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Offline ajax13

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« on: November 21, 2009, 06:30:39 PM »
I finished this book in the last couple of weeks.  I would recommend it to all Fornitscators.
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Offline Ursus

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Jeff Sharlet, The Family, 2008
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2009, 12:11:53 AM »
Friday, July 10, 2009
Jeff Sharlet, The Family, 2008

"Just when we thought the Christian right was crumbling, Jeff Sharlet delivers a rude shock: One of its most powerful and cult-like core groups, the Family, has been thriving. Sharlet's book is one of the most compelling and brilliantly researched exposes you'll ever read -- just don't read it alone at night!"
--Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, and Dancing in the Streets

From the bookjacket:

They are the Family—fundamentalism's avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the new chosen, congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells, to pray and plan for a "leadership led by God," to be won not by force but through "quiet diplomacy." Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have written from inside its walls.

The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power—not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a "family" that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, the Family's leader declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't."

Sharlet's discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not "What do fundamentalists want?" but "What have they already done?"

Order yours now.


"Of all the important studies of the American right, The Family is undoubtedly the most eloquent. It is also quite possibly the most terrifying. This story of a secretive and unmerciful church of 'key men' goes way beyond Jesus Christ, CEO—it's Jesus Christ, lobbyist; Jesus Christ, strikebreaker; and maybe even Jesus Christ, fuehrer."
--Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?

"Forget what you think you know about the Christian Right; Jeff Sharlet has uncovered a frightening strain of hidden fundamentalism that forces us to revise our understanding of religion and politics in modern America. A brilliant marriage of investigative journalism and history, an unsettling story of how this small but powerful group shaped the faith of the nation in the 20th century and drives the politics of empire in the 21st. Anyone interested in circles of power will love this book."
--Debby Applegate, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biography for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

"Jeff Sharlet has an incredibly rare double talent: the instincts of an investigative reporter coupled with the soul of a historian. He has managed to infiltrate the most influential and secretive fundamentalist network in America, and ground his reporting in the most astute and original explanation of fundamentalism I've ever read."
--Hanna Rosin, former religion reporter for the Washington Post and author of God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save the Nation

"A gripping, utterly original narrative about an influential evangelical elite that few Americans even know exists. Jeff Sharlet's fine reporting unveils a group whose history stretches from the corporate foes of the New Deal to the congressional lawmakers who gather each year at the National Prayer Breakfast. The Christian Right will never look the same again."
--Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: the Life of William Jennings Bryan

"The organization of influence these men constitute may remind readers of a Rotary Club—but it is a Rotary Club equipped with nuclear weapons. When the Family's members say 'Let us pray,' they are not just making a suggestion."
--Michael Lesy, author of Wisconsin Death Trip

"Un-American theocrats can only fool patriotic American democrats when there aren't critics like Jeff Sharlet around -- careful scholars and soulful writers who understand both the majesty of faith and the evil of its abuses. A remarkable accomplishment in the annals of writing about religion."
--Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

"Jeff Sharlet is one of the very best writers covering the politics of religion. Brilliantly reported and filled with wonderful anecdotes, The Family tells the story of an influential group that you haven't previously heard of, and need to know about."
--Ken Silverstein, Washington editor of Harper's and author of The Radioactive Boy Scout

"I was once an insider's insider within fundamentalism. Unequivocally: Sharlet knows what he's talking about. He writes: 'Our refusal to recognize the theocratic strand running throughout American history is as self-deceiving as fundamentalism's insistence that the United States was created a Christian nation.' Those who want to be un-deceived (and wildly entertained) must read this disturbing tour de force."
--Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy For God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back

"The Family offers the reader an astounding entrée to a fascinating Christian network unknown to most Americans. Jeff Sharlet has managed to peel back the curtain and reveal an elusive organization that wields an unsettling amount influence over our country's lawmakers as well as business and political leaders worldwide. The Family is a must-read for any American who wants to know who is actually pulling the strings at the highest levels of power."
--Heidi Ewing, co-director of Jesus Camp

"Jeff Sharlet provides a fascinating account of how part of American Christianity has gone off on a dangerous tangent. It should worry everyone -- maybe especially those of us who understand the Gospels to be a call to help the powerless, not prop up the powerful. In the last few years evangelicals have begun to reconsider their automatic support for the status quo; The Family will help accelerate that important renewal."
--Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and The Bill McKibben Reader

"The author of that Harper's piece is the fearless and fantastically talented Jeff Sharlet, who just came out with a book about [the Family]. I can't recommend the piece or the book strongly enough."
--Noam Scheiber, The New Republic

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Posted by Jeff Sharlet at 8:18 PM
Labels: nonfiction
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Offline Ursus

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Jeff Sharlet on the Rachel Maddow Show
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2009, 12:49:09 AM »
Quote from: "ajax13"
I finished this book in the last couple of weeks.  I would recommend it to all Fornitscators.
There's a short segment on a recent airing of the Rachel Maddow Show (Nov. 17, 2009), where The Family author Jeff Sharlet comments on the tax-exempt status of the C-Street House having just been "stripped."

Apparently, it is not being used just for worship purposes and for preparing missionaries as originally claimed by "The Family," at least not exclusively. At the very least, there's a certain amount of rental income generated by a number of conservative politicians who stay there while they're in D.C., and the Family has not been paying taxes on that extra source of cash flow.

A small number of those politicians (e.g., senator John Ensign, governor Mark Sanford, representative Chip Pickering) have been in the news recently regarding their respective illicit and adulterous affairs carried out at -- amongst other locations -- the C Street House!  So much for being able to practice the missionary position ... away from the prying eyes of the press!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Ursus

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Ensign's 'C Street House' Owned By Group Touting Plans...
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 01:03:26 PM »
The relationship between "The Family" and Youth With a Mission (YWAM) is less than clear. According to more recent sources, YWAM used to own the house, but ended up selling it to The Fellowship Foundation (aka The Family) at some point in the intervening years.

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Ensign's 'C Street House' Owned By Group Touting Plans For Christian World Control
Posted by Bruce Wilson, Talk To Action at 10:46 AM on July 11, 2009.

Video reveals politically connected church's bizarre plans control of "seven key sectors" of society.

Most recently covered by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (1, 2), Washington D.C.'s "C Street House" has over the past two weeks become the center of a media firestorm. Along with GOP Senator Tom Coburn, sex-scandal embroiled GOP leaders Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford have been tied to the row house, assessed to be worth 1.84 million dollars, which is registered as a church and provides Washington politicians with substantially lower than market rate rent. Coburn and Ensign have lived at the C Street house, while Sanford has participated in its Bible study group.

    Editor's Insertion: The following is a partial transcript from Maddow's show on the C Street House:
    If you consult this building’s financial paper trail, you will find that it's actually considered to be a church. That designation makes "C Street" a convenient tax-free haven for the secretive organization that runs it, an organization known as "The Family." It also makes for some awkward tax and income questions for the at least five, probably seven, members of Congress who live at the house in exchange for what appears to be substantially low market rent. ...

    The "C Street house is a former convent. It's used as a sort of subsidized, really upscale dorm for members of Congress who are associated with this powerful, poorly understood religious group.

    The Family and the house at C Street have ended up reluctantly in the headlines now because of the two major politician sex scandals that are embroiling the Republican Party this summer, and that have taken two of their reported 2012 presidential hopefuls out of political contention. Embattled Nevada Senator John Ensign lives at the C Street house.

    The husband of Senator Ensign's mistress says that prominent members of the family, including sons of the group's founders ... were both aware of Ensign's secret affair and were involved in his efforts to pay off the mistress and her family...." [End transcript][/list]

    According to the Washington Post the house is owned by Youth With a Mission D.C. Youth With a Mission is one of the most extensive Christian fundamentalist para-church organizations on Earth, and YWAM founder leader Loren Cunningham has publicly outlined a vision for Christian world-control.

    Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture

    In a 2008 promotional video, "Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture", Loren Cunningham describes a vision he shared along with the late Campus Crusade For Christ founder Bill Bright and late Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer, in which Christian fundamentalists could achieve world domination by taking over key sectors of society such as business, government, media, and education.

    Francis Schaeffer is widely credited as one of the most influential theologians of the 20th Century Christian right. Among the myriad ministries of Bill Bright's behemoth Campus Crusade For Christ is the Washington D.C. ministry Christian Embassy that targets Pentagon leaders for evangelizing.

    The C Street House is run by a secretive Washington ministry known as The Family, or The Fellowship. Over the past year and a half, The Family has gradually come to public attention, mainly due to journalist and Harpers contributing editor Jeff Sharlet's ground breaking book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The Family runs the yearly National Prayer Breakfast and maintains a network of Capital Hill prayer groups which have enjoyed the participation of both top GOP but also top Democratic Party Congress and Senate members.

    The Family runs but does not own the C Street House. According to a June 26th, 2009 Washington Post story, by Manuel Roig-Franzia, "The Political Enclave That Dare Not Speak Its Name: The Sanford and Ensign Scandals Open a Door On Previously Secretive 'C Street' Spiritual Haven", the C Street House is owned by a "little-known organization called Youth With a Mission of Washington DC."

    Youth With a Mission is a global Christian evangelical organization founded in 1960 which, declares YWAM, is "currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 149 countries, with a staff of nearly 16,000."

    As Cunningham introduces Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture, "It was August, 1975... and the Lord had given me, that day a list of things that I had never thought about before. He said, 'This is the way to reach America, and nations, for God.' "

    The video continues with a narrator who declares, "In every city of the world, an unseen battle rages for dominion over God's creation and the souls of people. This battle is fought on seven strategic fronts, looming like mountains over the culture, that shape and influence its destiny. Over the years, the church slowly retreated from its place of influence on these mountains, leaving a void now filled with darkness. When we lose our influence, we lose the culture and when we lose the culture we fail to advance the kingdom of God. And now, a generation stands in desperate need. It's time to fight for them and take back these mountains of influence."

    Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture then outlines seven areas of influence for Christian fundamentalists to reclaim:

      The Mountain of Government, "where evil is either restrained or endorsed",
      The Mountain of Education, "where truths, or lies, about God and his creation are taught.",
      The Mountain of Media, "where information is interpreted through the lens of good or evil",
      The Mountain of Arts and Entertainment, "where values and virtue are celebrated or distorted",
      The Mountain of Religion, "where people worship God in spirit and truth, or settle for a religious ritual",
      The Mountain of Family, "where either a blessing or a curse is passed onto successive generations" and,
      The Mountain of Business, "where people build for the glory of God or the glory of man."

      The last is the key mountain, proclaims the video: "those who lead this mountain influence what controls our culture."
    Youth With a Mission also runs a global Christian evangelism educational ministry headquartered at the University of the Nations 45 acre campus in Kona, Hawaii.

    As one example in which organizations such as YWAM are implementing the Reclaiming the 7 Seven Mountains agenda, the university has developed programs to provide its students with real world skills such as media and film production.

    One of the graduates from the Kona university is Loren Cunningham's son, David Loren Cunningham, who founded the Film Institute in 2004 with other University of Nations students, to place students in the film industry in order to transform Hollywood from within. Cunningham directed Path to 911, the controversial television film aired on ABC on September 10 and 11, 2006 and covered at The Huffington Post by journalist Max Blumenthal.

    Tagged as: john ensign

    Bruce Wilson writes for Talk To Action, a blog specializing in faith and politics.

    © 2009 Independent Media Institute.
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    Offline Ursus

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    Sex and power inside "the C Street House"
    « Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 01:24:12 PM »
    The second part of this Salon piece contains a marvelous picture of how politicians from "The Family" go about mixing vocations of church and state in the course of their activities overseas.

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    Tuesday, Jul 21, 2009 03:21 PDT
    Sex and power inside "the C Street House"
    Sanford, Ensign, and other regulars receive guidance from the invisible fundamentalist group known as the Family
    By Jeff Sharlet

    Sharlet is the author of the bestselling "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power."

    Left, 133 C Street S.E., a red-brick structure registered as a church and affiliated with a secretive Christian group known by many names, one of them the Fellowship Foundation, is seen Wednesday, July 1, 2009, in Washington. Tucked on the edge of the Capitol complex, the house has functioned as a shield for the lawmakers who live and pray there. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford blew away the privacy of the place over the past week, revealing that he had confided in his "C Street" "Christian friends" the cross-continental affair that he had hidden from his wife. Right, In this Wednesday, June 24, 2009 file photo, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford tearfully admits to having an affair during a news conference in Columbia, S.C. Sanford, who once criticized other state officials for costly travel, charged the state more than $37,600 for one first-class and four business-class flights overseas since November 2005, expense records show. Other state employees flew in the back of the plane at a fraction of the price, according to the documents.
    Left, AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, right, AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File

    I can't say I was impressed when I met Sen. John Ensign at the C Street House, the secretive religious enclave on Capitol Hill thrust into the news by its links to three political sex scandals, those of Gov. Mark Sanford; former Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., who allegedly rendezvoused at the C Street House with his mistress, an executive in the industry for which he then became a lobbyist; and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. Although Sanford declared today that his scandal will actually turn out to be good for the people of South Carolina because he's now more firmly in God's control, the once-favored GOP presidential prospect will finish out his term and fade away. And Ensign's residence at the C Street House during his own extramarital affair now threatens to end a career that he and other Republicans hoped would lead him to the White House.

