Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

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Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:13 pm

The Family - The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet

This is the most well-documented and revealing book I've ever read. Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone, and an associate research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media, where he has taught journalism and religious studies. He is the coauthor, with Peter Manseau, of Killing the Buddha, and the editor of TheRevealer.

The bold and red emphasis below are mine.

From the inside front book cover:

The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power - not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites.

{snip}

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't."


From the Introduction section and beginning on page 2

I have lived with these men for close to a month, not as a Christian -- a term they deride as too narrow for the world they are building in Jesus' honor -- but as a follow of Christ, the phrase they use to emphasize what matters most to their savior. Not faith or kindness but obedience. I don't share their faith, in fact, but this does not concern them; I've obeyed, and that is enough. I have shared the brothers' meals and their work and their games. I've wrestled with them and showered with them and listened to their stories; I know which man resents his father's fortune and which man succumbed to the flesh of a woman not once but twice and which man dances so well he is afraid of being taken for gay. I know what it means to be a brother, which is to say I know what it means to be a soldier in the army of God. I have been numbered among them.

{snip}

My brothers were members of a very peculiar group of believers, not representative of the majority of Christians but of an avant-garde of the social movement I call American fundamentalism, a movement that recasts theology in the language of empire. Avante-garde is a term usually reserved for innovators, artists who live strange and dangerous lives and translate their strange and dangerous thoughts into pictures or poetry or fantastical buildings. The term has a political ancestry as well: Lenin used it to describe the elite cadres he believed could spark a revolution. It is in this sense that the men to whom my brothers apprenticed themselves, a seventy-year-old self-described "invisible" network of followers of Christ in government, business, and the military, use the term avant-garde. They call themselves "the Family," or "The Fellowship," and they consider themselves a "core" of men responsible for changing the world. "Hitler, Lenin, and many others understood the power of a small core of people," instructs a document given to an inner circle, explaining the scope, if not the ideological particulars, of the ambition members of this avant-garde are to cultivate.


Beginning on page 18:

The Family is in its own words an "invisible" association, though it has always been organized around public men. Senator Sam Brownback (R., Kansas), chair of a weekly, off-the-record meeting of religious right groups called the Values Action Team (VAT), is an active member, as is Representative Joe Pitts (R., Pennsylvania), an avuncular would-be theocrat who chairs the House version of the VAT. Others referred to as members include senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Steering Committee (the powerful conservative caucus cofounded back in 1974 by another Family associate, the late senator Carl Curtis of Nebraska); Pete Domenici of New Mexico (a Catholic and relatively moderate Republican; it's Domenici's status as one of the Senate's old lions that the Family covets, not his doctrinal purity); Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa); James Inhofe (R., Oklahoma); Tom Coburn (R., Oklahoma); John Thune (R., South Dakota); Mike Enzi (R., Wyoming; and John Ensign, the conservative casino heir elected to the Senate from Nevada, a brightly tanned, hapless figure who uses his Family connections to graft holiness to his gambling-fortune name. "Faith-based Democrats" Bill Nelson of Florida and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, sincere believers drawn rightward by their understanding of Christ's teachings, are members, and Family stalwarts in the House include Representatives Frank Wolf (R., Virginia), Zach Wamp (R., Tennessee), and Mike McIntyre, a North Carolina Democrat who believes that the Ten Commandments are "the fundamental legal code for the laws of the United States" and thus ought to be on display in schools and courthouses.

The Family's historic roll call is even more striking: the late senator Strom Thurmond (R., South Carolina, who produced "confidential" reports on legislation for the Family's leadership, presided for a time over the Family's weekly Senate meeting, and the Dixie-crat senators Herman Talmadge of George and Absalom Willis Robertson of Virginia -- Pat Robertson's father -- served on the behind-the-scenes board of the organization. In 1974, a Family prayer group of Republican congressmen and former secretary of defense Melvin Laird helped convince President Gerald Ford that Richard Nixon deserved not just Christian forgiveness but also legal pardon. That same year, Supreme Court Justic William Rehnquist led the Family's first weekly Bible study for federal judges.

"I wish I could say more about it," Ronald Reagan publicly demurred back in 1985, "but it's working precisely because it is private."

{snip}

Regular prayer groups, or "cells" as they're often called, have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries.

The Family's use of the term "cell" long predates the word's current association with terrorism. Its roots are in the Cold War, when leaders of the Family deliberately emulated the organizing techniques of communism. In 1948, a group of Senate staffers met to discuss ways that the Family's "cell and leadership groups" could recruit elites unwilling to participate in the "mass meeting approach" of populist fundamentalism. Two years later, the Family declared that with democracy inadequate to the fight against godlessness, such cells should function to produce political "atomic energy"; that is, deals and alliances that could not be achieved through the clumsy machinations of legislative debate would instead radiate quietly out of political cells.

