Here we have an in-depth article concerning the power some private organizations have over the governance of the United States. Combined with the needs of the military, the intelligence communities and the banking consortiums, all the American public do is to pay their enforced taxes and hope for the best. That they would get it is highly doubtful at best.
The Family: The Octopus of God
November 1, 2017
by Christian Jürs
In an age when dissatisfaction with systems of governance is becoming a daily norm, the public has become more and more interested in conspiracy theories that purport to expose various misdeeds of governance and its various organs and purported accomplices.
We have seen an enormous body of revisionist literature arise, dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, and as that topic slid down and away from public interest, another issue rose to prominence speculation and fictive writing. This was the September 11, 2001 attack by Saudi terrorists on various targets in the United State.
Invented stories about “robot aircraft,” “’Nano thermite’ controlled explosions,” and other theories, many verging on the lunatic, sprang up and proliferated. While most of these entertainments were the product of inventive minds and eagerly accepted by a public that felt betrayed by their government and the upper levels of the national economic structure, a number of stories were very obviously clever insertions of deliberate disinformation from the very same power elite.
One of the recurring themes of the conspiracy claques is that of the existence of a secret society, or organization, that is somehow able to exert powerful but behind-the-scenes control over all aspects of governance. One of the favorites has been the Illuminati. This was originally a German association, formed in 1776 by one Adam Weishaupt, a Freemason and law professor at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria.
The original Illuminati, then called the Order of Perfectibilists, and later became a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of both established governments and religions, specifically the Catholics. Eventually, Weishaubt made enough noise that the Bavarian Elector, Karl Theodor, outlawed them and forced Weishaupt to move to Gotha where he finished his life by writing books and abstaining from anti-establishment activities.
Weishaupt’s disbanded organization has become the inspiration for several generations of conspiracy inventors and because Weishaupt spoke of a single world government, ruled by men of honor and intellect (obviously impossible in any age), the conspiracy people have talked about a New World Order which might be satisfying and even desired but would be impossible of execution. To this mythic entity is ascribed all manner of manipulations and plotting
In addition to the Illuminati, fiction theorists have also targeted the Rothschild banking house and the Bilderburger banker’s association as being the controlling forces behind all the governments of the world. In the United States, one can add the Council on Foreign Relations, the fraternal Skull and Bones society, the Federal Reserve and a legion of quite harmless associations to the conspiracy mix.
In the background, however, only dimly seen and then only by established intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, exists a very genuine, and very dangerous, secret organization that wields far more actual power than any of the imaginary creations of the Internet..
This is a power group, posing as a religious organization, and who, with its various associated sub-groups, pose a critical threat to the American democratic system., It is a Washington-based organization known as both ‘The Fellowship’, and ‘The Family’. This group, and its allies, the Dominionists and the Neo-Templars, basically control the American Congress, the Department of State, and have “very important” connections at the top levels of the Central Intelligence Agency.and the American military. The Family’s goal, according to one secret internal document, is to create a “hidden structure” of “national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.” The first hallmark of this theocratic clandestine organisation is their unquestioning reliance on the Bible in all matters, to the complete exclusion of any other authority, secular or otherwise The second is their insistence on a faith in Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior, again, to the exclusion of any other entity.
The Fellowship’s known participants include ranking United States government officials, both elected and appointed, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world. Many United States Senators and Congressmen have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so and work together to pass or influence legislation.
This organization fetishizes power by comparing Jesus to “Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden” as examples of leaders who change the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their “brothers.”The agenda of the Fellowship becomes much clearer when it is realized that Fellowship leader Douglas Coe preaches a personal commitment to Jesus Christ very and specifically comparable to the blind devotion that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot demanded from their followers. In one videotaped lecture series in 1989, Coe said:
“Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had…But they bound themselves together in an agreement…Two years before they moved into Poland, these three men had…systematically a plan drawn out…to annihilate the entire Polish population and destroy by numbers every single house…every single building in Warsaw and then to start on the rest of Poland.” Coe added that it worked; they killed six and a half million “Polish people.”
Though he calls Nazis “these enemies of ours,” he compares their commitment to Jesus’ demands: “Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.’ Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.”
Coe also compared Jesus’s teachings to the Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution
. Fellowship members are taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao and that their genocide allegations wasn’t an issue for them, it was the strength that they emulated that was of vitasl importance.
The Fellowship is associated with an organization called ‘C Street’, which has drawn national attention for its connections to the extra-marital affairs of Senator John Ensign and Governor Mark Sanford.
Prominent evangelical Christians have described the organization as one of the most, or the most, politically well-connected ministries in the world.
American lawmakers have mentioned The Fellowship more than any other organization when asked to name a ministry with the most influence on their faith.
In 1977, four years after he had converted to Christianity, Fellowship member and convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson described the group as a “veritable underground of Christ’s men all through the U.S. government.”
Senate Prayer Group member, Senator Sam Brownback has described group members’ method of operation: “Typically, one person grows desirous of pursuing an action”—-a piece of legislation, a diplomatic strategy—-“and the others pull in behind.” Indeed, Brownback has often joined with fellow Family members in pursuing legislation. For example, in 1999 he joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and in 2005 Brownback joined with Fellowship member Sen. Tom Coburn to promote the Houses of Worship Act.
The Reverend Robert Schenck, founder of the Washington, D.C. ministry Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, described the Family’s influence as “off the charts” in comparison with other fundamentalist groups, specifically compared to Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, Traditional Values Coalition, and Prison Fellowship. (These last two are associated with the Family: Traditional Values Coalition uses their C Street House and Prison Fellowship was founded by Charles Colson.) “the mystique of The Fellowship” has helped it “gain entree into almost impossible places in the capital.”
This organization has been described as one of the most politically well-connected ministries in the United States. The Fellowship shuns publicity and its members share a vow of secrecy. The Fellowship’s leader Douglas Coe and others have explained the organization’s desire for secrecy by citing biblical admonitions against public displays of good works, insisting they would not be able to tackle “diplomatically sensitive missions” if they drew public attention.
One of Vereide’s most effective organizational and power-seeking tools were his so-called ‘Prayer Breakfast.’ In 1944 Vereide held his first joint Senate-House prayer breakfast meeting. He held another breakfast on June 16, 1946, attended by Senators H. Alexander Smith and Lister Hill, and US News and World Report publisher David Lawrence.And although the organization is secretive, it holds one regular public event each year, the National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, D.C. 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. Fellowship Foundation is currently best known for the National Prayer Breakfast, held each year on the first Thursday of February in Washington, D.C. First held in 1953, the event is now attended by over 3,400 guests including dignitaries from many nations.
The President of the United States typically makes an address at the breakfast, following the main speaker’s keynote address. The event is hosted by a 24-member committee of members of Congress. Democrats and Republicans serve on the organizing committee, and chairmanship alternates each year between the House and the Senate. A primary activity of the Fellowship has been to develop small support groups for politicians, including Senators and members of Congress, Executive Branch officials, military officers, foreign leaders and dignitaries, businesspersons, and other influential individuals. In April 1935, Vereide, and a Major J.F. Douglas invited nineteen business and civic leaders for a breakfast prayer meeting. As of 1937, 209 prayer breakfast groups had been organized throughout Seattle.
Prayer groups connected with ICL now are established very firmly in the White House, the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense. By the early 1970s, prayer groups, breakfasts, and luncheons, including those sponsored by ICL, had become commonplace in the Pentagon.
Earlier, in 1940, 300 men from all over the state of Washington attended a prayer breakfast for the new governor, Arthur Langlie. Vereide traveled through the Pacific Northwest, and later around the country, to develop similar groups. The nondenominational groups were meant to bring together civic and business leaders informally to share vision, study the Bible, and develop relationships of trust and support.