    When I met Ensign, he was just back from a run, sweaty and bouncing in place, boasting about the time he'd clocked and teasing a young woman from his office. She seemed annoyed that the senator wouldn't get himself into a shower and back on the job. When I wrote about Sen. Ensign in my book about the evangelical political organization that runs the C Street House, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," I described him as a "conservative casino heir elected to the Senate from Nevada, a brightly tanned, hapless figure who uses his Family connections to graft holiness to his gambling-fortune name."

    Now, of course, I know I was wrong: John Ensign is a brightly tanned, hapless figure who used his Family connections to cover up the fruits of his flirtations, to make moral decisions for him, and to do his dirty work when his secret romance sputtered. Doug Hampton, the friend and former aide whom Ensign cuckolded, tells us that it was Family leader David Coe, along with Coe's brother Tim and Family "brother" Sen. Tom Coburn, who delivered the pink slip when it was time to put Cynthia Hampton out of Ensign's reach.

    If sexual license was all the Family offered the C Street men, however, that would merely be seedy and self-serving. But Family men are more than hypocritical. They're followers of a political religion that embraces elitism, disdains democracy, and pursues power for its members the better to "advance the Kingdom." They say they're working for Jesus, but their Christ is a power-hungry, inside-the-Beltway savior not many churchgoers would recognize. Sexual peccadilloes aside, the Family acts today like the most powerful lobby in America that isn't registered as a lobby -- and is thus immune from the scrutiny attending the other powerful organizations like Big Pharma and Big Insurance that exert pressure on public policy.

    The Family likes to call itself a "Christian Mafia," but it began 74 years ago as an anti-New Deal coalition of businessmen convinced that organized labor was under the sway of Satan. The Great Depression, they believed, was a punishment from God for what they viewed as FDR's socialism. The Family's goal was the "consecration" of America to God, first through the repeal of New Deal reforms, then through the aggressive expansion of American power during the Cold War. They called this a "Worldwide Spiritual Offensive," but in Washington, it amounted to the nation's first fundamentalist lobby. Early participants included Southern Sens. Strom Thurmond, Herman Talmadge and Absalom Willis Robertson -- Pat Robertson's father. Membership lists stored in the Family's archive at the Billy Graham Center at evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois show active participation at any given time over the years by dozens of congressmen.

    Today's roll call is just as impressive: Men under the Family's religio-political counsel include, in addition to Ensign, Coburn and Pickering, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both R-S.C.; James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., and recent senators and high officials such as John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Pete Domenici and Don Nickles. Over in the House there's Joe Pitts, R-Penn., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and John R. Carter, R-Texas. Historically, the Family has been strongly Republican, but it includes Democrats, too. There's Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, for instance, a vocal defender of putting the Ten Commandments in public places, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the pro-war Arkansas Democrat responsible for scuttling Obama's labor agenda. Sen. Pryor explained to me the meaning of bipartisanship he'd learned through the Family: "Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over." And by Jesus, the Family means the Family.

    Family leaders consider their political network to be Christ's avant garde, an elite that transcends not just conventional morality but also earthly laws regulating lobbying. In the Family's early days, they debated registering as "a lobby for God's Kingdom." Instead, founder Abraham Vereide decided that the group could be more effective by working personally with politicians. "The more invisible you can make your organization," Vereide's successor, current leader Doug Coe preaches, "the more influence you can have." That's true -- which is why we have laws requiring lobbyists to identify themselves as such.

    But David Coe, Doug Coe's son and heir apparent, calls himself simply a friend to men such as John Ensign, whom he guided through the coverup of his affair. I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He's a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was -- or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate -- he asked a young man who'd put himself, body and soul, under the Family's authority, "Let's say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?" The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. "No," answered Coe, "I wouldn't." Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he's among what Family leaders refer to as the "new chosen." If you're chosen, the normal rules don't apply.

    So it is for Ensign. Sen. Jim DeMint, one of Ensign's C Street roommates, insists that the prayer groups that meet there -- "invisible believing groups," in the Family's words, designed to facilitate private prayer between partners of equally high status -- are all about accountability. That is, the kind that takes place behind closed doors. We now know that the Family was aware of Sen. Ensign's affair long before Doug Hampton's wounded pride forced it into the public. What's more, if Hampton is to be believed, their concern with the payoffs made by Ensign and his parents to his mistress's family was that they were too small; operating in a medical and spiritual capacity, Sen. Coburn counseled $1.2 million, according to Hampton. Coburn is no hypocrite -- he's a true believer in the faith of the Family, the idea that the chosen need to look out for one another. Christian right leader -- and Watergate felon -- Chuck Colson, converted through the efforts of the Family, has boasted of it as a "veritable underground of Christ's men all through government."

    What do they do? Rep. Zach Wamp, one of Ensign's fellow C Streeters who's been in the news for defending the Family's secrecy, has teamed up with Family-linked Reps. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., and John R. Carter, R-Texas, on an obscure appropriations committee to help greenlight tens of millions in federal funds for new megachurch-style chapels on military bases around the country. Former Rep. Chip Pickering was not only sleeping on the sly with a representative of the telecom industry, he was living with one -- former Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Largent, a C Streeter who in his post-Congress capacity as the head of a telecom association paid for travel by Pickering and John Ensign. Some might call that "crony capitalism"; Family members call it "biblical capitalism."

    A review of Ensign's and Sen. Coburn's travel records, undertaken with researcher Chris Rodda of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, reveals an even more disturbing overlap of the pious and the political. On at least three occasions in recent years, Sen. Ensign traveled to Asia and the Middle East on what he described as official policy trips, paid for entirely by the International Foundation, one of the network of little-known nonprofits that make up the Family. Sen. Coburn, meanwhile, traveled to Beirut in 2005 on the Family's dime, with the explicit mission of setting up Lebanese political prayer groups, just like the one that covered for Ensign. The following year, Coburn humbled himself in prayer at a special Family event in the British Virgin Islands, a Christian mission of earthly rewards also undertaken, at Family expense, by fellow C Streeter Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., who also sacrificed himself for God with a Family-paid trip to Aruba.

    To be fair, most of the trips sponsored by the Family aren't pleasure junkets. They're missionary work. Only the Family missionaries aren't representing the United States. They're representing "Jesus plus nothing," as Doug Coe puts it, the "totalitarianism of God," in the words of an early Family leader, a vision that encompasses not just social issues but also the kind of free-market fundamentalism that is the real object of devotion for Ensign, Coburn, Pickering, Wamp and Sanford, along with Family insiders such as Sens. DeMint, Sam Brownback and Chuck Grassley. At the heart of the Family's spiritual advice for its proxies in Congress is the conviction that the market's invisible hand represents the guidance of God, and that God wants his "new chosen" to look out for one another.

    When they arrive in other countries, on trips paid for by the Family, at the behest of the Family, they are still traveling under official government auspices, on official business, with the pomp and circumstance -- and access -- of their taxpayer-funded, elected positions. Here's how a former National Security Council official who traveled with Family leader Doug Coe on a tour of Pacific nations described the Family effect in small nations where a visitor like John Ensign is a major event: "It reminded me of the story in World War II, where the British sent an OSS type into Borneo ... And this guy parachuted out of the sky and they had never seen anything like this so they looked on him as -- he had blonde hair and white skin and he was a white god who had come out of the sky to mobilize them. Obviously his side was going to win so they had no trouble aligning themselves."

    One needn't be a Marxist to find fault with the Family's mash-up of New Testament and unfettered capitalism -- Adam Smith himself would have recognized that theology as a disingenuous form of self-interest by proxy. Such interests have led the Family into some strange alliances over the years. Seduced by the Indonesian dictator Suharto's militant anti-communism, they described the murder of hundreds of thousands that brought him to power as a "spiritual revolution," and sent delegations of congressmen and oil executives to pray to Jesus with the Muslim leader. In Africa, they anointed the Somali killer Siad Barre as God's man and sent Sen. Grassley and a defense contractor as emissaries. Barre described himself as a "Koranic Marxist," but he agreed to pray to Grassley's American Christ in return for American military aid, which he then used to wreak a biblical terror on his nation. It has not yet recovered. More recently, the Family has paid for congressional Christian junkets to bastions of democracy such as Serbia, Sudan, Belarus, Albania, Macedonia and Musharraf's Pakistan.

    If the Family men who stood over John Ensign as he wrote a baldly insincere breakup letter to his mistress were naive about hearts that want what they want, they don't claim ignorance about the strongmen with whom they build bonds of prayer and foreign aid. They admire them. Counseling Rep. Tiahrt, Doug Coe offered Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden as men whose commitment to their causes is to be emulated. Preaching on the meaning of Christ's words, he says, "You know Jesus said 'You got to put Him before mother-father-brother sister? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that's what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn't murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom."

    Sen. Ensign, facing calls for an investigation of what may have been felony abuses of campaign funds in his attempt to cover up his affair, might not get there. Then again, the Family's preview of a "new kingdom" -- a private club of men protecting one another's secrets -- doesn't sound so different from the old kingdom. That's the awful secret behind the closed doors of the C Street House, the Family's authoritarian rhetoric, and even the Family's real mission: business as usual, fortified by faith in more power for the powerful and privilege itself a form of piety.

    Copyright ©2009 Salon Media Group, Inc.
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    Offline ajax13

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    Re: Funderwear
    « Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 04:02:15 PM »

    Interesting to see Paul Kagame tied to the Fellowship.  French evidence indicates that Kagame's boys brought down the President's plane and fired up the real slicing and dicing in Rwanda.
    « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
    "AARC will go on serving youth and families as long as it will be needed, if it keeps open to God for inspiration" Dr. F. Dean Vause Executive Director

    "...based on an understanding that addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that makes people more vulnerable to overdose after they've been in treatment."  Zontar?

    Offline Ursus

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    Documents Show Christian World Domination Group Paid...
    « Reply #6 on: November 24, 2009, 02:57:13 PM »
    Quote from: "Ursus"
    The relationship between "The Family" and Youth With a Mission (YWAM) is less than clear.
    Here is a piece from the Huffington Post, detailing yet more interaction between The Family and Youth With a Mission:

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    Documents Show Christian World Domination Group Paid For Bipartisan Congressional Hawaii Trip
    Bruce Wilson
    Posted: August 11, 2009 04:00 PM

    As shown on Congressional travel disclosure forms obtained through, a nonprofit dedication to government transparency, in February 2000 a bipartisan pair of US congressional representatives, Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) and former Democratic Ohio Congressional representative Tony P. Hall, traveled with their wives to Hawaii on what the two described as official US government business but the trip was financed by two interconnected fundamentalist ministries, Youth With a Mission and "The Family", which both advocate Christian theocratic rule.

    Suggesting they confused the agenda of those ministries with US government interests, representatives Frank R. Wolf and Tony P. Hall, who is now a US ambassador working to foster a Middle East peace initiative, each signed their names to statements on their travel forms which read:

      I have determined that all of the expenses listed above were necessary and that the travel was in connection with my duties as a Member of officer of the U.S. House of Representatives and would not create the appearance that I was using the office for appearance of public gain.[/list]

      The stated destination of Tony Hall's and Frank Wolf's February 18-25, 2000 conjugal junkets was Kona, Hawaii, home of the international campus and headquarters of Youth With a Mission. YWAM is a global Christian ministry that owns the C Street House and whose founder Loren Cunningham proposes an ambitious plan for Christian domination in which believers achieve control of key societal sectors including government, business, media, and education: the 7 Mountains Mandate [link: "7 Mountains" promotional video.]

      The "7M Mandate" as well as "Reclaiming the Seven Mountains," is being promoted widely in a multilevel marketing campaign which includes websites with dowloadable Powerpoint presentations, affiliate programs, Teleseminars, professionally produced videos, inspirational posters and other dedicated graphic arts branding images, yearly conferences (1, 2, 3), and traveling motivational speakers such as Lance Wallnau. The 7-M Mandate has also been promoted at Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

      YWAM also seeks to evangelize the world by driving out demon spirits the group alleges plague non-Christian areas of the world. YWAM literature describes the area of the globe between the 10th and 40th parallels, where most of the world's Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims live, as a "stronghold of Satan."

      In the Youth With a Mission book "Praying Through the 100 Gateway Cities" (1995, YWAM Publishing) contributing author Luis Bush writes, on page 15, "[w]hy do committed Christians need to focus on the 10/40 Window? Because it is a stronghold of Satan. The people living in the 10/40 Window have suffered not only hunger and a lower quality of life compared with the rest of humanity, but also have been kept from the transforming, life-giving, community-changing power of the gospel."

      YWAM Publishing currently sells a twelve tape audiotape series by Dean Sherman, Dean of the College of Christian Ministries at Youth With A Mission's Kona, Hawaii University of the Nations, with the description,

      "God has called Christians to overcome the world and drive back the forces of evil and darkness at work within it. Spiritual warfare isn't just casting out demons; it's Spirit-controlled thinking and attitudes. Dean delivers a no-nonsense, both-feet-planted-on-the-ground approach to the unseen world."

