Meet the Evangelical Cabal Orchestrating the Shutdown
This post first appeared in The Nation.
The Capitol in Washington is seen under an overcast sky at dawn. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File )
At Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, a small shop next to Union Station and around the corner from the Heritage Foundation, “fair trade” coffee is dispensed and Christian books are available for customers to read.
A group of political operatives and evangelical firebrands behind the strategy to shut down the government over healthcare reform couldn’t have picked a more unassuming meeting place. Though the more famous “Wednesday meeting” is across town at the offices of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the shutdown plotters often meet at a weekly lunch held on Wednesday at the event space of Ebenezer’s. (The group also meets regularly on Wednesday mornings at the offices of the Family Research Council.)
This other Wednesday group is a convening of the Conservative Action Project, an ad hoc coalition created in the early years of the Obama administration to reorganize the conservative movement.
The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, once dubbed as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the Left Behind series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.