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'The Fellowship' & "How Hillary Clinton Turned Herself into the Consummate Washington Player"

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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 02:12 PM
Original message
'The Fellowship' & "How Hillary Clinton Turned Herself into the Consummate Washington Player"
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 03:10 PM by Emit
For more information on 'The Fellowship' (aka 'the Family') check out DUer Laelth's recent post "Why Obama must be destroyed". Also, The following Harper's article, Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover Among America's Secret Theocrats has been posted on DU in the past -- it's well worth a look. Lastly, check out God's Senator: Who would Jesus vote for? Meet Sam Brownback in Rolling Stone.

Also of interest is reference to HRC's and McCain's 'drinking game' at a CODEL event.


How Hillary Clinton turned herself into the consummate Washington player

by Joshua Green
Take Two: Hillary's Choice

Of the many realms of power on Capitol Hill, the least understood may be the lawmakers prayer group. The tradition of private worship in small, informal gatherings is one that stretches back for generations, as does a genuine tendency within them to transcend partisanship, though as with so much that is religiously oriented in Washington, the chief adherents are the more conservative Republicans.

Most of the prayer groups are informally affiliated with a secretive Christian organization called the Fellowship, established in the 1930s by a Methodist evangelist named Abraham Vereide, whose great hope was to preach the word of Jesus to political and business leaders throughout the world. Vereide believed that the best way to change the powerful was through discreet personal ministry, and over his lifetime he succeeded to a remarkable degree. The first Senate prayer group met over breakfast in 1943; a decade later one of its members, Senator Frank Carlson, persuaded Dwight Eisenhower to host a Presidential Prayer Breakfast, which has become a tradition.

Though it still sponsors what is now called the National Prayer Breakfast, the Fellowship scrupulously avoids publicity, as Vereide insisted it must. If you want to help people, Jesus said, you dont do your alms in public, Douglas Coe, the groups leader since the late 1960s, said in a rare interview several years ago.

Today, on Capitol Hill, as the old avenues of bipartisanship have gradually been blocked off by hardening ideology, the prayer groups have become cherished sanctuaries for their membersproviding respite, however brief, from the cacophony of political Washington. Speaking about a group is strongly discouraged, and what transpires at meetings is strictly off the record. ... The roster of regular participants has included such notable conservative names as Brownback, Santorum, Nickles, Enzi, and Inhofe. Then, in 2001, just after the new class of senators was sworn in, another name was added to the list: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

~snip~

One spring Wednesday, a few months into the term, Senator Sam Brownbacks turn came to lead the group, and he rose intending to talk about a recent cancer scare. But as he stood before his colleagues Brownback spotted Clinton, and was overcome with the impulse to change the subject of his testimony. I came here today prepared to share about this experience in my life that has caused great suffering, the result of which has deepened my faith, Brownback said, according to someone who watched the scene unfold. But Im overcome now with only one thought. He confessed to having hated Clinton and having said derogatory things about her. Through God, he now recognized his sin. Then he turned to her and asked, Mrs. Clinton, will you forgive me? Clinton replied that she would, and that she appreciated the apology.

It was an extraordinary moment, the member told me.

~snip~

Despite this chaos, Clinton managed to insinuate herself into the inner culture of the Senate almost immediately. Her operating belief seems to have been that the more her colleagues saw and knew of her, the more they would like her. This has indeed been the case. Almost every senatorespecially every Republicanhas a story of an early encounter with Clinton that, like Byrds and Brownbacks, invariably emphasizes the disparity between what they thought she would be like and what they saw when they actually met her.

~snip~

Some of these odd-couple partnerships have their roots in symbiotic benefit: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Frist all made common cause with Clinton as a means of moderating their partisan image, just as she has used alliances with previous conservative critics to moderate hers. But Clinton has also displayed a subtler touch in the Senate than anyone could reasonably have expected, making especially good use of the ever-dwindling opportunities for casual commingling of members of the opposing parties. The Wednesday-morning prayer group is one. Another is the congressional delegation (CODEL, in Hill jargon), on which members travel together and wind up spending lots of time in close proximity. The story of one such trip, to Estonia, recently brought to light by The New York Times, gives a flavor of what Clinton is like in these settings. At a casual dinner with Senate colleagues Graham, John McCain, and Susan Collins, all Republicans, the waiter followed local custom by bringing a bottle of vodka and shot glasses, whereupon Clinton reached over and began pouring; a drinking contest ensued. McCains staff seemed pained by the revelation, and declined my request for an interview, because the last thing a Republican presidential hopeful wants floating around in the media is word that hes becoming booze pals with Hillary Clinton. And McCain denied the story to Jay Leno. But when I recently intercepted him walking through the Capitol, McCain lit up at the recollection. Its been fifty years since Id been in a drinking game, said McCain, who as a former naval aviator knows whereof he speaks. He added, admiringly, She can really hold her liquor.