      The Hall and Wolf Hawaii trips together cost $6,937 dollars. The two congressmen wrote identical explanations on their respective forms as to the nature of their Hawaiian marital junkets: "Meeting with government officials, outreach and other National Prayer Breakfast activities." The explanations seemed to indicate that the bipartisan duo thought the National Prayer Breakfast was run by the United States government.

      In reality, the National Prayer Breakfast, held annually since 1953 and whose speakers have included the rock singer Bono and King Abdullah of Jordan, is by far the most public event sponsored by The Family, also known as "The Fellowship": a global Christian influence ring whose members have likened the group to a Christian mafia.

      The private, shadowy Washington D.C.-based internationally influential fundamentalist Christian ministry was the subject of a 2008 book by journalist Jeff Sharlet, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Journalist Sharlet has characterized The Family as an antidemocratic institution which celebrates the organizational accomplishments of Hitler's Nazis and Bolshevik revolutionaries, and operates prayer cell-groups on Capital Hill that have included top Republican and Democratic Party senate leadership.

      Longtime Family leader Douglas Coe, who has for decades been able to arrange private meetings with sitting US presidents, has come under scrutiny as footage has surfaced showing Coe expressing admiration for the dedication, and organizational and revolutionary prowess, of Hitler's Nazis, Chinese Red Guard, and Lenin's Bolshevik revolutionaries.

      As shown in an April 3, 2008 NBC exposé, in 1989 video footage obtained by NBC Doug Coe described to an audience how, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, young Chinese Red Guard chopped off the heads of their own parents, allegedly for the good of the Chinese communist state. Coe stated, "they have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of their father, mother, brother, sister, and their own life. That was a covenant, a pledge. That's what Jesus said."

      Describing his time living in a house run by The Family, journalist Sharlet told NBC, "[w]e were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao... and I'd say, 'Isn't there a problem with that ?' and they would seem perplexed by the question."

      The Hall and Wolf 2000 Hawaii trips were part of a much larger pattern.

      Over the last decade, Family members such as Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe have promoted the agenda of The Family while on US-paid foreign trips. And, as revealed in on a July 28, 2009 segment of the Rachel Maddow Show, the International Foundation, one of The Family's non profits, has over the last decade paid more than $95,000 for twenty Congress members to go on foreign trips in which they met, in some cases, with world leaders. During that show segment, journalist Sharlet stated that,

      "[The Family's] long term goal is two hundred world rulers that are God-led and united through The Family. They're not like the 'Rapture Christians' you might be familiar with. They have this idea that Christ can't come back until they can build a worldwide movement that they call 'invisible' - that's their word - of strongmen, authoritarian leaders on that Hitler-Stalin-Mao model that they are linking together and that they have access, the leader says, with Washington as the capital of a "worldwide spiritual offensive."

      The Family runs the increasingly well-known "C Street House", a well appointed Washington, D.C. townhouse valued at 1.8 million dollars, registered as a church, which provides substantially below-market to "Family" members, runs Bible study groups, and claims to cater to the spiritual well-being of Washington's elite.

      Combining a church, a rental agency and a Bible study center under the same roof, the C Street House has come under intense scrutiny during the summer of 2009 because of an outbreak of sex-scandals that to date have engulfed three national GOP politicians who have either lived at or attended Bible study sessions held at the house: GOP Senator John Ensign, North Carolina governor Mark Sanford, and Former GOP Congressional Representative Charles "Chip" Pickering.

      Another Congress member C Street affiliated with the C Street House is Randy Forbes (R-VA), who attends Bible study classes at the house. Forbes has introduced a House Resolution, H. Res. 397, which asserts the United States is a Christian nation and is replete with falsified American history.

      For years, the program of The Family's yearly signature event, the National Prayer Breakfast, has featured a falsified quote incorrectly attributed to George Washington, known as "Washington's Prayer". GOP Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann has recently wielded the falsified Washington 'prayer', on the floor of the US Congress, to attack president Barack Obama.

      Copyright © 2009, Inc.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Ursus

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      Showing Faith in Discretion
      « Reply #7 on: November 25, 2009, 01:04:48 AM »
      There are (at least) two important articles underpinning the buildup to this exposé. Here is the first one:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      The Los Angeles Times, Sep 27, 2002
      Showing Faith in Discretion

      The Fellowship, which sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, quietly effects political change. It acts with the blessing of many in power.

      by LISA GETTER

      For the last two decades, a Virginia mansion has been a private hideaway for world leaders, members of Congress, and even pop star Michael Jackson.

      Located on a quiet residential street, the $4.4-million estate called Cedars sits at the highest point of the Potomac River, with spectacular views of Washington beyond the pool and tennis courts. It is owned by the Fellowship, the nonpartisan Christian group that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast.

      While the annual breakfast is a widely known event attended by a succession of U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries, the Fellowship's part in the breakfast is low-key. Most attendees think the event is sponsored by Congress or even the president. Likewise, the Fellowship's role in diplomacy and current events has remained in the shadows. That's the way the organization wants it, for philosophical and practical reasons.

      "If you want to help people, Jesus said you don't do your alms in public," Douglas Coe, the group's leader, said in a rare interview.

      A Los Angeles Times review of the Fellowship's archives, which are kept at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and an examination of documents obtained from several presidential libraries reveals an organization that has had extraordinary access and significant influence on foreign affairs for the last 50 years.

      Eight members of Congress, including Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), live in a grand house on Capitol Hill, which is owned by a sister organization of the Fellowship. The house, which is registered as a church, routinely hosts gatherings for lawmakers and ambassadors. Members of Congress have traveled around the world on the Fellowship's behalf, sometimes mixing matters of state with religion.

      The Fellowship was a behind-the-scenes player at the Camp David Middle East accords in 1978, working with President Jimmy Carter to issue a worldwide call to prayer with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. During the Cold War, it helped finance an anti-communism propaganda film endorsed by the CIA and used by the Pentagon overseas.

      Last year, the Fellowship helped arrange a secret meeting at Cedars between two warring leaders, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame--one of the first of a series of discreet meetings between the two African leaders that eventually led to the signing of a peace accord in July.

      Then-Sen. David Durenberger retreated to the mansion in 1986 when he began having marital problems. GOP strategist Lee Atwater came seeking spiritual guidance in 1990 when he learned he was dying. Jackson and his children stayed in October, while in town for a benefit concert for victims of last year's terrorist attacks.

      Jackson's visit came about as a result of a call from "a friend from the White House," Coe said. The call came from David Kuo, deputy director of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, who helped put together the United We Stand concert. When Kuo learned that Jackson needed a place to stay, he thought of Cedars. "It's a private unknown place that offers anonymity in a peaceful environment," he said. "Part of the whole Fellowship belief is you can help people who are down and out by helping people who are up and out."

      Coe, 73, has befriended a succession of presidents and world leaders since arriving in Washington in 1959. In April, he was invited to the White House to speak off the record with employees about prayer.

      Coe said the group's mission is to create a worldwide "family of friends" by spreading the words of Jesus to those in power. He believes that people of every religion--including Muslims, Jews and Hindus--are swayed by Jesus. If he can change leaders' hearts, he said, then the benefits will flow naturally to the oppressed and underprivileged.

      The Rev. Rob Schenck, founder of Faith and Action in the Nation's Capital, a Christian outreach center, said that "the mystique of the Fellowship" has helped it "gain entree into almost impossible places in the capital."

      The Fellowship also has brought controversial figures to Washington, where they have met with U.S. officials either at the prayer breakfast or other venues. Among them are former Salvadoran Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who in July was found liable by a civil jury in Florida for the torture of thousands of civilians in the 1980s. He was invited to the 1984 prayer breakfast, along with Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, then the head of the Honduran armed forces. Alvarez, later linked to the CIA and a secret death squad, became an evangelical missionary before he was assassinated in 1989.

      "The people that are involved in this association of people around the world are the worst and the best," Coe said. "Some are total despots. Some are totally religious. You can find what you want to find."

      The Fellowship

      The Fellowship is a collection of public officials, business leaders and religious ministries that defies easy description. Sometimes known as the prayer group movement, its members espouse a common devotion to the teachings of Jesus and a belief that peace and justice can come about through quiet efforts to change individuals, particularly those in positions of power. Personal outreach is paramount.

      They also share a vow of silence about Fellowship activities. Coe and others cite biblical admonitions against public displays of good works, insisting they would not be able to tackle their diplomatically sensitive missions if they drew public attention. Members, including congressmen, invoke this secrecy rule when refusing to discuss just about every aspect of the Fellowship and their involvement in it.

      Jennifer Thornett, a Fellowship employee, went so far as to say that "there is no such thing as the Fellowship," even as she helped lead a group of 250 college students around Washington this month, part of a Fellowship-sponsored national leadership forum on faith and values.

      The group's official name is the Fellowship Foundation, though it does most of its business as the International Foundation. It is based in Arlington, in a sleepy neighborhood of upscale houses, many owned by members of the Fellowship or groups tied to it.

      The foundation has nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Service code and a board of directors that includes a senator's wife, a former Air Force assistant secretary, an Education Department official and the former director of Asian affairs for the National Security Council. IRS filings show the Fellowship has an annual budget of $10 million and spends most of that on salaries, the National Prayer Breakfast, travel for Coe, members of Congress and others, upkeep of Cedars and a roster of Christian groups worldwide.

      Fellowship dollars have gone to an orphanage in India; a program in Uganda that provides schooling, housing and leadership to children; the Senate chaplain; a ministry dedicated to professional golfers; a development group in Peru; and a house in Washington that serves troubled children. The foundation provides Coe with a house on the grounds of Cedars, a minimal salary and annual expenses, which have ranged from $110,955 in 1995 to zero in 2000. The foundation also employs his two sons, who each earned $93,000, according to IRS filings for 2000.

      The Fellowship does not solicit money. A handful of wealthy backers, including Detroit lawyer and GOP donor Michael Timmis, Denver oilman Jerome A. Lewis and former Maryland investor Paul N. Temple, support the Fellowship with personal contributions. Private foundations they control also contribute hundreds of thousands yearly to the International Foundation, tax records show.

      Other money has come through word of mouth, stock bequests, and donations from friends, estates and even foreign governments including Taiwan, which Coe said sends about $10,000 a year to the Fellowship. He said the ambassador usually delivers the check in person.

      International diplomacy has been part of the Fellowship from the beginning. The group was begun by Abraham Vereide, a Methodist evangelist who feared that Socialists were corrupting municipal government in Seattle in the mid-1930s. He thought he could bring about change by organizing regular prayer groups with local business and government leaders.

      He took his idea to Washington, D.C., in 1942. A small group of House members began praying together. A Senate group followed. Vereide believed that the small prayer groups could be used to help establish personal contacts with leaders throughout the world.

      Pentagon officials secretly met at the group's Washington Fellowship House in 1955 to plan a worldwide anti-communism propaganda campaign endorsed by the CIA, documents from the Fellowship archives and the Eisenhower Presidential Library show. Then known as International Christian Leadership, the group financed a film called "Militant Liberty" that was used by the Pentagon abroad.

      Intimate prayer groups begun by the Fellowship still meet regularly and privately, at the House of Representatives, Senate and throughout federal agencies in Washington. President Eisenhower, persuaded by his campaign manager, became the first U.S. president to attend a prayer breakfast in 1953--part of what the Senate chaplain at the time called a "Return-to-God Movement." Every president since has made an appearance at least once, turning the breakfast into a worldwide attraction for the prayerful and political alike.

      Similar prayer breakfasts, begun by followers of the Fellowship and hosted by governors and mayors, are now popular throughout the U.S. The Fellowship lured Coe to Washington as Vereide's understudy in 1959. When Vereide died 10 years later, Coe essentially took over.

      Under Coe, the group dropped the word Christian from its official name. "Doug gives an overarching leadership to this whole vision of working with leaders," said Bob Hunter, a former insurance official in the Ford and Carter administrations who has been involved with the Fellowship for years, especially in Africa. "He has so many contacts now. Everyone knows him."

      Former President Bush once referred to Coe as "an ambassador of faith." If Coe is an ambassador, Cedars is his embassy. The Fellowship bought the mansion, complete with furnishings, for $1.5 million in 1978.

      The white-column mansion was once owned by George Mason IV, one of three men who refused to sign the U.S. Constitution and an original drafter of the Bill of Rights. Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes lived there for a stretch before the Fellowship bought it.

      Coe described Cedars as a place "committed to the care of the underprivileged, even though it looks very wealthy." He noted that people might say, "Why don't you sell a chandelier and help poor people?" Answering his own question, Coe said, "The people who come here have tremendous influence over kids." Private Fellowship documents indicate that Cedars was purchased so that "people throughout the world who carry heavy responsibilities could meet in Washington to think together, plan together and pray together about personal and public problems and opportunities."

      The Fellowship likes to embrace the fallen. One minister recalled seeing former United Way chief William Aramony at Cedars the night Aramony learned he was facing criminal charges for embezzling charity money.

      Coe described Cedars as a place open to anyone, including the poor, but acknowledged that the poor who most often use the estate are the young men and women from foreign countries who make the beds, tend the manicured gardens, serve gourmet meals and learn about the Fellowship.

      The women live in a separate house across the street. The men live in another house called Ivanwald down the block. Several years after purchasing Cedars, members of the Fellowship began buying up houses in this affluent neighborhood.

