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10 thoughts on “The Family The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

  1. says:

    This is a must read In the same way that Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine mapped out a process that has been

  2. says:

    This book was given to me by my father in law a retired Church of England minister who had numerous clashes in his career with narrow minded Christians in and out of the Church hierarchy He has understandable concerns about what he reads about the Religious Right in the US and given the book's uniformly excellent reviews in Australia he gave me Sharlet's THE FAMILY I was riveted from the first chapter Sharlet was welcomed into the core of a

  3. says:

    As Jeff Sharlet has been at pains to stress since The Family was published the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of Americ

  4. says:

    This book was read in March April 2013 It is a fascinating book chockfull of grand conspiracy theories that sound almost ridiculous unless one watches the news or reads up on what is actually happening in the worldJeff Sharlet is a better man than me As testament to either his objectivity as a journalist or his evolved sense of non judgmentalism Sharlet never once refers to the people he is writing about as “fanatics” “lunat

  5. says:

    3 for readability; 5 for relevance The Family is known to most Beltway politicos and in the corridors of political powerhouses throughout the world Known well but little understood This is an areligious ultra conservative tightly knit network of American political and economic power that operates on the basis o

  6. says:

    The family a bunch of guys that build prayer cells around powerful politicians big deal who cares? Let them do what they want to doThe fact that they want to have their own little group and meet and pray is no big deal But it becomes a big deal when their belief system begins infringing on politics not only in our country but internationally For example they influenced policy makers in Africa Uganda? Shit I forget to not teach safe sex That

  7. says:

    The book is heavy going at times and I felt as if I should have had a highlighter in hand to aid myself in remembering all

  8. says:

    This is the product of years of journalistic research about and involvement in American fundamentalism as it pertains to US politics and the 'culture wars' of today The author's thesis is that Christianity founded as it is on notions

  9. says:

    I'd been looking for some light reading something uick and thought this was an expansion of Sharlet's 2003 article on Ivanwald As I indicated I

  10. says:

    I would have given this 3 stars if only it were titled slightly differently This book is less about The Family a seemingly innocuous organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that actually has deep politica

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Fundamentalism revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal the waging of the cold war and the no holds barred economics of globalization The uestion Sharlet believes we must ask is not What do Family The Secret Fundamentalism at Epubfundamentalists want but What have they Family The Secret Fundamentalism at Epubalready donePart history part investigative journalism The Family is a compelling account of how fundamentalism came to be interwoven with American power a story that stretches from the religious revivals that have shaken this nation from its beginning to fundamentalism's new frontiers No other book about the right has exposed the Family or revealed its far reaching impact on democracy and no future reckoning of American fundamentalism will be able to ignore it. The book is heavy going at times and I felt as if I should have had a highlighter in hand to aid myself in remembering all the names and dates The overall result is a powerful journalistic expos that is an eye opening glimpse into backroom dealings of Washington and beyond I have always found myself on the left in the political spectrum to the left than mainstream Democrats so I am not surprised to read about America s manipulation of foreign governments but I was surprised to learn of the direct influence of this one particular Christian organization Many well known politicians have directly benefited from and helped to push the agenda of the Family including Tom Delay John Ashcroft and others It was interesting to read of the involvement of such Democrats as Sen Bill Nelson and Hillary Clinton but as Sharlet points out the Family is concerned with one s total subservience to the power of Jesus as interpreted by the hierarchy of the Family than their particular political party Everyone in power becomes useful when they give themselves over to the ideas embodied by the free market Christian warrior that is idealized by the founders of the Family

