Hillary's Minister Problem
When I was profiling her two years ago, I learned about her involvement with a secretive Christian organization called The Fellowship that has operated in the Washington shadows since the 1930s. I found the story of Clinton and The Fellowship so bizarre that I made it the lede to my piece. In light of recent events, it's worth revisiting.Little is known about the group because it is very secretive.
If you've never heard of The Fellowship (also known as The Family), it will sound like some shadowy organization in a John Grisham novel. (Indeed, as a Google search will demonstrate, critics consider it a cult.) The group was formed in the 1930s to minister to political and business leaders throughout the world, modeling itself as a kind of Christian Trilateral Commission. Several members of Congress are affiliated with the group, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, too. To the extent The Fellowship is known beyond its members it is probably for founding the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
Like Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Baptist Church, The Fellowship is run by its own mysterious and controversial figure, Douglas Coe, although temperamentally Coe is Wright's opposite. He eschews the spotlight and has never made a controversial public utterance that I'm aware of -- mainly because he rarely speaks publicly at all. (You won't find him on YouTube.) But like Wright, Coe has ministered to a Democratic frontrunner. He personally leads a private Senate prayer group that Clinton has been a part of.
Reporters hoping to look into the group might want to think again. A few years ago, The Fellowship’s archives, which are held at Wheaton College, the evangelical school in Illinos, were reclassified as “restricted” and placed under lock and key.Is it time someone asks Hillary about her religion if she feels free to question Obama's?
Steven G. Grant reports MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell interviewed Green this morning:
The most telling point for me was when Andrea said "... clearly she is involved in a religious organization that is much more right wing that she (pause) claims to be."
Yes, Andrea, who Hillary claims to be just may not be who she really is. The answer to this question "Who is Hillary and what does she want?" is not clear to many of us. We know she has embellished her claims of foreign policy experience while First Lady. But inflating what you tell us you have done is not the same as keeping secret what it is that you have actually done... or are thinking of doing with your right wing "Family" connections if you become President of the United States.
This from Kevin Drum
I just talked to Jeff Sharlet, author of the forthcoming book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Although he says that Hillary Clinton's connection with the Fellowship (aka the "Family") is fairly shallow, he also thinks it's quite wrong to characterize it as merely "a collection of Bible study groups." Hillary's association with the Fellowship is no scandal, he says, but it is fair to question her about whether she accepts Doug Coe's particular brand of elite-centered, post-millennial theology.
More info on Jeff's work can be found in Meet 'The Family'