      "This thing grew organically," said Fellowship member Chris Halverson, son of Richard Halverson, the late Senate chaplain who was one of the Fellowship's leaders. "More and more people were needed to do the work of helping these senators."

      The Breakfast

      Today thousands of government officials, international leaders and select business executives meet on the first Thursday of every February for 90 minutes of prayer, granola, fresh fruit, bagels, pastries, coffee and juice.

      More than 8,000 people from 170 countries were invited to the National Prayer Breakfast this year; about 3,000 accepted. Tickets are $425. The embossed invitation comes from "members of the Congress of the United States of America." It asks guests to join the president, vice president "and other national leaders in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of our government" for a morning of prayer.

      Presidential seals decorate nearly everything at the event, from the podium, to the registration desk, to the official program. It's not surprising that many think it's an official government event.

      Kit Webb, a Virginia businesswoman, attended this year's breakfast at the Washington Hilton hotel. "It's the government leaders who invited everyone," declared Webb, as she mingled in the lobby with other guests. "It's owned by Congress." The Fellowship doesn't go out of its way to correct the record. In fact, Coe, ever secretive, goes so far as to assert that the Fellowship doesn't sponsor the event: "If the International Foundation put it on, would all these people come?" he asked. But the Foundation's role is detailed in private papers and tax records, where it informs the IRS that it "sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast," spending $742,604 to put it on in 2000.

      An informal congressional committee, made up of members of the House and Senate who meet once a week in small prayer groups, acts as the official host and prepares the program.

      Rabbi Samuel Cohon of Tucson, who attended this year's breakfast, said he was surprised at how overwhelmingly Christian it was, given its government veneer. He told his Jewish congregation he was disappointed that no other religion besides Christianity was acknowledged.

      "I believe that most interfaith prayer services would have been much more sensitive than this National Prayer Breakfast, under the auspices of our elected leadership, managed to be," Cohon said.

      The Fellowship pays for those foreign guests, particularly from poorer countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who can't afford to make it to the breakfast on their own. Many foreign leaders who attend the breakfast get to schmooze with members of Congress and other U.S. officials while they are in town, people they might not ordinarily have access to. Some of the leaders issue news releases back home, declaring that they have been invited to meet with the U.S. president.

      "I'm sure a lot of people use the Fellowship as a way to network, a way to gain entree to all sorts of people. And entree they do get," said Michael Cromartie, director of the Evangelical Studies project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Washington-based think tank. He has attended every breakfast since 1975.

      Coe said the Fellowship does not help foreign dignitaries gain access to U.S. officials. "We never make any commitment, ever, to arrange special meetings with the president, vice president or secretary of State," Coe said. "We would never do it."

      The archives tell another story.

      During the Reagan era, prayer breakfast organizers made sure the president met the international leaders who were there.

      Among those who met with President Reagan were a controversial faith healer and spiritual advisor to the president of Zambia, a presidential candidate from El Salvador who was not favored by the U.S. administration, and the king of Tonga.

      "Doug Coe or someone who worked with him would call and say, 'So and so would like to have a word with the president. Do you think you could arrange something?' " said G. Philip Hughes, the executive secretary for the National Security Council in the first Bush administration. "It's an opportunity to put in a plug for something or inch a ball forward."

      At Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings for incoming State Department officials last year, Sen. Bill Nelson (D- Fla.), whose wife, Grace, is on the board of the Fellowship, complained that the State Department blocked President Bush from meeting privately at the 2001 prayer breakfast with heads of state from Rwanda, Macedonia, Congo and Slovakia.

      "Well, if I might observe, I'm not sure a head of state ought to be able to wander over here for the prayer breakfast and, in effect, compel the president of the United States to meet with him as a consequence," replied Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.). "I mean, getting these meetings with the president is a process that's usually very carefully vetted and worked up. Now sort of this back door has sort of evolved."

      While none of the visiting heads of state met with Bush, Democratic Republic of Congo President Kabila and Rwandan President Kagame privately met for about an hour in the living room on the first floor of Cedars. It was the first time the two warring leaders had met face to face.

      They sat on salmon-colored couches across from a marbled fireplace, their aides and bodyguards banished to another room.

      Kabila's father, the former president, had been murdered the month before. Rwanda had 30,000 soldiers within Congo's borders. Starvation and civil war had racked Congo for three years, leaving 2 million dead and an economy in ruins as rebels tried to gain control.

      "It was an important meeting," said Richard Sezibera, Rwanda's ambassador to the U.S. In the months that followed, members of the Fellowship reached out to both leaders, visiting them in Africa. The two men finally signed a peace accord in July in a deal brokered by the president of South Africa--a move that could be an important step toward peace.

      "The fact that they met here probably saved hundreds of thousands of kids," Coe said.

      Douglas Johnston, who heads the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy in Washington and is a former Fellowship board member, said faith-based diplomacy is the hallmark of the Fellowship. He said the Fellowship has kept its actions low-key because people might wrongly assume it is crossing the line of church-state separation.

      "People forget what separation of church and state is supposed to be all about," he said. "Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion."

      Church and State

      A four-story townhouse on C Street, two blocks from the Capitol, is owned by a sister organization of the Fellowship, and is registered with the IRS and the District of Columbia as a church. It pays no taxes. Yet eight members of Congress live there.

      "We sort of don't talk to the press about the house," said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who lives there. The 8,000-square-foot detached townhouse has 12 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, five living rooms (including one with a big-screen TV), four dining rooms, three offices, a kitchen--and a small chapel. "The C Street property is a church," said Chip Grange, an attorney for the Fellowship. "It is zoned as a church. There are prayer meetings, fellowship meetings, evangelical meetings," he said. "Our mission field is Capitol Hill."

      But at least one member of Congress who lives there, Rep. Michael F. Doyle (D-Pa.), said he didn't know the property was registered as a church. Doyle would not comment further. "I don't discuss my personal living arrangements with the media," he said. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), another townhouse occupant, told Associated Press in 2000 that the house was the most popular place on the Hill to watch NCAA basketball, eat takeout Chinese food and discuss public policy. The story did not mention the Fellowship. "That's my own life and my own relationships," Wamp told The Times.

      The house is also conveniently located for conducting faith- based diplomacy. The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition, said he recently met with several ambassadors from West Africa at the C Street house.

      "It's a real hideaway for congressmen and senators and ambassadors," said Sheldon, who has been associated with the Fellowship for decades.

      He said the Fellowship opened the C Street house to members of Congress because "it helps them out.

      A lot of men don't have an extra $1,500 to rent an apartment. So the Fellowship house does that for those who are part of the Fellowship." Rent is $600 per month for each resident. Meals cost extra, but cleaning is provided by eight college-age volunteers from the Fellowship and a "house mother" who washes the congressmen's sheets and towels.

      Besides Stupak, Wamp and Doyle, residents include Nevada's Ensign and Reps. Ed Bryant (R-Tenn.), John Elias Baldacci (D-Maine) and James DeMint (R-S.C.). Former Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.) lived there until he left Congress to run for governor.

      The Fellowship has given C Street Center $450,000 in grants and loans since 1994, IRS records show.

      The group has offered financial aid to congressmen in other ways too. When the late Sen. Harold Hughes' daughter died in 1976, the Fellowship paid funeral expenses. Hughes left the Senate to become a full-time member of the Fellowship. When former Sen. Mark Hatfield needed money in the 1970s, the Fellowship loaned him thousands, gave him $10,000 as an honorarium, and arranged for a lucrative deal to rent property he owned in Oregon--arrangements later criticized by the board. "We would never do it today," said board President Richard Carver, assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

      Coe, who also loaned money to Hatfield, said he has loaned money to other members of Congress, but did not recall the details. "I give or loan money to hundreds of people, or have my friends do so," he said.

      The Fellowship has paid for overseas trips by congressmen in its ranks, who sometimes mix diplomacy and religion during meetings with foreign heads of state. Coe has been dispatched to foreign governments with the blessing of congressional representatives. He has also helped arrange meetings overseas for U.S. officials and members of Congress. In 1979, for instance, Coe messaged the Saudi Arabian minister of commerce and asked him to meet with a Defense Department official who was visiting Riyadh, the capital.

      In January, Reps. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), Tony P. Hall (D-Ohio) and Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.) traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan on a fact-finding congressional trip, meeting with the leaders of both Muslim countries. But the men, all members of the Fellowship, discussed more than U.S. policy.

      "The first thing we did when we met with [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai and President [Pervez] Musharraf was to say, 'We're here officially representing the Congress; we'll report back to the speaker, our leaders, our committees, our government. But we're here also because we're best friends.... We're members of the same prayer group,' " Pitts recalled in a recent interview with his college alumni magazine, the Asbury College Ambassador.

      "We meet every week together around the teachings of Jesus and we pray together," he said. "We told them about the National Prayer Breakfast and we invited them to join us."

      Even in the politically sensitive environment after Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic scholars say that most Muslims would react positively to the words of Jesus--unless he was referred to as the son of God. Nevertheless, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says he is "skeptical about religious diplomacy ... in the long run, someone is going to start trying to convert people."

      Elliot Mincberg, legal director of People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, said, "It would be better for a member of Congress to separate those roles." Coe said he too would rather that members of Congress who travel overseas keep their public lives distinct from the work they do on behalf of the Fellowship. "I think you need to keep the two hats separate," he said. But he dismisses concerns about the Fellowship's heralding of Jesus. "Religion is divisive. The ideas of Jesus are cohesive," Coe said. "That is the single most important thing I've learned in the last 50 years."

      Some of the members of Congress most active in the Fellowship overseas also are key members of official congressional committees that oversee the State Department and foreign aid. Wolf is chairman of the House appropriations panel that oversees the State Department budget. Pitts is a member of the House International Relations Committee.

      Max Kampelman, a former ambassador who is now chairman of the American Academy of Diplomacy, says proselytizing can backfire by antagonizing the other party.

      "I don't feel that is an effective diplomatic tool," he said.

      But in his book "Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft," former Fellowship board member Johnston argues that the absence of religion in international diplomacy has led to "uninformed policy choices." The book argues, for instance, that the U.S. failed to see the importance of Islamic clerics in countries such as Iran, which hampered foreign policy decision-making in the Middle East.

      The book was inspired by the Fellowship and its back-channel diplomacy. In an illustration of the group's unusual diplomatic status, Johnston describes how members of the Fellowship traveling in Somalia in 1981 met with its president, who told them he was willing to meet with the president of Kenya "in the spirit of Christ" to avoid bloodshed. They recounted the story to Air Force Gen. David Jones, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Fellowship member, when they returned.

      Sometime later, the Somali president paid an official visit to Jones at the Pentagon. Jones invited him to a Fellowship breakfast, attended by some members of Congress, Coe and other Defense Department officials.

      Again, they encouraged him to meet the Kenyan president. "You must go. What if the meeting could take place in secrecy?

      What if separate helicopters could bring each of you to an American aircraft carrier for a rendezvous at sea? No one would have to know about it," Jones said at the breakfast, Johnston wrote. Within a month, the two presidents met--albeit without help from the U.S. military.

      Such private missions trouble some watchdogs. "You're combining on some level religion and politics," said Chuck Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.

      "When our most powerful and senior officials are operating abroad, under an aegis that is something other than their government titles, they are somehow less than accountable. That is valuable for a citizen to know."

      While in Congress, Hall traveled to Lebanon, Greece, Britain, Slovenia, Japan and India on trips paid for by the Fellowship. Hall said he met with "mostly ordinary people" overseas, though as a courtesy, he often called on heads of state and the U.S. ambassador in that country. He said if the conversation turned to politics, he tried to turn it back to Jesus, and the idea of praying for those in power to become better people by loving God. "When a personal bond is formed, then you're able to work on issues like human rights and hunger," said Hall, who resigned his congressional seat this month to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on hunger issues. The president of the Fellowship board also stepped down to work with Hall in his new job in Rome.

      "There's nothing sinister here, no dark secrets," Hall said. "It's the exact opposite of what Washington is about."

      * Times researchers Janet Lundblad and Robert Patrick contributed to this report.

      Copyright The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2002. All rights reserved.
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      Offline Anonymous

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      Re: Funderwear
      « Reply #8 on: November 25, 2009, 01:20:49 AM »

      I HAVE A 15 INCH COCK!  


      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Anonymous

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      Re: Funderwear
      « Reply #9 on: November 25, 2009, 01:29:01 PM »
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      Offline Ursus

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      Jesus plus nothing
      « Reply #10 on: November 26, 2009, 10:17:05 AM »
      Here is the other article:

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      HARPER'S Magazine
      March 2003

      Jesus plus nothing: Undercover among America's secret theocrats

      By Jeff Sharlet

        And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
          —Matthew 10:36
        This is how they pray: a dozen clear-eyed, smooth-skinned "brothers" gathered together in a huddle, arms crossing arms over shoulders like the weave of a cable, leaning in on one another and swaying like the long grass up the hill from the house they share. The house is a handsome, gray, two-story colonial that smells of new carpet and Pine-Sol and aftershave; the men who live there call it Ivanwald. At the end of a tree-lined cul-de-sac, quiet but for the buzz of lawn mowers and kids playing foxes-and-hounds in the park across the road, Ivanwald sits as one house among many, clustered together like mushrooms, all devoted, like these men, to the service of Jesus Christ. The men tend every tulip in the cul-de-sac, trim every magnolia, seal every driveway smooth and black as boot leather. And they pray, assembled at the dining table or on their lawn or in the hallway or in the bunk room or on the basketball court, each man's head bowed in humility and swollen with pride (secretly, he thinks) at being counted among such a fine corps for Christ, among men to whom he will open his heart and whom he will remember when he returns to the world not born-again but remade, no longer an individual but part of the Lord's revolution, his will transformed into a weapon for what the young men call "spiritual war."