By 1942, there were 60 breakfast groups in major cities around the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington and Vancouver. That same year, Vereide began to hold small prayer breakfasts for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, meetings of informal fellowship, mutual prayer and encouragement.
In case after case, The Fellowship has set American foreign policy, especially in the oil-rich Middle East. They have an abiding interest in the oil industry and many of its shadowy members, such as former Vice Pressident Dick Cheney, set policy, not to conform to the actual needs of the American public but the oil (and other) industry.
The Fellowship was initially founded in April of 1935 in opposition to FDR’s perceived left wing New Deal by Abraham Vereide. An extremely conservative Methodist clergyman and very aggressive political activist. Vereide was a Norwegian minister’s son who had immigrated to the United States in 1905 and who later founded Goodwill Industries in Seattle in 1916 to assist the city’s unemployed Scandinavian immigrant population. Goodwill Industries soon occupied a city block, where they repaired and processed discarded clothing and furniture and converted “waste to wages”. His work spread down the West coast and eventually to Boston.
In April of 1935, Vereide later claimed he had received a visitation consisting, he claimed, of a voice, and a light in the dark, bright and blinding. The next day he met a friend, a wealthy businessman and former Major J.F. Douglas, 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. Vereide and his new associated 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 as he interpreted him. Vereide called his potential flock of the rich and powerful, those in need only of the “real” Jesus, the “up-and-out.”
Originally, the stated purpose of The Fellowship was to provide a “fellowship forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship experiences and to experience spiritual affirmation and support.” Its less publicized goal was to counteract what its founders saw was a swinig to the left under Roosevelt, a swing that was oriented more to Moscow and its Communistic goals than what was seen as more ‘American virture’ and was basically a business-oriented group. Vereide’s basic theme was:
“Man craves fellowship. Most of us want an opportunity to make our feelings known, to relate our personal experiences, to compare notes with others, and, in unity of spirit to receive renewal, inspiration, guidance, and strength from God. Such groups as we are thinking of have characterized every spiritual awakening. Jesus began with Peter and James and John. He had the twelve and the Seventy. At Bethany he established a cell…there you have the formula…faith embodied the same close informal fellowship…one common practice – gathering together in the name of Jesus”.
The thesis of community and brotherhood expressed by the Family leadership was certainly not a new concept. The Essenes, a Judean cult that flourished around the first century, had almost identical concepts. They were an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes. Unfortunately, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and homosexual in nature. The Essenes were outlawed by the Romans, and many members were subsequently crucified in a general crackdown under Titus, not because of their sexual practices but their political opposition to Roman rule The small remnants of the Essenes retreated to the Dead Sea area and eventually died out.
From the beginning, Vereide’s goals were to construct a religious power group that had an anti-Communist, anti-union, anti-Socialist, and pro-Nazi German political agenda. Recent investigations have uncovered the fact that Vereide was a cousin of Vidkun Quisling, head of the Norwegian Nazi party and later head of state. After initial successes, Vereide incorporated his group in Chicago in 1942 as Fellowship Foundation, Inc. and also acquired the names International Christian Leadership, (ICL), Fellowship House and International Foundation, many in keeping with the goal of global control.
At the present time, The Fellowship Foundation, Inc. does most of its business as the International Foundation, which is its legal DBA name.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Vereide moved to consolidate as many right-wing religious-themed groups in Europe as he could. He believed that Communists and Socialists, whom he hated with great intensity, had taken over governments across Eastern Europe and were on the verge of achieving power in Western Europe. Winston Churchill had been ousted from power by a leftist Labor government headed by Clement Atlee.. Vereide traveled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France and Germany. His ICL made an alliance with the like-minded British Victory Fellowship in Great Britain. He also struck up a close relationship with German Lutheran pastor Gustav Adolf Gedat. The German clergyman had been a leading anti-Semite before and during the war. During the same year that Vereide began his prayer breakfasts in Seattle, from the pulpit Gedat preached vehemently that, “God ordered the Germans to hunt down Jews.”
The current Fellowship view of Jews and the present state of Israel is that Jews ought to be tolerated, pending their conversion to the Fellowship’s concept of Christianity, and that the Fellowship sub-group, the Neo-Templars, have expressed the view that as Israel and themselves share a common goal, namely the physical expulsions of all Muslims from the so-called ‘Holy Land’ no anti-Semitic stances should be taken in public and the use of the Israeli Mossad encouraged at every turn. The Mossad wants to expand its role in the United States with official sanction and this is a private goal of the Fellowship. Israel already has a strong presence in the Central Intelligence Agency and the Fellowship is considering allowing them access to the IRS and the NSA in greater numbers than at present.
By 1957, ICL had established 125 groups in 100 cities, with 16 groups in Washington, DC alone. Around the world, it had set up another 125 groups in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia (where Emperor Haile Selassie gave ICL property in Addis Ababa to build its African headquarters), India, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Bermuda.
After over 35 years of leading the Fellowship Foundation, Vereide died in 1969 and was succeeded by Richard C. Halverson as executive director, Halverson and Douglas Coe worked side by side until Halverson’s death in 1995.
ICL’s international activities coincided with activities in countries where the CIA was particularly active – an obvious by-product of the close cooperation between Vereide and the CIA’s Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton. Angleton and his close associate, Miles Copeland, always had favored using private businessmen to conduct operations that the CIA was barred from conducting statutorily In at least one instance, the ICL had knowingly lured a Middle East personality into a situation which permitted the CIA to assassinate him.
In January 1947, a conference in Zurich led to the formation of the International Council for Christian Leadership (ICCL), an umbrella group for the national fellowship groups in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Norway, Hungary, Egypt, and China. ICCL was incorporated as a separate organization in 1953. ICL and ICCL were governed by different boards of directors, joined by a coordinating committee: four members of ICCL’s board and four from the ICL’s executive committee.
Vereide began publishing a monthly newsletter called The Breakfast Luncheon Fireside and Campus Groups that contained a Bible study that could be used by the groups, as well as information about activities of different groups and international meetings. He also published a newsletter through the years under various names, including The Breakfast Groups Informer (ca. 1945-1946), The Breakfast Groups (ca. 1944-1953), International Christian Leadership Bulletin (ca. 1953-1954), Bulletin of International Christian Leadership (ca. 1954-1956), Christian Leadership (ca. 1957-1961), ICLeadership Letter (1961–1966), International Leadership Letter (ca. 1967), and Leadership Letter (ca. 1963-1970).
In 1942, the Fellowship was incorporated in Chicago, Illinois, Vereide’s center of national outreach to businessmen and civic and clergy leadership. Vereide had moved the group’s offices from Seattle to the more centralized location of Chicago, headquarters of the businessmen’s luncheon outreach, “Christian Businessmen’s Committee”, which Vereide led with industrialist C.B. Hedstrom. Also in 1942 the Fellowship Foundation established a delegation ministry on Massachusetts Avenue at Sheridan Circle named: “Fellowship House”. Vereide later described it as the nerve center of the breakfast groups. J. Edwin Orr, an advisor to Billy Graham and friend of Abraham Vereide, helped shape the prayer breakfast movement that grew out of ICL.
In 1946, amid the international turmoil from World War II, Vereide wrote and released a book with Reverend John G. Magee, chaplain to President Harry Truman, entitled: Together (Abingdon Cokesbury). In the book, Vereide explained his philosophy of visionary discipleship and gathering together in what he termed spiritual cells:
In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended the Senate Prayer Breakfast Group. He was invited by fellow Kansan, Frank Carlson. By that time, Vereide’s congressional core members also included Senators Frank Carlson, Karl Mundt, Everett Dirkson, and Strom Thurmond.