{snip}

"If I told you who has participated and who participates until this day, you would not believe it," the Family's longtime leader, Doug Coe, said in a rare interview in 2001. "You'd say, 'You mean that scoundrel? That despot?"

{snip}

"His Body" -- the Body of Christ, that is, by which he means Christendom -- "functions invisibly like the mafia.... They keep their organization invisible. Everything visible is transitory. Everything invisible is permanent and lasts forever. The more you can make your organization invisible, the more influence it will have."

For that very reason, the Family has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, National Leadership Council, the Fellowship Foundation, the International Foundation. The Fellowship Foundation alone has an annual budget of nearly $14 million. The bulk of it, $12 million, goes to "mentoring, counseling, and partnering with friends around the world," but that represents only a fraction of the network's finances.


Beginning on page 52

"Do you ever think about prayer?" he asked, but it wasn't a question. Coe was preparing a parable.

There was a man he knew, he said, who didn't really believe in prayer. So Doug Coe made him a bet. If this man would choose something and pray for it every day for forty-five days, he wagered God would make it so. It didn't matter whether the man believed or whether he was Christian. All that mattered was the fact of prayer. Ever day. Forty-five days. He couldn't lose, Coe told the man. If Jesus didn't answer his prayers, Coe would pay him $500.

"What should I pray for?" the man asked.

"What do you think God would like you to pray for?" Doug Coe asked him.

"I don't know," said the man. "How about Africa?"

"Good," said Coe. "Pick a country."

"Uganda," the man said, because it was the only one he could remember.

"Fine," Coe told him. "Every day, for forty-five days, pray for Uganda. 'God, please help Uganda. God, please help Uganda."

On the thirty-second day, Coe told us, this man met a woman from Uganda. She worked with orphans. Come visit, she told the man, and so he did, that very weekend. And when he came home, he raised $1 milliam in donated medicine for the orphans. "So you see," Doug Coe told him, "God answered your prayers. You owe me five hundred dollars."

There was more. After the man had returned to the United States, the president of Uganda called the man at his home and said, "I am making a new government. Will youh elp me make some decisions?"

"So," Doug Coe told us, "my friend said to the president, 'Why don't you come and pray with me in America? I have a good group of friends -- senators, congressmen -- who I like to pray with, and they'd like to pray with you.' And that president came to the Cedars, and he met Jesus. And his name is Yoweri Museveni, and he hs now the president of all the presidents of Africa. And he is a good friend of the Family."

{snip}

Coe told this story many times before, I'd learn; it now appears recycled in evangelical sermons around the world, a bit of fundamentalist folklore. It's false. Doug's friend was not just an ordinary businessman but a well-connected former Ford Administration official named Bob Hunter. He may have made a bet with Coe, but his trip was hardly as casual as Coe suggested; I later found two memos totalling eighteen pages that Hunter had submitted to Coe, "A Trip to East Africa -- Fall 1986," and "Re: Organizing the Invisible," detailing his meetings with Ugandan and Kenyan government officials (many of whom he already knew) and the possibility of recruiting each for the Family. Central to Hunter's mission was representing the interests of American political figures -- Republican senator Chuck Grassley and Reagan's assistant secretary of state for Africa, Chester A. Crocker, among them, who might influence newly independent Uganda away from Africa's Left. The following year, Museveni met with Ronald Reagan at the White House; he's served as an American proxy ever since. Once heralded as a democratic reformer, Museveni rules Uganda to this day, having suspended term limits, intimidated the press, and installed the kind of corrupt but stable regime Washington prefers in struggling nations.

"Yes," Coe told us. "it's good to have friends. Do you know what a difference a friend can make? A friend you can agree with?" He smiled. "Two or three agree, and they pray? They can do anything. Agree. Agreement. What does that mean?" Doug looked at me. "You're a writer. What does that mean?"

I remembered Paul's letter to the Philippians, which we had begun to memorize. Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded.

"Unity," I said. "Agreement means unity."

Doug Coe didn't smile. "Yes," he said. "Total unity. Two, or three, become one. Do you know," he asked, "that there's another word for that?"

No one spoke.

"It's called a covenant. Two, or three, agree? They can do anything. A covenant is. . . powerful. Can you think of anyone who made a covenant with his friends?"

We all knew the answer to this, having heard his name invoked numerous times in this context. Andrew from Australia, sitting beside Coes, cleared his throat: "Hitler."

"Yes," Doug Coe said. "Yes, Hitler made a covenant. The Mafia makes a covenant. It is such a very powerful thing. Two, or three, agree."


