If you were wondering where all that data in Utah will end up . . . to make my point most succinctly, I only have to quote one of the readers of the article below who had this comment (and I'm sure they'll be sweeping up plenty of al-Qaeda there too):
"# 2014/07/30 11:03 - It would be interesting for someone to investigate how people like Alexander got their positions. There's good reason to believe that honest and ethical people in these organizations refused to implement un-democratic and illegal policies. They either resign on principle or are forced out leaving the toadies like Alexander and James Clapper to serve their dark masters."
The rest is silence.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 12, 2013. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
By Max Ocean, Common Dreams
30 July 14
Critics say Keith Alexander's rapid move to the private sector is cause for concernormer NSA Director Keith Alexander says his services warrant a fee of up to a million dollars, due to a cyber-surveillance technique he and his partners at his new security firm IronNet Cybersecurity have developed, Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday. The claim follows reporting earlier this month that Alexander is slated to head a 'cyber-war council' backed by Wall Street.
Alexander claims that the new technology is different from anything the NSA has done as it uses "behavioral models" to predict hackers' actions ahead of time.
In his article, "The NSA's Cyber-King Goes Corporate," Foreign Policy journalist Shane Harris says that Alexander stated that IronNet has already signed contracts with three separate companies, although Alexander declined to name them. He plans on filing at least nine patents for the technology and finishing the testing phase of it by the end of September.
While it's not uncommon for former government employees to be granted patents for their inventions, Alexander is thought to be the first ex-NSA director to apply for patents "directly related to the job he had in government," said Harris.
"Alexander is on firm legal ground so long as he can demonstrate that his invention is original and sufficiently distinct from any other patented technologies," according to Harris. Therefore when he files the patents, if he can prove that he "invented the technology on his own time and separate from his core duties, he might have a stronger argument to retain the exclusive rights to the patent."
According to critics, Alexander's very experience as the NSA director has informed his move to the corporate sector — whether or not he developed the technology independently — and that in itself is cause for alarm and a possible investigation.
"Alexander stands to profit directly off of his taxpayer-funded experience, and may do so with a competitive advantage over other competing private firms," Carl Franzen pointed out at "The Verge."
"Is it ethical for an NSA chief to pursue patents on technologies directly related to their work running the agency?" wrote Xeni Jardin of "BoingBoing." "Will the Justice Department investigate? Don't hold your breath."
Journalist Dan Froomkin of "The Intercept" weighed in on Twitter:
Keith Alexander’s new business model stinks to high heaven. But we already knew he was shameless: http://t.co/AIJ56Wh6tLAs independent journalist Marcy Wheeler pointed out on her blog, there are a multitude of questions still remaining concerning the legality of Alexander's services, that are unrelated to the issue of patent legality. Among those she poses this:
— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) July 29, 2014
with Alexander out of his NSA, where will he and his profitable partners get the data they need to model threats? How much of this model will depend on the Cyber Information sharing plan that Alexander has demanded for years? How much will Alexander’s privatized solutions to the problem he couldn’t solve at NSA depend on access to all the information the government has, along with immunity?
To what degree is CISA about making Keith Alexander rich?The NSA's own actions under Alexander seem to have laid the groundwork for the exact cyber-defense market the retired general is now looking to exploit.When Alexander first addressed Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association shortly after his retirement in March, company executives were apparently most interested in learning about destructive programs such as Wiper, which the U.S. government has claimed was used in cyber-attacks originating in North Korea and Iran.
Harris says the singling out of programs like Wiper is "a supreme irony" in the eyes of many computer security experts, who say that it is nothing more than "a cousin of the notorious Stuxnet virus, which was built by the NSA — while Alexander was in charge — in cooperation with Israeli intelligence."
Our rulers don't even try to hide their financial backers anymore.
One might say that the moment has passed for worrying about the public perception of power (in DC power circles anyway).
As the Obamas close their escrow on a palatial mansion in Las Vegas (not far from Gerald Ford's place) and start packing for "retirement," it may finally be time to start figuring out who they were and how they fit in so well with our other secretive "rulers" - and how they've used their power. (Not that they aren't totally nice folks, but aren't they all?)