By 1957, ICL had established 125 groups in 100 cities, with 16 groups in Washington, D.C.. It had set up another 125 groups in other countries. During 1958, a new small group mentor, from The Navigators, Douglas Coe, joined Vereide as assistant executive director of ICL in Washington, D.C.
In 1972, according to the Fellowship archives, after consultations among leaders in the prayer breakfast movement, including Douglas Coe, Richard Halverson, Dr. Wallace Haines and Senator Mark Hatfield, and others, the organization was reprofiled to be “even more low key”. The Fellowship archives reveal that, “in effect, the group adopted an even lower profile, serving as a channel of communication and a catalyst.” of global outreach in the spirit of Jesus. The goal was to be less institutional in bearing and more relational and relevant to the global cultures, so that each geographic area had its own identity of personal ministry, not strictly metropolitan but relevant to ranchers, miners, people in jungles, deserts, villages and on remote islands. That they might experience fellowship in Christ in their own sphere of human identification
- Philip Hughes, the executive secretary for the National Security Council in the George H.W. Bush administration, said, “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?'”
At the 2001 Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings for State Department officials, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), whose wife was on the board of the Fellowship, lamented that the State Department had blocked then-President Bush from meeting with four foreign heads of state (Rwanda, Macedonia, Congo and Slovakia) at the NPB that year.
Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) said of Nelson’s complaint: “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… 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.”
“It [the NPB] totally circumvents the State Department and the usual vetting within the administration that such a meeting would require,” an anonymous government informant told sociologist D. Michael Lindsay. “If Doug Coe can get you some face time with the President of the United States, then you will take his call and seek his friendship. That’s power.”
In 1976, the Fellowship began looking for a permanent headquarters in Arlington. It set its sights on the estate of George Mason IV, The Cedars, located at 2301 North Uhle Street. Mason was one of the drafters of the Bill of Rights. The Fellowship, also known as the International Foundation, bought the property from Charles Piluso. Although not much is known about Piluso, the Los Angeles Times reported that Howard Hughes, the man with whom Fellowship Senator Ralph Owen Brewster once sparred, also lived there. According to a senior Pentagon official, the Cedars had been used as a CIA safe house prior to the Fellowship’s purchase of the estate. The Fellowship paid $1.5 million for the Cedars, the money coming from Tom Phillips, the CEO of Raytheon, and Ken Olsen, the CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation. Sanford McDonnell of Men’s Fellowship International, an activity linked to Fellowship core member Pat Robertson. McDonnell Douglas Corporation was another deep-pocketed supporter of the Fellowship through Full Gospel Business
Role in international conflicts
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.
President Carter hosted former Senator Harold E. Hughes, the President of the Fellowship Foundation, and Doug Coe, for a luncheon at the White House on September 26, 1978. Six weeks later, President Carter and the First Lady traveled by Marine helicopter to Cedar Point Farm, Hughes’ home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he placed a telephone call to Menachim Begin.
Douglas Coe and the “networking” (or formation of prayer cells) between foreign dictators and US politicians, defense contractors, and industry leaders has facilitated military aid for repressive foreign regimes. the Billy Graham Center, before the Fellowship Foundation archives were closed to those other than divinity scholars. Discovered in these archives is the relationship with General Suharto of Indonesia in the 1970s, and with Siad Barre of Somalia in the 1980s. Also, in the archives, there are at least two nearly full boxes of documents describing the relationship with Brazil’s long dictatorship of the Generals.
Regarding his relationships with foreign dictators, Coe said in 2007, “I never invite them. They come to me. And I do what Jesus did: I don’t turn my back to any one. You know, the Bible is full of mass murderers.”
The Fellowship’s reach into governments around the world is almost impossible to overstate or even grasp The Fellowship Foundation is linked to numerous other organizations:
Wilberforce Foundation’s IRS Form 990 filings confirm that Wilberforce is related to and shares common management with the Fellowship Foundation.
Traditional Values Coalition. Uses the C Street Center for “faith-based diplomacy” in the fight against the “Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic coalition.”
Other Fellowship covert fronts include:
- Three Swallows Foundation
- International Center for Religion & Diplomacy
- Young Life International
- Trees for the Future
- National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
- Cornerstone Development
- World Concern
- Project Mercy
- Timothy Trust
- Associación Desarrollo en Democracia
- World Vision
The Los Angeles Times examined the Fellowship Foundation’s ministry records and archives (before they were sealed), as well as documents obtained from several presidential libraries and found that the Fellowship Foundation had extraordinary access and significant influence over U.S. foreign affairs for the last 75 years.
The Fellowship has funded the travel expenses of members of Congress to various hot spots throughout the globe, including Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Al.) to Darfur, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) to Lebanon, Rep. Aderholt to The Balkans, and Reps John Carter (R-Tex.) and Joseph Pitts (R.-Pa.) to Belarus
In 2002, Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Tony P. Hall (D-Ohio) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan on a fact-finding congressional trip, meeting with the leaders of both Muslim countries. According to Pitts, “The first thing we did when we met with [Afghan] President Karzai and [then Pakistan] President 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'”.
Douglas Coe has been dispatched to foreign governments with the blessing of Congressional representatives and has 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.
The Fellowship has brought controversial international figures to Washington to meet with U.S. officials. Among them are former Salvadoran Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who in 2002 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 head of the Honduran armed forces who was linked to a death squad and the CIA.
Douglas Coe was quoted in a rare interview regarding the Fellowship’s associations with despots as explaining, “The people that are involved in this association of people around the world are the worst and the best, some are total despots. Some are totally religious. You can find what you want to find.”
Coe also has claimed that 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”. Coe misspoke because in January 1991, Fellowship associate and financial supporter Michael Timmis met President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi on behalf of the Fellowship, then flew to Kenya with Arthur (Gene) Dewey, the former second-in-command at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Sam Owen, then living in Nairobi. Timmis wrote that he had obtained permission to fly over Tanzanian air space, even though the U.S. Department of State had ordered American citizens to stay clear of Tanzania.
The Fellowship has promoted reconciliation between the warring leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. In 2001, the Fellowship helped arrange a secret meeting at The Cedars between Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame — one of the first discreet meetings between the two African leaders that led to a peace accord in July 2002.
In 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast, the Fellowship helped to persuade South African Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi not to engage in a civil war with Nelson Mandela.
Senator Sam Brownback (R.-Kan.) was a Fellowship member who lead a secret cell of leading U.S. Senators and Representatives to influence U.S. foreign policy. It is noted that the group has stamped much of U.S. foreign policy through a group of Senators and affiliated religious organizations forming the “Values Action Team” or “VAT”.One victory for the group was Brownback’s North Korea Human Rights Act, which establishes a confrontational stance toward North Korea and shifts funds for humanitarian aid from the UN to Christian organizations with the understanding that these funds can be used to force North Korea to adopt poliicies that are agreeable to the Fellowship..
The Fellowship is behind an international project called Youth Corps, a network of Christian youth groups that attract teenagers, and then later steer them to acceptance of the Fellowship’s concept of Jesus. The Youth Corps web site is careful not mention an affiliation to the Fellowship or religion. A non-public, classified internal Fellowship document, “Regional Reports, January 3, 2002,” lists some of the nations where Youth Corps programs are in operation: Russia; Ukraine; Romania; India; Pakistan; Uganda; Nepal; Bhutan; Ecuador; Honduras and Peru. The actual purpose of this group is to prosetlyse for younger members who can not only be turned for their purposes but also to possibly act as “assistants” or “sources” for the Central Intelligence Angency, an organization that has “very close ties” with Coe’s people.