Free read The Family The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

The Family The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

A journalist's penetrating look at the untold story The Secret Epub #219 of christian fundamentalism's most elite organization a self described invisible network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerfulThey are the Family fundamentalism's avant garde waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe They consider themselves the new chosen congressmen generals and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells to pray and plan for a leadership led by God to be won not by force but through uiet diplomacy Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in The Family PDF Arlington Virginia and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside its wallsThe Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power not its angry mas. This book was given to me by my father in law a retired Church of England minister who had numerous clashes in his career with narrow minded Christians in and out of the Church hierarchy He has understandable concerns about what he reads about the Religious Right in the US and given the book s uniformly excellent reviews in Australia he gave me Sharlet s THE FAMILY I was riveted from the first chapter Sharlet was welcomed into the core of an organisation devoted to extending the influence of evangelical Christianity throughout the United States and the world and he lived at their headuarters which has the sinister name Ivanwald Sharlet s reporting talent is apparent from the opening sentences with their vivid depiction of typical American suburban and ex urban communities and their earnest basketball playing but possibly unconsciously intolerant residents His thesis is that Doug Coe the leader of a shadowy and pervasive organisation called The Family gives pep talks comparing his methods to those of Stalin and Hitler It is all deeply disturbing esp since Coe s supporters include many prominent Republican and some Democratic politicians So I settled in for a good read on a vital current issue ready to start writing cheues to the Anti Defamation League and any other organisations I could identify once I had finished the book that might be on the front lines of stopping this scourge in American political life But starting with Page 56 Sharlet called his own credibility seriously into uestion He begins a long discussion of Jonathan Edwards the great eighteenth century New England minister to whom Sharlet traces the phenomenon of The Family And Sharlet s discussion of Jonathan Edwards is unrecognisable Puzzled I went to the footnotes where Sharlet writes that despite the great many biographies of Edwards my method of research for this account of his life was to rely primarily on original sources which I tried to filter through my own half secular mind and as I imagine a Family man might On the evidence of his interpretation of Edwards Sharlet is one sick puppy I actually took down from the shelf my copy of the most recent biography of Edwards by the Notre Dame hardly a centre of the Religious Right scholar George M Marsden as well as my copy of Patricia J Tracy s JONATHAN EDWARDS PASTOR RELIGION AND SOCIETY IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY NORTHAMPTON Sharlet s grotesue description of Edwards is really shocking and I wanted to confirm that my understanding of Edwards was founded on something other than my failing memory of these books It was with relief that I can report that Sharlet is basically free associating in his discussion of Edwards and that the lurid and disturbing claims he makes about Edwards in THE FAMILY come from the part of his psyche responsible for what Sharlet imagines rather than what he readsI returned to reading THE FAMILY with new scepticism and then I came across Sharlet s discussion of Richard Halverson who apparently was once in line to lead The Family before its current leader Doug Coe was appointed Given the late Halverson s private and public record Sharlet has to struggle to criticize him but his patronizing innuendoes about Halverson offer a good example of his entire method in THE FAMILY Halverson would help to build one of the world s largest relief agencies World Vision a Christian outfit that supplies food for the starving and medicine for the wounded and gospel tracts only to those who ask Although it has been plagued by accusations of serving as a CIA front World Vision s verifiable record is admirable Halverson in other words was an imperialist of the old school bringing light to the natives and clearing the way for other men to extract a dollar The text offers plenty of clues to the alert reader about the presence of some agenda in Sharlet s book But in the case of Halverson as in the case of Edwards I have my own independent information When I was a