{snip}

Beginning on page 56


And yet, despite the Family's theological oddities -- its concentric rings of secrecy, its fascination with megalomaniacs from Mao to Hitler, its conviction that being one of God's chosen provides divine diplomatic immunity--it is anything but separate from the world. It so neatly harmonizes with the political shape of worldly things, in fact, that it's nearly indistinguishable from secular conceptions of social order. It's "invisible" not because it's hiding, but because it's not. Dismissed as "civil religion" by observers who know it only by the National Prayer Breakfast's annual broadcast on C-Span, the Family's long-term project of a worldwide government under God is more ambitious than Al Qaeda's dream of a Sunni empire. Had I not stumbled into its heart, I would never have seen it. Since I had, I began to ask basic questions. Was the Family's vision simply a pious veneer on business as usual? Do its networks actually influence the world the rest of us live in? Is it an aberration in American religion, or the result of a long evolution?



I am currently on page 71.

:reading:

I would love to hear what other's think about this information when they've made themselves familiar with it. Particularly Mike Jamieson given his work in the political arena.
Last edited by Shawnna on Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Zep Tepi » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:20 pm

Wow! A lot of work went into that post Shawnna. I'll read through it again and have a look around, I'l let you know what I think.

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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Access Denied » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:17 am

Hey Shawnna, here's an interesting (critical) review I found in the Washington Post...

The Breakfast Club
Do the people who run the National Prayer Breakfast also run the nation?
Reviewed by Randall Balmer
Sunday, July 13, 2008

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01924.html

[emphasis mine]

As he carries his narrative into the 20th century, Sharlet increasingly teeters on the edge of paranoia. He exaggerates the influence of the Family, first by conflating it with all fundamentalists, then by conflating fundamentalists with evangelicals, ignoring the divisions within and among those camps. He has an explanation for why few outsiders recognize the Family's power: Back in the mid-'60s, the core group behind the National Prayer Breakfast decided that its "business would be conducted on the letterhead of public men, who would testify that Fellowship initiatives were their own," he writes ominously. "The Fellowship was going underground." Adding to the air of mystery and intrigue, Sharlet claims that a "gorgeous blonde" unaccountably confessed at the end of a three-hour, wine-soaked lunch that "she'd been sent to spy on me" by the Family. But he directs most of his musings about secrecy and power at Doug Coe, the elusive -- if not quite reclusive -- head of the Family, whose aversion to publicity makes him, paradoxically, a target of speculation. (When I worked as an intern on Capitol Hill during the summer of 1975, I lodged with other interns at a sorority house on the University of Maryland campus that had been leased for that purpose by Coe's group; the tenants invoked the name "Doug Coe" in hushed, almost worshipful tones, but as I recall he never materialized at this outpost of his empire.)

A generous reading of Coe's elusiveness might be that, as a minister, he prefers to encourage others from behind the scenes rather than push himself into the limelight. But Sharlet brooks no such generosity; he sees portents of theocracy everywhere and asserts, without foundation, that "the Family's long-term project of a worldwide government under God is more ambitious than Al Qaeda's dream of a Sunni empire." When he encounters evidence that contradicts his meticulously fabricated schematic, Sharlet glosses over or tries to ignore it. Take, for example, former senators Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon and Harold E. Hughes of Iowa, who had close ties with Coe; both were distinguished liberals with little patience for dictators. Sharlet isn't sure what to do with Hatfield, and he dismisses Hughes as "kooky."

And in summary...

Are there reasons to be wary of an organization that seeks to insinuate its members into the highest echelons of government? Yes, perhaps so, although it's not clear that the Family is any different in that regard from, say, the Council on Foreign Relations or the Yale secret society Skull and Bones. If Sharlet had confined his critique to specific policies, such as the attempts to frustrate action on global warming by Family associates Chuck Colson and James Inhofe, for example, or if he had focused on this ostensibly religious group's fixation with temporal power, he might have produced a useful book.

Instead, he shoots too high. And misses.

Personally I don't see any reason to be too worried about this... especially considering the Democrats currently have a monopoly in Congress. :)
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:36 am

Have you read the book?
"The only thing we found that makes the emptiness bearable is................... each other."

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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Access Denied » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:37 am

No, I already know fundamentalism is a powerful force in American politics. :)

Call me crazy but I’m just not that worried about it… there are other powerful forces at work too.

So many so in my opinion that nobody can control Washington…

[hence all the stupid things that come out of it]

...much less the World.

[at least not for very long]

Historically, everyone that’s tried ultimately failed...

Roman Empire
Spanish Empire
British Empire
Nazi Germany

[to name a few]

T'is the Nature of the Beast...
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:11 am

I am really interested in dialoging with those who will actually read the book.

The "fundamentalism" you're familiar with is very different from what appears to be going on within this group.

And the author has first hand knowledge.

Perhaps reading the book - including the sources cited - would be useful in order to have an intelligent dialog about it.

*shrugs*
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Access Denied » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:36 am

Shawnna wrote:I am really interested in dialoging with those who will actually read the book.

Sorry, my bad. I'll shut up now...
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:04 am

I am going to share important and very well documented facts from this book - if only to make sure that those who do read this thread understand the importance of actually reading the material and not forming an opinion before hand.