Fellowship dollars have gone to an orphanage in India, a program in Uganda that provides schooling, and a development group in Peru.
The Fellowship, through Representative Joe Pitts (R.-Pa.), redirected millions in US aid to Uganda from sex education programs to abstinence programs, thereby causing an evangelical revival, which included condom burnings.
In a November 2009 Ugandan Fellowship associates David Bahati and Nsaba Buturo were behind the proposed bill in Uganda that called for the death penalty for gays. Coe’s top administrative personnel are also violently and obsessively anti-gay and they feel, according to intercepted communications, that if this becomes law in Uganda, the Fellowship can try to have their controlled members of Congress introduce a bill that will stigmatize same-sex relationships and prohibit any homosexual to either serve in the American military or any other branch of government. They cite Woodrow Wilson’s similar ban on blacks working for the government when he was president.
David Bahati, the Uganda legislator backing the bill, first floated the idea of executing gays during The Family’s Uganda National Prayer Breakfast in 2008. Bahati, according to a Department of Justice investigation, is named as a “rising star” in the Fellowship who has attended the National Prayer Breakfast in the United States and, until the news over the gay execution law broke, was scheduled to attend the 2010 U.S. National Prayer Breakfast.
President Obama, in his address to The Fellowship at their National Prayer Breakfast in early 2010, directly criticized the Uganda legislation targeting gay people for execution. In calling for a renewed emphasis on faith and civility, the President stated, “We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or, as Hillary [Clinton] mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.”
- embassies have held prayer breakfast meetings as a way of buying access to U.S. officials, particularly those involved in important trade and defense issues. Such meetings have taken place in U.S. embassies in Copenhagen; Oslo; Stockholm; Helsinki; Tallinn, Estonia; Vilnius, Lithuania; Bern, Switzerland; Luxembourg; The Hague; Rome; Brussels; Canberra; Port Louis, Mauritius; New Delhi; Mexico City; Belize; Warsaw; Vienna; Berlin; and Prague.
A U.S. State Department bus transports foreign and U.S. diplomats to and from the Cedars for the Tuesday morning 7:30-9:30 a.m. meeting. Yet more limousines arrive at the Cedars for a meeting held at 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. The county placed speed bumps on 24th Street to answer the many neighborhood concerns about speeding motorcades but they did not deter the speeding. One neighbor estimated that there are some 80 limousine trips per week to the Cedars. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat visited the Cedars in 1999 complete with his automatic weapon-carrying security guards. Out-of-state license plates abound at the Cedars compound.
Adding to the Fellowship’s perception as a powerful and secretive organization is its ownership of a boarding house and conference center around the corner from the U.S. Capitol at 133 C Street, SE, Washington, DC. At any given time, eight members of the Senate and House have resided at the C Street Center where they sleep, pray, and eat for a mere $600 a month. C Street Center resident Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) claimed on his Federal Election Commission expense report that he paid the C Street Foundation $762 on December 11, 2001. Similar boarding houses have been set up by the Fellowship in London for Members of Parliament and in Moscow for members of the State Duma.
Sir Vivian Gabriel, a British Air Commission attaché in Washington during World War II, established a branch of the Family (International Christian Leadership Association) in the United Kingdom.] Ernest Williams, a member of the directing staff of the British Admiralty and a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Evangelism, served as its president in the 1960’s. Williams worked closely with Harald Bredesen, a British intelligence operative who went on to personally mentor Rev. Pat Robertson in the United States.
A talk from 1970 for college students encouraging mentoring and discipleship stated: “If you want… there are men in government, there are senators who literally find it their pleasure to give any advice, assistance, or counsel.”
Lindsay also interviewed 360 evangelical elites, among whom “One in three mentioned [Doug] Coe or the Fellowship as an important influence.”
The Fellowship also has relationships with numerous non-U.S. government leaders. Lindsay reported that it “has relationships with pretty much every world leader—good and bad—and there are not many organizations in the world that can claim that.”
Many of the “friends” targeted by these congressional missionaries are strongmen such as Omar al-Bashir, the president of oil-rich Sudan, who has been indicted for genocide in the International Criminal Court; and Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda. (The Family’s Ugandan friends also include David Bahati, the author of a murderous piece of legislation called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which mandates the death penalty for some homosexual acts.)
What’s in it for the strongmen? Legitimacy, and a champion back in Washington. What’s in it for the US politicians? Jesus—and, sometimes, profits for themselves or the interests they favor. Many of them have had their expeditions underwritten by the Family: Ensign has enjoyed trips to Japan, Jordan, and Israel that cost nearly $17,000. The list of Family-funded travelers also includes Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), who has done the Lord’s work in Aruba and the Virgin Islands. [On other occasions, Coe’s political missionaries charge their travel to the government—putting not just the weight of their office, but the taxpayers’ money, behind an unabashedly religious agenda.
The Family’s goal, according to one internal document, is to create a “hidden structure” of “national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.”—is Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.). ” The four-term Republican also has a savvy mind with a sharp awareness of Africa’s natural resources, chief among them oil; the petroleum industry is his biggest donor (which may explain his insistence that climate change is a liberal hoax). flying on military planes, to which he has access as the second-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
When he first campaigned for Senate in 1994, he told voters that he was running on the “three Gs—God, gays, and guns.
. On December 21, 2008, the Oklahoman ran a story that might have become a major scandal had it not appeared so close to Christmas.* During the previous nine years, Inhofe had taken 20 international trips, spending at least $187,000 in public money—not including the cost of military transport—to promote what he called “a Jesus thing.” He visited Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but his real focus was Africa, especially Uganda, a country he has adopted as a personal responsibility.
Douglas Coe, who opened Inhofe’s eyes to that responsibility. In a video made in response to the Oklahoman story, Inhofe describes the mission as “the political philosophy of Jesus, something that had been put together by Doug…It’s all scripturally based.” He cites Acts 9:15, an unorthodox reading of which the Family promotes as one of its core principles: “‘Take my name, Jesus, to the kings.’ And, of course, if you’re a member of the United States Senate in Africa, they think you’re important.”
Inhofe’s first “king” was General Sani Abacha, dictator of Nigeria—Africa’s most populous nation, as well as the US’s fourth-largest supplier of petroleum. Abacha was known for two qualities: the greed that led him to steal $3 billion from his country, and the ruthlessness that made that theft possible. His execution of dissident writer Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995—two years before Inhofe’s first visit—made international headlines. Abacha already had a long record of brutally dispatching opponents, many of whom happened to be critics of the US and the oil industry. But then, as one Family leader has put it, we all make mistakes. “You can’t help who you are. I mean, can’t he have a friend?”
By 2003, Inhofe was using his access to foreign leaders to push a Family initiative known as Youth Corps. Endorsed by former Secretary of State James Baker and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Youth Corps doesn’t lead with Jesus—its official brochure doesn’t even mention his name. But an internal Family document sets out the vision: to target promising young leaders overseas, “training them on how to live like Jesus and share Him with the poor of their country.” The document lays out how:
- A) A congressman and/or Senator from the United States will befriend the leader of another country and tell him/her how Jesus and His teachings will help his country and its poor. B) U.S. leader and foreign leader will select 5 men (mentors) from the foreign country to commit to learn about Jesus and how He will help themselves, their country and the poor.
