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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"The Family" in Uganda
fellowship of powerful Evangelical Christian politicians which includes some names that have recently been prominent in the headlines: Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Bart Stupak (who lives at "The Family" residence on C Street) and Rep. Joe Pitts.
Doug Coe is the reclusive leader of "The Family" (he has been referred to as the "stealth Billy Graham"), who is not an ordained minister, was named one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals by TIME magazine in 2005.
One of the 'core ideas' of 'The Family" that Coe "preaches" is that the message of the New Testament is not love, mercy and justice but power.
In the interview, Sharlet reports a "sermon" preached by Coe in which he asks his audience to name three people who embody the message of Jesus.
The answers come swiftly. "Martin Luther King, Jr." "Gandhi." "Mother Theresa."
"No," says Coe. "Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot." The audience gasps as he quickly adds, "That is not to deny that what they did was Evil, but they understood the message of Jesus."
Nice guy, eh? Makes guys like John Chenney, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh look like Kindergarten teachers.
The 'breaking news' in yesterday's NPR broadcast was the direct link Sharlet was able to make - by "following the money" - between "The Family" and the leadership in Uganda and the proposed draconian law concerning "aggravated homosexuality" - which (just so we are clear) not only mandates capitol punishment for LGBT people, but life imprisonment for anyone (like, for example, a father, mother or sibling) who knows a person to be LGBT and doesn't report it, or anyone speaking favorably about same sex marriage.
It is one thing for Ugandan MPs to propose draconian laws in their own country; it is quite another for American Evangelicals to fund and support the leaders of Uganda in laws that are in serious violation of every principle of human rights - not to mention Christianity - as a 'test case' for the passage of similar laws in this country.
Which leads me to ask the question: Does anyone know of a connection between "The Family" and the IRD (Institute for Religion and Democracy)?
What groups like "The Family" and the IRD have not learned from history is that, whenever despots over play their hand and cross the line of human decency, they create martyrs for the cause.
And there ain't nothing more powerful than a martyr.
To paraphrase Audre Lorde: Our silence will not protect us.