Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book of the Week

The new book of the week is an absolutely must-read for anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the pernicious influence of Religious Right fundamentalism.

Jeff Sharlet's The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, is a at once a thorough examination of the history and sociology of American Fundamentalism and a sweeping indictment of a secretive group that has insinuated itself slowly and surreptitiously into our government and our institutions.

The Family -- or The Fellowship as it is also known -- was also at the center of the C Street House controversy that has been bubbling up over the last couple of years.

Sharlet's skills as a historian and an investigative reporter have combined to make this book one of the most important of the 21st Century.

The Family, from its humble beginnings in -- gasp -- Seattle in 1935, has been like an evil worm eating at the core of power in this country. And not only here, but also around the world. The Family's amoral reach has included snuggling up to most of the most corrupt politicians, the worst dictators and mass murderers in the world: Nicaragua's Samoza, Cuba's Batista, Indonesia's Suharto (The Family doesn't make many distinctions between Christianity and Islam, just so long as the power is there to attach themselves to). Their leader, Doug Coe, has spoken frankly of his admiration for Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot.

One of the worst offenses that The Family is responsible for is its support of one David Bahati in Uganda. Bahati, you may not know, is a Fellowship associate who first proposed the "death to all homosexuals" law in Uganda. In the meantime, the influence of The Family redirected millions of dollars in US aid to Uganda away from real sex education programs and into "abstinence" programs, with the result that Uganda's AIDS rate, which had been dropping, suddenly skyrocketed.

There's a lot more in this valuable book. Everyone should read it, if only to learn what is being done by this secretive hard core and powerful organization. Remember, knowledge is power, and with that power we can get a clearer idea of the theocracy that will await us if we don't remain vigilant.