The five would then be matched with American support teams that would cover their costs for travel to the US. The men would not be asked to convert outright—in fact, the Family believes, it’d be better if they continued to call themselves Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever the customs of the land dictated; as “followers of Jesus” who also still adhered to their religion, they could serve as spiritual double agents. To those who were ready, however, the true leader would be introduced: “We will teach the mentors to confess their sins (known or unknown) and to ask the Holy Spirit of Christ to live in them, and to teach them how to live, what to think and what to say. We will teach them to ask the Spirit of Jesus to teach them as they read God’s word.”
A 2004 Family budget for Inhofe’s Youth Corps work included $375,000 for a total of 11 African nations: Benin, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For each country, the local liaison is listed in the budget document. In all but Ethiopia and Mauritius, it is the president. It should be noted that Inhofe’s.director of African affairs, Mark Powers, is a part-time staffer who also is a missionary in the Assemblies of God church.
When Mark Siljander was elected to Congress at age 29 in 1981, he wasn’t just a After losing his reelection campaign in 1986 (despite a plea that constituents “break the back of Satan” by sending him back to Congress), Siljander stayed in the orbit of Washington, creating a firm called Global Strategies Inc.
Muslims, writes Siljander in his book, can keep their religious affiliation so long as they bow before Jesus. “They make every effort to be as normal as possible and not stand out,” Siljander writes, the idea being that these “Messianic Muslims,” not unlike Jews for Jesus, will be able to pass as Muslim Muslims and thus win the support of their countrymen. The Family doesn’t require public loyalty; it wants back-channel connections.
In 2008, the Justice Department indicted him on counts of money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. The government says Siljander helped redirect USAID money misappropriated by one of his clients, the Islamic American Relief Agency (PDF), to support Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the State Department lists as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.” In his defense, Siljander argued
In 1997, Siljander and Family leader Coe went to see the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum. “He’s my prayer partner,” Siljander would later boast on a Trinity Broadcasting Network show. “I love Bashir. His heart was changed, and it sure wasn’t by my good looks. The Holy Spirit came into the conversation we had and melted his heart.”
And that, in turn, melted Siljander’s heart; he became an advocate for lifting sanctions on Bashir’s oil-rich regime. As for the mass murder and enslavement that Bashir’s regime condoned or participated in—targeting, in many cases, Sudan’s Christians—Siljander acknowledged that “they realize it got away from them.” Lifting sanctions, he argued, would “incentivize” Bashir to stop the killing. (The sanctions remain in place.)
“If Jesus had adopted the philosophy of the Family,” Chuck Warnock, a Baptist pastor critical of the organization, observes dryly, “he would have worked with Herod, and taken Pontius Pilate to lunch.”
This past July, Siljander pled guilty to obstruction of justice and to acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
SEN. TOM COBURN’S certitude. He was one of the few in the GOP class elected in the 1994 landslide to honor his commitment to term limits: He served just six years in the House before retiring in 2001. Four years later, he returned to DC as a senator.
Coburn is the conscience of the Christian right, a man who never waters down his opinions. He railed against “attractive young congressional staffers,” as one evangelical publication put it, oblivious to the wages of sexual sin, and shanghaied them into watching a slideshow he’d assembled: graphic images of genitals ravaged by sexually transmitted diseases. The “greatest threat to our freedom we face today,” he has said, is homosexuality; gays have “infiltrated the very centers of power.”
Next on Coburn’s calendar was a trip to the north of Lebanon to see a Family school called the Development Culture Leadership Center (DCL) in the town of Syr.
To bring some of the DCL’s most promising students to America, Fatfat and another Family man, Rep. Frank Wolf, convinced the State Department to allocate $200,000 for five scholarships to Christopher Newport University, a public school in Newport News, Virginia, that provided matching funds. A vice president of the university told us that the fellowships were the results of Fatfat’s Prayer Breakfast “kinship” with the school’s president, former senator Paul Trible—a longtime Family man.
The Fellowship’s secrets—its ability to fly under the radar, its backdoor connections, and even its occasional (as in the case of Mark Siljander) underhanded dealings—are fascinating. But they are not, despite what some critics have said, evidence of a conspiracy, or even of malevolent intent. The God-led government the movement wants for Nigeria and Sudan, Lebanon and Albania—and of course, here at home—is not theocracy, an idea nearly every fundamentalist denounces, but the conflation of democracy with authoritarianism. It’s a Father Knows Best vision, the authority of the Father-God manifested through his chosen, men and even the occasional women who are to society as they believe fathers should be to their families, both loving and stern. Look through this lens, and dictators become brothers; power becomes love; profit becomes charity.
The men of the Family—and across much of American fundamentalism’s elite—are fond of paraphrasing Luke 12:48: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” A fine sentiment at first blush, but stripped of its Gospel context and presented as a maxim, it can also be disingenuous. The idea that the powerful are powerful because they have been anointed, “given” their rank and position—that they did not grasp for it—is as deceptive as the notion that God prefers to work through “key men,” to dispense blessings to senators and strongmen so that a small cut might trickle down to the poor.
Beliefs and theology
The Fellowship Foundation’s 501(c)(3) mission statement is:
“To develop and maintain an informal association of people banded together, to go out as “ambassadors of reconciliation,” modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others. To work with the leaders of many nations, and as their hearts are touched, the poor, the oppressed, the widows, and the youth of their country will be impacted in a positive manner. Youth groups will be developed under the thoughts of Jesus, including loving others as you want to be loved”
Current Fellowship prayer group member and former U.S. Representative Tony P. Hall (D-OH) said, “If people in this country knew how many Democrats and Republicans pray together and actually like each other behind closed doors, they would be amazed.” The Fellowship is simply, “men and women who are trying to get right with God. Trying to follow God, learn how to love him, and learn how to love each other.” When he lost his teenage son to leukemia, Hall says, “This family helped me. This family was there for me. That’s what they do.”
It is not yet clear how the Christian Right’s demand for more social conservatism will be accommodated.
- the Tea Party’s original aim, to make the Republican Party more fiscally conservative, is now being coaxed into adopting “culture war” or Christian nationalist’s socially conservative agenda. This is especially the case since the Christian nationalists enthusiastically endorsed the Tea Party movement in September 2009 and various elements of the Christian nationalist agenda were prevalent at the Tea Party Nation’s national convention in Nashville.
- their theology as an “elite fundamentalism” that fetishizes political power and wealth, consistently opposes labor movements in the U.S. and abroad, and teaches that laissez-faire economic policy is “God’s will.” He criticized their theology of instant forgiveness for powerful men as providing a convenient excuse for elites who commit misdeeds or crimes, allowing them to avoid accepting responsibility or accountability for their actions.
- secretive organization. The Reverend Rob Schenck, who leads a Bible study on the Hill inspired by C Street, wrote that “all ministries in Washington need to protect the confidence of those we minister to, and I’m sure that’s a primary motive for C Street’s low profile.” But he added, “I think The Fellowship has been just a tad bit too clandestine.”
Prominent political figures have insisted that confidentiality and privacy are essential to the Fellowship’s operation. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan said about the Fellowship, “I wish I could say more about it, but it’s working precisely because it is private.”
At the 1990 National Prayer Breakfast, President George H.W. Bush praised Douglas Coe for what he described as “quiet diplomacy, I wouldn’t say secret diplomacy.”
In 2009, Chris Halverson, son of Fellowship co-founder Richard C. Halverson, said that a culture of pastoral confidentiality is essential to the ministry: “If you talked about it, you would destroy that fellowship.”
