humanism. (Which is news to me, since the fundies keep telling us we live in a Christian Nation.)

His evidence? Oh, just listen

Secular Humanism has filled our rape crisis centers*, our mental hospitals*, our singles’ bars*, our penitentiaries*, our roster of guests for the brain-dead television talk shows*, you see. America is becoming a Pagan society*. We are in a moral free fall*. When a school teacher cannot refer to the Ten Commandments* but is approved of teaching the principles of witchcraft*, our country is going in the wrong direction*.

When the Boy Scouts of America are censored* and penalized* for refusing to accept homosexual scout leaders, we are a Pagan nation without shame*… We have endorsed sodomy* and called it an alternative lifestyle. It’s not an alternative lifestyle; it was, is, and always shall be an abomination unto the Lord*.

* = Citation needed.

Not that anyone in his church would bother to ask him for any.

Also, someone should let him know that Secular Humanism and Paganism aren’t synonymous. And that public school teachers don’t teach witchcraft. And that atheists are extremely unlikely to be found in prison. And the Boy Scouts weren’t censored or penalized for being bigots.

You know, before he embarrasses himself. More.

(via Right Wing Watch)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Timmah

    “but is approved of teaching the principles of witchcraft” OK so he clearly thinks Harry Potter is non-fiction. Sounds legit.

    • Golfie98

      I think he means chemistry – some fundies have a very skeptical view of science

      • Timmah

        These people would have our children belive that if you combine two parts hydrogen with one part oxygen you get WATER! If that’s not magic I don’t know what is!

      • guest

        I think he means alchemy.

      • JA

        They railed against lightning rods as ‘subverting God’s will’, or something like that, when they were first introduced.

  • God’s Starship

    This is why we had a government shutdown. Because these know-nothing crackpots are not only voting but holding office.

  • LJinFLA

    I’d go take that witchcraft class, lol. Just for the fun of it.

    • Captain Cassidy

      Now there’s a class I’d love to see at the Learning Annex.

  • Jeffery Nelson

    You know I just realized it’s almost noon and I haven’t even done any drugs or raped anybody yet. I need to get on the ball.

    • Holytape

      You know what they say, “The early bird gets the heroin-filled rape worm.”

      • sam

        You know, if you use a bone saw and remove the top of Rev. Hagee’s skull, I’ll bet one hundred dollars that you will find a heroin-filled rape worm at the controls as his little homunculum. Any takers?

        • Robin

          That is SO FUNNY, thanks for the laugh!!!

    • Tainda

      I had 3 doobies and an upper by noon. Get on the ball!

      • Captain Cassidy

        I’ve only had coffee and a roast beef sammich. Obviously I am really falling down on the job here.

    • Bdole

      “…on the 8-ball-gag.”

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    This is just more example of the calculated strategy of Christian persecution. It goes like this: Society is actually pretty secular. The fundamentalists don’t like the idea of struggling in the marketplace of ideas. So they invent the idea that here in the US Christians are being violated and harmed because they are Christians. They are peeved that they must follow the same laws as everyone else. In fostering this persecution nonsense (in the absence of any actually persecution) they are trying to control the society and government. It’s gotten so irksome to see this outright twisting of reality, it become funny.

    • Robin

      They have to have evil in the world for their god to have a purpose so they look around and say “THAT is evil because (fill in the blank)” then they are heros for “savin” the world. sick

    • smrnda

      If your ideas are failing in the marketplace of ideas, maybe it’s because your ideas just have no merit. Odd, a lot of these types are totally free-market, but I’m guessing if Xtianity isn’t performing they want it subsidized by the government through promotion in public schools to a captive audience.

      • Blankstare

        Subsidized already by non profit tax status. We should do something to change that loophole.

    • SystemsReady

      Funny thing is, this isn’t new.

      Christian propaganda about believers being persecuted for their beliefs goes back as far as the Romans (being eaten by lions and stuff, which never happened). Some things never change…

      • HollowGolem

        Many repressive, patriarchal worldviews need some evil outsider for the father-figures to protect their flock from.

  • Holytape

    Well Secular Humanism has filled the rape crisis centers, because under Christianity we ought to be stoning all of the rape victims or marrying them off.

    Also Secular Humanism has filled the mental hospitals, because the old treatment of getting a bunch of pigs to run off a cliff just didn’t seem to work.

    • God’s Starship

      He doesn’t really believe in mental healthcare. We are just supposed to ignore the mentally ill until that day they snap and start shooting at us, at which point we blame the lack of mandated prayer in schools.

      • guest

        but he’s all for exorcisms.

        • cryofly

          … and he is partial to witchcraft.

    • smrnda

      I, for one, would be very happy if secular humanism was filling our rape crisis centers and mental health facilities. I don’t want a bunch of fundie Xtians handling vulnerable populations.