        "Jeff, will you lead us in prayer?"

        Surely, brother. It is April 2002, and I have lived with these men for weeks now, not as a Christian—a term they deride as too narrow for the world they are building in Christ's honor—but as a "believer." I have shared the brothers' meals and their work and their games. I have been numbered among them and have been given a part in their ministry. I have wrestled with them and showered with them and listened to their stories: I know which man resents his father's fortune and which man succumbed to the flesh of a woman not once but twice and which man dances so well he is afraid of being taken for a fag. I know what it means to be a "brother," which is to say that I know what it means to be a soldier in the army of God.

        "Heavenly Father," I begin. Then, "O Lord," but I worry that this doesn't sound intimate enough. I settle on, "Dear Jesus." "Dear Jesus, just, please, Jesus, let us fight for Your name."

        Ivanwald, which sits at the end of Twenty-fourth Street North in Arlington, Virginia, is known only to its residents and to the members and friends of the organization that sponsors it, a group of believers who refer to themselves as "the Family." The Family is, in its own words, an "invisible" association, though its membership has always consisted mostly of public men. Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as "members," as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.). Regular prayer groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries. The Family maintains a closely guarded database of its associates, but it issues no cards, collects no official dues. Members are asked not to speak about the group or its activities.

        The organization has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family's leaders, "a target for misunderstanding."1 The Family's only publicized gathering is the National Prayer Breakfast, which it established in 1953 and which, with congressional sponsorship, it continues to organize every February in Washington, D.C. Each year 3,000 dignitaries, representing scores of nations, pay $425 each to attend. Steadfastly ecumenical, too bland most years to merit much press, the breakfast is regarded by the Family as merely a tool in a larger purpose: to recruit the powerful attendees into smaller, more frequent prayer meetings, where they can "meet Jesus man to man."

        In the process of introducing powerful men to Jesus, the Family has managed to effect a number of behind-the-scenes acts of diplomacy. In 1978 it secretly helped the Carter Administration organize a worldwide call to prayer with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and more recently, in 2001, it brought together the warring leaders of Congo and Rwanda for a clandestine meeting, leading to the two sides' eventual peace accord last July. Such benign acts appear to be the exception to the rule. During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise. "We work with power where we can," the Family's leader, Doug Coe, says, "build new power where we can't."

        At the 1990 National Prayer Breakfast, George H.W. Bush praised Doug Coe for what he described as "quiet diplomacy, I wouldn't say secret diplomacy," as an "ambassador of faith." Coe has visited nearly every world capital, often with congressmen at his side, "making friends" and inviting them back to the Family's unofficial headquarters, a mansion (just down the road from Ivanwald) that the Family bought in 1978 with $1.5 million donated by, among others, Tom Phillips, then the C.E.O. of arms manufacturer Raytheon, and Ken Olsen, the founder and president of Digital Equipment Corporation. A waterfall has been carved into the mansion's broad lawn, from which a bronze bald eagle watches over the Potomac River. The mansion is white and pillared and surrounded by magnolias, and by red trees that do not so much tower above it as whisper. The mansion is named for these trees; it is called The Cedars, and Family members speak of it as a person. "The Cedars has a heart for the poor," they like to say. By "poor" they mean not the thousands of literal poor living barely a mile away but rather the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom: the senators, generals, and prime ministers who coast to the end of Twenty-fourth Street in Arlington in black limousines and town cars and hulking S.U.V.'s to meet one another, to meet Jesus, to pay homage to the god of The Cedars.

        There they forge "relationships" beyond the din of vox populi (the Family's leaders consider democracy a manifestation of ungodly pride) and "throw away religion" in favor of the truths of the Family. Declaring God's covenant with the Jews broken, the group's core members call themselves "the new chosen."

        The brothers of Ivanwald are the Family's next generation, its high priests in training. I had been recommended for membership by a banker acquaintance, a recent Ivanwald alumnus, who had mistaken my interest in Jesus for belief. Sometimes the brothers would ask me why I was there. They knew that I was "half Jewish," that I was a writer, and that I was from New York City, which most of them considered to be only slightly less wicked than Baghdad or Amsterdam. I told my brothers that I was there to meet Jesus, and I was: the new ruling Jesus, whose ways are secret.

        At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. "They're so busy loving us," a brother once explained to me, "but who's loving them?" We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald's brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee.

        The morning I attended, Charlene, the cook, scrambled up eggs with blue tortillas, Italian sausage, red pepper, and papaya. Three women from Potomac Point, an "Ivanwald for girls" across the road from The Cedars, came to help serve. They wore red lipstick and long skirts (makeup and "feminine" attire were required) and had, after several months of cleaning and serving in The Cedars while the brothers worked outside, become quite unimpressed by the high-powered clientele. "Girls don't sit in on the breakfasts," one of them told me, though she said that none of them minded because it was "just politics."

        The breakfast began with a prayer and a sprinkle of scripture from Meese, who sat at the head of the table. Matthew 11:27: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." That morning's chosen introduced themselves. They were businessmen from Dallas and Oregon, a Chinese Christian dissident, a man who ran an aid group for Tibetan refugees (the Dalai Lama had been very positive on Jesus at their last meeting, he reported). Two ambassadors, from Benin and Rwanda, sat side by side. Rwanda's representative, Dr. Richard Sezibera, was an intense man who refused to eat his eggs or even any melon. He drank cup after cup of coffee, and his eyes were bloodshot. A man I didn't recognize, whom Charlene identified as a former senator, suggested that negotiators from Rwanda and Congo, trapped in a war that has slain more than 2 million, should stop worrying about who will get the diamonds and the oil and instead focus on who will get Jesus. "Power sharing is not going to work unless we change their hearts," he said.

        Sezibera stared, incredulous. Meese chuckled and opened his mouth to speak, but Sezibera interrupted him. "It is not so simple," the Rwandan said, his voice flat and low. Meese smiled. Everyone in the Family loves rebukes, and here was Rwanda rebuking them. The former senator nodded. Meese murmured, "Yes," stroking his maroon leather Bible, and the words "Thank you, Jesus" rippled in whispers around the table as I poured Sezibera another cup of coffee.

        The brothers also served at the Family's four-story, redbrick Washington town house, a former convent at 133 C Street S.E. complete with stained-glass windows. Eight congressmen—including Senator Ensign and seven representatives2—lived there, brothers in Christ just like us, only more powerful. We scrubbed their toilets, hoovered their carpets, polished their silver. The day I worked at C Street I ran into Doug Coe, who was tutoring Todd Tiahrt, a Republican congressman from Kansas. A friendly, plainspoken man with a bright, lazy smile, Coe has worked for the Family since 1959, soon after he graduated from college, and has led it since 1969.

        Tiahrt was a short shot glass of a man, two parts flawless hair and one part teeth. He wanted to know the best way "for the Christian to win the race with the Muslim." The Muslim, he said, has too many babies, while Americans kill too many of theirs.

        Doug agreed this could be a problem. But he was more concerned that the focus on labels like "Christian" might get in the way of the congressman's prayers. Religion distracts people from Jesus, Doug said, and allows them to isolate Christ's will from their work in the world.

        "People separate it out," he warned Tiahrt. " 'Oh, okay, I got religion, that's private.' As if Jesus doesn't know anything about building highways, or Social Security. We gotta take Jesus out of the religious wrapping."

        "All right, how do we do that?" Tiahrt asked.

        "A covenant," Doug answered. The congressman half-smiled, as if caught between confessing his ignorance and pretending he knew what Doug was talking about. "Like the Mafia," Doug clarified. "Look at the strength of their bonds." He made a fist and held it before Tiahrt's face. Tiahrt nodded, squinting. "See, for them it's honor," Doug said. "For us, it's Jesus."

        Coe listed other men who had changed the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their "brothers": "Look at Hitler," he said. "Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden." The Family, of course, possessed a weapon those leaders lacked: the "total Jesus" of a brotherhood in Christ.

        "That's what you get with a covenant," said Coe. "Jesus plus nothing."

        To the Family, Jesus is not just a name; he is also a real man. "An awesome guy," a Family employee named Terry told the brothers over breakfast one morning. "He excelled in every activity. He was a great teacher, sure, but he was also a real guy's guy. He would have made an excellent athlete."

        On my first day at Ivanwald, on an uneven court behind the house, I learned to play a two-ball variant of basketball called "bump" that was designed to sharpen both body and soul. In bump, players compete at free throws, each vying to sink his own before the man behind him sinks his. If he hits first then you're out, with one exception: the basket's net narrows at the chute so that the ball sometimes sticks, at which point another player can hurl his ball up from beneath, knocking the first ball out. In this event everyone cries "Bu-u-ump," with great joy.

        Bengt began it. He was one of the house's leaders, a twenty-four-year-old North Carolinian with sad eyes and spiky eyebrows and a loud, disarming laugh that made him sound like a donkey. From inside the house, waiting for a phone call, he opened a second-floor window and called to Gannon for a ball. Gannon, the son of a Texas oilman, worked as a Senate aide3; he had blond hair and a chin like a plow, and he sang in a choir. He tossed one up, which Bengt caught and dispatched toward the basket. "Nice," Gannon drawled as the ball sank through.

        As soon as the ball bounced off the rim, Beau was at the free-throw line, taking his shot. Beau was a good-natured Atlantan with the build of a wrestler; as a bumper he was second only to Bengt.

        "It's okay if you bump into the other guys, too," Gannon told me as my turn approached. "The idea's kinda to get that tension building." Ahead of me Beau bent his knees to take another shot. The moment the ball rolled off his fingers, Wayne, also from Georgia, jumped up and hurled his own ball over Beau's head. As he returned to earth, his elbow descended on Beau's shoulder like a hammer. "Bump that," he said.

        Bump was designed to bring out your hostilities. The Family believes that you can't grow in Jesus unless you "face your anger," and then abandon it. When bump worked right, each man was supposed to lose himself, forgetting even the precepts of the game. Sometimes you wanted to get the ball in, sometimes you wanted to knock it out. In, out, it didn't matter. Your ball, his, who cared? Bump wasn't horseplay, it was a physicalized theology. It was to basketball what the New Testament is to the Old: stripped down to one simple story that always ends the same. Bump, Jesus. Bump, Jesus.

        I stepped to the line and, after missing, moved in for a layup. Wayne jumped to the line and shot. "Dude!" he shouted. I looked up. His ball, meant to hit mine, slammed into my forehead. Bu-u-ump! the boys hollered. They had bumped me with Christ.

        Bengt bumped. Beau bumped. Gannon bumped. I was out of contention. Gannon joined me, then Beau. The game was down to Bengt and Wayne. When Wayne threw from behind Bengt, he hurled the ball with such force that it sent Bengt chasing his ball into the neighboring yard. "Tenacious Wayne!" Gannon roared. Wayne scooped up his own ball, leapt, and slam-dunked Bengt out. "That's yo motha!" he hollered.

        Trotting back to the court, Bengt shook his head. "You the man, Wayne," he said. "Just keep it calm." Wayne was ready to burst.

        "Huddle up guys," said Bengt. We formed a circle, arms wrapped around shoulders. "Okay," he said. "We're gonna pray now. Lord, I just want to thank you for bringing us out here today to have fellowship in bump and for blessing this fine day with a visit from our new friend Jeff. Lord, we thank you for bringing this brother to us from up north, because we know he can learn to bump, and just—love you, and serve you and Lord, let us all just—Lord, be together in your name. Amen."

        The regimen was so precise it was relaxing: no swearing, no drinking, no sex, no self. Watch out for magazines and don't waste time on newspapers and never watch TV. Eat meat, study the Gospels, play basketball: God loves a man who can sink a three-pointer. Pray to be broken. O Heavenly Father. Dear Jesus. Help me be humble. Let me do Your will. Every morning began with a prayer, some days with outsiders—Wednesdays led by a former Ivanwald brother, now a businessman; Thursdays led by another executive who used tales of high finance to illuminate our lessons from scripture, which he supplemented with xeroxed midrash from Fortune or Fast Company; Fridays with the women of Potomac Point. But most days it was just us boys, bleary-eyed, gulping coffee and sugared cereal as Bengt and Jeff Connolly, Bengt's childhood friend and our other house leader, laid out lines of Holy Word across the table like strategy.

        The dining room had once been a deck, but the boys had walled it in and roofed it over and unrolled a red Persian carpet, transforming the room into a sort of monastic meeting place, with two long tables end to end, ringed by a dozen chairs and two benches. The first day I visited Ivanwald, Bengt cleared a space for me at the head of the table and sat to my right. Beside him, Wayne slumped in his chair, his eyes hidden by a cowboy hat. Across from him sat Beau, still wearing the boxers and T-shirt he'd slept in. Bengt alone looked sharp, his hair combed, golf shirt tucked tightly into pleated chinos.

