You can't always believe everything you read. The New Republic once
an associate editor
when they figured out that his stories,
including one featuring "the church of George Herbert Walker Christ",
and another featuring Wall Street nabobs worshipping at Hindu-style
shrines to Alan Greenspan, were made up.
So, there's an article in the current Harper's (not on line), thin
on attribution, which describes an undercover investigation into
Ivanwald, a training center for a secret cult of sorts which calls
itself "the Family", though it has operated several public fronts with
different names over the years, and which includes, among others,
seven Senators (six of them Republican); it has also maintained ties
to foreign leaders, including among others Indonesian strongman
Suharto (who came to power in a CIA-sponsored coup) and the Brazilian
dictator General Costa e Silva.
These folks don't necessarily call themselves Christians --- it's
"a term they deride as too narrow for the world they are building in
Christ's honor". The leaders are...
- concerned that the focus on labels
like 'Christian' might get in the way of [a] Congressman's prayers.
Religion distracts people from Jesus, [leader] Doug [Coe] said, and
allows them to isolate Christ's will from their work in the world.
People separate it out" he warned .... "'Oh, okay, I got religion,
that's private.' As if Jesus doesn't know anything about building
highways, ro Social Security. We gotta take Jesus out of the
But the Family still does worship Jesus, in their fashion --- the
sportsman Jesus, evidently; "He excelled in every activity. he was a great
teacher, sure, but he was also a real guy's guy. He would have made
an excellent athlete." Their fashion of worship demands
humility and complete submission --- "Pray to be broken". But it's
also a fashion which derides democracy ("a manifestation of ungodly
pride" --- sound familiar?),
and nominates the Family itself as the new chosen people, the covenant
with the Jews having apparently lapsed.
And membership in the new chosen people has its privileges. As
heir apparent to the leadership David Coe explains:
- "King David", David Coe went on, "liked to do really,
really bad things." He chuckled. "Here's this guy who slept with
another man's wife --- Bathsheba, right? --- and then basically
murders her husband. And this guy is one of our heroes." David shook
his head. "I mean, Jiminy Christmas, God likes this guy! What," he
said, "is that all about?"
The answer, we discovered, was that King David had been "chosen."
To illustrate this point, David Coe turned to Beau. "Beau, let's say
I hear you raped three little girls. And now here you are at
Ivanwald. What would I think of you, Beau?
Beau shrank into the cusions. "Probably that I'm pretty bad?"
"No, Beau. I wouldn't. Because I'm not here to judge you. That's
not my job. I'm here for only one thing."
"Jesus?" Beau said. David smiled and winked.
He walked to the National Geographic map of the world mounted on
the wall. "You guys know about Genghis Khan?" he asked. ...
David explained that when Genghis entered a defeated city he would
call in the local headman and have him stuffed into a crate. Over the
crate would be spread a tablecloth, and on the tablecloth would be
spread a wonderful meal. "And then, while the man suffocated, Genghis
ate, and he didn't even hear the man's screams." David still stood on
the couch, a finger in the air. "Do you know what that means?" He
was thinking of Christ's parable of the wineskins. "You can't pour
new into old," David said, returning to his chair. "We elect our
leaders. Jesus elects his."
He reached over and squeezed the arm of a brother. "Isn't that
great?" David said. "That's the way everything in life happens. If
you're a person known to be around Jesus, you can go and do anything."
In addition to Genghis Khan, role models include the Mafia, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, and a contemporary figure, Osama bin Laden.
In short, we have a group which worships a divinity which demands
total submission, promises power and domination over others in return,
and will permit its followers to do anything to gain them. And they call it Jesus.
I'm not completely sure I believe the story --- for a
conspiracy-minded left-winger, it's slightly too good to be true. But
if it's not, there are seven named United States Senators who have
reason to be really ticked off.