In 2003, the author - Jeff Sharlet - published an article in Harpers magazine related to his personal experience at the Family-owned house near Washington D.C. called 'Ivanwald'. At the time, he might have left it at that were it not for a series of phone calls. In June of that year, he was contacted via email by a man named Greg Unumb. Greg said he had grown up with the Doug Coe family (Doug Coe is the current head of The Family). He also said he was part of the original group at Ivanwald; however, he said he had a falling-out with them a number of years ago. Greg said he thought Jeff was correct in some of his conclusions but not all of them and wanted to offer Jeff his "insight".

Beginning from page 241

bold and red emphasis is mine. Italicized emphasis is from the book.

Greg was finance manager for Pride Foramer's operation in oil-rich Angola. Pride Foramer is a division of Pride International, which drills in or off the coasts of more than thirty nations. The Pride Foramer division took care of business in five countries besides Angola: Brazil, Indonesia, India, South Africa, and Ivory Coast. All six, as it happens, have long been of special interest to the Family. But Greg didn't want to talk about any of that. It was hard to tell what he did want to talk about. When I reached him on the phone in Angola (ask for "Mr. Greg," he wrote, "not Mr. Unumb"), he did not seem to recall any "falling-out." In fact, he was more interested in me. Such a fascinating subject, he said -- was I writing a book? Where did I live? How much had I been paid for the article? How had I gotten in to Ivanwald? Who recommended me?

{snip - forward to page 242}

Greg wasn't the only one who got in touch. There was a corporate lawyer from Seattle, who claimed to have no connection to the Family but asked the same questions Greg had; I discovered that he had worked with several of the Family's visible fronts. End of conversation.

There were many devout Christians who contacted me. There was a Presbyterian pastor named Ben Daniel, a former member of the Family who'd quit after his first National Prayer Breakfast, where he was horrified to encounter the very same Central American death squad politicos he'd been reading about in the papers. There was an old, well-connected Republican lawyer named Clif Gosney, who on his visits to New York had introduced me to some of the city's most beautiful churches. After years of high-level service to the Family as a liaison to Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the Zulu nation, he started drifting out in the early 1990's. When he asked Coe why almost no liberal Christian leaders were included in the National Prayer Breakfast, Coe raged at him, a rare instance of the sphinx's anger. Clif remembers hanging up the phone and realizing he'd just been purged.

When I went to Germany to speak on a panel about fundamentalism at the University of Potsdam, my German host told me that the U.S. embassy, a cosponsor of the lecture series, had refused to cover my expenses. I was, in the alleged words of Ambassador Dan Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, "an enemy of Jesus."

{snip - forward to page 243}

So by the time Greg Unumb called, I wasn't too concerned about Family surveillance, which seemed to lead to nothing but good meals and bizarre come ons. I answered Greg's questions as if he was the jittery one, the reporter looking over his shoulder. Relax, I wanted to say. Eventually, he did. For a moment, our conversation stalled.

Then he said, "You know, I used to run Ivanwald." and, he added, other Family houses just like it. That was a long time ago, before his oil career.

{snip - forward to page 244}

He admitted that "sometimes, what they say is not what they do." And then there is the question of what they don't say. "What's secret is the top guys working with the leadership. It's not unlike a business. Business is a network. This is a Christian network, with a few people running it." Same deal as Pride International, he explained. There are people responsible for cities, and above them people responsible for regions, and above them people responsible for countries. And above them, there is Doug Coe.

{snip - forward to page 245}

"The leadership work is secretive," Greg said. "It has to be. There is a problem with separation of church and state. And you can get so much more accomplished in secret." He boasted of the Family's behind-the-scenes negotiations with Israel, of Yasir Arafat's visit to the Cedars--an off-the-record event that had taken place long after Greg claimed to have broken with the Family. "Or Suharto," he said. The fact that Suharto had murdered 500,000 of his countrymen, as I'd written, was news to him. But so what? "Say he did kill a half million people. Let me ask you this: did he kill them before or during his relationship with Doug?"

Suharto's killing started before he knew Coe. In fact, it was the killing that caught the Family's attention.

{snip}

In September of 1965, a communist-led rebellion attempted to topple the aging hero of Indonesian independence, Sukarno, by then withered into an incompetent dictator. It fell to young General Suharto to beat back the rebellion, which he did easily, and to prevent a recurrence. This he accomplished by leading a nationwide slaughter of communists. "Communist" schoolchildren, babies, entire villages. When it was done, Suharto was untouchable--especially with his newfound friends, the Americans, LBJ, dominoes on the mind, was willing to cut deals with any devil God gave him if it meant he could move at least one Southeast Asian nation permanently out of the communist column.

American fundamentalists were even more enthusiastic about the Muslim dictator. In 1968, Abram [Coe's predecessor] declared Suharto's coup a "spiritual revolution," and Indonesia under his rule an especially promising nation, hope for the future in Abram's last years. The CIA would eventually admit that the Indonesian massacre was "one of the worst mass murders in the 20th century."

