Friday, April 18, 2003

There is an amazing article written by Jeffrey Sharlet in the March issue of Harper's Magazine entitled 'Jesus Plus Nothing'. It is one of those very rare articles that penetrates into the hidden world of what can only be called 'Christian neo-fascism'. This would just be interesting sociology except for the extremely powerful men who are associated with groups like this and who use them for their nefarious purposes. There are a number of things to think about:

  1. This group is known as 'the Family'. It keeps a very low profile. It has operated under a number of fronts intended to draw attention away from itself - fronts such as the National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, and the International Foundation. Its only publicized gathering is the National Prayer Breakfast.

  2. The group has two parts: 1) rich and powerful American men who meet rich and powerful foreign men under the guise of Christian fellowship to make political decisions, mainly of an extreme right-wing bent (the basic stuff of real 'Conspiracy Theory'), and 2) young very religious men who spend their days studying the New Testament in a remarkably open spirit of neo-fascism (Jesus as proto-fascist), playing rather violent sports (Jesus as athlete), and providing assistance to the rich and powerful men (Jesus as rabid anti-communist).

  3. American politicians associated with this group listed in the article: former attorney general Ed Meese and former secretary of state James Baker; Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.); and Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), Todd Tiahrt (R., Ks.), Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Mike Doyle (D., Pa.); and former Representatives Ed Bryant (R., Tenn.) and John Elias Baldacci (D., Maine). These are people to keep an eye on.

  4. Remarkably like the September 11 terrorists, these young men gather into a small formation called a 'core group' or 'cell', described as 'a publicly invisible but privately identifiable group of companions.' The stated goal of the group is to establish a large network of Christian youth groups from which people will be selected for positions of power in business and government in the United States and in foreign countries (i. e., staff the leadership of American and foreign countries and businesses with those indoctrinated with the views of 'the Family').

  5. The article describes an extraordinarily creepy guy named Doug Coe who leads 'the Family', and who explains the importance of what he calls a 'covenant', a secret agreement made among a very small group (read the chilling parables of King David and Genghis Khan on page 7 by Doug's son David to see what they really mean by 'Jesus'). Hitler and the Mafia are described as examples of those who have made covenants.

  6. The extreme secrecy, the cult-like dedication to a cause, the perversion of the idea of obedience to Christ to hide what is essentially adherence to extreme right-wing neo-fascist goals, the formation of small groups of young men around a secret promise (a 'covenant'), the same hint of the homoerotic that pervades fascism - do you think it possible that such a group could be used by very bad people to secretly do very bad things?

This is exactly the model of group I would expect to see operating in that area between official power and the political underworld of assassinations and terrorist attacks. The secrecy, the importance of promises, the cell structure, and the pseudo-religious and fascist undertones are all perfect for getting certain types of things done without leaving a trail back to the real power structure. Unfortunately, because of the cell structure and the cult of secrecy, it is impossible to penetrate groups like this. But it helps to know that they exist.