Monday, June 30, 2008

Hillary's "Family" - A Scary Religious Cult

I first got wind of this news months ago in mid-March in a column on The Huffington Post, Barbara Ehrenreich, Hillary's Nasty Pastorate:

There's a reason why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the "Fellowship," aka The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.
She adds, unflatteringly:
What drew Clinton into the sinister heart of the international right? Maybe it was just a phase in her tormented search for identity, marked by ever-changing hairstyles and names: Hillary Rodham, Mrs. Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and now Hillary Clinton. She reached out to many potential spiritual mentors during her White House days, including new age guru Marianne Williamson and the liberal Rabbi Michael Lerner. But it was the Family association that stuck.
Now the book is out.

Basically, the "Family" do not believe the meek and the poor will inherit the earth. I'm not sure how they dismiss the Sermon on the Mount, but they deliberately court the powerful to their group. One caller into an NPR radio interview with the author Sharlet was astounded and said it sounded like something out of the DaVinci Code. That's an understatement. Also, more scary 'cuase it aint' fiction.

A bit ago, NBC's investigative unit - Andrea Mitchell and Jim Popkin - did a piece back in early April. It's short and a good overview:

For more from NBC, click here.

This quote is from Mother Jones online, co-written by Jeff Sharlet, Hillary's Prayer: Hillary Clinton's Religion and Politics:

When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian "cell" whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat.

Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
Okay, just to scare you more (Coe is the leader of the Family/Fellowship):
The Fellowship's long-term goal is "a leadership led by God—leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit." According to the Fellowship's archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea. The Fellowship's God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe's Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.
Weirdly, nary a whisper of Clinton came up in Sharlet's Diane Rehm interview last week. If I had listened live, I'd have emailed in. Alas, as usual, I was listening on my lap top while trying to sleep, listening to divert my mind from the pain. Democrats - unnamed - though, were acknowledged as being part of the group.


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