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July 17, 2009

Coe's Boys: The Fellowship and the C Street Complex

Another sex scandal out of the Fellowship's C Street Complex, a kind of fundamentalist flophouse for members of congress run by Doug Coe's elite sect, the Family. The resident to stray is Mr. Family Values himself, Rep. Chip Pickering. Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford are also C Street alumni.


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Some people seem to consider these so-called "conservative Christian lawmakers" to be astounding moral hypocrites in light of all these adultery revelations, but I don't think that's the case.

I think it more likely that they were never sincere Christians (as their behavior certainly indicates) to begin with - they only pretended to be so, knowing that this pose would help insulate them from criticism and attract the votes of religious conservatives.

It was a good scam for them while it lasted, but sooner or later true character shows through, as it has here. Fortunately for them, there's always the tactic of blaming the media, which I am sure they'll be doing soon.

"I think it more likely that they were never sincere Christians (as their behavior certainly indicates) to begin with. . ."

Well, yes, but there's another dynamic here that extends beyond seedy/sleazy politics. I'm becoming convinced that fundemental Christian values and ideals cannot be maintained by ordinary people, that they polarize a person's self-concept so severely that the person cannot avoid regarding basic natural charactersitics of himself/herself as wrong or evil, and that the resulting conflict within overwhelms the person's moral judgment and behavior. In other words, much of Christian rhetoric creates its own evil in the hearts and minds of those who try to abide by it.

100,000,000 years of evolution far more powerful than 1,000+ years of Christian sexual morals.

"Fundamentalist flophouse" is a great description. It definitely belongs on the FAIL blog.

Back when my dad was alive--sometime in the early 90s, in the midst of the national elected-office takeover by Republican godbags--he summed up his years on the school board this way:

I didn't mind that those people were Baptist or Buddhist, up until they had their hands on the till. Anyone who tells you he's a Christian as part of the deal, business or political--keep a hand on your wallet.

One of the things that Josh Marshal mentioned over at TPM was that the C Street house was seen by some as being a 24 hour support group for near sex addicts, kind of like a group AA house where everyone lived with their sponsor.

If so, guess it didn't work out very well, but that wold explain why they dragged Ensign to the FedEx office to send that letter to his mistress.

Wow it's very shocking to discover how deeply weird and cultish fundies can be. (Not.)

Religion is pretty sleazy.

Honestly, outside the United States, who cares about adultery? What's more frightening (starting at 07:20 in the video) is the idea that these people hold themselves outside the constraints of morality. The groups theology seems very similar to that of the Rev. Fred Phelps -- whose "God Hates Fags/the United States/etc." is based in the very narrow Calvinistic doctrine of predestination. IF you are one of the "saved", you can do no wrong. If not, no matter what you do, you're screwed.
For Coe, the outward and visible sign of salvation is that you're "blessed" in this life.

I suppose there's nothing wrong with the theology, but it has led to huge problems here in Latin America (and in the United States). "C Street" is owned by the Youth With A Mission organization, which -- like Coe -- talks about conquering the "seven mountains": education, government, arts & entertainment, media and communications, business & commerce family and the church. In other words, control of our lives by a predestined "elite" -- who are entitled to their elitism based on the fact that they're already the elites.

YWAM (the parent group of "C Street") is led by Rev. Loren Cunningham, who played a critical role in the Rios-Montt coup in 1983, and who is tied to "neo-liberal" (i.e., conservative free-traders) throughout this region of the world. Look at the "C Streeters" foreign policy (including that of Hillary Clinton, another member of "the Family") and you can see why the Latin Americans of both democratic and leftist bents (or a combination thereof) have serious concerns well beyond something so mundane as who is boinking whom.

Rich, in what way is Hillary Clinton related to the C Street Complex, apart from the fact that neither of them is a socialist?

Lindsay, speaking of scandals, do you have any reaction to the ACU pay to play scoop, whereby the ACU promised FedEx institutional support arguing a certain Congressional regulation in exchange for $3.4 million, and, when FedEx refused to pay, then came out strongly in favor of the law?

Isn't it perhaps time the GOP retired the elephant trademark and replace it with a pair of copulating weasels?

Coe . . . counseled a lawmaker that his wife — who complained of not being sexually satisfied — might be possessed by demons.

Damn! Is there any way I can meet this woman?

There's nothing sinister about the C Street Fellowship. The group just believes that "love thy neighbor" trumps the Ten Commandments if you're rich, white, male and Republican.


The word you are looking for to describe the actions of "the Family" and the publicly elected officials who live there is Dominionism. This Chrsitianist theology dictates that the rules of morality are for the little guys and the "leaders" or the "godhead" as embodied in right wing politicians, military officers and certain members of the clergy are free to enjoy themselves as "god wills."

This boys and girls is far more dangerous to American democracy that al Qaeda with nuclear weapons because these terrorists are already in your country and in positions of military and civilian authority.

Alon... Ms. Clinton has spoken many times of Doug Coe as her "spiritual advisor", and has regularly attended Coe sponsored events.

Yes, Clinton has said that Doug Coe is her "very loving" spiritual adviser. Jeff Sharlet writes about her connection to The Family in his book by the same name. When Bill Clinton was president, Hillary started going to a Family political wives prayer circle.

Clinton too? WTF? You'd think that the arduous process of getting oneself elected to federal office would select for the self-starters and weed out the wimps who need spiritual crutches. Shows you what I know.

have to love that Family Values thing. There is a related post at

C Street, the bible fellowship and congressional group home, rebrands itself as a self-help group for bible-thumping womanizers "struggling to confront their personal demons."

Its about time, I say, someone did away with all those extraneous features and made Christianity into what it was originally intended to be: the unrestrained worship of wealth, power...

...the Family missionaries aren't representing the United States. They're representing "Jesus plus nothing," as Doug Coe puts it, the "totalitarianism of God," in the words of an early Family leader, a vision that encompasses not just social issues but also the kind of free-market fundamentalism that is the real object of devotion for Ensign, Coburn, Pickering, Wamp and Sanford, along with Family insiders such as Sens. DeMint, Sam Brownback and Chuck Grassley. At the heart of the Family's spiritual advice for its proxies in Congress is the conviction that the market's invisible hand represents the guidance of God, and that God wants his "new chosen" to look out for one another.

and privilege.

I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He's a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was -- or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate -- he asked a young man who'd put himself, body and soul, under the Family's authority, "Let's say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?" The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. "No," answered Coe, "I wouldn't." Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he's among what Family leaders refer to as the "new chosen." If you're chosen, the normal rules don't apply.

Hmmm. So, what's in it for the rest of us, the "unchosen"?

...they don't claim ignorance about the strongmen with whom they build bonds of prayer and foreign aid. They admire them. Counseling Rep. Tiahrt, Doug Coe offered Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden as men whose commitment to their causes is to be emulated. Preaching on the meaning of Christ's words, he says, "You know Jesus said 'You got to put Him before mother-father-brother sister? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that's what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn't murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom."

Boot-licking submission to a not-at-all-fascist cabal of reactionary Washington parasites! Can I get a "Wolverines!!"?


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