{snip}

....in December 1975, when Portugal relinquished its claims to the tiny island nation of East Timor. It declared independence; nine days later Suharto's army invaded, on the pretext that its neighbor was communist. Two hundred thousand people--nearly a third of the island's population--were killed during the long occupation, to which the United States gave its blessing. Gerald Ford, the only president to have been a member of an actual prayer cell (when he was in Congress, with Representatives John Rhodes, Al Quie, and Melvin Laird, a cell that reconvened in 1974 to pray with Ford about pardoning Nixon), told Suharto, "We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have." Kissinger, with Ford in Jakarta, added, "it is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly [because] the use of U.S.-made arms could create problems." Suharto did not succeed quickly--the killing continued for decades--but he never lacked for champions in the U.S. Congress, which saw to it that American dollars kept his regime in bullets until he was driven out in 1998.

The massacre of Indonesia preceded Suharto's friendship with the Family, but the slaughter and slow strangulation of East Timor coincided with it. A document in the Family's archives titled "Important Dates in Indonesian History" notes that in March 1966, the Communist Party was banned and Campus Crusade arrived in April. Suharto wasn't a Christian, but he knew that where missionaries go, investors follow. He also wanted to use God -- any God -- to pacify the populations. In 1967, Congressman Ben Reifel sent a memo to other Fellowship members in Congress noting that a special message from Suharto calling on Indonesians to "seek God, discover His laws, and obey them" was broadcast at the same time as a Fellowship prayer session in the Indonesian parliament for non-Christian politicians. The Fellowship never asked Indonesians to renounce Islam, only to meet around "the person of Jesus" -- considered a prophet in Islam -- in private under the guidance of the Fellowship's American brothers.

By 1969, the Fellowship claimed as its man in Jakarta Suharto's minister of social affairs, who presided over a group of more than fifty Muslims and Christians in parliament. Another Fellowship associate, Darius Marpaung--he'd later claim that God spoke through him when he told a massive rally that the time had come to "purge the communists," an event that helped spark the massacre--led a similar group in Indonesia's Christian community. "President Suharto is most interested and would like to increase his contact through this medium with the other men of the world," wrote Coe's first follower, Senator Mark Hatfield, in a memo to Nixon that year. "He has indicated he would like to meet with the Senate [prayer] group if and when he comes to the United States."

In the fall of 1970, Suharto did both. Coe often boasted that nobody but congressmen, himself, and maybe a special guest attended such meetings, but this time Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff joined the Indonesian dictator. In October 1970, Coe wrote to the U.S. ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry. Suharto had just become the first Muslim to join the Fellowship's off-the-record Senate prayer group for a meeting "similar to the one we had with Haile Selassi," the emperor of Ethiopia. Korry was too busy to celebrate; October 1970 was the month his plot to overthrow Chile's democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, came to a botched end, opening the door to the more murderous scheme that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power three years later. ("The sun is just now beginning to shine again," the Family's key man in Chile, the head of a ring-wing civilian faction called the "Officialists," wrote Coe, promising to tell him the "real story" of Pinochet's coup in person.)

In 1971, Coe entertained a small gathering at the Fellowship House with stories from his most recent round of visits to international brothers, "men whom God has touched in an unusual way." Among them was General Nguyen Van Thieu, the president of South Vietnam, who arranged for Coe to tour the war zone in the personal plane of his top military commander; the foreign minister of Cambodia, "most eager to carry on our concept"; and Suharto. In Clif Robinson's telling, "Doug and I were escorted up the steps of the palace, no attempt to make any secret of it, and the president there so warmly welcomed us and the first thing he said as I walked into the room was to express his appreciation for what had been done, and to say that the momentum that we have seen started in this must not be allowed to slacken... ......"

{snip} - forward to bottom of page 249

In the spring of 1975, Bruce Sundberg, a Family missionary to the Filipino government of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, began planning with Marco's chief financial backer for a summit in Jakarta. Included would be Marcos, Suharto, and General Park, the South Korean dictator. Sundberg called it "The Jakarta Idea," the "idea" to be pondered the same one that had come to Abram forty years earlier in Seattle. That it had not evolved since 1935 was, to the men of the Family, proof of its eternal truth: the Idea that God's method is the "man-method," that God chooses His key men according to His concerns, not ours. That conviction enabled Coe to ignore Elgin Groseclose's concern about foreign nationals using them for their connections. People didn't use people, according to the Idea. People didn't do anything. Rather, they were used by God, and their only two choices were to struggle against the inevitable, or to allow God to pull their strings. Was Suharto using them? Only if God wanted him to. Everything the Family did for Suharto--the connections, the prayers, the blessings--they did for God.

