Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Family!

Did you know that the National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a shadowy cabal of elite Christian fundamentalists? Jeff Sharlet's new book, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," offers a rare glimpse of this remarkable network, which is known variously as the Family, the Fellowship and the International Foundation.

The Family was founded 70 years ago by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant evangelist based in Seattle. In 1935, Vereide said, God appeared to him in a vision and revealed where Christianity had gone wrong: preoccupation with the poor, the weak and the suffering.

The down-and-out were in no position to bring about the Kingdom of God, Vereide realized. Some Christians believe that the rapture is imminent, but not the Family. They're convinced that Jesus won't return until we get our collective house in order. If they were to wait for the down-and-out to remake the world in God's image, we could be here forever.

Besides, in Seattle in the 1930s, union agitators were making a play for the down-and-out. Christianity promised rewards in the hereafter, but workers in the Pacific Northwest were starting to wonder why they had to wait so long. Instead of competing for market share with the Industrial Workers of the World, Vereide sought a different niche.

His new plan was to target men who were already powerful and turn them to God -- and wouldn't you know it, God hated unions, too.

Through personal relationships and small group encounters, Vereide united captains of industry and politicians as a Biblical bulwark against the increasing power of organized labor.

In the late 1940s, the Family helped roll back key pro-labor provisions of the New Deal. Later, the Family did its part for the Cold War by cultivating anti-communist strongmen around the world, including repressive leaders like Suharto of Indonesia and Jonas Savimbi of Angola.

The roster of current and former Family members includes senators, congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, generals and at least one Supreme Court justice. The Family does not publish membership lists, and its members are sworn to secrecy, so a full accounting is impossible.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has been involved with the Family since 1993 when, as first lady, she joined a White House prayer circle for political wives. Clinton has also sought spiritual counseling from the current head of the Family, Doug Coe. Sharlet argues that Clinton's longtime association with the Family has helped her forge working relationships with powerful religious conservatives such as Family member and anti-abortion crusader Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

The Family nurtures the next generation of prayer warriors in suburban dormitories. Sharlet spent nearly a month living at Ivanwald, a dormitory in Virginia where sons of the Family are sent to immerse themselves in Jesus and clean the toilets of congressmen and senators.

The Family also runs a house on C Street in Washington, D.C. The C Street Center has housed a number of federal legislators, including Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Residents allege that the center is just a cheap place to live, but as an Ivanwald brother, Sharlet saw firsthand that the center is a religious community. As far as the IRS is concerned, the C Street Center is a church.

Members will tell you that the Family is just a group of friends. As Sharlet discovered, 600 boxes of documents at the Billy Graham Center Archives tell a different story.

Continued @ Alternet


Yet another fine example of a wacko having a bad dream while being self-focused.

Authoritarians have been in religion for thousands of years and do not seem to have trouble finding like minded sheeple to follow their beliefs no matter how bizzare.

Worse that just plain old authoritarians are elitist authoritarians granted the wisdom of the ages through 'revelations from God', oh what a nasty bunch they are, self absorbed and appointed to 'correct' the shortcomings of their fellow man through force if necessary.

What a bunch of idiots.

Do humanity a favor and keep your religion where it belongs, in church, not in government.



DEN said...

What is it with people having visions in their dreams anyway?

Not exactly the best way to view reality, after all dreams are just a mental review of emotions.

In the 'mental review' context it is easy to see why people like the goofball that started the 'Family' saw the current events as exasperating for him and set out on a course to change them.

And there are always plenty of dumb fools that will follow blindly because it is 'God's will' after all and he spoke to brother goofball in a dream and said we need to change stuff to fit that emotional review.

I call it insanity due to religious over-focus.

Not a useful human trait.


micki said...

On another matter -- yea!!! for SCOTUS!

The Supreme Court's ruling did what a Democratic Congress had apparently been afraid to do -- restore the fundamental right of habeas corpus to the Guantánamo detainees -- a right the court said was protected by the Constitution.

micki said...

Not sure if he has "visions" but Obama is the most God-centric person in the presidential race, at this point.

He talks waaaaaaaaaaay too much about his personal journey of faith for my taste.

If he's yakking about his faith all the time to beat back the accusations of being a Muslim, he should just knock it off and say, my faith is a private matter, as John F. Kennedy did.

Noe, that would be change I could believe in! I'm sick of godfaithreligionchristianbs.

micki said...

