Brandt Neider (Readers' Forum, March 18) suggested he thinks that Barack Obama "agrees with his pastor," even though Obama stated, "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies."

If a person gets tainted by the words of a pastor, we need to be looking at John McCain. He was endorsed by the Rev. John Hagee. Hagee, when asked about Hurricane Katrina striking New Orleans, said, "I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that." Hagee has also called the Catholic Church "the Great Whore."

McCain's response to Hagee's endorsement? "All I can tell you is I'm very proud to have Pastor Hagee's support." McCain has also sought the endorsement of Pat Robertson, who has stated, "Christian-oriented cults include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (1992 CBN "Cults" pamphlet).

With McCain there is no repudiation of controversial statements, just pride in the endorsement.

Dale Christensen

West Jordan