On December 6, 1975, Gerald Ford blessed Suharto's invasion of East Timor. Twelve hours after Ford left Jakarta, Suharto's forces, armed almost entirely with American weapons, attached East Timor's population of 650,000 on the premise that the island nation was planning a communist assault on Indonesia, a nation of 140 million people.

Here are the words of the last broadcast from East Timor's national Radio Dili, in the nation's capital: "Women and children are being shot in the streets. We are all going to be killed, I repeat, we are all going to be killed. This is an appeal for international help. Please help us. . . "

The conservative estimate of Suharto's death toll, in East Timor and Indonesia proper, is 602,000, but most scholars of Indonesia believe it is two or even three times greater, ranking Suharto next to the Cambodian madman Pol Pot as one of the worst mass murderers of the twentieth century. What role the Family played, or did not play--which of their "deepest experiences" they shared--in the long occupation of East Timor that followed the invasion, a period during which it was transformed into "islands of prisons hidden with islands," I can't say. The Family restricted its archives before I could follow the story into the next decade. All I know is that in 2002 my Ivanwald brothers proudly proclaimed that one of Suharto's successors, President Megawati, had bent her knee at the Jesus of the Cedars.


OP Edit - corrected spelling errors.
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Chorlton » Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:11 am

OK I'll bite.
And before you ask, No I havent read the book. Whats the point? Whats YOUR point?
What are you afraid of?

Since time immemorial there have been groups of higher-ups, of elite groups of people. They had such groups in Ancient Rome, they had, and I suspect they have such a group in the Catholic church and probably every other church to a lesser extent.
They have an 'elite group' in Europe at the moment, dedicated to make the whole of Europe a Republic. It is headed AFAIK by one Giscard D'estaing, ex President of France.

But once again we see this fear and even loathing of a mythical 'New World Order' and IMHO ideas like that belong at OM of GLP. A New World Order? totally laughable. People cant even agree on Banana quota's let alone agree on world Peace or death or tyranny.
And my point is, whats it go to do with or affect the ordinary man in the street?? Its doubtfull if it will afftect anyone.
There have always been power groups with their own ideas and agendas, thats Human beings for you.
I suspect there are whole echelons, whole levels of elite groups, each subservient to the one above them.
But in the final analysis is it going to affect the man or woman in the street? Really affect them?? NO.

No one is going to tell me I have to pray 3 times a day, or go out and march and salute some idiot who thinks he's better than anyone else. I also suspect most of my UK brethren would think along similar lines. I also think that your average Yank wouldnt put up with it for long either.

So whats the problem about your Breakfast club Shawna? or are you simply jealous of their money and power?
There have always been and always will be groups of people who will strive to control others, or wil canoodle together to make billions of pounds, but most of the time your average bloke in the street will still go out to work and sweat and enjoy his life, whilst all the politicking, religious breakfast clubs and other devious little groups do their thing.
If I remember my history, the last time some elite group got together and planned things there was a world war.
I think that group got sorted out ?. Also its worth noting that even amongst the German elite there were several 'elite groups' . The SS and SA.

You probably wont want to argue your point as I havent read your book, but I have read the parts you posted and I find them laughable.
Then again I was under the assumption that all good Americans prayed every morning and night. (thats a joke)

What I also find alarming in that book is the spelling and pronunciation. In places its childish. Was this article even proofread?
Some examples:
Chief "Bethelezi"?? WTF is that or does he mean 'Buthelezi'
"Suharto's killing started before he know Coe
which saw to it that American dollars kept his regine in bullets until he was driven out in 1998.
"the person of Jesus" -- considered a prophet in Islan

There ars so many spelling mistakes its hilarious ! Heres another from the end of the tome:
"ranking Suharto next to the Combodian madman Pol Pot "

The author of this crap also has some other problems with reality:
"Suharto did not succeed quickly--the killing continued for decades--but he never lacked for champions in the U.S. Congress, which saw to it that American dollars kept his regine in bullets until he was driven out in 1998"

Now even a cursory perusal of Indonesia's economy shows it was far from broke, it had a very profitable Oil production industry. So though the US probably did fund some things, it certainly DIDNT keep his regime in bullets.
Apart from which most of Suharto's arms came from the UK !

I could go on and on. But when someone prints total bollocks like that, cant get peoples names right and had spelling worse than a 5 year old I start to question the whole thing.

But again, I have to ask, whats the problem?
New World Order??? Bollocks
These people couldnt organise a piss-up in a brewery
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:53 pm

Spelling errors are mine - and I offer my sincerest apology for that reflecting negatively on the author of this book. I had to type in all of that and it is my fault for not spell checking.

:bgovrhd:

And I can answer your question with this Chorlton.

My point is if the majority of Americans understood that their hard earned tax money was being used by this group of individuals in support of dictatorships that have killed millions of people, there would be anarchy.

I believe that the majority here are good people who believe their government representatives would never stoop to this kind of behavior.