In 1975, a member of the Fellowship’s inner circle wrote to the group’s chief South African operative, that their political initiatives
…have always been misunderstood by ‘outsiders.’ As a result of very bitter experiences, therefore, we have learned never to commit to paper any discussions or negotiations that are taking place. There is no such thing as a ‘confidential’ memorandum, and leakage always seems to occur. Thus, I would urge you not to put on paper anything relating to any of the work that you are doing…[unless] you know the recipient well enough to put at the top of the page ‘PLEASE DESTROY AFTER READING.’
In 1974, after several Watergate conspirators had joined the Fellowship, a Los Angeles Times columnist discouraged further inquiries into Washington’s “underground prayer movement”, i.e. the Fellowship: “They genuinely avoid publicity…they shun it.”
In 2002, Douglas Coe denied that the Fellowship Foundation owns the National Prayer Breakfast. Jennifer Thornett, a Fellowship employee, said that “there is no such thing as the Fellowship”.
Former Republican Senator William Armstrong said the group has “made a fetish of being invisible”.
In the 1960s, the Fellowship began distributing to involved members of Congress notes that stated that “the group, as such, never takes any formal action, but individuals who participate in the group through their initiative have made possible the activities mentioned.
On January 5, 2010, Fellowship member Bob Hunter gave an interview on national television in which he stated:
But I do agree with you, that The Fellowship is too secret. We don’t have a Web site. We don’t have – we have a lot of good ministers, 200 ministers doing good works that nobody knows about. I think that’s wrong, and there’s a debate going on among a lot of people about whether and how we should change that.
The Fellowship maintains no public website and conducts no public fundraising activities.
The Fellowship Foundation, which since 1935 has conducted no public fundraising programs, relies totally on private donation. In 2007, the group received nearly $16.8 million to support the 400 ministries. Among The Fellowship’s key supporters are billionaire investor Paul N. Temple, a former executive of Esso (Exxon) and the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Three Swallows Foundation. Between 1998 and 2007, Three Swallows made grants totaling $1,777,650 to the International Foundation, including $171,500 in 2004,$203,500 in 2005, and $145,500 in 2006.
Another supporter, Jerome (Jerry) A. Lewis, established Denver-based Downing Street Foundation to provide support to three organizations: the Fellowship Foundation, Denver Leadership Foundation, and Young Life. Between 1999 and 2007, Downing Street donated at least $756,000 to the Family, in addition to allowing the group to use its “retreat center.”
Madelynn Winstead, a Downing Street director, was paid $21,500 by the Fellowship Foundation as managing director of the retreat center. Winstead also sits on the board of directors of ENDOW, a Catholic educational program.
The Kingdom Fund (Kingdom Oil Christian Foundation t/a Twin Cities Christian Foundation) also provides support to the Family and World Vision.
The Fellowship Foundation earns more than $1,000,000 annually through its sponsorship of the National Prayer Breakfast.
Family Property and Business Holdings
The Fellowship runs a $1.8 million three story brick mansion in Washington D.C. known as “C Street. It is the former convent for nearby St. Peter’s Church. It is located at 133 C Street, SE, behind the Madison Annex of the Library of Congress and a short distance from the United States Capitol, Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee and House of Representatives Office Buildings. The structure has 12 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, five living rooms, four dining rooms, three offices, a kitchen, and a small “chapel”.
The facility houses mostly Republican members of Congress. The house is also the locale for:
- Wednesday prayer breakfasts for United States Senators, which have been attended by Senators Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe, John Ensign, Susan Collins and Hillary Clinton.
- Tuesday night dinners for members of Congress and other Fellowship associates.
- An annual Ambassador Luncheon. The 2006 event was attended by ambassadors from Turkey, Macedonia, Pakistan, Jordan, Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Belarus, Mongolia, Latvia, and Moldova.
- Receptions for foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Australia.
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.”
In February 2010, the president of The Fellowship, Richard Carver, told The Columbus Dispatch that his “charitable organization” does not own the C Street Center “and has no control over its policy.” Carver added he does not know who owns or runs the center: “It is simply not a part of anything we do.”
In response to Carver’s statement, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow produced an official Corrective Deed of September 23, 2009 for C Street signed on behalf of C Street Center, Inc. by Marty B. Sherman, Secretary, who is listed as “Associate” on the Family’s 2008 tax filing. Property records show that in 1980, C Street was purchased by Youth with a Mission, Washington, D.C., Inc. On July 19, 1983, the organization changed its name to “Youth with a Mission Renewal Ministries, Inc.” On November 28, 1984, the organization changed its name to “FaithAmerica”. On September 3, 1985, the organization changed its name to “Youth with a Mission National Christian Center, Inc.” On February 27, 1992, the organization changed its name to “C Street Center, Inc.” The aforementioned Corrective Deed signed by a Fellowship Associate changed the name on the title to reflect changes in name of its owner.
Also, the Fellowship lists C Street Center on its 2007 Form 990 as a related organization through common members, governing bodies, trustees, officers, etc. In 2002, IRS records show that the Fellowship gave C Street Center $450,000 in grants and loans from 1994 to 2002.
As noted above, many of the present and past residents of C Street, including Senators Tom Coburn and John Ensign and Representatives Zach Wamp and Bart Stupak, have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so. “The C Street property is a church,” Chip Grange, an attorney for the Fellowship told the LA Times in 2002: “It is zoned as a church. There are prayer meetings, fellowship meetings, evangelical meetings . . . Our mission field is Capitol Hill.”
On February 23, 2010, Clergy Voice, consisting of 13 pastors from mainstream Christian denominations, filed a lawsuit with the United States Internal Revenue Service challenging the remainder of the C Street facility’s tax-favored status as a church, on the grounds that many ordinary church activities did not occur there and due to the secretiveness of the organization.
Clergy Voice is represented pro bono by Marcus Owens, who, prior to his current role in private practice, was the chief decision maker at the IRS regarding the design and implementation of federal tax rulings and enforcement programs for exempt organizations and was a recipient of the IRS Commissioner’s Award for exemplary service.
In late March, 2010, Clergy Voice sent another letter to the Internal Revenue Service asserting that residents at C Street failed to pay taxes on the allegedly discounted portions of their allegedly below market rents. Clergy Voice stated that a one-bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill would cost at least $1,700, while rent at the C Street house for members has been $950 a month including housekeeping services, and thus the renters should pay income tax on the difference. The group also surveyed the Capitol Hill rental market and found that nearby hotels charge a minimum of $2,400 per month and corporate housing costs a minimum of $4,000 per month. In 2002, the Los Angeles Times reported that C Street charged Senators and Congressional representatives $600 per month for rent. In 2009, WORLD Magazine report that C Street charged about $950 per month for rent.
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.” The complaint names Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; and John Ensign, R-Nev., as well as Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; Heath Shuler, D-N.C.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; and Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. CREW states that the House and Senate gift rules specifically include “lodging” as a prohibited gift.
On April 1, 2010, Fox News reported that a spokesperson for Senator Coburn said that the CREW complaint was “bogus” and a “witch hunt, ” adding that “Anyone who spends 10 minutes on Craigslist will realize they’re getting a fair market deal” at $950 rent per month due to the shared nature of the living and bathroom space and “limited” housekeeping service.
The Reverend Louis P. Sheldon stated in 2002 that 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.” In 2002, rent was $600 per month for each resident and 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.
Douglas Coe, leader of the Fellowship, said”I give or loan money to hundreds of people, or have my friends do so,” including to members of Congress but he did not recall the details.
Fellowship Foundation purchased a large old house in 1978, named the Doubleday Mansion. The home which also has a detached two story garage and a gardener’s cottage, is zoned as a worship and teaching center. The home is used as a center for Bible studies, counseling, hymn sings, life mentoring, prayer groups, prayer breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, and hospitality receptions for international reconciliation and conflict resolution iniatives. The home was once surrounded by cedar trees and so was renamed Cedars. Its location is near Georgetown University in the Arlington Woodmont community. It is a historic landmark house and is situated adjacent to a commemorative recreational county park, once the homestead of writer C. F. Henry.
