Friday, March 21, 2008

All in the Family

While the media continues to leg-hump away over Barack Obama's insufficiently patriotic pastor, Barbara Ehrenreich reminds us that Hillary Clinton has some Christofascist skeletons in her own closet:

There's a reason Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as "The "Fellowship," also known as The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

I thought I'd heard about this creepy group before; sure enough, in my files I found a 2003 interview with Sharlet about The Family. It all sounds quite surreal—a cognitively dissonant mix of Christian piety ("Jesus is in charge"), elitism and fascism ("but bidnessmen and guys like us should run things"), topped off with real-world connections to actual gosh-darned skull-cracking, torture-committing, dissidents-out-of-airplanes-dropping authoritarian dictatorships:
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 [convicted by a Florida jury for the torture of thousands] and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez [a minister also linked to the CIA and death squads]. They are the people who brought those people in. They said you need to meet this person. That's how it works.

Their diplomacy can affect some good things, like the truce in Rwanda. They had a lot of connections with the South African [apartheid] regime, where they were generally a moderate, even a progressive force. But it's kinda hard to name a nasty regime around the world that doesn't have really well-documented connections to them. Franco was a hold-out. So they started winning over a bunch of ministers in the Franco regime and then they went to Franco and said this is a good group, we can do business with them.

Yeah, you can see how Jesus would be totally sympatico with guys like Franco and Suharto. Right. It almost makes you pine for some honest fascists, doesn't it? Guys who don't don't feel the need to hide their paternalistic power-f*cking fantasies behind the conceit that it's all being done for God. But then I guess that if this deception fools enough people (possibly including The Family themselves) to be useful, and if power is what you really worship, then you might as well embrace the deception and drag the good name of Jesus into your sick little game. Once you're a power-f*cker, you might as well be a power-f*cker all the way.

At any rate, I eagerly await the mainstream media's leg-humping frenzy over Hillary's connections to this lovely little organization. Not.

Clinton fell in with The Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the Senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Family's "most elite cell," the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginia's notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, The Family's publicity-averse leader, that he 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."

Fooking christ.
It almost makes you pine for some honest fascists, doesn't it? Guys who don't don't feel the need to hide their paternalistic power-f*cking fantasies behind the conceit that it's all being done for God.

You mean like Dick "So?" Cheney?
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