Now...not noe

DEN said...

Subject: Say No to Senator Bond's FISA Capitulation

Dear Friend,

Senator Kit Bond of Missouri is now floating legislation that he calls a "compromise" on warrantless wiretapping. Unfortunately, the bill would be a disaster for our civil rights and the rule of law. It gives the President everything he's demanded, including retroactive immunity for telecom companies that spied on us without the warrants required by the current FISA law.

I just signed a petition calling on my representative to reject Senator Bond's legislation when it gets to the House. I hope you will too.

Please have a look and take action.



DEN said...

Dear Den,

Today the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a stinging rebuke to the Bush-Cheney Administration's handling of military detainees at Guantanamo Bay -- while vindicating you, me, and thousands of others who have spoken out against the Administration's unwise and unconstitutional policies from the very beginning.

In today's 5-4 Boumediene v. Bush decision, the Court ruled that stripping habeas corpus rights from detainees at Guantanamo Bay was unconstitutional. In so doing, the Court reaffirmed the fundamental right of habeas corpus -- the right that all Americans, and those prisoners under American control, have to challenge the government's reasons for imprisoning them -- a fundamental American right that underpins our individual freedoms and liberty.

Now, in three separate decisions, the Supreme Court has rejected the Bush-Cheney Administration's erosion of fundamental rights. It is these very protections and rights that set America apart from our enemies and make our nation a beacon of freedom and justice for the rest of the world.

It's time to repair the damage that the Bush-Cheney Administration has done in rolling back essential rights that have long guided America's conscience -- and the Supreme Court's ruling is yet one more step in that important process. It's another signal that -- at least in this instance -- we will not cringe in fear and walk away from bedrock American values.

Today's decision is a huge victory for justice, for the Constitution, and for the rule of law. Thank you so much for continuing to stand with me and fight for the rights and freedoms we hold dear.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

David B. Benson said...

"I feel safer down here among the Christian savages of Narragansett Bay than I do among the savage Christians of Massachusetts Bay Company." -- Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, 1635 CE.

From The Nation, 2008 Jun 09. p. 42.

David B. Benson said...

Global warming causes deluges and flooding, just like the Midwest is seeing (again)

makes the important point that the MSM never mentions this (obvious) connection. Unfortunately it is not obvious to most Americans (but it is to most British and Chinese).

Hajji said...

Wild Weather here last night...

Hard-core 2 hour burst...

Put about 2 inches of rainin the empty coffee can on the that measures the "Hooved Ones'" feed sitting on a stump in the middle of the back yard. Almost continuous CLOSE lightning strikes for an hour. Been a long time since we've been caught in THAT kind of weather!

Knocked down a few "widowmakers" in the woods and MOST sadly...seems to have killed my Autographed by Henry Kloss Model 88 Radio...

Time to renew some old aquaintances at Cambridge radio I ever heard or had. Jimmy O will git'er fixed!


David B. Benson said...

SCOTUS decision only 5 to 4.


micki said...

SCOTUS decision only 5 to 4.


Well, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and SCOTUS rulings.

If we had a solid Dem majority in the Senate, that has the will and the strength to do the right thing, no matter who makes the nomination(s) for the next opening(s) for the SCOTUS bench, we could be okay.

micki said...

Dr. B -- the use of "never" is as unuseful as saying "always."

I did a quick search and found some news reports from broadcast media that mentioned the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events.

I'm not suggesting that the reports were "in-depth" but it has been mentioned.

Alan said...

why I'm voting republican

micki said...

I'll repeat a variation of my earlier comment(s) regarding the 5-4 ruling:

Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”

The majority also saw the Guantánamo loophole as a device used by Bu$h and the 2005-06 Republican-controlled Congress to evade the authority of civilian courts as well as the habeas corpus obligation for the Executive to justify a person’s detention.

“The writ of habeas corpus is itself an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers,” the majority ruled, adding that it “must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain.”

The Democratic-controlled Congress, elected in 2006, had not done anything of substance to restore the fundamental right of habeas corpus to the Guantánamo detainees.

Will they suddenly find the will to FIX the wrongs of the Bu$h Admini$tration if they win the WH or win a larger majority in Congress -- or both?

micki said...

Carol sent us the link to the "Why I'm Voting Republican" video last night.

Almost too true to be funny.