This repentance fostered an unlikely relationship that has yielded political bounty. Clinton and Brownback went on to cosponsor one measure protecting refugees fleeing sexual abuse, and another to study the effects on children of violent video games and television shows. That morning helped make our working relationship, Brownback told me recently. It brought me close to someone I did not ever imagine I would become close to. Since then, Clinton has teamed up on legislation with many members of the prayer group.

~snip~
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200611/green-hillary

edit to add a word; title for clarity
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. It's a lot of information to digest, I know, but I hope other DUers see this
GD: P may not have the patience for such information.

I, for one, am quite surprised to see that Hillary Clinton is a member of the Fellowship. I would think this would be important info for other concerned DUers, as well. This group has been associated with the Dominionists and Reconstructionists that we usually associate with the radical right that supported and funded Bush & Co.
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. The goal is an "invisible" world organization led by Christ that's what they aspire to.
~snip~

GNN: What are some this group's core ideas and what level of secrecy is involved here?

SHARLET: The goal is an "invisible" world organization led by Christ that's what they aspire to. They are very explicit about this if you look in their documents, and I spent a lot of time researching in their archives. Their goal is a worldwide invisible organization. That's their word, and that's important because it sounds so crazy.

What they mean when they say "a world organization led by Christ" is that literally you just sit there and let Christ tell you what to do. More often than not that leads them to a sort of paternalistic benign fascism. There are a lot of places that they've done good things, and that's important to acknowledge. But that also means they might be involved with General Suharto in Indonesia and if that means that God leads him to kill half a million of his own citizens then, well, it would prideful to question God leading them.

~snip~

GNN: But they speak of themselves as operating in terrorist-like cells.

SHARLET: Yes, they do. Inside your cell, you might know six or eight guys.

Let me give you a real quick history. In 1935, Abraham Vereide starts it. By the 1940s he has about a third of Congress attending a weekly prayer meeting. In the mid-50s, he gets Eisenhower's support.

(According to a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, during the 1950's Vereide played a major role in the U.S. government's anti-communist activities: "Pentagon officials secretly met at the group's Washington Fellowship House in 1955 to plan a worldwide anti-communism propaganda campaign endorsed by the CIA, documents from the Fellowship archives and the Eisenhower Presidential Library show. Then known as International Christian Leadership, the group financed a film called 'Militant Liberty' that was used by the Pentagon abroad." Showing Faith in Discretion, Lisa Getter, The Los Angeles Times, Sep 27, 2002)

It's sort of stabilized now. By the mid-60's, they sort of realized they didn't want too many people. Too many people dilute the organization.

One scene I saw was Congressman Todd Tiahrt, Republican from Kansas, who seemed as if he was interviewing to be in the organization. He was very nervous. The leader of the organization was asking him questions, sort of leaning back and testing him. I think he wanted into this network, and he would fumble a little by talking about abortion. They don't really care about abortion. They are against it but they aren't really concerned about it.

GNN: What are their core issues then?

SHARLET: The core issue is capitalism and power. The core issue they would say, is love. There are a lot of different things love means. They will always work with both sides of the issue. I saw some correspondence with Chinese officials before Deng Xiao Ping was in power. They had some very clandestine associations with senior Chinese officials, and were told Deng was a guy they could do business with. So that was fine with them.

~snip~

GNN: It sounds to me like some sort of extended Skull and Bones, an Old Boys Network crafted onto a religious context.

SHARLET: The religious context is real. The Old Boys Network is about business. This is about more than business. This is about maintaining a certain kind of power, a certain view of how power should be distributed. The Episcopalian Old Boys Network was a lot more easygoing than this. This is a lot more militaristic. Really at its fundamental core, almost monarchist. We would be told time and time again, "Christ's kingdom is not a democracy" This is their model for leadership. They would often say, "Everything you need to know about government is right there in the cross - it's vertical not horizontal."

GNN: In that vein, reading your article I got the impression they are praising guys like Adolph Hitler and Ghengis Khan a lot. Is that a fair assessment of your intention?

SHARLET: In fact, Harpers made me cut back on that stuff. 'We know it's true, but this is already so much to absorb.' That's why I included that line at the end of the story. The leader of the group is having dinner with the younger members of that group and is talking about the bond, the covenant. And he says, "Can anyone think of someone who had a covenant?" And the answer, of course, and everyone knows it, is "Hitler."

This goes back to the 1960's, Vereide was instructing young men by having them read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich "Look at what those guys did." But they will say, "We are not trying to kill Jews." What we are talking about is imagine if you took the "Hitler Concept," and they'll use that phrase, the Hitler Concept, to work for Christ, or the Mao Concept. We're not right wingers, they'll say. You can use the Mao Concept.

GNN: Define what they mean by Hitler Concept.

SHARLET: A loyal leadership cadre, which is interesting because guys like Hitler and Stalin were famous for purging, but they seem to focus on a couple of guys. "If two or three agree" is a phrase they use a lot. If you can get together and focus you can accomplish anything. You don't need to sway the electorate. You don't need to convert everyone to Christ. Everyone doesn't have to believe in Christ, and that's where they differ from other fundamentalists. Some fundamentalists really distrust them for that. "We need to convert everyone, the high and the low." The Family says, "No we don't need the high." All these guys Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden is another guy they cite a lot, are guys who understood the power of a political avant garde. That's what they mean by the Hitler Concept. Also keeping your message simple, and repeating it again and again because there is only one message and it is "Jesus Loves." You can express lots of different things with that term.