    • Paula M Smolik

      Wow! Beautiful! hahahaha

    • Daniel Takyi

      “stoning all of the rape victims or marrying them off”

      I think there is a big misunderstanding here (Even though i know you are exaggerating), since it’s a fully opposing view that a Christian should have.

      • Holytape

        That’s not what the bible says: (See Deuteronomy 20:10-14; 2 Samuel 12:11-14; Numbers 31:7-18; Judges 21:10-24; Judges 5:30; Exodus 21:7-11; Zechariah 14:1-2; Deuteronomy 21:10-14; Deuteronomy 22)

  • Sajanas

    Given how often the development of monotheism is treated as some sort major development, its worth remembering just how much more tolerant and relaxed the old Pagan societies were, at least to a point. Roman religion was more of a personal thing with your house hold gods or private cult, with the occasional social obligation requiring a sacrifice to the gods of the city or the empire. Having a Pagan society really wouldn’t be too bad.

  • Holytape

    Jousting is an alternative lifestyle.

    • Tainda

      Teh Jousters!!!1!!!!

    • invivoMark

      Hey, some people are just born to be jousters. They didn’t choose it!

      • busterggi

        As long as they keep their lances where they belong….

        • invivoMark

          Hey, what two consenting adults do with their lances is their own business.

          Edit: And possibly the business of the spectators.

  • Travis Mamone

    Wait a minute, if America is embracing secular humanism, then wouldn’t paganism decline?

    • Tainda

      He keeps using that word…

    • Matt Eggler

      In fundie speak secular humanism is a blanket term for all “wicked” and “evil” belief systems that aren’t Islam. The fundie world view: righteous Christians, OK Jews, evil Muslims and Secular Humanists ( i.e. everybody else).

    • guest

      no, because it all goes back to the atheist, muslim homosexuals doncha know.

    • Rain

      He substitutes “infidels” with “pagans” in some of his anti-Islam writings. He probably just likes the word and uses it. You know how kooks will latch on to something and repeat it ad nauseam. We can think of it as one of his “fundy-schticks”. To him it means “godless”, probably.

  • John Williams

    Logic: Not a tenet of Christianity.

    • Ron

      They are fools for Christ.


  • closetatheist

    I think what he means, every time he uses the word “pagan,” is godless. Cause otherwise nothing makes sense – Americans are certainly not returning to the classical gods of ancient times. So now I can’t decide what he’s uninformed about the most. He obviously doesn’t have a grasp on paganism. If he bothered to understand a smidgen of Secular Humanism I’d wager he could see the positives in it. And what does he think witchcraft is if it’s not making snakes talk or conjuring animals out of thin air? What does he think the evil primary goal of public school is? to teach superstitious bullshit?

    And his comment about the rape centers is totally backwards. He’s created this dichotomy of Christianity vs secular humanists/pagans. So, if secular humanists are the ones filling rape crisis centers, then according to his logic, it’s the Christians doing the raping. And is he angry that Secular Humanists are in Single’s bars? Why? because they should be reserved for Christians? But isn’t that the kind of place he’d say Christians shouldn’t be? WHAT IS HIS POINT? It seems like a common thing for pastors to bash all of American culture for an hour every Sunday and somehow consider that a helpful sermon.

    • Captain Cassidy

      I saw that too and wondered. I know a lot of pagans and not a single one of them would say that paganism of any sort has made any kind of inroad in any of the places he mentioned, with the exception of that really wacko brand of white supremacist Norse paganism you see in prisons sometimes.

      He’s just trying to demonize and vilify people who aren’t his brand of Christian, that’s all, and he’s doing it from a place of ignorance, hate, and fear. For that, he doesn’t need to know anything about paganism or to give citations for anything he claims.

      • closetatheist

        they say ignorance is bliss, but from the amount of anger and hate he exhibits towards the culture he lives in, I’d say his ignorance makes him pretty damn miserable.

    • Highlander

      I think he means that rape crisis centers are being filled up, because them secular wimmin won’t shut up and take it. They won’t accept blame for being such sluts that the good Christian men couldn’t keep themselves from raping them, and now they won’t keep quiet about it and accept the dominion of their fathers and husbands.

    • David Kopp

      Understanding? That’s antithetical to being one of those styles of preachers. If they understood anything, they wouldn’t be the raging assholes that they are.

    • Alierias

      Last time I checked, there’s a talking snake in Genesis, you know, the bible?

    • TCC

      In evangelical circles, “pagan” often just means “non-Christian.”

      • closetatheist

        so. much. dumb.