In 2008, MSNBC had the gall to expose the membership in a very secret religious society (The Family) run by a man (Doug Coe*), who is not an ordained minister, who claims a special relationship with God (based on his understanding of Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, and Mao - all admired for their strength of leadership and determination not to fail at any cost), where you find every "leader" from George W. Bush, Ronnie Reagan and John McCain to Bill and Hillary Clinton. This group mainly comprises ultra-conservative Republicans like Sam Brownback, Mike Enzi, Mark Pryor and Bill Nelson, James Inhoff, Tom Coburn, Joe Pitts, Bart Stupak (as well as Diaper David Vitter, John Ensign, and Wide-Stance Larry Craig). (Don't bother to click on the link because it has been removed from MSNBC's site although the article is still available at the internet archive link. It was co-written by Andrea Mitchell - Mrs. Alan Greenspan - of NBC News.)
2008-04-03, MSNBC News
For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has been a Washington institution. Every president has attended the breakfast since Eisenhower. Besides the presidents ... the one constant presence at the National Prayer Breakfast has been Douglas Coe. Although he’s not an ordained minister, the 79-year-old Coe is the most important religious leader you've never seen or heard. Scores of senators in both parties ... go to small weekly Senate prayer groups that Coe attends, [including] senators John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Observers who have investigated Coe’s group, called The Fellowship Foundation, a secretive organization. Coe repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded. "Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler. Think of the immense power these three men had.”
Coe also quoted Jesus and said: “One of the things [Jesus] said is 'If any man comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple.’"
Writer Jeff Sharlet ... lived among Coe's followers six years ago, and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric. “We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. Hitler’s genocide wasn’t really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated,” said Sharlet, who ... has now written about The Fellowship, also known to insiders as The Family, in [a] book called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.
(Note: This article strangely has been removed from the MSNBC website, though you can still access it using the Internet Archive. Watch the incredible four-minute NBC video clip showing Coe praising a communist Red Guard member for cutting the head off his mother at this link. For more on Coe's powerful links to Congress and corruption, see the MSNBC article available here. And for powerful inside information from a mind programmer who claims to have escaped from "The Family," and another who says he is from a very high level there, click here and here. To develop an understanding of the bigger picture behind all of this, click here. )
*So who is Doug Coe? He shuns almost all interview requests, including ours. But in hours of audiotape and videotape recordings obtained exclusively by NBC News, he frequently preaches the gospel of Jesus to followers and supporters. In one videotaped sermon from 1989, Coe provides this account of the atrocities committed under Chairman Mao in Communist China: "I've seen pictures of the young men in the Red Guard … they would bring in this young man’s mother … he would take an axe and cut her head off. They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of father, mother, brother sister and their own life. That was a covenant, a pledge. That's what Jesus said."
In his preaching, Coe repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded from his followers -- a rhetorical technique that now is drawing sharp criticism.
"Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had, these nobodies from nowhere,” Coe said.
Later in the sermon, Coe said: "Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.' Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people."
Coe also quoted Jesus and said: “One of the things [Jesus] said is 'If any man comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple.’ So I don't care what other qualifications you have, if you don't do that you can't be a disciple of Christ."
The sermons are little surprise to writer Jeff Sharlet. He lived among Coe's followers six years ago, and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric.
“We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. And I would say, ‘Isn’t there a problem with that?’ And they seemed perplexed by the question. Hitler’s genocide wasn’t really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated,” said Sharlet, who is a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone and is an Associate Research Scholar at the NYU Center for Religion and Media in New York.
. . . “They’re notoriously secretive,” Sharlet said. “In fact, they jokingly call themselves the Christian Mafia. Which becomes less of a joke when you realize that they really are dedicated to being what they call an invisible organization.”
Federal tax records for Coe's non-profit group shows it funds charitable programs around the world - but that it is also a family business.
The 990 tax forms for 2005, the last tax year available, show that both of Coe’s sons were on the payroll, at $110,000 a year each. The organization also paid his wife, his daughter and his daughters-in-law.
So how do Coe's admirers explain his unusual sermons? David Kuo, a former Bush Administration aide and religious-outreach official at the White House, says The Fellowship is a peaceful, faith-based group that does good works internationally. Kuo says Doug Coe wasn’t lauding Hitler's actions.
“What Doug is saying, it’s a metaphor. He is using Hitler as a metaphor. Jesus used that,” Kuo said. A metaphor for what? “Commitment,” Kuo answered.
Funny how religion emanating from political figures always has a political as well as a monetary payoff, isn't it?
Not to mention the military.