child my family attended Fourth Presbyterian Church in the DC area where Halverson was the minister and he was a family friend I saw him last in 1991 when he was Senate chaplain Halverson recounted at that meeting how he and his colleague the rabbi working with him in a pastoral capacity to the US Senate had become very close and that when the rabbi expressed astonishment some years before that their religious outlooks were so similar Halverson responded I ve never heard you say anything I didn t completely agree with This is the man whom Sharlet paints as a sinister senior leader of a totalitarian anti Semitic organization plotting to take over America I know that allegation to be false In fact THE FAMILY itself is an irresponsibly written book one of those books whose good ualities its reporting of ordinary day to day facts that create the appearance of a vivid atmosphere Sharlet s fluent prose his catchy chapter titles and so on all serve a negative purpose creating unfounded fear and exacerbating the already excessive divisions in American social and political life today The number of works written out of either ignorance a phenomenon not uncommon in evangelical publications or out of bad faith and a willingness to fit the facts to one s personal agenda what Sharlet has accomplished in THE FAMILY is one of the chief obstacles in today s world to achieving world peace and understanding In the aftermath of 911 I had long talks with an Australian woman who is a Shiite Lebanese by origin Married at 12 and giving birth to her first child at 13 she never had the chance to pursue an education She is highly intelligent however Our talks convinced me of how dangerous books such as THE FAMILY can be in this confused and hate filled world of ours She relied for much of her information on the Arabic language press and radio and a portion of that media was devoted to insane hate filled conspiracy theories and outright lies about the Israelis Americans and Jews in general She had no way of filtering that information except through her discussions with me and that was when I realized that her intelligence fueled with disinformation was very dangerous The 20th Century was soaked in blood we know understand because highly intelligent intellectuals sincerely believed that their knowledge gave them the ability and the right to govern others even when their decisions contradicted age old ethics and morality At their core that is where Communism and National Socialism are essentially the same What we need to understand in the 21st century is how dangerous intelligent people with false information can be And we need to take a stand against those who recklessly spread falsehoods masuerading as the truth We need to speak and write the truth as we know it so that others at least have the chance to consider both sides of an issue Sharlet claims to have uncovered an old form of danger to world peace and understanding the all powerful conspiracy In fact he himself represents a new and powerful challenge to global understanding those who use their positions to pollute the ocean of truth How can my Australian father in law have any idea if what Sharlet writes about events in the Washington DC area are true or not Sharlet has broken faith with readers like my father in law and millions like him around the world Alice Kaplan does an excellent job of discussing the issues surrounding reckless intellectuals who abuse their rhetorical abilities and media access in her book THE COLLABORATOR THE TRIAL AND EXCECUTION OF ROBERT BRASILLACH At the end of the day THE FAMILY isn t even good value for those who remain truly worried that people like the late Richard Halverson will one day rule America Sharlet mainly repeats the same allegations made by David Cantor in the 1994 Anti Defamation League study The Religious Right The Assault on Tolerance Pluralism in America Cantor made the phrase The Religious Right famous with this 193 page study Midge Decter reviewed the study at the time in the magazine COMMENTARY which has been one of the great ornaments of American intellectual life for two generations and not coincidently one of the great outlets for American Jewish writing on a variety of cultural literary social political and religious issues Decter wrote that the Cantor s study is intended to warn the country of the growth in the words of Cantor s introduction of an exclusionist religious movement seeking to unite its version of Christianity with state power Decter summarises the playbook Cantor attributes to the Religious Right which Sharlet claims to have uncovered 14 years later Somewhere around 1990 the study notes the decision was taken by the movement s leaders to engage in serious organizing and political activity at the grass roots and by 1994 this decision has menacingly borne fruit CONT D BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION

