Thursday, April 10, 2008

Still More Family Circus

(Above image from the Nietzsche Family Circus)

It's been a while since I posted. You can attribute this to my workload and the fact that I finally had my wisdom teeth removed last week; I got to spend a long weekend in a codeine fog catching up with reruns of Battlestar Galactica.

So I missed the chance to make any comments on Senator Obama's Reverend Wright affair. Not that I had much to add that hadn't already been said a thousand times on other blogs. But what is annoying to me the most about this issue is how comparatively unexplored the religious practices of the other candidates have been by the same media that lept all over the story of Senator Obama's preacher.

As a result we have been denied the opportunity to examine the church of Hillary Clinton: none other than The Family, which I have blogged about before. From CommonDreams:

'...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.”...'

Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet wrote an article for Mother Jones last fall going into more detail on Senator Clinton's foray into The Family's special blend of power and religion:

'...Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has "made a fetish of being invisible," former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan...'

The whole article is well worth reading. One of the reasons this won't be getting much play in the election is that Senator Clinton is not the only person attending meetings of the Family. From ABC news:

'...But if Clinton has a Coe problem, then it seems Obama would also: a quick call to the Obama campaign elicited a confirmation that the junior senator from Illinois had also attended "a couple" of Coe’s meetings. And, like Clinton reportedly has, Obama spoke at one of the meetings about his faith, spokesman Bill Burton confirmed...'