One final source should be consulted on the genesis of the elusive Mr. Doug Coe with some notes on other prominent political leaders' ties:
The second side of the broadcast excerpts an interview of Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family. A protestant fundamentalist organization founded in the 1930’s by a Norwegian immigrant named Abram Vereide, the Family incorporates and propagates fascist ideas and has worked with fascists of both the above-ground and underground variety over the years.
Informed observers have noted similarities between the Family and Opus Dei, the Catholic order that has accumulated tremendous power within the Vatican in recent decades.
Working with and idolizing industrialists and financiers who backed fascism (such as Henry Ford), the Family wields decisive power within U.S. political and economic circles. The seminal force behind the creation of the National Prayer Breakfast, Billy Graham’s crusade and the Campus Crusade for Christ, the Family was deeply involved with the rehabilitation of Third Reich alumni, many of them war criminals, for service to the postwar German government and U.S. intelligence.
Among the better known of these Nazi alumni was Herman Josef Abs, the most important of the Third Reich’s bankers and a foundational element of the postwar German economic “miracle” and the Bormann capital network. FTR #697 features additional discussion of The Family, the Third Reich and the Bormann organization.
Stephen Crittenden: A dramatic moment from the movie ‘There will be Blood’ based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, which won an Oscar last year for the glowering Daniel Day Lewis.
If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know it’s an allegory depicting the clash between two very different sides of American society, the religious and the capitalist. If they seem to mix all too comfortably together these days, ‘There Will Be Blood’ is a reminder that it wasn’t always so.
Today’s program is really the story of how those two sides came together. It’s the story of a shadowy religious organisation known as The Fellowship, or The Family, founded in the 1930s by a Norwegian immigrant to the United States named Abraham Vereide. He believed that the best way to change the world was to minister to business and political leaders, powerful men like Henry Ford, who weren’t much interested in the churches.
A bit like (a) Protestant version of Opus Dei, The Fellowship is basically theocratic in impulse and deeply hostile to democracy, and over decades it has managed to penetrate to the very centre of American political power by preaching a gospel of American power. In the 1950s The Fellowship established the National Prayer Breakfast, and now every week in Washington, business leaders and politicians from all sides sit down to read the Bible and pray together.
The current leader of The Family is the reclusive Doug Coe. Described by Hillary Clinton as ‘A genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God’, as we’ll hear, he’s also an admirer of Hitler, Lenin and Mao.
Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper’s and Rolling Stone, an association research scholar in the Centre for Religion and Media at New York University, and he’s the author of an new book about The Fellowship entitled ‘The Family: Politics, Power and Fundamentalism’s Shadow Elite’. It’s based on research he did on documents kept at the Billy Graham Centre Archives, and it’s one of the most absorbing books I’ve read all year.
Jeff Sharlet says that when we think of American Christian fundamentalism, we tend to think of the populist, Bible-thumping TV evangelists. But the Fellowship is about a different kind of fundamentalism, elite fundamentalism. More upper class, more sophisticated, it doesn’t need the media, doing its work behind the scenes.
Jeff Sharlet: Elite fundamentalism and especially the elite fundamentals in The Family, is not so much interested in holding mass rallies, or saving everybody’s souls, rather it grows out of this belief that took hold in the 1930s that God works through a few specially chosen individuals.
They call them key men, the sort of anointed. And there’s the real concerns, well, not social issues but economic, something that they came to call ‘Biblical capitalism’, a sort of laissez-fair capitalism, and especially foreign affairs, and I think that comes as a surprise to a lot of folks here in the United States, but also overseas, but they’re the kind of Christian fundamentalism in America that has always taken as its main concern the role of American power in the world, and the expansion of that kind of power.
Stephen Crittenden: Now the book is basically about a shadowy organisation called The Family, or The Fellowship that was founded by a guy called Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States in the 1930s. Tell us about him and the foundation of this organisation.
Jeff Sharlet: Vereide is a fascinating character. This guy who comes to America from Norway, because he sees America (a)s the land of the Bible unchained. Even from a boy he’s given to what he thinks are prophetic visions. He believes that God comes to him and talks to him in very literal words.
He comes to America and he makes quite a name for himself, becomes a preacher and starts preaching to guys like Henry Ford and titans of the steel industry and so on, and then has this Epiphany, this realisation in the middle of our Great Depression in the 1930s.
