Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Christian Family

I'm reading Jeff Sharlet's The Family. The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power.. It links nicely with the news about the National Prayer Breakfast:

Barack Obama has drawn stinging criticism for addressing an annual National Prayer Breakfast today organised by a Christian evangelical group whose members include the Ugandan politician behind legislation to execute gay people.

Obama spurned calls from ethics and gay rights groups to boycott the event run by the Fellowship, an organisation characterised by critics as a secretive, elitist group that wields influence through religious gatherings sometimes funded by defence contractors and foreign powers.

The organisation is headed by Doug Coe, who critics say has praised the organising abilities of Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Among the Fellowship's members is David Bahati, a Ugandan MP who introduced legislation that would impose the death penalty on gay men who have sex with a partner under the age of 18. The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, is also associated with the group, as are more than a dozen members of Congress and senior military officers.

Obama did condemn the Ugandan anti-gay legislation.

Here is Sharlet on the role of women in the Family. The place is at Cedars, the headquarters of the Family and the time is yet another prayer breakfast. Ivanwald is where young men are trained for leadership, Potomac Point is where young women do whatever they do:

The morning I was invited, Charlene, the cook, scrambled up eggs with blue tortillas, Italian sausage, peppers and papaya. Three women from Potomac Point, an "Ivanwald for young women" across the road from Cedars came to serve. They wore red lipstick and long skirts (makeup and "feminine" attire were required on duty) and had, after several months of cleaning and serving in the Cedars while the brothers worked outside, grown unimpressed by the high-powered clientele. "Girls don't sit in on the breakfasts," one of them told me, though she said that none of them minded because it was "just politics," and the Bible generally reserves such doings for men.

These are the people behind the National Prayer Breakfast.