I always try to play the devil's advocate. They are not the traditional right wing bad guys. They have been able to do what they do for so long because no one has been looking for this kind of thing.

A lot of this is already in the culture, take "Ghengis Khan Business Secrets," for instance, the admiration authoritarian leaders.

GNN: Here's where I'm confused. To me they sound like Nietzsche. They don't sound like Jesus Christ. They sound like they are creating the Nietzschean superman above the moral universe the rest of us slaves live in. SHARLET: I don't think I mention Nietzsche in the article, do I? GNN: I don't think so.

SHARLET: That's really perceptive of you. Many of them love Nietzsche. They think he's fascinating.

GNN: But he hated Christianity. He was the ultimate amoralist.

SHARLET: I know it's weird. There is one really wacky fundamentalist group that thinks Doug Coe could be the Anti-Christ. They're not sure yet, they might need to shave his head and see if he has the mark of the beast.

They have gotten into trouble with a lot of evangelical groups. They invited Yasser Arafat to the National Prayer Breakfast. They've boasted, and I don't know if it's true, that they had special permission from the State Department to bring anyone they wanted to the Cedars, that they'd brought some Sudanese on the terrorist list to their mansion headquarters and they'd love to get Osama bin Laden down there.

~snip~

SHARLET: Yes, though I will say it is not exclusively Democrat or Republican. They say there are six guys at the C Street house, there were eight when I was there. They say there is one for members of Parliament in England, and I think there are similar ones in other capitals. The house is constantly rotating. Steve Largent used to live there. John Elias Baldacci, a conservative Democrat who is now the governor of Maine. As for the Bush connection, there is Ashcroft. I discovered in their archives a correspondence between Ashcroft and Coe that began in 1981. Al Gore at one time referred to Doug Coe as his personal hero, which is easy to believe. Doug Coe is an incredibly charming man. The Bushes have visited the Cedars many times, but all presidents have. Bush Sr. when he was Vice President was hosting dinners for Middle Eastern ambassadors there. There are going to be people at all levels.

GNN: When you say someone "is a part of it" what does that mean? Are you in or out, or is it a loose thing?

SHARLET: It's a loose thing. But there are levels of participation.

GNN: Are they codified like the Masons or something?

SHARLET: There is an inner core group that is codified in their documents, called the Core. I don't know who is in it other than Doug Coe. The documents I saw only went up to the late 80's with senators, congressmen, and a lot of military men. Before he died, Senator Harold Huges was Core. Former Senator Mark Hatfield used to be Core, and may still be. In the AP article, there is an Air Force officer who I hadn't known about. Then there are associates, usually about 150 associates and they are the key individuals in their areas, and then there are the people who are in a cell with an associate and they are very close. And then there are close friends. Senator James Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, is frequently, for instance, referred to as a close friend. President Museveni of Uganda is a close friend. There is no membership card. In all of their letters there is a paragraph that says this is a private, confidential relationship and we don't talk about it when they are recruiting a new person into the group.

GNN: Are there formal events and meetings, other than this national prayer breakfast?

SHARLET: There are literally thousands of governors', mayors', prayer breakfasts around the country. Some of those probably launched forty, fifty years ago and have long since lost their connection to the mothership, as it were. But that's the idea. They're part of the movement. The system is in place, that we should turn to God to make all our decisions. Up until the 1970's, they had Core meetings around the world, but that's as far as I saw in the documents.

GNN: So how scared are you of this group? Are they a force for fascism or some sort of cult-like group with big connections that comes and goes?

SHARLET: I think they are definitely a force for fascism. I think a lot of the way the world looks is a result of their work. They were instrumental in getting U.S. government support for General Suharto, for the generals' juntas in Brazil. Just take those two countries alone, they are two of the biggest countries on Earth. Those countries might have been progressive democracies a long time ago had it not been for U.S. support for those regimes ...

GNN: But don't you think the CIA and the U.S. government's own agenda had a lot to do with those decisions? SHARLET: Yeah, but they made those connections.

GNN: What are the connections between the CIA and the Fellowship?

SHARLET: A lot of their key men in a country would be the intelligence officers in the American embassy. Throughout their correspondence, that's the kind of guy they would like to have involved. They always had a lot of Army intelligence guys involved, Pentagon guys. Doug Coe in the early 70's was touring the frontlines in Vietnam with intelligence officers and South Vietnamese generals. That's the level of connections they are talking about, like the Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez . They are the people who brought those people in. They said you need to meet this person. That's how it works.

~snip~
http://www.theocracywatch.org/secret_theocrats.html

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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's a lot to digest n/t
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
4. kick n/t
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Medusa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
5. I know a lot of people here are turned off by religious nuts
so why are they still supporting Hillary?
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. The core issue of this group is capitalism and power.
And religion is their tool.
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