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Ses but its sophisticated elites Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide an immigrant preacher who in organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism fusing the far right with his own polite but authoritarian faith From that core Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power a family that thrives to this day Family The Secret PDF #10003 In public they host Prayer Breakfasts in private they preach a gospel of biblical capitalism military might and American empire Citing Hitler Lenin and Mao as leadership models the Family's current leader Doug Coe declares We work with power where we can build new power where we can'tSharlet's discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American. 3 for readability 5 for relevance The Family is known to most Beltway politicos and in the corridors of political powerhouses throughout the world Known well but little understood This is an areligious ultra conservative tightly knit network of American political and economic power that operates on the basis of a single premise its members are directly chosen by Jesus Christ as special emissaries of his mission Of course this mission is defined by the Family itself namely the expansion and concentration of political power that adheres to specific American conservative values Sharlet describes the phenomenon of the Family as American Fundamentalism a movement that recasts theology in the language of empire p3Sharlet s meticulously researched expose published in 2008 is just now hitting mainstream America thanks to a recent spate of headlines featuring the Family and its political machinations and missteps Perhaps now the secret will see the light of an average citizen s day I waited months for a copy from the Seattle Public Library after an interview with the author aired on NPR s Fresh Air with Terri Gross clearly word has gotten out but we re the choir who already sings the tune you know The Family is not a religious movement Its members come from a variety of Christian faiths though its links to organizations such as Young Life Campus Crusade for Christ Focus on the Family Promise Keepers and Charles Colson s Prison Fellowship reveal it to be an advocate of fundamentalist movements and its political agenda show it to be aligned with the Christian Right It operates in a model that Sharlet notes mirrors that of religious cults mafias anti governmentterrorist organizations etc a very small cell of power brokers governed by spiritual leader Doug Coe bestows its will on concentric circles of fellowship by the means of prayer groups As these rings grow larger the connection to the Family becomes opaue the Family wants to be heard its influence felt not seen It cherry picks its most elite members for example recruiting young men who demonstrate leadership on their college campuses and nurturing them through seminars and prayer meetings such as those held in conjunction with the annual National Prayer Breakfast recent Breakfast keynote speakers include Tony Blair and U2 frontman Bono President Obama addressed the gathering last month Some persons of interest like the author Jeff Sharlet are invited to reside for a spell at the Family residence in Arlington VA Ivanwald not to be confused with the C Street residence currently under investigation There are names of those who receive the thumbs up and the thumbs down from the Family that may surprise the reader Although the Family celebrated George W Bush s faith based political initiatives and his profession of Jesus Christ as his mentor it appears they recognized his limitations as a player in an elite intellectual organization Hillary Clinton by contrast was embraced early on as First Lady and then as the junior senator of New York State here was a political machine worthy of attention and close scrutiny I m guessing Hillary played them for everything she could Sharlet devotes a considerable portion of his book to the history of evangelism in the United States beginning with Jonathan Edwards in the mid 18th century We are led to the establishment of the Family s precursor the Fellowship founded ironically in Seattle by a Norwegian immigrant as a response to labor movements and the lawlessness of a young rapidly expanding city The modern incarnation of the Family blossoms after WWII The Cold War becomes the Family s cause c l bre the eradication of communism worldwide in the name of Jesus Christ becomes its driving mission Sharlet details the Family s involvement in Indonesia Suharto s slaughter of untold millions Somalia Siad Barre s slaughter of untold millions Haiti Central America Uganda the trail of blood goes on and on The Family not unlike many US administrations nurtures dictators when it suits their political agenda and turns a blind eye to crimes against humanity But enough about this already I ll spoil all the good bits Here s the thing about the book Sharlet s research is so meticulous exhaustive detailed and intense I fairly lost the forest for the trees It s as if he wanted to be so careful to avoid the Opus Dei conspiracy hysteria that made readers froth after Dan Brown s every fictional word that should have been footnotes become entire sections Sharlet s research into the Family began in 2002 after his stay at Ivanwald he is a longtime researcher and reporter of religious organizations and practices His knowledge base is vast and his skill with the written word very evident But I can t help to wonder if the power of his message is weakened by his encyclopedic rendering of the American Fundamentalist movement I lost track of the Family at several points along the way particularly in the section dealing with the megachurches and Christian fundamentalists that seem to have overrun the city of Colorado Springs Fascinating stuff and worthy of a book in its own right but I wanted to know practical information on the current influence wielded by the Family and the involvement of the people who appear on my ballots I haven t even touched the gross hypocrisy of the Family s sheltering of and excuse making for the recently scandalized slimeballs Gov Mark Sanford and Sen John Ensign among others while proclaiming cultural war against gays and lesbians and advocating for the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda and family planning that includes birth control But these stories post date Sharlet s book I can only hope he continues bringing to light the shadow cult of personality of Doug Coe and the power elite of the Family that makes its own rules and has skillfully conned countless leaders into doing its will 3 12 stars need time to digest this but impact was weakened by exhaustive exhausting detail history and author s literary bent I ll probably need to ingest blood pressure medication while reading this book I m outraged and disgusted enough just listening to tonight s Fresh Air interview with the author disgust and outrage NOT with the author but with his subjects of investigation