After months of refusing to do so, John McCain has finally rejected the endorsement of his bid for the presidency by the ultra-right-wing “pastor” John Hagee. The so-called rejection came after media reports showed Hagee had described Hitler and the Holocaust as God’s vehicles for getting the Jews back to Israel.

But earlier reports cited numerous other outrageous pronouncements by Hagee, including calling the Catholic Church a “great whore” and speaking of God’s decision to destroy New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of “the level of sin” there.

McCain recently visited New Orleans — a city that has suffered as much, perhaps, from political neglect and malfeasance after the storm as it had from the natural disaster itself. He offered only the same platitudes the people have heard from the Bush administration.

McCain actively sought Hagee’s endorsement although he knew about the man’s vicious statements. It is not enough, therefore, that he simply disavow the endorsement.

The right thing to do now would be to explain to the American people where he agrees and where he disagrees with Hagee on the causes of both natural and political disasters.

The right thing to do now would be to explain to the public what he would do differently then the Bush administration both in preparing for and in the aftermath of these disasters.

We won’t hold our breath waiting for these explanations, however.

We know that the long-term political marriage of McCain, Bush and the Republicans to the Hagees and the religious right exists for a lot of reasons.

When levees fail, for example, “God’s wrath” is more convenient an explanation than Republican neglect of infrastructure. Selling acceptance of violence and war in the Middle East as part of a “divine” plan is more convenient than explaining wars of blood, American blood, for oil company profits.

McCain’s belated disavowal of the endorsement by Hagee does not explain away the continuing GOP love-fest with right-wing purveyors of hate who masquerade as “pastors.”