(Some notes from a recent Second Life Humanism meeting.)
"You guys are here to learn how to take over the world." -David Coe
The Fellowship, also known as the Family, is a US based religious and political organization founded in 1935 by Abraham Vereide (October 7, 1886 - May 16, 1969) was a Norwegian-born Methodist clergyman. It is now run by Douglas Evans Coe (born October 20, 1928) who is prepping his son David to take over when he retires (or is "promoted to heaven" as they say). Their stated purpose of the Fellowship is to provide a fellowship forum for *decision makers* to share in Bible Studies, prayer meetings, worship experiences and to experience spiritual affirmation and support. This is only a half truth. Yes, they do target "decision makers" for their evangelism but it is not just a faith pursuit as stated. I will get to that in a moment.
Some things they are particularly noted for publicly in the past and today: first is the National Prayer Breakfast which is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year which has taken place since 1953. This is their one regular public event each year. Every sitting United States president since President Dwight D. Eisenhower, up to President Barack Obama, has participated in at least one National Prayer Breakfast during his term. The Fellowship's known participants include ranking United States government officials, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, and ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world.
The second is the C Street Scandal. C Street has been the subject of controversy over its claimed tax status as a church, the ownership of the property and its connection to the Fellowship, and the reportedly subsidized benefits the facility provides to members of Congress. Until 2009, C Street was exempt from real property taxes because it was classified as a "special purpose" use as a church. District of Columbia law exempts from taxation "buildings belonging to religious corporations or societies" which meet certain criteria. In August 2009, the property was reclassified. A DC city official said "it was determined that portions are being rented to private individuals for residential purposes. As a result, the exemption was partially revoked and adjusted so that only 34 percent is now tax-exempt and 66 percent has become taxable." None of this building is a church, however.
The "facilities" mentioned are posh rooms with maid service in a very expensive mansion walking distance from the Capitol at a reduced rate. So what this means is that the senators that reside there are supposed to declare this subsidized rent as a donation which they have not done. In response these accusations, their first response was that they were not members of the organization nor were they paying below market rent... They, of course, were lying. On April 1, 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Senate and House ethics committees alleging that Senators and Representatives lodging in C Street received below market rents constituting "improper gifts from C Street Center, Inc., the entity that runs the house and is affiliated with the Fellowship, a shadowy religious organization." This has yet to be addressed by the Ethics Committee. (I will give a list of the members Congress that are associated in a moment.)
So now that you know the public face of The Family, let's dig a little deeper...
("Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power") was recommended by a friend (brother of an ex-gf) to intern at Ivanwald, one of several Family homes.... Often they are owned by organizations of various related names but they are all ultimate owned and run by The Family... and here's what they do there:
Interns are all young men of wealthy background. They spend their days cleaning toilets, raking leaves, scrubbing floor (at places like C street & the Cedars) and by night they are learn about Jesus, or at least their version of him (I'll get back to that). They are encouraged to work out and play sports as they believe that to be spiritually fit they must also be physically fit. While there they are not prevent but discouraged from having contact with the outside world. They are to pray to be broken. This is like a Jesus boot camp. They are preparing for "spiritual war."
The Jesus of The Family doesn't care about justice or rights. Rights, they believe, are the product of an arrogant mind. Jesus cares about obedience and discipline. The interns are instructed to "pray to be nothing", or in other words, to be a selfless vehicle of God's authority. They seek the complete absence of self-awareness, an absence of an understanding of their thoughts as distinct from God's... thus removing any chance for doubt.
The Family wants "to reconstruct early Christian society, which they believe was ruled by God alone. They view themselves as the new chosen and claim a Christian doctrine of covenantalism, meaning covenants not only between God and humanity but at every level of society, replacing the rule of law and its secular contracts. Since these covenants are signed, as it were, in the Blood of the Lamb, they are written in ink invisible to non-believers." This Sharlet calls Dominionism.
...never mind that early Christian society was ruled by Pagan Rome but whatever...
So the immediate question is: how the hell would they do that? I'll tell you.
"They take the same approach to religion that Ronald Reagan took to economics. Reach the elite, and the blessings will trickle down to the underlings." -Neil MacBride
Youth Corp Vision: To mobilize thousands of young people worldwide, committed to Jesus. Ivanwald-style houses to prepare its recruits for positions of power in business and government abroad. Programs are currently in operation in: Russia, Nepal, India, Ukraine, Romania, Pakistan, Uganda (where they instituted the law to kill gay people), Bhutan, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, and others.
David Coe asked the group in which Sharlet was a member if King David was a good man. He started in then with his own parable about how it didn't matter if King David was a good man but rather that he was chosen by God to do a job for him. The Family believes that once one is a member of the Family and are committed to the goal they are no longer subject to secular laws and they are no longer accountable to the public for crimes. They are like King David, chosen to do a task, so the Family will shield them with all of their political might.
The interns are Ivanwald, and others, were to provide refuge for leaders doing the work of the Family while learning how to be leaders themselves in the future. Places like the Cedars provided a retreat for men like Clarence Thomas during the Anita Hill scandal.
to start instituting laws that are favorable for the Family's Jesus. Installing something they call "biblical capitalism", removal of any and all unions, repealing women's rights, and so on.
Members are, of course, sworn to secrecy about their actual goals and members names. Sharlet sort of accidently fell into this realm thinking he was just going to learn about a new form of civic religion.
Okay, as if this wasn't scary enough already... it's about to get worse.
The Logan Act, one of the nation's oldest laws, forbids private citizens from acting as diplomats on behalf of the US. Sometimes Senators go abroad as officials and sometimes they go as private citizens in the name of The Family. Their intent is to make allies in Christ for which they have a formidable ally in the US. The Family will help dictators with money and American arms or whatever they need to complete tasks in the name of Jesus. Example: Suharto in Indonesia in the 60's and 70's that slaughtered over 600,000 of his own people and then continued on to East Timor with the help of American arms to slaughter hundreds of thousands there as well... Simply because they were Communist. Women and children included.
Here are the names of some of the notables:
The Value Added Team (VAT) (as they are known) include:
Sam Brownback (R Kansas)
Joe Pitts (R Pennsylvania)
Jim DeMint (R South Carolina)
Pete Domenici (New Mexico)
Chuck Grassley (R Iowa)
James Inhofe (R Oklahoma)
Tom Coburn (R Oklahoma)
John Thune (R South Dakota)
Mike Enzi (R Wyoming)
John Ensign (R Nevada)
In the House:
Bill Nelson (D Florida)
Mark Pryor (D Arkansas)
Frank Wolf (R Virginia)
Zach Wamp (R Tennessee)
Mike McIntyre (D North Carolina)
Justices (at least):
Gerald Ford was their only member president
but every president since has at least in some way become involved
That's all for now. Thanks for listening. :)