Tagthe family

The Family’s man in Uganda, Bob Hunter, opposed anti-homosexuality bill

Add one more very important name to the growing international list of those opposed to Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Bob Hunter, the man who helped build Uganda’s relationship with the Family, aka the Fellowship, the international movement of “followers of Christ” – some reject the term “Christian” that also includes several U.S. politicians with ties to Uganda: among them, Senator James Inhofe, Senator Sam Brownback, and Representative Joe Pitts. [...]

Moreover, Bob adds “I know of no one involved in Uganda with the Fellowship here in America, including the most conservative among them, that supports such things as killing homosexuals or draconian reporting requirements, much less has gone over to Uganda to push such positions.” [...]

Last, but not least at all: The question of the relationship between Bob, the Fellowship, and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Bob argues that any connection at all is “absurd.” He takes particular issue with my statement that the situation in Uganda is “a perfect case study in the export of a lot on American, largely evangelical ideas about homosexuality exported to Uganda.” Bob is now on record expressing his active opposition to the bill, and many of his Fellowship associates are on record expressing a passive opposition to the bill. That’s what matters most here. The question of cultural influence is more complicated. I’ll say this: The member of parliament most strongly associated with the bill, David Bahati, has, as Bob points out, been associated with the Fellowship. Other Fellowship sources say that Bahati floated the idea at a private event linked to the Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast; one source says 2008, Bob thinks it was 2009. What’s most important is that all sources say Fellowship associates politely expressed opposition. Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo, another strong supporter of the bill, is also linked to the Fellowship (though possibly not as closely as Buturo believes) and an organizer of the Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast. And President Museveni, a longtime Fellowship associate, has given implicit support to the extreme stigmatization of homosexuality, declaring, “European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa.” Other scholars have noted that Museveni’s anti-gay rhetoric has grown strongly over the years, a period during which Uganda has experienced a great religious revival rooted in the years before Museveni took power. One needn’t take anything away from the very real virtues of that revival – it helped overthrow a dictatorship — to condemn its ugly baggage: an inflammation of anti-gay rhetoric, violence, and now new legal measures on top of Uganda’s existing anti-gay laws, antiquated regulations dating back to British colonialism.***

Jeff Sharlet: The Fellowship (aka The Family) Opposes Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

(Thanks Gavin!)

Goldman Sachs Official Says Jesus Embraced Greed

I didn’t believe this story was true at first — thought it had to be a spoof. But it turns out to be true. The great banks of the world have gone on a p.r. counteroffensive in Europe, and are sending spokescrooks in shiny suits into churches to persuade the masses that Christ would have approved of the latest round of obscene bonuses.

Goldman Sachs international adviser Brian Griffiths explains it this way: that Christ’s famous injunction to love others as one would love oneself actually means that one should love oneself as one would love oneself. This seemingly baffling outburst by a Goldman executive in what appears to have been a prepared speech — someone actually wrote this, and thought about it, before saying it out loud — gets even weirder when one tries to figure out what could possibly have motivated this person, and by extension his employer Goldman Sachs, to make such statements in such a place as St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Matt Taibbi: Goldman One-Ups Gordon Gekko, Says Jesus Embraced Greed

Update: Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while will be familiar with The Family. Reader Joe points out in the comments:

This shouldn’t be surprising for anyone who has read Jeff Sharlet’s book _The Family_. This rhetoric is straight out of their play book. This guy is likely a member (he *spoke at* the funeral of Wallace Haines, The Family’s ‘man in Europe’, in 2007). http://www.wallacehaines.com/inmemoryof.htm

The plot sickens.

Speaking of the Family…

I just noticed that I never linked to NPR’s interview and Democracy Now’s interview with Jeff Sharlet on the subject:

Democracy Now Interview:

JEFF SHARLET: The Family began as this domestic organization way back in the 1930s, a union-busting organization. But by the ’50s, they—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, union-busting organization?

JEFF SHARLET: Oh, they—it’s part of that invisible hand of the market. They believe that organized labor is ungodly, to put it mildly, perhaps Satanic. It began with this vision in 1935 that the New Deal and organized labor were literally a Satanic conspiracy they had to fight back.

In the 1950s, in the Cold War, they started moving overseas and identifying strongmen, dictators, who they thought were effective in the fight against communism, who they thought were effective in the fight for free markets. And Suharto was one of those men. You know, Suharto, who—even the CIA, which helped him orchestrate his coup, later said it was one of the worst mass killings of the twentieth century.

The Family leaders called it a spiritual revolution and began sending delegations of congressmen, oil executives, over to meet with Suharto. They then hosted Suharto, actually, in the United States Senate for a Senate prayer breakfast with their members, to which they invited the then-Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have that kind of access. And they were able to arrange that kind of reach for Suharto. And they effectively became his most persuasive champions within the US Congress, as the United States funneled, as we know, just billions of dollars toward his military regime.

Democracy Now: Jeff Sharlet

NPR: ‘Family’: Fundamentalism, Friends In High Places

Bible is not conservative enough for conservatives

You know what’s just too damn liberal? The Bible! But don’t worry, those crusaders for truth at Conservapedia are working on a new translation of the Bible that is meant to fulfill the following requirements:

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level

4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.

5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”; using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census

6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.

7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story

9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels

10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”

I’m sure The Family will love number 7. The timing of this is meaningful, as Michael Moore’s new film uses Christianity as a wedge against capitalism.

Conservapedia: Conservative Bible Project

(via Theoretick)

Renunciations

Since so much has been made of Obama’s old preacher, here are some people reporters could ask other politicians to renounce:

John Hagee, who’s support John McCain is “very proud” to have, told NPR that hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment of the city of New Orleans for homosexuality. Read more about Hagee.

Robert Tate, music director at a church George H.W. Bush attended growing up, was convicted of possessing child pornography.

Douglas Coe, who Hillary Clinton said “is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.” I don’t even know where to start on this guy. Here’s some stuff his son said about the members of the religious organization they run:

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

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

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

Read more about the Coes at Harper’s, Mother Jones, and Wikipedia.

Since Obama has denounced Wright, and the media has spent a great deal of time covering the controversial statements Wright made, it follows that McCain, Bush, and Clinton will also denounce these controversial religious figures and the media will spend equal time covering their statements and actions. Right? Right?

More on the theocratic cult conspiracy Hillary Clinton belongs to

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

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

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

Full Story: Harpers.

Previous coverage of The Family.

(thanks Gabbo!)

Hillary and the Family

Sean Hannity has called Obama’s church a “cult,” but that term applies far more aptly to Clinton’s “Family,” which is organized into “cells”–their term–and operates sex-segregated group homes for young people in northern Virginia. In 2002, Sharlet joined The Family’s home for young men, forswearing sex, drugs and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power. He wasn’t undercover; he used his own name and admitted to being a writer. But he wasn’t completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in diners–alone.

[...]

Furthermore, The Family takes credit for some of Clinton’s rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing “religious freedom” in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.

[...]

The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the “meek.” They believe that, in mass societies, it’s only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God’s “dominion” on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it’s all about power–cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or “cells.” “We work with power where we can,” Doug Coe has said, and “build new power where we can’t.”

Full Story: the Nation.

More info: Mother Jones.

(Via Abstract Dynamics).

Update: even more info.

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