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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:53 PM
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Alternet: Evangelical Elitists ....
Evangelical Elitists

The exclusive church where Washington's conservative power brokers pray very consciously aims its ministry at the ruling class.

By Ayelish McGarvey, Washington Monthly

Posted on January 5, 2005, Printed on January 8, 2005 /

The widely-agreed-upon lesson of the '04 race is that the Democratic Party's Beltway leaders were too insulated in their elite bubble to understand the evangelically-tinged culture of red America. Yet one of Washington's dirty little secrets is that its GOP leaders live in a very similar bubble. Few of them, for instance, would be caught dead in one of the down-market mega churches that have been cropping up in the exurbs of greater D.C. Rather, on any given Sunday, if you want to rub elbows or touch knees with Washington's conservative power elite, the place to go is The Falls Church, an old, tony Episcopal parish in the leafy northern Virginia suburb of the same name.

The Falls Church is actually two houses of worship in one. The old church, built in 1769, is a quaint, red brick Federalist building straight out of Colonial Williamsburg. Inside its spartan white-walled sanctuary, priests don long robes and clerical collars, and an organist pounds out hymns from the official Episcopal hymnal; many of the tunes date back to the 18th century when George Washington himself worshipped here. But behind the old church, amidst a parking lot filled with Volvos and Subaru Outbacks, is a bigger, newer church, tastefully made to look old, with lush strands of ivy cascading down pillars. The inside is laid out amphitheater style with floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe the vast sanctuary in sunlight. The priests wear suits, and although they still recite the Nicene Creed and the rest of the traditional Episcopal liturgy, they mix it up with characteristically evangelical, ad-libbed prayer. Instead of organ music, there is a "worship team" of guitarists, vocalists, and a drummer. Occasionally the congregation the women in pearls and khakis, the men in blue blazers and khakis clap along to the songs, or lift their hands up, although their pew mates sometimes look slightly uncomfortable at such overt expressions of praise.

These are the Sunday school nerds of yore, the kids who memorized their Bible verses before everyone else. They went to graduate schools and worked on Republican Senate campaigns. And now they have their very own church. That man walking in with the soft, slightly chubby face and horn-rimmed glasses, with his son dangling from his arm it's Michael Gerson, the president's chief speechwriter! And that tall guy with the bow tie it's Tucker Carlson! Indeed, The Falls Church membership directory reads like the White House Christmas card list. CIA director Porter Goss and his wife, Mary, are members. So are The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes and Robert Bork Jr. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) belongs to the church. So does Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who counts among his constituents Judge Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore. The congressman has dutifully introduced the Ten Commandments Preservation Act in every session since he entered Congress in 1996. But on Sundays, he worships at The Falls Church where he can get a taste of evangelicalism without having to associate with run-of-the-mill evangelicals.

There are no overhead projectors or Good News Bibles at The Falls Church. And that liquid in the communion chalice is Taylor's Vintage Port, not the grape juice they serve down the street at the Baptist church. "This isn't a watered-down mega church," observes Joseph Loconte, a Heritage Foundation fellow who has attended the church. "Theologically and aesthetically, it draws a certain kind of believer." One parishioner told me that, before discovering The Falls Church, "I had been to a number of evangelical churches, but frankly, I didn't relate to the people." Another confided that evangelical churches can be "kind of wacky," but that The Falls Church stands out because "the faith is more intellectually grounded."


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Midnight Rambler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:58 PM
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1. God forbid they ever be seen among the common folk
Except during those times when it is politically advantageous, of course.

I also seem to remember Jon Stewart saying something like "What's more elitist than the belief that your group alone will go to heaven?"
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PROGRESSIVE1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:01 PM
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2. "What's more elitist than the belief that your group alone will go to...

How true!
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I think each sect must demand adherence to THEIR values ...
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 05:32 PM by Trajan
Otherwise; why separate from other sects ? ...

IF Protestants thought Catholics were going to heaven, they would have never 'protested' ...

Obviously: ______________ are going to heaven, and those who are not, will not .....

Fill in the blank with : Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormans, and their various subsects and subsubsects .....
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:27 PM
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4. Love the phrase --
-- "kind of wacky."

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BurgherHoldtheLies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:30 PM
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5. Thanks for the post....good info for exposing the hypocritical elites. nt
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
6. This is outrageous
"Among other things, the church sponsors a fellowship program for recent college graduates that combines theological coursework with internships at lobbying firms and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation."

Political work. Has the church been boycotted by real Episcopal chruches yet, and had its tax-free status revoked? Episcopalians, get to work. You have Mammon in your midst.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. First I've heard of this
It's very odd to have what amounts ot have two congregations in one parish. :shrug:

However, while the Episcopal Church is by and large liberal, there are a few conservative parishes, and the denomination has a "big tent" policy.
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LizW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
7. Churches serve the same function for the elite as country clubs
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 10:40 PM by LizW
It's about identity and image, and being "seen" in the company of the "right" people.

Of course they say it's about where they feel "comfortable" and "fit in."

Oh, and I love that Robert Aderholt attends an Episcopal church when he's with his elite Washington crowd. Down here in Alabama, I'm fairly certain he's a Baptist. Drinking real wine for communion, Robert? I'm shocked!
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