    • Houndentenor

      I think this is a sign of his age and how out of touch with contemporary American culture he is. There are actual Pagans. I know a few. (As annoying as any other kind of theist, btw.) In the 1950s you could probably get away with calling any non-Christian a Pagan since the listener was unlikely to know anyone who would self-identify as a Pagan, but that’s not true any more.

  • Tainda

    Thanks Hemant. I have had a REALLY bad day at work today and your “* = citation needed” Made me laugh out loud

    Oh and that guy is a nutball

  • Pictorignotus

    Did Ted Cruz sit in the audience?

  • Jeff

    But he says that like it is a bad thing….

    • cary_w

      Exactly, I hope this guy is right! I’d much rather live in a secular humanist country than a Christian nation!

  • invivoMark

    Cool! Can we start having Pagan prayers in schools, building monuments on public property depicting Pagan symbols and rituals, and beginning public meetings with Pagan prayers (goat sacrifice optional)?

    I mean, technically, we’re already celebrating Pagan holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.).

  • Bdole

    I’m continually astounded by the sheer volume of shit that can spew from Hagee’s facehole.

  • SpookyD

    Ohhhh, “enDORSED sodomy,” not “endured sodomy.” I had to listen to him three times before I realized he wasn’t saying that he had endured sodomy.

  • Richard Wade

    Oh we got trouble!
    Right here in River City!
    With a capital T
    And that rhymes with P
    And that stands for Paganism!
    Yes, we got trouble!
    Right here!
    Beware the commies, Obamacare, and Secular Humanism!

    [chorus] Trouble trouble trouble trouble

    Mothers of River City, heed this warning before it’s too late. Watch for the telltale signs of corruption: The minute your son or daughter leave the house, do they immediately start treating any non member of the Cornerstone Church with courtesy, respect, and fairness?? And are certain words creeping into their vocabulary, words like “tolerance,” …or “science,” …or “EVIDENCE!!?


    • Artor

      PAStor Hagee, where the wind goes blowing through his ears…

    • Timothy R Alexander

      Some one needs to make this song come to life!

    • Hertzey

      Mr. Wade on behalf of secular musical geeks allow me to present to you this award of awesomeness for you post. That was beautiful.

    • btmasakari

      Mad props for The Music Man.

  • WallofSleep

    Democracy? Invented by pagans. Republicanism? Invented by pagans. Our country, our form of gov’t? Founded as a constitutional republic based on the pagan ideals of democracy and republicanism. Eh, I don’t see the problem.

  • Happycynic

    God, I wish that Secular Humanism filled the singles bars…

  • Robin

    He gets so excited about all this sin he is shoving down their throats, kinda funny to watch. He is going to burst a vein if he isn’t careful.

  • Bad_homonym

    I don’t doubt secular humanists fill rape crisis centers, mental hospitals and prisons….. They seem likely to be counselors, therapists and doctors. You know, people who actually help rather than pay lip service praying!

  • The Other Weirdo

    How can it be a pagan society when the vast majority of Americans are Christian? I don’t tbhink he knows what pagan is.

    • Randy Meyer

      Or to this guy Pagan = non-Christian

      • CarysBirch

        Non-my-favorite-flavor-of-Christian. Most Christians assuredly would not qualify.

    • Claire

      Pagan is a bogeyman word for “anyone who disagrees with me”

  • Kay

    Hmm… technically, there are 100% more people in rape crisis centers now under the Secular Humanist nation than there were back in the esteemed pastor’s heyday. Since rape crisis centers didn’t exist before the 1970s, and he strikes me as a Jim Crow guy. Quelle douchebag.

    • trj

      Erm, going from 0 is not a 100% increase.

  • Rain

    Man, they don’t get any more hard-headed than that guy. You can just tell there’s no talking to that dude, be he huckster or be he for realz.

  • cryofly

    “Also, someone should let him know that Secular Humanism and Paganism aren’t synonymous. ” — You are giving this man’s intelligence too much credit. Reading through the quote, I am baffled by ‘teaching the principles of witchcraft’. Is he talking of the catholic church? But I do like his use of the word ‘unto’ as in ‘unto the lord’. I would standup in his congregation to yell, “Dude, I am my own lord”. But then why would I be there. And now in an hours time, I am attending a talk on evolution of sexual ornaments… in insects.

    • Artor

      I think ‘teaching the principles of witchcraft’ means allowing Harry Potter in school libraries.

      • WallofSleep

        What cracks me up about the whole Potter paranoia is the fact that if any of the accusations were even remotely true, every man, woman, and child on this planet would be up to their assholes in candy and puppy dogs by now. It would be a sticky, sweet, furry apocalypse.

        • Matt D

          Well, critical thinking isn’t something they encourage (in children, as well as the adults), for obvious reasons.

  • Randy Meyer

    If he spent less time thinking about all of our sins, then maybe he might actually be able to accomplish something more useful.