Unfortunately it appears even the most articulate and educated of individuals here refuse to even read the book.

*shrugs*

Looks like the UK is filled with articulate and educated individuals who refuse to read as well.

:roll:

OP Edit - I went back and corrected spelling errors. Thank you Chorlton for pointing those out so clearly.
Last edited by Shawnna on Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Chorlton » Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:02 pm

Shawnna wrote:Spelling errors are mine - and I offer my sincerest apology for that reflecting negatively on the author of this book. I had to type in all of that and it is my fault for not spell checking.
:bgovrhd:

And I can answer your question with this Chorlton.
My point is if the majority of Americans understood that their hard earned tax money was being used by this group of individuals in support of dictatorships that have killed millions of people, there would be anarchy.


Oh Come on !. Your denigration of US citizens is a bit Naff? Simply because people dont go out and protest and scream and shout doesnt mean people are ignorant of whats going on. It might simply be because they dont care?They put up with giving Saddam millions of your hard earned dollars to slaughter Iranians then to slaughter his own people. They put up with blowing millions of dollars to quel certain peoples in South America?. They didnt moan when your troops went in to a country called Somalia and decided to slaughter people (oh sorry that was under the auspices of the UN) The point it, its pretty irrelevant what any group of people spend their millions on, because if they dont piss it away on that it will be something else. And taking a rather cynical view, it keeps the birth rate down doesnt it? (same as WWII did. I read somewhere that the UK would be pretty overpopulated now without WWII)

Wake up. Groups all round the world are using peoples hard earned millions to slaughter people. Burma, East Timor, Korea, Zimbabwe, Somalia. Not to mention your hard earned dollars slaughtering people in Iraq and building the biggest embassy anywhere in the world.Much of that money earned from Petro Dollars.
Its a hard world out there, but where's the law saying groups of people cant give their money to whomsoever they wish?

I believe that the majority here are good people who believe their government representatives would never stoop to this kind of behavior.

And I would suggest your thinking is flawed. Politicians are humans. Many are greedy and will turn a blind eye or sign whatever for a few hundred thousand dollars.
Unfortunately it appears even the most articulate and educated of individuals here refuse to even read the book.
*shrugs*

Because, Ma'am. Ive had a gutfull of conspiray theories and New World Order stories

Looks like the UK is filled with articulate and educated individuals who refuse to read as well.


Dont judge the UK by one individual or people may judge you by others standards (HI Bill)
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Shawnna » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:37 pm

I started to address your obviously ignorant post in the same manner you seem to approach most topics here and decided I cannot stoop to that level.

Thank you, Chorlton for sharing your opinion in such a well-thought out and polite manner.

:roll:
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby ryguy » Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:20 am

Shawnna,

I understand sometimes when the majority disagrees with something that you might believe in strongly, it can feel like an attack and it's easy to take it personal. However, we can't make a blanket statement calling a person's entire post ignorant, or that their posting style is sub-par, simply because they don't agree.

We try hard to maintain a flexible environment here where people can post freely, but we can't allow sweeping insults like this.

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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby Chorlton » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:34 am

Shawnna wrote:I started to address your obviously ignorant post in the same manner you seem to approach most topics here and decided I cannot stoop to that level.


Please explain why my post was so 'obviously ignorant' ? Is it because it just doesnt tally up with what you think?
Maybe I should call you 'obviously ignorant because you dont believe in what I believe?
I was actually quite shocked as I thought you of all people would have understood that different people see the same things in many different ways. Maybe I was wrong about you.

Personally I thought your second post was 'obviously ignorant' or at least appallingly condescending, especially the way you opened the post as if letting us into something only you knew about
I quote:
"I am going to share important and very well documented facts from this book"

WOW Zippedy doo-dah, YOU are going to share? Well thats damned good of you isnt it?.
You picked up an article, a book, and fell head over heels in believing it. Did you do any research into the author, has he got some bones to kick?. Or did it just 'make sense' to you? Oh dear.
If you didnt want people to comment on what you posted then you shouldnt have posted excerpts from it and should instead have just made pointers to the entire book.
You took sections and paragraphs from an entire book and reposted them (very badly) out of context. That is one of the most dangerous things anyone can do when quoting from books. Quote a line, maybe one para but to selectively quote that which meets your criteria only is a very bad thing to do.
I suspect many people dont have the time to read the entire article (which I suspect you knew too) hence the reason you posted your selective bits, in the hope of converting people to your conspiracy theories, but then dictating they dont have the right to post unless they have read it all.

I might be right, I might be wrong.
What I am NOT, Shawna, is 'Obviously ignorant'.