He decides that the Great Depression is actually a punishment from God for disobeying God’s law, and how are we disobeying God’s law? Well it’s because we are trying to regulate the economy, we are trying to take matters into our own hands. Well, we just have to completely trust God, and those he chooses, men like Henry Ford and the CEO of US Steel and so on.
Stephen Crittenden: Yes, it’s a muscular Christianity. You’d almost say he had a ministry to bring that industrial class back into religion.
Jeff Sharlet: Absolutely. This must be a Christianity on steroids. They were building on this tradition of this kind of macho Christ, and taking it to these businessmen who didn’t really care about church or the Bible or anything like that.
What they cared about was organised labour, and in fact particularly in Australia, men and Harry Bridges was a major, major labour leader here in the United States. And they just saw him the Devil Incarnate, and began to organise against him. And that’s what this group has become — and are to this day. They still see God’s interests as those of the absolutely unregulated free markets — a very sort of macho, muscular Christianity that tends to serve the interests of those involved.
Stephen Crittenden: As I was reading the book, I was constantly reminded of the Catholic elite fundamentalist organisation, Opus Dei, which was founded just a couple of years before The Family, and clearly had a political program. There seem to be very interesting similarities between them.
Jeff Sharlet: There are really striking similarities between Opus Dei and The Family, they were actually both founded at this moment, when conservative Catholics in the case of Opus Dei, and conservative Protestants in the case of The Family, conclude that democracy is done, that it’s spent, that it can’t compete with these incredibly vigorous forces of communism and fascism.
And there’s a mistaken idea that the Opus Dei, and also The Family, wanted to be just fascist. No, they didn’t want to be fascist, they saw a lot to admire in fascism, but they wanted to create their own religious way, where fascism sort of idolised the character like Hitler and Mussolini, they said No, we want that same kind of cult of personality, that same kind of muscular politics and religion, but we want it to be centred around Jesus.
Well of course who’s Jesus? And that’s when you run into the real religious horror story of this book, which is that they read the same Bible that most of the rest of us do, but they take a very different message, one that’s not about mercy or justice or love or forgiveness, but rather is about power. And very literally, when I look through The Family’s papers, 600 boxes of documents, that’s what they saw in the New Testament as the bottom line, was this message of power, and it’s striking I think, and unsettling to even most conservative Christians.
Stephen Crittenden: So much to talk about in what you’ve just said to unpack. Let’s talk about the theological question about Jesus first. You speak about a theology which you say is totally malleable, and you talk about a theology of Jesus plus nothing. It’s almost like a home-grown American religion that purports to be about Jesus, purports to be Christian, but it’s had all the content drained out of it.
Jeff Sharlet: Yes, that’s really exactly it. I begin the book, and I begin the story with a month I spent living in one of The Family’s houses where they sort of groom younger men for leadership by signing you up for mentoring with a Congressman and so on.
And I remember being struck at the time when a US Senate Aide was telling us about former Vice-President, Dan Quayle, who had volunteered to lead a Bible Study for political men, for The Family, but he needed some help, he needed someone to come over and give him just a quick crash course, ‘Because’, he said, ‘well, he hadn’t actually ever read the Bible.’
So he was quite certain he knew what the Bible said, he was quite certain it supported his political program. He felt confident in scolding others for not living up to the Bible, but he had never actually read the Bible. And that’s what you really see when you look at this elite fundamentalism.
It’s a religion of the status quo, it’s a religion of things as they are. It’s not the sort of science fiction vision of what the world will look like when the fundamentalists have taken over. These guys are very content with the world as it is, and they top up the Bible as something that is supporting themselves and power.
Doug Coe, the leader of the group says ‘We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.’ And that’s a very status quo religion.
Stephen Crittenden: The next big question is to unpack where the religious program ends and the political program begins.
Jeff Sharlet: You know, I like to think of it as sort of a mobi(us) Strip, you know, that popular optical illusion of a ribbon that’s sort of twisting, and you can never figure out which side you’re on. There is no clear line where the religion ends and the politics begin. They don’t draw the distinction. I’ll give you an example of the project they did recently, something called The Silk Road Act.
This is a piece of American legislation passed in 1999 by our Senator Sam Brownback and Congressman Joe Pitts, both members of The Family. The Silk Road Act directed US funds to the dictatorships of the Central Asian region, and as Senator Brownback explained to me, his role was to essentially buy these countries off, to open them up to free markets by giving them a lot of money, a sort of an odd concept of free markets. And the reason he wanted to do that is . . . Well we have free markets where capitalism goes (and) the gospel follows. And so there you have economics, you have politics, and you have religion, and they’re all caught in this loop.