Coe has 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 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.”] Cedars is host to dozens of prayer breakfasts, luncheons and dinners for ambassadors, congressional representatives, foreign religious leaders and many others.
In March 1990, YWAM (which also previously owned the C Street Center) purchased a nearby property located at 2200 24th Street North for $580,000. The property, was used as another gathering place for bible study. Ownership of 2200 24th Street was transferred to the C Street Center on May 6, 1992, and again to the Fellowship Foundation on October 25, 2002. This house had been owned by Timothy Coe, who sold the property to his father, Douglas Coe on November 30, 1989, for $580,000.
A second property, located at 2224 24th Street North and assessed at $916,000, is used as a men’s mentoring ministry, known as a Navigator house. This property was purchased by Jerome A. Lewis and Co. in 1986, and sold to the Wilberforce Foundation in 1987. In 2007, the Wilberforce Foundation transferred it to the Fellowship Foundation for $1 million. Jerome A. Lewis is a trustee emeritus of the Trinity Forum and the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Petro-Lewis Corporation.
Douglas Coe once owned a lot at 2560 North 23rd Road, which he sold to Ohio Congressman Tony P. Hall (D-OH) and his wife on September 22, 1987, for $100,000. Upon leaving Congress in 2002, Hall donated some of his excess campaign funds including $20,000 to the Fellowship Foundation on September 4, 2002, $1,500 to the Wilberforce Foundation, and $1,000 to the Jonathan Coe Memorial of Annapolis, Maryland during the 2001 campaign cycle.
The residence located at 2244 24th Street North, assessed at $1,458,800, is owned by Merle Morgan, whose wife, Edita, is on the board of the Cedars. It also is identified as the offices of the greeting card firm of Morgan Bros. Corp. (d/b/a Capitol Publishing). Missionary Fred Heyn and his wife owned 2206 24th Street North.
LeRoy Rooker, the one-time treasurer of Cedars and former Director of the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education, and his wife own 2222 24th Street North.
Arthur W. Lindsley, a Senior Fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute owns 2226 24th Street North.
Cedar Point Farm
According to White House records dating from 1978, President Jimmy Carter traveled to Cedar Point Farm by Marine helicopter on November 12, 1978, to attend a Fellowship prayer and discussion group. President Carter placed a call to Menachim Begin while at Cedar Point Farm. The White House records reflect that Cedar Point Farm was owned by Harold Hughes, a former Senator from Iowa and the President of the Fellowship Foundation. Cedar Point Farm was later used by the Wilberforce Foundation.
Other Fellowship properties
“Southeast White House”, located at 2909 Pennsylvania Avenue, Southeast, which is a center of urban reconciliation, youth mentoring, community prayer breakfasts, Bible studies, life principle teaching and racial relational healing initiatives. University students come for internships in urban reconciliation and in community service for the bereft. This property is assessed at $736,310 for 2009 tax year.
“19th Street House,” a two-story, brick apartment building located at 859 19th Street NE, in the Trinidad neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C., which is assessed at $358,250 for the 2009 tax year. The 19th Street Center is used for afterschool activities.
Mount Oak Estates, Annapolis, Maryland. One residential property, formerly owned by Timothy Coe, was sold to Wilberforce Foundation, Inc. for $1.1 million. A second residence is owned by David and Alden Coe and a third is owned by Fellowship associate Marty Sherman. Another nearby property, 1701 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, was owned by the Fellowship Foundation.
Until 1994, the Fellowship Foundation owned the aged French revival historic “Fellowship House”, the former base of Vereide’s ministry located at 2817 Woodland Drive in Washington, D.C., which was sold to the Ourisman Chevrolet family for $2.5 million and which was then fully architecturally and historically restored and preserved
The Sword of the Lord and Gideon: The Neo-Templars and the American military
This organization is called by many, often deceptive, names but in the main, it is known to investigators as the ‘Neo-Templars’ (or new Templars) The purpose of this organization, and its various permutations, is quite straightforward: It seeks to oust, by military force, the current Muslim occupants of the so-called Holy Land, and, if the situation should call for it, attack any other Muslim entity, be it an established state or a group.
Eventually, the Fellowship would count some of the military’s top leaders among its members. They include former Joint Chiefs Chairman General David Jones, current Joint Chiefs chairman General Richard Myers, former Marine Corps Commandant and current NATO commander General James L. Jones, Iran-contra figure Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, and, perhaps even more controversial than North, Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, the military head of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s intelligence branch One of the larger OCF chapters is at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the home of the U.S. military’s disciplinary barracks and a prime recruiting and mentoring center for Fellowship members. All sorts of military members who have been sentenced by courts martial around the world have served their prison terms at Leavenworth. In 1982, a key member of the OCF began his four-year sentence at hard labor at Leavenworth after he was convicted of over 19 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with minors, including the dependents of naval personnel under his command. He was Lieutenant Commander Larry W. (Bill) Frawley, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy graduate, P-3 Orion pilot, and the one-time Commanding Officer of the Coos Head, Oregon Naval Facility, a classified Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) station that mainly monitored Soviet submarines on missile patrol and maneuvers in the Pacific. Frawley was heavily involved in a child pornography ring before FBI agents discovered his name after a major bust of a kiddie porn kingpin in Chicago. The Operations Officer assigned to Coos Head was requested by the Naval Investigative Service and the FBI to set up a “sting” against Frawley. Duly sworn in as a temporary special agent of the FBI, the Operations Officer gained Frawley’s trust, gathered incriminating evidence against him, handed it to federal and local law enforcement agents from Coos Bay, Oregon; Portland, and Seattle, and testified as the government’s star witness at Frawley’s court martial at the Navy’s Sand Point Base in Seattle. It was later discovered by NIS and the FBI that Frawley and other members of the OCF used the Christian organization as a cover for their child pornography business. And one other tidbit had been discovered by the FBI. Frawley had traveled secretly to the Soviet Union while he held a Top Secret nuclear weapons and cryptographic security clearance.
That discovery led to the reassignment of the Operations Officer, the Portland-based and Seattle-based NIS agents, and the Coos Bay-based FBI agent to relatively insignificant desk jobs in Washington, DC. While he held his confidence and trust, Frawley revealed to the Operations Officer that those involved with his ring included other top-ranking military officers, lawyers, and members of the clergy. Later, the two NIS agents revealed that the Coos Bay scandal “went to the very top” of the Reagan administration. Frawley’s prison term at Leavenworth was anything but “hard labor.” Navy insiders reported that he attended therapy sessions.
The Dominonist Plot
Dominion Theology is a grouping of theological systems with the common belief that society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law, a view also known as theonomy. The most prominent modern formulation of Dominion Theology is Christian Reconstructionism, founded by R. J. Rushdoony in the 1970s. Reconstructionists themselves use the word dominionism to refer to their belief that civil government should be controlled by Christians alone and conducted according to Biblical law. Social scientists have used the word “dominionism” to refer to adherence to Dominion Theology as well as to the influence in the broader Christian Right of ideas inspired by Dominion Theology. Although such influence (particularly of Reconstructionism) has been described by many authors, full adherents to Reconstructionism are few and marginalized among conservative Christians.