        Bengt told Gannon to read our text for that morning, Psalm 139: " 'O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.' " The very first line made Bengt smile; this was, in his view, an awesome thing for God to have done. Bengt's manners and naive charm preceded him in every encounter. When you told him a story he would respond, "Goll-y!" just to be nice. When genuinely surprised he would exclaim, "Good ni-ight!" Sometimes it was hard to remember that he was a self-professed revolutionary.

        He asked Gannon to keep reading, and then leaned back and listened.

        " 'Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.' "

        Bengt raised a hand. "That's great, dude. Let's talk about that." The room fell silent as Bengt stared into his Bible, running his finger up and down the gilded edge of the page. "Guys," he said. "What—how does that make you feel?"

        "Known," said Gannon, almost in a whisper.

        Bengt nodded. He was looking for something else, but he didn't know where it was. "What does it make you think of?"

        "Jesus?" said Beau.

        Bengt stroked his chin. "Yeah . . . Let me read you a little more." He read in a monotone, accelerating as he went, as if he could persuade us through a sheer heap of words. " 'For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb,' " he concluded. His lips curled into a half smile. "Man! I mean, that's intense, right? 'In my mother's womb'—God's right in there with you." He grinned. "It's like," he said, "it's like, you can't run. Doesn't matter where you turn, 'cause Jesus is gonna be there, just waiting for you."

        Beau's eyes cleared and Gannon nodded. "Yeah, brother," Bengt said, an eyebrow arched. "Jesus is smart. He's gonna get you."

        Gannon shook his head. "Oh, he's already got me."

        "Me, too," Beau chimed, and then each man clasped his hands into one fist and pressed it against his forehead or his chin and prayed, eyes closed and Jesus all over his skin.

        We prayed to be "nothing." We were there to "soften our hearts to authority." We instituted a rule that every man must wipe the toilet bowl after he pisses, not for cleanliness but to crush his "inner rebel." Jeff C. did so by abstaining from "shady" R-rated movies, lest they provoke dreams of women. He was built like a leprechaun, with curly, dark blond hair and freckles and a brilliant smile. The Potomac Point girls brought him cookies; the wives of the Family's older men asked him to visit. One night, when the guys went on a swing-dancing date with the Potomac Pointers, more worldly women flocked to Jeff C., begging to be dipped and twirled. The feeling was not mutual. "I just don't like girls as much as guys," he told me one day while we painted a new coat of "Gettysburg Gray" onto Ivanwald. He was speaking not of sex or of romance but of brotherhood. "I like"—he paused, his brush suspended midstroke—"competence."

        He ran nearly every day, often alone, down by the Potomac. On the basketball court anger sometimes overcame him: "Shoot the ball!" he would snap at Rogelio, a shy eighteen-year-old from Paraguay, one of several international brothers. But later Jeff C. would turn his lapse into a lesson, citing scripture, a verse we were to memorize or else be banished, by Jeff C. himself, to a night in the basement. Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 26–27: " 'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

        Jeff C.'s pride surfaced in unexpected ways. Once, together in the kitchen after lunch, I mentioned that I'd seen the soul singer Al Green live. Jeff C. didn't answer. Instead he disappeared, reemerged with a Green CD, and set it in the boom box. He pressed play, and cracked his knuckles and his neck bones. His hands balled into fists, his eyes widened, and his torso became a jumping bean as his chest popped out on the downbeat. He heard me laughing, applauding, but he didn't stop. He started singing along with the Reverend. He grabbed his crotch and wrenched his shirt up and ran his hand over his stomach. Then he froze and dropped back to his ordinary voice as if narrating.

        "I used to work in this pizza parlor," he said. "It was, like, a buncha . . . I dunno, junkies. Heroin." He grinned. "But man, they loved Al Green. We had a poster of him. He was, he was . . . man! Shirtless, leather pants. Low leather pants." Jeff C. tugged his waistband down. "Hips cocked." He shook his head and howled. Moonwalking away, he snapped his knees together, his feet spread wide, his hands in the air, testifying.

        Jeff C. figured I had a thing against Southerners. Once, he asked if I thought the South was "racist." I got it, I tried to tell him, I knew the North was just as bad, but he wouldn't listen. He told me I could call him a redneck or a hillbilly (I never called him either), but the truth was that he was "blacker" than me. He told me of his deep love for black gospel churches. Loving black people, he told me, made him a better follower of Christ. "Remember that story Cal Thomas told?" he asked. Thomas, a syndicated columnist, had recently stopped by Ivanwald for a mixer with young congressional staffers. He had regaled his audience with stories about tweaking his liberal colleagues, in particular about when he had addressed a conference of nonbelievers by asking if anyone knew where to buy a good "negro." Jeff C. thought it was hilarious but also profound. What Thomas had meant, he told me, was that absent the teachings of Jesus there was no reason for the strong not to enslave the weak.

        Two weeks into my stay, David Coe, Doug's son and the presumptive heir to leadership of the Family, dropped by the house. My brothers and I assembled in the living room, where David had draped his tall frame over a burgundy leather recliner like a frat boy, one leg hanging over a padded arm.

        "You guys," David said, "are here to learn how to rule the world." He was in his late forties, with dark, gray-flecked hair, an olive complexion, and teeth like a slab of white marble. We sat around him in a rough circle, on couches and chairs, as the afternoon light slanted through the wooden blinds onto walls adorned with foxhunting lithographs and a giant tapestry of the Last Supper. Rafael, a wealthy Ecuadoran who'd been a college soccer star before coming to Ivanwald, had a hard time with English, and he didn't understand what David had said. So he stared, lips parted in puzzlement. David seemed to like that. He stared back, holding Raf's gaze like it was a pretty thing he'd found on the ground. "You have very intense eyes," David said.

        "Thank you," Raf mumbled.

        "Hey," David said, "let's talk about the Old Testament. Who would you say are its good guys?"

        "David," Beau volunteered.

        "King David," David Coe said. "That's a good one. David. Hey. What would you say made King David a good guy?" He was giggling, not from nervousness but from barely containable delight.

        "Faith?" Beau said. "His faith was so strong?"

        "Yeah." David nodded as if he hadn't heard that before. "Hey, you know what's interesting about King David?" From the blank stares of the others I could see that they did not. Many didn't even carry a Hebrew Bible, preferring a slim volume of just the New Testament Gospels and Epistles and, from the Old, Psalms. Others had the whole book, but the gold gilt on the pages of the first two thirds remained undisturbed. "King David," David Coe went on, "liked to do really, really bad things." He chuckled. "Here's this guy who slept with another man's wife—Bathsheba, right?—and then basically murders her husband. And this guy is one of our heroes." David shook his head. "I mean, Jiminy Christmas, God likes this guy! What," he said, "is that all about?"

        The answer, we discovered, was that King David had been "chosen." To illustrate this point David Coe turned to Beau. "Beau, let's say I hear you raped three little girls. And now here you are at Ivanwald. What would I think of you, Beau?"

        Beau shrank into the cushions. "Probably that I'm pretty bad?"

        "No, Beau. I wouldn't. Because I'm not here to judge you. That's not my job. I'm here for only one thing."

        "Jesus?" Beau said. David smiled and winked.

        He walked to the National Geographic map of the world mounted on the wall. "You guys know about Genghis Khan?" he asked. "Genghis was a man with a vision. He conquered"—David stood on the couch under the map, tracing, with his hand, half the northern hemisphere—"nearly everything. He devastated nearly everything. His enemies? He beheaded them." David swiped a finger across his throat. "Dop, dop, dop, dop."

        David explained that when Genghis entered a defeated city he would call in the local headman and have him stuffed into a crate. Over the crate would be spread a tablecloth, and on the tablecloth would be spread a wonderful meal. "And then, while the man suffocated, Genghis ate, and he didn't even hear the man's screams." David still stood on the couch, a finger in the air. "Do you know what that means?" He was thinking of Christ's parable of the wineskins. "You can't pour new into old," David said, returning to his chair. "We elect our leaders. Jesus elects his."

        He reached over and squeezed the arm of a brother. "Isn't that great?" David said. "That's the way everything in life happens. If you're a person known to be around Jesus, you can go and do anything. And that's who you guys are. When you leave here, you're not only going to know the value of Jesus, you're going to know the people who rule the world. It's about vision. 'Get your vision straight, then relate.' Talk to the people who rule the world, and help them obey. Obey Him. If I obey Him myself, I help others do the same. You know why? Because I become a warning. We become a warning. We warn everybody that the future king is coming. Not just of this country or that, but of the world." Then he pointed at the map, toward the Khan's vast, reclaimable empire.

        One night I asked Josh, a brother from Atlanta who was hoping to do mission work overseas, if I could look at some materials the Family had given him. "Man, I'd love to share them with you," he said, and retrieved from his bureau drawer two folders full of documents. While my brothers slept, I sat at the end of our long, oak dining table and copied them into my notebook.

        In a document entitled "Our Common Agreement as a Core Group," members of the Family are instructed to form a "core group," or a "cell," which is defined as "a publicly invisible but privately identifiable group of companions." A document called "Thoughts on a Core Group" explains that "Communists use cells as their basic structure. The mafia operates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four man squad. Hitler, Lenin, and many others understood the power of a small core of people."

        Another document, "Thoughts and Principles of the Family," sets forth political guidelines, such as

          21. We recognize the place and responsibility of national secular leaders in the work of advancing His kingdom.[/list]
            23. To the world in general we will say that we are "in Christ" rather than "Christian"—"Christian" having become a political term in most of the world and in the United States a meaningless term.[/list]
              24. We desire to see a leadership led by God—leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.[/list]

              and self-examination questions:

                4. Do I give only verbal assent to the policies of the family or am I a partner in seeking the mind of the Lord?[/list]
                  7. Do I agree with and practice the financial precepts of the family?4[/list]
                    13. Am I willing to work without human recognition?[/list]

                    When the group is ready, "Thoughts on a Core Group" explains, it can set to work:

                      After being together for a while, in this closer relationship, God will give you more insight into your own geographical area and your sphere of influence—make your opportunities a matter of prayer.
                          . . . The primary purpose of a core group is not to become an "action group," but an invisible "believing group." However, activity normally grows out of agreements reached in faith and in prayer around the person of Jesus Christ.

                      Long-term goals were best summarized in a document called "Youth Corps Vision." Another Family project, Youth Corps distributes pleasant brochures featuring endorsements from political leaders—among them Tsutomu Hata, a former prime minister of Japan, former secretary of state James Baker, and Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda—and full of enthusiastic rhetoric about helping young people to learn the principles of leadership. The word "Jesus" is unmentioned in the brochure.

                      But "Youth Corps Vision," which is intended only for members of the Family ("it's kinda secret," Josh cautioned me), is more direct.

                        The Vision is to mobilize thousands of young people world wide—committed to principle precepts, and person of Jesus Christ. . . .
                        A group of highly dedicated individuals who are united together having a total commitment to use their lives to daily seek to mature into people who talk like Jesus, act like Jesus, think like Jesus. This group will have the responsibility to:
                          —see that the commitment and action is maintained to the overall vision;
                          —see that the finest and best invisible organization is developed and maintained at all levels of the work;
                          —even though the structure is hidden, see that the family atmosphere is maintained, so that all people can feel a part of the family.

                        Another document—"Regional Reports, January 3, 2002"—lists some of the nations where Youth Corps programs are already in operation: Russia, Ukraine, Romania, India, Pakistan, Uganda, Nepal, Bhutan, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru. Youth Corps is, in many respects, a more aggressive version of Young Life, a better-known network of Christian youth groups that entice teenagers with parties and sports, and only later work Jesus into the equation. Most of my American brothers at Ivanwald had been among Young Life's elite, and many had returned to Young Life during their college summers to work as counselors. Youth Corps, whose programs are often centered around Ivanwald-style houses, prepares the best of its recruits for positions of power in business and government abroad. The goal: "Two hundred national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family."

                        Between 1984 and 1992 the Fellowship Foundation consigned 592 boxes—decades of the Family's letters, sermons, minutes, Christmas cards, travel itineraries, and lists of members—to an archive at the Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College in Illinois. Until I visited last fall, the archive had gone largely unexamined.

                        The Family was founded in April 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant who made his living as a traveling preacher. One night, while lying in bed fretting about socialists, Wobblies, and a Swedish Communist who, he was sure, planned to bring Seattle under the control of Moscow, Vereide received a visitation: a voice, and a light in the dark, bright and blinding. The next day he met a friend, a wealthy businessman and former major, and the two men agreed upon a spiritual plan. They enlisted nineteen business executives in a weekly breakfast meeting and together they prayed, convinced that Jesus alone could redeem Seattle and crush the radical unions. They wanted to give Jesus a vessel, and so they asked God to raise up a leader. One of their number, a city councilman named Arthur Langlie, stood and said, "I am ready to let God use me." Langlie was made first mayor and later governor, backed in both campaigns by money and muscle from his prayer-breakfast friends, whose number had rapidly multiplied.5 Vereide and his new brothers spread out across the Northwest in chauffeured vehicles (a $20,000 Dusenburg carried brothers on one mission, he boasted). "Men," wrote Vereide, "thus quickened." Prayer breakfast groups were formed in dozens of cities, from San Francisco to Philadelphia. There were already enough men ministering to the down-and-out, Vereide had decided; his mission field would be men with the means to seize the world for God. Vereide called his potential flock of the rich and powerful, those in need only of the "real" Jesus, the "up-and-out."