Stephen Crittenden: Jeff, let’s go back to the early history of The Family and look in more detail at its political program during the 1930s and ‘40s which seems to focus primarily on destroying trade unionism in the United States, and in that, they completely succeeded.
Jeff Sharlet: Yes, they really did. I mean I think that again takes me back to this question, people always ask what the fundamentalists want to do? I think the more relevant question is what have fundamentalists done.
And you look in the United States and say Why do we alone in the developed world, not have a serious organised labour movement? Our organised labour movement is nowhere near as powerful and influential as yours in Australia. I think we really have to look to groups like The Family and elite fundamentalism.
They came into being to opposed organised labour, worked steadily at that, and counted as one of their first big victories a law that was passed here in 1947 which essentially rolled back many of the rights to organise and to form unions, that had been won under Franklin Roosevelt.
They counted that as their first victory, and then they just sort of went forward from there and played this role of driving the centre to the right, they were very involved in the Cold War, very involved in the economics of globalisation. These are their projects, but they see them as religious ends.
Stephen Crittenden: You mention that in these years The Family was attracted by Fascist and even Nazi ideas, and you say that in the immediate aftermath of World War II, they were involved in rehabilitating key Nazi industrialists and bankers, helping them out or even bringing them to the United States.
Jeff Sharlet: That was their first big step overseas. That’s when they became international during World War II. Abraham Vereide, the founder, actually travelled to the allied prisons in Germany where we were holding the prisoners of war, with a mandate from the United States State Department to go among these Nazis and sort of interview them and decide which ones could be used for rebuilding Germany.
And brought in quite a few scary characters, perhaps the most notable of whom was Hermann Josef Abs who after Vereide and The Family had vouched for him, rose to become the chief financial wizard behind West Germany’s rise, enjoyed a very successful career into the 1970s until the Simon Wiesenthal Centre discovered that before he had been known as Germany’s banker, he’d been known as Hitler’s banker, that he had helped spirit uncounted sums of money off to the Nazis who escaped to Latin America.
He was a bad guy, he was driven out of politics. But that was the role that The Family was playing, was whitewashing these guys and getting these guys back into power because they wanted them for the Cold War.
Stephen Crittenden: Jeff, I guess the most public face of The Family, or The Fellowship, in the last 30, 40, 50 years, has been the fact that it created the National Prayer Breakfast, and you tell the story of how President Eisenhower really officiates at the first National Prayer Breakfast a bit reluctantly. He’s a bit like a John McCain figure, not very comfortable with overt displays of religion.
Jeff Sharlet: Yes, exactly. 1953 they inaugurated the National Prayer Breakfast which has been held in Washington ever since. The United States President always attends, Congress attends, and they set these up around the world. You even have one there in Australia.
And they’ve been sort of very deliberately banal events, very bland, but they refer to within the group and in their documents as recruiting devices to identify and bring people into closer involvement. And The Family had wanted to do this for many years but the previous US Presidents wouldn’t do it.
Eisenhower didn’t want to do it, he said it’s ‘a violation of separation of Church and State which is a fundamental part of our constitution here’. But Billy Graham and a Senator who was involved in The Family, Frank Carlson, had organised an evangelical Christian vote for him, and they wanted payback, so Eisenhower went, concerned that this was going to become a tradition, and indeed it did, and now it doesn’t matter who’s elected, here in November, whether it’s McCain or Obama, come February they’re going to the National Prayer Breakfast, and what that does is it gives The Family that kind of power and that draw.
It doesn’t mean that every President signs off on their beliefs, but they’re able to go around and say ‘Look at this, we’re able to bring the President of the United States to one of our events, don’t you want to be associated with that?’
Stephen Crittenden: And is the National Prayer Breakfast then the key instrument of The Family’s power?
Jeff Sharlet: I think the key instrument is this really incredible network of politicians that they built up over the years. I mean you look back across American history and you find guys like Chief Justice William Renquist who’s one of the most influential conservative Chief Justices of our Supreme Court.
The old legendary Dixiecrat named Strom Thurman, was a long-time right-winger. Even now I can give you a long list of American politicians and there have been Australian politicians involved as well, and folks around the world, they’re able to build this network so that if you want to get something done, it’s helpful to work through The Family.
