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Christianist right organization "The Family" helped write Ugandan anti-gay bill

Ugh. More, including links to Hillary Clinton's Famliy membership. No particular knock on Hillary, since The Family sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, which everybody who is anybody attends. So Famliy membership is just another way the political class is more like itself than it is like the rest of us.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

no matter how many fundamentalist pols adhere to his "teachings," and/or attend his "National Prayer Breakfast."

I attended a Prayer Breakfast because I had to address the audience as one of the Voting Program Coordinators for the Alaska Command in 1984 (ironic, huh--someone as left-wing as "moi," being forced to spearhead the drive to register more military members--and therefore more votes for Reagan, LOL!).

Being a life-long member of the left faith community, I am far from an atheist, but these folks are beyond the pale.

I hope that readers check out some of Jeff Sharlet's pieces or his book. These folks are downright 'scary.'

Both PBO and FS Clinton spoke at the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast. This is a bad omen and awful precedent. (And I realize that Presidents, and Senators, etc., since Eisenhower, if not earlier, have participated in this annual right-wing shindig.) But knowing this, gives me no solace.

Personally, I believe that there should be a VERY "bright line" between church and state.

And that became very blurred when FP Clinton signed the Charitable Choice Amendment put forth by the right-winger and Pentacostal Senator John Ashcroft (remember--he covered up statutes!!!!!).

I thought that the Democratic Party did--guess I thought wrong!

From Wikipedia:

C Street Center

The Fellowship runs a $1.8 million three-story brick mansion in Washington D.C. known as "C Street."[106][107][108][109][110][111] It is the former convent for nearby St. Peter's Church. It is located a short distance from the United States Capitol. The structure has 12 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, five living rooms, four dining rooms, three offices, a kitchen, and a small "chapel".[6]

The facility houses mostly Republican members of Congress.[5][6][112] The house is also the locale for:

Wednesday prayer breakfasts for United States Senators, which have been attended by Senators Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe, John Ensign, Susan Collins and Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday night dinners for members of Congress and other Fellowship associates. . . .

I suppose they have "the right" to do what they want--ON THEIR OWN TIME--which the National Prayer Breakfast is not.

(Just as I was forced to participate in one, "on government time.")

But, at the very least, public officeholders (and potential ones, since we have a revolving-door system) should have to be more forthcoming about their activities with this secretive cabal of right-wing fundamentalists.

IMO, the progressive community needs to fight back not only against the takeover of the government by corporations, but the several decade tendency to involve "the church" in our public welfare policy-making.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Even though I greatly disapprove [of the National Prayer Breakfast, and its thousands of "satellite" breakfasts] based on many theological grounds, including, but not exclusive to honoring a proper "separation between church and state," I can deal with FS Clinton (and for that matter, any lawmaker, President, etc.) attending Washington's annual Prayer Breakfast--since it is "tradition." (never mind, a misguided one)

And, as I mentioned, by virtue of position (due to a temporary assignment), I was literally forced to attend one of these noxious events, myself.

But I must say, I view regular participation in regular Senate Prayer Groups (or cells) led by Douglas Coe, in a completely different light. Especially, considering the roster of attendees.

And I don't view participation in the prayer groups, or cells, as compulsory--especially since "The Fellowship" goes to such great lengths to obscure this, and other of their activities.

I recall that some in the progressive community literally 'freaked out' when some obscure Ugandan high priest (or something, like that) "layed hands on" Sarah Palin.

From my understanding, that Ugandan dude is a "piker" compared to Douglas Coe.

There is no comparison between them regarding their "international influence in the fundamentalist religious or faith community."

Jeff Sharlet and Joshua Green wrote on this fairly extensively, IIRC.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Well, "in your shoes" right now, trying to get ready to relocate--so my blogging is spotty, and therefore brief (for me, LOL!).

Have "scads" of links on this topic, but no time to write a lengthy post on this topic.

So, for the safe of brevity, I'll sort of "bullet point" my comments:

1 -- Vaguely recall about Baker's wife--also Dem Sen Pryor, and IIRC, Sen Bill Nelson (FL) and wife--but not sure what the inference is, exactly (or how the involvement of a couple of spouses of Senators in the Fellowship's Senate Prayer Cells, or Groups, changes anything).

Pls, allow me to reiterate--I am by no means "anti-religious or anti-faith."

2 -- Heck, I first "went to church" at 9 days old, and I have been a "church pianist" since I began playing for my Sunday School Department in the 4th grade (over 50 years, now).

But, I DO believe in a "bright line between Church in State" and in science (and I'm not a literalist or fundamentalist). Period.

3 -- My main problem with "The Fellowship or The Family" is the purpose of the inception (or mission of) this religious sect.

Because I'd like to post other comments, I'll only offer one very brief excerpt regarding this, at this time.

'Family': Fundamentalism, Friends In High Places

In the book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, author Jeff Sharlet examines the power wielded by a secretive Christian group known as "the Family, or the Fellowship."

Founded in 1935 in opposition to FDR's New Deal, the evangelical group's views on religion and politics are so singular that some other Christian-right organizations consider them heretical.

The group also has a connection to a house in Washington, D.C., known as C Street. Owned by a foundation affiliated with the Family, C Street is officially registered as a church; in practice, it serves as a meeting place and residence for politicians like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Nevada Sen. John Ensign and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

The Family, Sharlet writes, is responsible for founding the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a supposedly ecumenical — but implicitly Christian — event attended by the president, members of Congress and dignitaries from around the world. These foreign delegations are often led by top defense personnel, who use it as an opportunity to lobby the most influential people in Washington — and who repay the Family with access to their governments.

The group's approach to religion, Sharlet says, is based on "a sort of trickle-down fundamentalism," which holds that the wealthy and powerful, if they "can get their hearts right with God ... will dispense blessings to those underneath them."

Members of the group ardently support free markets, in which, they believe, God's will operates directly through Adam Smith's "invisible hand."

The Family was founded in 1935 by a minister named Abraham Vereide after, he claimed, he had a vision in which God came to him in the person of the head of the United States Steel Corporation.

The current leader, Doug Coe, shuns publicity but wields considerable political influence as a spiritual adviser. Sharlet says that when Sanford recently compared his struggles to those of the biblical King David — a central figure in Family theology — the author "could almost hear Doug Coe's voice" coming out of the South Carolina governor.

[A religion expert and a journalist, Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone. He is editor of The Revealer, a review of religion and the press.]

So, readers can research Jeff Sharlet or Josh Green (or whoever) to flesh out more specifics/information, if they are interested. Or, disregard. Whatever.

But the fact that they mix politics with this pernicious brand of fundamentalism, is disturbing to me.

And frankly, I did not at all appreciate being forced to participate in the 1984 Breakfast. (Apparently, my counterpart in Anchorage was also forced to participate.)

Bottom line for me is, if this was truly a sincere faith endeavor, why would the Installation Voting Officer ("moi," who was appointed TDY for 10 months, more or less, to reelect Reagan) be forced to participate (in this charade)?

Perhaps it depends upon one's perspective on religion.

For me, my faith informs my politics. It was even the basis for my choice of professions, almost forty years ago.

So, an organization this garish and offensive in its stated or implied mission--to oppose "The New Deal"--scores no positive points with me.