                        Vereide arrived in Washington, D.C., on September 6, 1941, as the guest of a man referred to only as "Colonel Brindley." "Here I am finally," he wrote to his wife, Mattie, who remained in Seattle. "In a day or two—many will know that I am in town and by God's grace it will hum." Within weeks he had held his first D.C. prayer meeting, attended by more than a hundred congressmen. By 1943, now living in a suite at Colonel Brindley's University Club, Vereide was an insider. "My what a full and busy day!" he wrote to Mattie on January 22.

                          The Vice President brought me to the Capitol and counseled with me regarding the programs and plans, and then introduced me to Senator [Ralph Owen] Brewster, who in turn to Senator [Harold Hitz] Burton—then planned further the program [of a prayer breakfast] and enlisted their cooperation. Then to the Supreme Court for visits with some of them . . . then back to the Senate, House. . . . The hand of the Lord is upon me. He is leading.[/list]

                          By the end of the war, nearly a third of U.S. senators attended one of his weekly prayer meetings.

                          In 1944, Vereide had foreseen what he called "the new world order." "Upon the termination of the war there will be many men available to carry on," Vereide wrote in a letter to his wife. "Now the ground-work must be laid and our leadership brought to face God in humility, prayer and obedience." He began organizing prayer meetings for delegates to the United Nations, at which he would instruct them in God's plan for rebuilding from the wreckage of the war. Donald Stone, a high-ranking administrator of the Marshall Plan, joined the directorship of Vereide's organization. In an undated letter, he wrote Vereide that he would "soon begin a tour around the world for the [Marshall Plan], combining with this a spiritual mission." In 1946, Vereide, too, toured the world, traveling with letters of introduction from a half dozen senators and representatives, and from Paul G. Hoffman, the director of the Marshall Plan. He traveled also with a mandate from General John Hildring, assistant secretary of state, to oversee the creation of a list of good Germans of "the predictable type" (many of whom, Vereide believed, were being held for having "the faintest connection" with the Nazi regime), who could be released from prison "to be used, according to their ability in the tremendous task of reconstruction." Vereide met with Jewish survivors and listened to their stories, but he nevertheless considered ex-Nazis well suited for the demands of "strong" government, so long as they were willing to worship Christ as they had Hitler.

                          In 1955, Senator Frank Carlson, a close adviser to Eisenhower and an even closer associate of Vereide's, convened a meeting at which he declared the Family's mission to be a "worldwide spiritual offensive," in which common cause would be made with anyone opposed to the Soviet Union. That same year, the Family financed an anti-Communist propaganda film, Militant Liberty, for use by the Defense Department in influencing opinion abroad. By the Kennedy era, the spiritual offensive had fronts on every continent but Antarctica (which Family missionaries would not visit until the 1980s). In 1961, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia deeded the Family a prime parcel in downtown Addis Ababa to serve as an African headquarters, and by then the Family also had powerful friends in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Back home, Senator Strom Thurmond prepared several reports for Vereide concerning the Senate's deliberations. Former president Eisenhower, Doug Coe would later claim at a private meeting of politicians, once pledged secret operatives to aid the Family's operations. Even in Franco's Spain, Vereide once boasted at a prayer breakfast in 1965, "there are secret cells such as the American Embassy [and] the Standard Oil office [that allow us] to move practically anywhere."

                          By the late sixties, Vereide's speeches to local prayer breakfast groups had become minor news events, and Family members' travels on behalf of Christ had attracted growing press attention. Vereide began to worry that the movement he had spent his life building might become just another political party. In 1966, a few years before he was "promoted" to heaven at age eighty-four, Vereide wrote a letter declaring it time to "submerge the institutional image of [the Family]." No longer would the Family recruit its powerful members in public, nor recruit so many. "There has always been one man," wrote Vereide, "or a small core who have caught the vision for their country and become aware of what a 'leadership led by God' could mean spiritually to the nation and to the world. . . . It is these men, banded together, who can accomplish the vision God gave me years ago."

                          Two weeks into my stay, Bengt announced to the brothers that he was applying to graduate school. He had chosen a university close enough to commute from the house, with a classics program he hoped would complement (maybe even renew, he told me privately) his relationship with Christ. After dinner every night he would disappear into the little office beside his upstairs bunk room to compose his statement of purpose on the house's one working computer.

                          Knowing I was a writer, he eventually gave me the essay to read. We sat down in Ivanwald's "office," a room barely big enough for the two of us. We crossed our legs in opposite directions so as not to knock knees.

                          My formal education has been a progression from confusion and despair to hope, the essay began. Its story hewed to the familiar fundamentalist routine of lost and found: every man and woman a sinner, fallen but nonetheless redeemed. And yet Bengt's sins were not of the flesh but of the mind. In college he had abandoned his boyhood ambition of becoming a doctor to study philosophy: Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Hegel. Raised in the faith, his ideas about God crumbled before the disciplined rage of the philosophers. "I cut and ran," he told me. To Africa, where by day he worked on ships and in clinics, and by night read Dostoevsky and the Bible, its darkest and most seductive passages: Lamentations, Job, the Song of Songs. These authors were alike, his essay observed: They wrote about [suffering] like a companion.

                          I looked up. "A double," I said, remembering Dostoevsky's alter egos.

                          Bengt nodded. "You know how you can stare at something for a long time and not see it the way it really is? That's what scripture had been to me." Through Dostoevsky he began to see the Old Testament for what it is: relentless in its horror, its God a fire, a whirlwind, a "bear, lying in wait," "a lion in secret places." Even worse is its Man: a rapist, a murderer, a wretched thief, a fool.

                          "But," said Bengt, "that's not how it ends."

                          Bengt meant Jesus. I thought of the end of The Brothers Karamazov: the saintly Alyosha, leading a pack of boys away from a funeral to feast on pancakes, everyone clapping hands and proclaiming eternal brotherhood. In Africa, Bengt had seen people who were diseased, starving, trapped by war, but who seemed nonetheless to experience joy. Bengt recalled listening to a group of starving men play the drums. "Doubt," he said, "is just a prelude to joy."

                          I had heard this before from mainstream Christians, but I suspected Bengt meant it differently. A line in Dostoevsky's The Possessed reminded me of him: when the conservative nationalist Shatov asks Stavrogin, the cold-hearted radical, "Wasn't it you who said that even if it was proved to you mathematically that the Truth was outside Christ, you would prefer to remain with Christ outside the Truth?" Stavrogin, who refuses to be cornered, denies it.

                          "Exactly," Bengt said. In Africa he had seen the trappings of Christianity fall away. All that remained was Christ. "You can't argue with absolute power."

                          I put the essay down. Bengt nudged it back into my hands. "I want to know what you think of my ending."

                          As I have read more about Jesus, it ran, I have also been intrigued by his style of interaction with other people. He was fascinated in particular by an encounter in the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 35–39, in which Jesus asks two men why they are following him. In turn, the men ask where Jesus is staying, to which he replies, "Come and see." I am not sure how Jesus asks the question, Bengt had concluded, but from the response, it seems like he is asking, "What do you desire?"

                          "That's what it's about," Bengt said. "Desire." He shifted in his chair. "Think about it: 'What do you desire?' "



                          "That's the answer?" I asked.

                          "He's the question," Bengt retorted, half-smiling, satisfied with his inversion by which doubt became the essence of a dogma. God was just what Bengt desired Him to be, even as Bengt was, in the face of God, "nothing." Not for aesthetics alone, I realized, did Bengt and the Family reject the label "Christian." Their faith and their practice seemed closer to a perverted sort of Buddhism, their God outside "the truth," their Christ everywhere and nowhere at once, His commands phrased as questions, His will as simple to divine as one's own desires. And what the Family desired, from Abraham Vereide to Doug Coe to Bengt, was power, worldly power, with which Christ's kingdom can be built, cell by cell.

                          Not long after our conversation, Bengt put a bucket beside the toilet in the downstairs bunk room. From now on, he announced, all personal items left in the living room would go into the bucket. "If you're missing anything, guys," Bengt said over dinner, "look in the bucket."

                          I looked in the bucket. Here's what I found: One pair of flip-flops. One pocket-sized edition of the sayings of Jesus. One Frisbee. One copy of Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy, hardcover. One brown-leather Bible, well worn, beautifully printed on onion skin, given to Bengt Carlson by Palmer Carlson. One pair of dirty underwear.

                          When I picked up the Bible the pages flipped open to the Gospel of John, and my eyes fell on a single underlined phrase, chapter 15, verse 3: "You are already clean."

                          Whenever a sufficiently large crop of God's soldiers was bunked up at Ivanwald, Doug Coe made a point of stopping by for dinner. Doug was, in spirit, Christ's closest disciple, the master bumper; the brothers viewed his visit as far more important than that of any senator or prime minister. The night he joined us he wore a crisply pressed golf shirt and dark slacks, and his skin was well tanned. He brought a guest with him, an Albanian politician whose pale face and ill-fitting gray suit made Doug seem all the more radiant. In his early seventies, Doug could have passed for fifty: his hair was dark, his cheeks taut. His smile was like a lantern.

                          "Where," Doug asked Rogelio, "are you from, in Paraguay?"

                          "Asunción," he said.

                          Doug smiled. "I've visited there many times." He chewed for a while. "Asunción. A Latin leader was assassinated there twenty years ago. A Nicaraguan. Does anybody know who it was?"

                          I waited for someone to speak, but no one did. "Somoza," I said. The dictator overthrown by the Sandinistas.

                          "Somoza," Doug said, his eyes sweeping back to me. "An interesting man."

                          Doug stared. I stared back. "I liked to visit him," Doug said. "A very bad man, behind his machine guns." He smiled like he was going to laugh, but instead he moved his fork to his mouth. "And yet," he said, a bite poised at the tip of his tongue, "he had a heart for the poor." Doug stared. I stared back.

                          "Do you ever think about prayer?" he asked. But the question wasn't for me. It wasn't for anyone. Doug was preparing a parable.

                          There was a man he knew, he said, who didn't really believe in prayer. So Doug made him a bet. If this man would choose something and pray for it for forty-five days, every day, he wagered God would make it so. It didn't matter whether the man believed. It wouldn't have mattered whether he was a Christian. All that mattered was the fact of prayer. Every day. Forty-five days. He couldn't lose, Doug told the man. If Jesus didn't answer his prayers, Doug would pay him $500.

                          "What should I pray for?" the man asked.

                          "What do you think God would like you to pray for?" Doug asked him.

                          "I don't know," said the man. "How about Africa?"

                          "Good," said Doug. "Pick a country."

                          "Uganda," the man said, because it was the only one he could remember.

                          "Fine," Doug told him. "Every day, for forty-five days, pray for Uganda. God please help Uganda. God please help Uganda."

                          On the thirty-second day, Doug told us, this man met a woman from Uganda. She worked with orphans. Come visit, she told the man, and so he did, that very weekend. And when he came home, he raised a million dollars in donated medicine for the orphans. "So you see," Doug told him, "God answered your prayers. You owe me $500."

                          There was more. After the man had returned to the United States, the president of Uganda called the man at his home and said, "I am making a new government. Will you help me make some decisions?"

                          "So," Doug told us, "my friend said to the president, 'Why don't you come and pray with me in America? I have a good group of friends—senators, congressmen—who I like to pray with, and they'd like to pray with you.' And that president came to The Cedars, and he met Jesus. And his name is Yoweri Museveni, and he is now the president of all the presidents in Africa. And he is a good friend of the Family."

                          "That's awesome," Beau said.

                          "Yes," Doug said, "it's good to have friends. Do you know what a difference a friend can make? A friend you can agree with?" He smiled. "Two or three agree, and they pray? They can do anything. Agree. Agreement. What's that mean?" Doug looked at me. "You're a writer. What does that mean?"

                          I remembered Paul's letter to the Philippians, which we had begun to memorize. Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded.

                          "Unity," I said. "Agreement means unity."

                          Doug didn't smile. "Yes," he said. "Total unity. Two, or three, become one. Do you know," he asked, "that there's another word for that?"

                          No one spoke.

                          "It's called a covenant. Two, or three, agree? They can do anything. A covenant is . . . powerful. Can you think of anyone who made a covenant with his friends?"

                          We all knew the answer to this, having heard his name invoked numerous times in this context. Andrew from Australia, sitting beside Doug, cleared his throat: "Hitler."

                          "Yes," Doug said. "Yes, Hitler made a covenant. The Mafia makes a covenant. It is such a very powerful thing. Two, or three, agree." He took another bite from his plate, planted his fork on its tines. "Well, guys," he said, "I gotta go."

                          As Doug Coe left, my brothers' hearts were beating hard: for the poor, for a covenant. "Awesome," Bengt said. We stood to clear our dishes.