Stephen Crittenden: You’ve got to tell us who the Australians are.
Jeff Sharlet: Well the Australians are going back in history. The first guy to get involved was man named Norman Makin who was actually not considered a right-winger, he was a long-time Ambassador to the United States, but was an early Cold warrior and saw The Family as a useful vehicle for working with the Conservative side of American politics during the Cold War. More recently, I would just bump into — in the documents –minor Australian politicians, Bruce Baird, a fellow named Ross Cameron, and I suppose Peter Costello has been involved, and I don’t know how involved and I just, that’s not something I followed up on.
. . . Stephen Crittenden: NBC News reporting on the reclusive leader of The Family, Pastor Doug Coe. Jeff, you say that The Family has penetrated American politics so thoroughly that even someone like Hillary Clinton has to be part of these prayer breakfasts. It doesn’t really matter what side of politics you’re on, The Family isn’t interested in that.
Jeff Sharlet: Yes, I write in the book about Hillary Clinton’s involvement which is actually fairly long-standing. She’s upfront about it in her autobiography, ‘Living History’. She writes in 1993 of coming to Washington and having a segregated women’s prayer group organised for her of the wives of very conservative political brokers, and this was not just prayer business. Clearly politics.
NBC one of our network news stations here did a little segment on that aspect of the book and they noted that both John McCain and Barak Obama had also attended the weekly Senate prayer breakfasts, there’s the Annual National Breakfast and then there’s a weekly breakfast also run by The Family.
And what that really shows is not that John McCain or Barak Obama are part of it. It shows that it’s become this almost necessary piety pit stop, that to run for national office in the United States, you have to show your religiosity, which is forbidden by our Constitution.
We say there’s no religious test, anyone’s allowed to run. But it’s become this de facto test, and what that does is it also opens the door for a kind of conservative politics that people don’t notice.
Here we have something called faith-based initiatives, introduced by President Bush, and what this amounted to was a massive privatisation of government resources, turning over social welfare to religious organizations; changing the law so those religious organisations are free to discriminate against who they want, and one of the most dismaying things I think about our campaign right now is that both John McCain and Barak Obama have pledged to not just continue this program, but to expand it.
And the reason is, they have to do that because The Family, populist fundamentalism, and elite fundamentalism working together have so set the terms of religiosity in American life, that we don’t have a whole lot of room for genuine religious discussions, genuine discussion of religious ideas, which are always welcome. We have only room for these kinds of public proclamations of piety.
Stephen Crittenden: You mentioned the Reverend Billy Graham earlier. He’s a very interesting character in this story, he only appears once or twice, but he’s obviously pivotal at the beginning of setting up the National Prayer Breakfast, as you mentioned. He shoehorns President Eisenhower into sort of turning up and playing along. What is Billy Graham’s role in all of this? He always strikes me as a much more complex and ambiguous character than he sometimes seems on the surface.
Jeff Sharlet: He really is. He really is a complicated character, which is interesting, because he was not a complicated man, but I’m sorry, ‘was not’, put it in the past tense. Still alive, still with us, but mostly his public career is over. He was a simple man who found himself at the nexus of a lot of power, and was a little bit proud of that.
You know, I mean I was able to put together the account of his role in the National Prayer Breakfast, not just through these documents which are in the archives, but through his own biography in which he really comes right out and boasts about bullying President Eisenhower into this role. He was a guy who came from a very right-wing fundamentalist place, a very anti-Semitic place which he never really quite overcome, and moved into the mainstream of American life and was instrumental for instance, in giving religious cover to President Nixon. And also played this very important role for The Family. . . .
And fantastic mythical religious cover for the conversion of our nation's sweetheart Georgie Porgie Puddin' and Pie.
There's talk throughout this essay about this type of necessary (required) religiosity subverting the freedom of association guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
I don't know. It doesn't seem to be an overwhelming concern at the present time. My guess is that all this recurring national talk of religious impetus is just a clever ruse to take the focus off of the economic policies they insist are sacrosanct.
Sounds much more like using it as an excuse for safeguarding the money of the elite from the hoi polloi to me.
Labor unions now equal Communism in the public (MSM-nurtured) mind.
I know. I know.
The Blueberry Amigos ring the bell at the local farmers' market.