In the early 1990s, sociologist Sara Diamond and journalist Frederick Clarkson defined dominionism as a movement that, while including Dominion Theology and Reconstructionism as subsets, is much broader in scope, extending to much of the Christian Right. In his 1992 study of Dominion Theology and its influence on the Christian Right, Bruce Barron writes,
In the context of American evangelical efforts to penetrate and transform public life, the distinguishing mark of a dominionist is a commitment to defining and carrying out an approach to building society that is self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian, and dependent specifically on the work of Christians, rather than based on a broader consensus. (p. 14, emphasis in original)
According to Diamond, the defining concept of dominionism is “that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns”. In 1989, Diamond declared that this concept “has become the central unifying ideology for the Christian Right” (p.138, emphasis in original). In 1995, she called it “prevalent on the Christian Right.” Journalist Chip Berlet added in 1998 that, although they represent different theological and political ideas, dominionists assert a Christian duty to take “control of a sinful secular society.”
In 2005, Clarkson enumerated the following characteristics shared by all forms of dominionism:
- Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe that the United States once was, and should once again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.
- Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.
- Dominionists endorse theocratic visions, insofar as they believe that the Ten Commandments, or “biblical law,” should be the foundation of American law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.
Other authors who stress the influence of Dominionist ideas on the Christian Right include Michelle Goldbergand Kevin Phillips
Essayist Katherine Yurica began using the term dominionism in her articles in 2004, beginning with “The Despoiling of America,” (February 11, 2004), Yurica has been followed in this usage by authors including journalist Chris Hedges Marion Maddox, James Rudin, Sam Harris, and the group TheocracyWatch. This group of authors has applied the term to a broader spectrum of people than have Diamond, Clarkson, and Berlet.
Some authors have used the terms “Christianism” or “Christianist” in place of “dominionism,” a usage that began as early as 2003 in certain media outlets, particularly liberal-oriented blogs. By alluding to the term “Islamist,” this usage is intended to evoke the spectre of theocracy and even terrorism (citing, for example, the notorious bomber Eric Rudolph). Journalist Ruth Walker discussed usage of the term to refer to political Christians in a 2005 Christian Science Monitor essay, and commentator Andrew Sullivan advocated “Christianist” as a label for the Christian Right in a 2006 column in Time.
The terms “dominionist” and “dominionism” are rarely used for self-description, and their usage has been attacked from several quarters. Journalist Anthony Williams charged that its purpose is “to smear the Republican Party as the party of domestic Theocracy, facts be damned.” Journalist Stanley Kurtz labeled it “conspiratorial nonsense,” “political paranoia,” and “guilt by association,” and decried Hedges’ “vague characterizations” that allow him to “paint a highly questionable picture of a virtually faceless and nameless ‘Dominionist’ Christian mass.” Kurtz also complained about a perceived link between average Christian evangelicals and extremism such as Christian Reconstructionism:
The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it’s downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper’s cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside ‘the old polite rules of democracy.’ So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians — by any means necessary.
Other criticism has focused on the proper use of the term. Berlet wrote that “some critics of the Christian Right have stretched the term dominionism past its breaking point,” and argued that, rather than labeling conservatives as extremists, it would be better to “talk to these people” and “engage them.” Sara Diamond wrote that “[l]iberals’ writing about the Christian Right’s take-over plans has generally taken the form of conspiracy theory,” and argued that instead one should “analyze the subtle ways” that ideas like Dominionism “take hold within movements and why.”
Sarah Palin is a “Dominionist” with an apocalytic End Times theological viewpoint that sees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a contemplated war with Iran as part of God’s plan. This highly politicized concept of dominionism is based on the Bible’s text in Genesis 1:26:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (King James Version).
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” (New International Version).
The vast majority of Christians read this text and conclude that God has appointed them stewards and caretakers of Earth. As Sara Diamond explains, however, some Christian read the text and believe, “that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.” That, in a nutshell, is the idea of “dominionism.”
Just because some critics of the Christian Right have stretched the term dominionism past its breaking point does not mean we should abandon the term. And while it is true that few participants in the Christian Right Culture War want a theocracy as proposed by the Christian Reconstructionists, many of their battlefield Earth commanders are leading them in that direction. A number of these leaders have been influenced by Christian Reconstructionism, which is a variant of theocracy called “theonomy.”
The theocratic right seeks to establish dominion, or control over society in the name of God. The late D. James Kennedy, former pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries, called on his followers to exercise “godly dominion … over every aspect … of human society.” At a “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference in February, 2005, Kennedy said:
“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
Twenty-five years ago, dominionists targeted the Republican Party as the vehicle through which they could advance their agenda. At the same time, a small group of Republican strategists targeted fundamentalist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches to expand the base of the Republican Party. This web site is not about traditional Republicans or conservative Christians. It is about the manipulation of people of a certain faith for political power. It is about the rise of dominionists in the U.S. federal government.
Today’s hard right seeks total dominion. It’s packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself.
Before the midterm elections of 2006, dominionists controlled both houses of the U.S. Congress, the White House and four out of nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court. They were one seat away from holding a solid majority on the Supreme Court. As of January 1, 2007, dominionists will not control the leadership of either house of Congress, and the President will no longer be able to so easily appoint dominionists to the federal courts.
Five of the Republican Senators who were unseated on November 7 received whopping scores of 100% from the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family Voter Scorecards. Those Senators are: Conrad Burns (R-MT), George Allen (R-VA), Rick Santorum (R-PA), James Talent (R-MO), and Mike DeWine (R-OH). Rick Santorum was the number three ranking Republican in the party. Santorum and Allen both had Presidential ambitions. (FRC and FOF are the most politically influential of dominionist organizations
Christian Reconstructionism is a form of theocratic dominion theology. Its leaders challenged evangelicals across a wide swath of theological beliefs to engage in a more muscular and activist form of political participation. The core theme of dominion theology is that the Bible mandates Christians to take over and “occupy” secular institutions.
A number of Christian Right leaders read what the Christian Reconstructionists were writing, and they adopted the idea of taking dominion over the secular institutions of the United States as the “central unifying ideology” of their social movement. They decided to gain political power through the Republican Party.
This does not mean most Christian Right leaders became Christian Reconstructionists. It does mean they were influenced by dominion theology. But they were influenced in a number of different ways, and some promote the theocratic aspects more militantly than others.
It helps to see the terms dominionism, dominion theology, and Christian Reconstructionism as distinct and not interchangeable. While all Christian Reconstructionists are dominionists, not all dominionists are Christian Reconstructionists.
Where do we go from here?
Dominionists were very close to controlling all three branches of the federal government from which they could impose their narrow interpretation of scripture on the rest of society. People so close to full political power are not going to go away. The American people need to maintain vigilance and understand the history of how dominionists came to political power. And we need to embrace democracy with a passion — for it was voter apathy that allowed leaders like Pat Robertson to get so many dominionists elected to Congress in the first place
A longstanding usage of dominionism among social scientists and legal scholars describes a Biblical argument in favor of anthropocentrism, a favoring of the rights and interests of humans in relation to environmentalism and/or animal rights. This usage is not the primary focus of this article.
For nearly 2,000 years, Christianity, with its emphasis on the down and out, had been getting it all wrong. Their focus would instead be on the “up and out,” the “key men” in positions of power who would be able to usher in the kingdom of God—which, to the Family, has always looked a lot like the country clubs where it conducts much of its soft-sell evangelism. The best way to help the weak, it teaches, is to help the strong. That required first building a ministry in the nation’s capital that would over the years become one of Washington’s most influential, and most secretive, institutions. Dozens of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are involved in Family prayer groups (Hillary Clinton was a regular in the Senate group), and every president since Eisenhower has attended the organization’s only public event, the National Prayer Breakfast