                          On one of my last nights at Ivanwald, the neighborhood boys asked my brothers and me to play. There were roughly six boys, ranging in age from maybe seven to eleven, all junior members of the Family. They wanted to play flashlight tag. It was balmy, and the streetlight glittered against the blacktop, and hiding places beckoned from behind trees and in bushes. One of the boys began counting, and my brothers, big and small, scattered. I lay flat on a hillside. From there I could track movement in the shadows and smell the mint leaves planted in the garden. A figure approached and I sprang up and ran, down the sidewalk and up through the garden, over a wall that my pursuer, a small boy, had trouble climbing. But once he was over he kept charging, and just as I was about to vanish into the trees his flashlight caught me. "Jeff I see you you're It!" the boy cried. I stopped and turned, and he kept the beam on me. Blinded, I could hear only the slap of his sneakers as he ran across the driveway toward me. "Okay, dude," he whispered, and turned off the flashlight. I recognized him as little Stevie, whose drawing of a machine gun we had posted in our bunk room. He handed the flashlight to me, spun around, started to run, then stopped and looked over his shoulder. "You're It now," he whispered, and disappeared into the dark.

                          1. The Los Angeles Times reported in September that the Fellowship Foundation alone has an annual budget of $10 million, but that represents only a fraction of the Family's finances. Each of the Family's organizations raises funds independently. Ivanwald, for example, is financed at least in part by an entity called the Wilberforce Foundation. Other projects are financed by individual "friends": wealthy businessmen, foreign governments, church congregations, or mainstream foundations that may be unaware of the scope of the Family's activities. At Ivanwald, when I asked to what organization a donation check might be made, I was told there was none; money was raised on a "man-to-man" basis. Major Family donors named by the Times include Michael Timmis, a Detroit lawyer and Republican fund-raiser; Paul Temple, a private investor from Maryland; and Jerome A. Lewis, former CEO of the Petro-Lewis Corporation.

                          2. According to the Los Angeles Times, congressmen who have lived there include Rep. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.), former Rep. Ed Bryant (R., Tenn.), and former Rep. John Elias Baldacci (D., Maine). The house's eight congressman-tenants each pay $600 per month in rent for use of a town house that includes nine bathrooms and five living rooms. When the Times asked then-resident Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) about the property, he replied, "We sort of don't talk to the press about the house."

                          3. Gannon worked for Senator Don Nickles, then the second-ranking Republican. The man who oversaw Ivanwald and interviewed us for admission was a lawyer named Steve South, who formerly had been Senator Nickles's chief counsel and was still a close associate.

                          4. The Family's "financial precepts" apparently amount to the practice of soliciting funds only privately, and often indirectly. This may also refer to what some members call "biblical capitalism," the belief that God's economics are laissez-faire.

                          5. As Vereide recounted in a 1961 biography, Modern Viking, one union boss joined the group, proclaiming that the prayer movement would make unions obsolete. He said, " 'I got down on my knees and asked God to forgive me . . . for I have been a disturbing factor and a thorn in Your flesh.' " A "rugged capitalist who had been the chairman of the employers' committee in the big strike" put his left hand on the labor leader's shoulder and said, " 'Jimmy, on this basis we go on together.' "

                          © The Harper's Magazine Foundation.
                          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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                          Offline Anonymous

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                          Re: Funderwear
                          « Reply #11 on: November 26, 2009, 10:33:32 AM »
                          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

                          Offline Ursus

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                          Republican Senate Sex Scandals Point Back to ... "Family"
                          « Reply #12 on: November 30, 2009, 02:38:33 PM »
                          A somewhat recent interview with Jeff Sharlet:

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                          Republican Senate Sex Scandals Point Back to Secretive Conservative Christian "Family"
                          By Bill Berkowitz, Religion Dispatches. Posted October 12, 2009.

                          It was a hot summer full of sex scandals for GOP members of "The Family," the exclusive conservative Christian group with designs on DC power.

                          Before the Tea Party Express brought tens of thousands to protest in the nation's capital, and before town hall meetings about health care devolved into shout downs, there was the story of the boys of C Street.

                          The C-Street house in DC.

                          What at first seemed like a series of public sex scandals turned out to have a connective thread. The main protagonists (Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, and former Arkansas Congressman Chip Pickering) were all one-time residents of C Street and members of the Family, otherwise known as the Fellowship. As the summer unfurled, the "three amigos" gave mainstream media outlets plenty to talk about, and this highly secretive and powerful right-wing group got a lot of exposure. And then, as is the wont of the media, the story of C Street disappeared from the headlines.

                          In this exclusive Religion Dispatches interview, Jeff Sharlet, author of 2008's The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, talks about The Family and its summer of scandal, the organization's tarnished present and future possibilities, and why the mainstream media had such a difficult time dealing with the group's unusual political/religious beliefs.

                          First off, tell us three critical things we should know about The Family?

                          Jeff Sharlet: The Family is the oldest and arguably most influential religious conservative organization in Washington, a "brotherhood" comprised mostly of politicians such as Senator Jim Inhofe, Senator Tom Coburn, Senator Sam Brownback, Senator Jim DeMint, and, now infamously, Senator John Ensign, Governor Mark Sanford, and former congressman Chip Pickering, all of whom turned to The Family to help cover up sex scandals this past summer. The reason you may not have heard about the group is that it doesn't want you to hear about it—"the more invisible you can make your organization," preaches leader Doug Coe, "the more influence it will have." They're not the only group in Washington that keeps a low profile, but it's the nature of their influence that's really noteworthy: some congressmen call it simply personal and thus private, but nearly 600 boxes of documents stored at the Billy Graham Center Archive reveals decades of intense political work around foreign and economic affairs.

                          Most people don't know anything about Doug Coe, the Family's longtime leader. How did he manage to escape the public spotlight for such a long period of time? What makes him such a unique figure?

                          A few years ago, Time magazine was making up a list of the 25 most powerful evangelicals. Since I write a lot on these subjects, they asked me who I'd suggest. I said Coe. "Who's he?" the reporter, David Van Biema, responded. I told him to call the offices of a dozen congressmen—if at least half didn't mention Coe, don't include him. Well, Coe made the list, at number four, pictured with Bush, Sr., under the headline, "The Stealth Persuader."

                          The secret to his stealth is simple: In a city where everybody wants to be in the news, Coe isn't seeking publicity. Way back in 1966, when he first began assuming leadership of the organization he'd come to re-brand as the Family, he sent out a memo declaring that the time had come to "submerge" the group's public profile. In a rare interview, he admits that the National Prayer Breakfast—owned and organized by the Family since its founding in 1953, despite its official appearance—isn't "one tenth of one percent" of what the Family accomplishes behind the scenes.

                          That penchant for "invisibility," as he calls it, makes him unusual, but don't mistake him for some humble servant of the Lord. Above all else, Coe admires strength, of the iron fist variety. Over the years he's acted as a de facto lobbyist for strongmen ranging from Haiti's Papa Doc Duvalier to Indonesia's Suharto. Disavowing the strident pulpit-pounding that makes headlines, Coe preaches a far more authoritarian message, advising congressmen to look to "evil men" such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao for insight into the nature of Christ's power.

                          Why did the much of the mainstream media—with the exception of MSNBC'S Rachel Maddow—lose interest in the C Street story after they mined the sex out of it?

                          I can only speculate. To be fair, it's not quite that bad or that unusual. First, there's the fact that having written about this for a number of magazines that might be said to be sort of mainstream (Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, Mother Jones) and talked about it on very mainstream television programs (NBC Nightly News, CNN, etc.) and radio (Marketplace, Fresh Air, BBC, etc.), I've sort of established ownership of the story. That may be a good thing for my book sales, but it's bad for journalism, because it discourages other reporters from digging in.

                          Fortunately, there are a lot of solid journalists working around the country who didn't get the memo: we've seen local news investigations in Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and beyond. That's because some of those regional reporters simply aren't that invested in access in the same way that national reporters are. That's the good news.

                          The bad news is that this is a very, very hard story for mainstream media to handle for the following reasons: 1. It's weird, and contrary to conventional wisdom, and most reporters shy away from the strange; 2. It's intellectually challenging, since to understand what's going on one has to not only follow the money but also the ideas that make the Family different than other movements; 3. The press is religiously illiterate; 4. The Family doesn't operate along traditional partisan lines, the only schematic of power a lot of political reporters are trained to understand.

                          Here's one more possibility: most reporters are not only religiously illiterate, they're Constitutionally confused. That is, they revere the First Amendment, but they don't bother to think too deeply about the delicate balance between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Respecting a politician's freedom of religion doesn't mean ignoring his religion—it means asking smart, sometimes tough questions about its role in his political life.

                          For a relatively brief period you made the rounds, were interviewed in a number of mainstream media venues. Then, nothing! What happened?  

                          Actually, as an author, I was lucky. Spurred by the sex scandals, this story got a lot more attention than most books do; especially long, dense books with footnotes. I think I did about 200 interviews over the summer. The Washington Post called, but gave the story to a style reporter. Gail Collins cited my book favorably in the New York Times, but got it wrong. Maureen Dowd pinched the story and got it wrong, too. TV was what mattered.  

                          The ones that made a difference, in terms of moving the story along and getting things rolling at the local level around the United States, are surprising: The Rachel Maddow Show, on which I appeared eight times, had a much bigger impact than NBC Nightly News; Real Time With Bill Maher moved more books and provoked more former members of the Family to get in touch with me than The Daily Show. Chris Matthews used the last seconds before going live to lean across the desk to tell me, "I don't know if I get this. I don't know if want to!" And he didn't, rattling on about how he used to like to stay at the YMCA. But what the hell, it got the books into more hands and I got to hang out in the green room with one of my anti-heroes, Pat Buchanan, who off screen wears this big blocky designer glasses that look like he stole them from a drag queen or a Miami yenta, two demographics with whom he's had his differences over the years.

                          Rick Sanchez of CNN's Newsroom was much more informed than I expected; he'd clearly read some of the book, which is rare. Jon Stewart wanted to talk about Calvinism in the green room, but on screen we mainly talked about C Street and sex in the kitchen. Radio, of course, was a whole different story. The bottom line is that the further you got from establishment press, the more serious the questions became. The Las Vegas Sun didn't want to giggle with Maureen Dowd about sexual improprieties; they wanted to follow the money, and they did, brilliantly.

                          What is C Street currently up to? How do they connect with people's day-to-day concerns, like health care, the economic crisis, Afghanistan and other issues, and how do they affect policy?

                          The Family would say that it doesn't do policy, and in the strictest sense, that's correct. For years, the confidential memos the Family prepared for members of Congress involved with the group emphasized that the "prayer cells" were not to take action as prayer cells. Rather, boilerplate at the top of every memo read, action should grow out of the relationships formed there. Which is to say, the Family provides a "worldview," fundamentalism re-tooled for the needs of power, and the relationships. What you do next is up to you. That said, the Family does not connect with "people's day-to-day concerns"; they don't care much about the public. But in terms of worldview and action and relationships: "biblical capitalism," laissez-faire, guides the general view of health care (see, for instance, the work of Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Mike Enzi, two Family men involved in scuttling health care) and the economic crisis (three of the four senators who've voted against all five appropriations bills actually live at C Street: DeMint, Coburn, and Ensign). Afghanistan is a trickier issue. In general, the Family has always fallen on the side of hawkishness and expansionism; but I think some of the wise men of the group see the practical folly of Afghanistan. It's hard to miss.

                          Will The Family be able to rehabilitate its image? What will it take? Will members continue to feel safe there?

                          It's taken a hit. That became evident to me this summer as a number of congressmen did every thing they could to distance themselves from the Family. This was especially true of conservative Democrats. Rep. Bart Stupak, who's lived at C Street for seven years, enjoying maid service provided by Christian college girls, counseling younger Family members, and getting discounted rent, now tells the Michigan press that he had no idea where he was; despite boasting to the LA Times in 2002 that the activities of C Street were secret. Rep. Heath Shuler, who at the beginning of the summer seemed to want the word out that he lived in this fundamentalist frat house, refused to confirm or deny his residence there by the end of the summer. My favorite was Senator Mark Pryor. When I interviewed him two years ago, he boasted of his involvement with "the prayer breakfast folks." This summer, his staff told Arkansas press that I'd never spoken to him. When I offered to share the transcript, they backpedaled, simply asking me to stop connecting Pryor with the Family, which he no longer wants anything to do with.

                          But the Family will survive. It's been around for 70 years. And it has plenty of defenders. Senator Jim Inhofe wants to boast of his involvement. Senator Lindsey Graham rushed to its defense. Rep. Randy Forbes, leader of the congressional prayer caucus, is proud of his association. Rep. Frank Wolf and former Rep. Tony Hall took to the pages of Christianity Today to publish such a disingenuous defense that even USA Today scoffed. But that didn't shake them.

                          It's taken a hit from its own members, but it's not down and out.

                          Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements.

                          © 2009 Independent Media Institute.
                          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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                          Offline Ursus

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                          Maine governor John Baldacci
                          « Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 10:18:21 AM »
                          There's another article pertinent to this thread posted in the Hyde forum. Apparently current Maine governor John Baldacci was also once a C Street House resident — for four years, while he was a congressman.

                            "Does John Baldacci belong to a secretive, powerful, conservative Christian group?"
                            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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