    • Randy Meyer

      But probably not.

  • Caleb Fiero

    I love stand up comedy! This guy is great! When is Pastor Hagee getting a Comedy Central Roast??

    • trj

      You gotta love his delivery. Such pomposity!

      In fact, if I were to describe him in a single word, that would be it. Pompous.

  • anniewhoo

    When you think of all of the symbols and rituals that the Christians have stolen from the Pagans, this is even more laughable. Even the word “holy” has Pagan origins.

    • pagansister


  • Buckley

    Yes, us Scottish Americans who wear kilts are a problem too…

    • busterggi

      You, sir, are no Rowdy Roddy Piper!

      • Buckley

        If you are implying I am No True Roddy Piper…you are correct…I’m not descendant from his “clan”

  • islandbrewer

    I for one am glad for a return to paganism.

    I was afraid that if we, as a nation, turned away from Odin, the Gleipnir binding Fenrir would break, and start Ragnarok.

    It’s true, and we know it’s true, because it was in an Icelandic Viking Metal video by Skalmold.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Hell, I’d take a witchcraft class if it actually worked, but seriously he needs a dictionary. He seems to be using pagan to mean godless.

  • Paula M Smolik

    Gluttony must not be a sin any more. Hmmm.

    • Matt D


  • closetatheist

    Also, he forgot to mention porn. Everyone knows you have to mention the porn. and the ebils of the internets. What was he thinking?

  • Kristian Alekov

    This all gets filed under the “Holy crap” category..

  • m6wg4bxw

    “Soo… what I’m hearing is you’re not really a secular humanist.” —John Hagee

  • pagansister

    And being a Pagan Society would be bad, how?

    • smrnda

      Pagans I know tend to be pretty reasonable people, dedicated to living in a tolerant and pluralist society. They also don’t seem intent on forcing everyone to follow their rules. Pagans over these fundamentalist Christians any day.

      • pagansister


    • FTP_LTR

      Think of the expense!

      All the signage reading “Christmas Sale” and “Christmas Break” or “Easter” would need to be reprinted with Samhain and Beltane, and, um the other ones.

      • pagansister

        Golly, never thought of that! :-)

        • smrnda

          I think of it as a great new business opportunity. Fundie Xtians will refuse to make these signs as they *violate their beliefs* and others will step up and be fine with them and make a bunch of $$$.

          • pagansister

            Don’t think I will be starting that new signage business but I would most certainly support the person/persons that did.

  • CarysBirch

    “but is approved of teaching the principles of witchcraft”

    Is it me or does his sentence construction fall apart a bit here? It pains me to read it. I suppose he meant “allowed to teach” not “gains accolades for teaching” but it’s really pretty much impossible to tell as he’s phrased it.

  • Paul D.

    Telling the truth isn’t Christians’ strong suit, is it?

  • Nemo

    I can only imagine our friends over at the Pagan channel are amused at this.

  • Baby_Raptor

    If only he was right. The country would be better for it.

  • Robster

    Do the organized religions mint all these preacher blokes from the same mould? They must have a line running somewhere, preachers breed like rabbits, or flies.

  • Cyrus Palmer

    Christians just don’t seem to understand words sometimes….

  • Mick

    His poor dumb audience is throwing shitloads of money at him, thinking they are buying a retirement home in heaven, while Hagee and his family are laughing at their gullibility every night as the butler serves dinner.

  • wabney

    What an intentionally ignorant TOOL. I despise this nonsense so much – it’s people like this who push me from Atheist to Anti-theist. Ugh.

  • advancedatheist

    If you want pagan persecution of christians, at least do it right:

  • Kellen Connor

    Dude, I’m a secular humanist and my best friend is a pagan. We are not the same thing. >_<

  • Houndentenor

    He’s serious. If that’s acting, I want a tony award for every live performance I’ve ever given.

    The issue here is that he defines words to mean whatever he wants them to mean and goes from there. Secular Humanism = Paganism? He doesn’t understand what either of those things are, and doesn’t have any interest in learning. He’s typical of most Fundamentalist preachers his age. (The younger ones are a lot slicker about this sort of thing because younger people are mostly not this ill-informed.)

    Also, the reason that battered women’s shelters are full is that we (both secular and religious groups) have convinced women that they should leave abusive husbands and boyfriends. They used to just have to take it. The shelters weren’t full before because there weren’t any. And as for divorce, the divorce rates are highest in the areas where the Christianity is the most Fundamentalist. Couples in the south divorce far more often than couples in the northeast. I could go on but that’s enough to know that there are huge holes in everything he says. But why would he bother to take a serious look at social problems, their causes and potential solutions when he doesn’t really give a damn about those problems. it’s just a blunt weapon to beat up on anyone who isn’t like him.