OK Ill play the 'age card' now. How old are you Shawna? How well travelled are you. Have you been out of the US, been to places where you pee and crap behind a tree and have to use water purifiers before you can drink? or the only thing you can drink is cows blood mixed with their milk?. I have.
Im 58 years old. In the course of my profession and because I like travelling and have had the opportunity, Ive visited pretty well most countries in the world. Ive been on ALL the continents. OK I havent been round all the countries in Africa or South America or indeed all the states in the US or Russia, but Ive been around. Got malaria, and been bitten by snakes and spent 2 weeks in hospital in a coma for my pleasure. Ive also used those travels to talk to people, to poke my nose into some conspiracy theories, UFO stories, and weird and wonderfull stories. I havent 'seen it all' but Ive seen a lot. Ive met a lot of people as well. From Prime Ministers to Presidents.

YES East Timor's independance was a bloody one. You tell me of any fight for Independance etc that wasnt?
How many people died in your Civil War? How many people died in the UK's Civil war, how many people died in Frances Civil war. East Timor's number of dead was just a result of new weapons as compared to 200 years earlier.
Independance is a bloody thing. Its born in fire and blood. Look at Iraq and how many people your, and my armies are slaughtering now.

Do your history Shawna, There have been conspiracy theories since time immemorial, Cliques, groups, enclaves. All deviously plotting away.
There have also been New World Order theories since time immemorial. Groups of the wealthy, the exclusives, the untouchables. But, and heres my point. In the whole damned big picture of the world, THEY DONT MATTER.
Why?
Because most of their actions never ever filter down to us, the plebs. OK maybe a few million people get killed in some country or other, but, hard as it may seem, they dont matter either, because if someone didnt kill them off they would be killed by disease or infection or Famine or some other natural way. Nature has a way of balancing this world up and murder and slaughter is simply one of them.
But my point is, if it isnt one group plotting, ITS ANOTHER!!
So if you break up your God bothering breakie club, another will pop up in its place, maybe they will call themsleves the NRA or Daughters of the revolution (thats a joke), but there have always been these morons who consider themselves better than others and form their power controlling groups, with their secret m,eetings and handshakes.
There always will be. Its Human Nature.

But you know there is one big saving grace that overrides all of these fools ? The thing that makes me proud? Thats us, the normal, everyday man in the street, the salt of the earth, the workers. People have an inbred inate sense of whats right and whats wrong, and if pushed will stand up for what is right. Thats why these little people have their meetings in private, secreting themselves away. Dont lose any sleep Just let them get on with it, its doubtfull if it will affect your way of life much. In the words of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy..........DONT PANIC !

Thank you, Chorlton for sharing your opinion in such a well-thought out and polite manner.

So where was it impolite? Shawna you really need to get out more.
You are showing the same tunnel vision as that shown by Springer and ATS mods. You are on a World Forum and you cannot judge what people say by your own 'small town USA' way of speaking.
You consider my post impolite yet ignore your own rudeness when you stated you didnt want to discuss anything unless people had read the entire thing. Thats dictatorial, you DEMAND people read it or shut up.
This is a discussion forum, post your ideas, but dont get your knickers in a twist when people respond with ideas that dont go along the same lines as your own or because you misunderstandthe tone of what is being said.

When I'm impolite, believe me, you'll know it.
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Re: Secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power

Postby ryguy » Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:22 pm

But you know there is one big saving grace that overrides all of these fools ? The thing that makes me proud? Thats us, the normal, everyday man in the street, the salt of the earth, the workers. People have an inbred inate sense of whats right and whats wrong, and if pushed will stand up for what is right. Thats why these little people have their meetings in private, secreting themselves away. Dont lose any sleep Just let them get on with it, its doubtfull if it will affect your way of life much. In the words of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy..........DONT PANIC !


John Steinbeck wrote a book in his later years called "Travels with Charlie", where he retrofitted a brand new pickup-truck he purchased (one of those HUGE ones) with an entire camper in the back truck-bed. It was complete with a kitchen, table, and bed. He got in that truck, invited along his companion - his dog named Charlie, and set out to travel across the entire country and write about it.

I have to say it was one of the best novels I've ever read. Everything you've written above, Chorlton, about the "common man" is exactly how Steinbeck wrote - especially in this latest book written in his older years. He came to appreciate that the normal everyday man in the street, for the most part, have a sense of right and wrong - and a general kindness toward their fellow man. You hear a lot of negativity in the news that gives a different impression about people, in general - but I think it's an inaccurate reflection of the larger population.

As far as the discussion with Shawnna here - it's very difficult to explore fringe/new topics and ideas among strong skeptics and non-believers...and people who generally are doubtful about everything overall. It forces one to reflect more deeply on what evidence exists to support personal beliefs - and sometimes it can be extremely maddening and frustrating when people doubt things that are, sometimes, blatantly obvious. However - the nice thing about going through that "trial-by-fire" is that you come out on the other side of that trial with a set of beliefs about emergent and fringe topics that have survived the first round of attacks by skeptics. That is one thing that I think makes RU such a cool place.

Best,
-Ry
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