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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 07:48 PM
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Congressional Sex Scandals Emanating From A House On Capitol Hill Shine Spotlight On ‘The Family’ –
The Most Powerful Religious Right Group You’ve Never Heard Of

September 2009 Featured

By Rob Boston
Congressional Sex Scandals Emanating From A House On Capitol Hill Shine Spotlight On ‘The Family’ – The Most Powerful Religious Right Group You’ve Never Heard Of

From the outside, the house at 133 C St., SE, resembles many of the residences sprinkled throughout Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Capitol Hill neighborhood. The red-brick, three-story building features an American flag jutting from its façade and windows graced with lace curtains. ...


The house popped up in the news three times recently, each time in connection with high-profile Republican politicians who confessed to or were accused of having extramarital affairs.

When U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) admitted that he had had an inappropriate relationship with the wife of an aide, several media outlets reported that Ensign, a resident of the house, had been confronted about his dalliance by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a current resident.

Not long after that, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted to a relationship with a woman in Argentina. During a rambling confession to the media, Sanford, who served in Congress from 1994-2000, said he had sought counseling from “C Street.” The Associated Press reported that Sanford’s spiritual advisor, Warren Culbertson, said the C Street residents are “the guys Mark hung out with in Washington.”

Just a few weeks after that, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Charles “Chip” Pickering Jr. (R-Miss.) filed an alienation-of-affection lawsuit against a woman she claims had an affair with Pickering during the time he lived at C Street. It’s alleged that Pickering even carried on with the other woman in the house.

The media’s fixation on the marital hanky-panky of house residents had an interesting side effect: Suddenly everyone was talking about the C Street residence. The spotlight turned with full force on the group responsible for the house, a shadowy conservative Christian entity called the Fellowship Foundation and known informally as “The Family.”


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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 08:43 PM
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1. This organization needs intense scrutiny. Many red flags are flying.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT/Newscom

The house on C Street.

All in the family

By Emily Belz, Edward Lee Pitts
August 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The national press for the past two months has roasted "hypocritical" Christians who live in or meet in a ministry-owned house on C Street two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Nevada Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, both talked about this spring as potential GOP presidential candidates in 2012, have acknowledged adulterous relationships. Last month a lawsuit in Jackson, Miss., served notice that former Rep. Chip Pickering, also a Republican, may have carried on in the C Street house an illicit affair with a former college love interest (see "Alienation of affection").

Sustained media attention has focused on whether the C Street house conclaves had contributed to or condoned the breaking of marital vows: Just what was in the water at C Street to prompt the three—all GOP political and social conservatives who a decade ago called for former President Bill Clinton's resignation—to fall into similar scandals of their own?

But adultery is not new in Congress or in the church, and aside from three men shattering their families' lives, a larger story emerged of the group behind the C Street row house: a 60-year-old, globally reaching organization that has muddy theology and a disdain for the established church.

The C Street house is one of many properties in the greater Washington area owned by the Fellowship Foundation, which sponsors the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Bible studies, social gatherings, and private retreats, and funds international development.

"Associates" (employees) of the Fellowship say its mission is to show the love of Jesus to the world's leaders. But it has no website to publicize that work, and those affiliated are extremely reluctant—if not prohibited, say some—to talk about it.


House members Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; and Heath Shuler, D-N.C., are reportedly current C Street residents. Senators Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; and John Ensign, R-Nev. reportedly also live there. All have been repeatedly contacted by WORLD in the wake of the scandals and have declined personally or through spokespersons to be interviewed on the record about the group.

Others who regularly attend C Street house gatherings or other Fellowship studies reportedly include Reps. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Joe Pitts, R-Pa.; along with Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Mark Pryor, D-Ark. They too were contacted by WORLD. Moran, Nelson, and Pryor did not return repeated phone calls; others refused to speak on the record about C Street house activities and the Fellowship.

Behind The Green Door

By Rob Boston
September, 2009


Critics have also accused the Fellowship of seeking to influence American foreign policy by cozying up to notorious dictators. Over the years, the Fellowship has reached out to Gen. Suharto of Indonesia, Siad Barre of Somalia, Jonas Savimbi of Angola, Artur da Costa e Silva of Brazil, Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti and other authoritarian leaders.


The insular nature of the group and its love of secrecy have led critics to question The Family’s method of operation.

“When you operate in secret in Washington you raise an immediate red flag and then it gets redder when it gets mixed with any ideological agenda,” Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told Politico recently.

Sharlet agrees. If Bible studies and prayer meetings were the only activities under way, there would be little cause for concern, he said. But there is much more going on at C Street.

“Here’s an organization that has organized powerful men into coalitions to oppose organized labor and support a foreign policy of allegiances with killers, often at the cost of American principles and American interests,” Sharlet said. “They’re entitled to argue for these views, of course, but they ought to do so like other right-wing groups – in the public square.

“It’s a transparency issue,” he continued. “It’s an accountability issue. If politicians want to accept gifts from The Family and subscribe to their version of Christianity, fine. If you think Coe’s reading of the New Testament as a book about power is correct, fine. If you like his sermons on the leadership lessons of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, fine. But put that out there.”

Concluded Sharlet, “Doug Coe has said, ‘The more invisible you can make your organization, the more influence it will have.’ That’s true. That’s why we have laws requiring groups that seek to influence politics, especially with financial support for politicians, to register as lobbies.”

Once again, the toxic mix of religion, right wing extremist ideology and government bodes ill for the health of our nation.

Exactly what kind of front is being run behind the door to this house?

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asjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. "The House on Capitol Hill" -- good name for a movie.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Emit.
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