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      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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Why is Health Care Reform Being Held Hostage by a Fundamentalist Cult?


Bart Stupak

No, I don’t mean the Catholic Church. I mean the super-secret, ultra-creepy fundamentalist sect that calls itself

“the Family,” or “the Fellowship,” and they consider themselves a “core” of men responsible for changing the world. “Hitler, Lenin, and many others understood the power of a small core of people,” instructs a document given to an inner circle, explaining the scope, if not the ideological particulars, of the ambition members of the avant-garde are to cultivate.

That’s a quote from the introduction to Jeff Sharlet’s The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

Early this morning I learned from Jeff Sharlet’s piece in Salon that the two men responsible for the Stupak amendendment–Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA)–are both members of the Family and both live in the group’s C-Street residence. These two nutty fetus fetishists are trying to end abortion in this country by making sure that insurance companies will stop covering this essential and perfectly legal medical procedure.

I’ve been obsessing on this news all day long while trying to concentrate on writing an exam. As hard as it is for me to accept, I now have to face the face that the forces of theocracy not only control of the Republican Party, but also they are well on the way to taking over the Democratic party.

Sharlet writes:

American women will pay the price for the Democratic dithering that allowed Saturday’s passage of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, a worm virus inserted into the House healthcare reform bill with surgical precision. But the Democratic Party will suffer collateral damage.

Stupak-Pitts isn’t just “the biggest restriction on women’s right to choose in our generation,” as Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado puts it; it’s also evidence that on abortion the Democratic Party is now captive, just like the GOP, to Christian conservatism. Of course, Republicans traded away their party’s moderate wing for real electoral gains, a base that propelled them to power for decades. The Democrats, already in power, sucker-punched themselves, and all they have to show for it is a big fat shiner in the shape of Bart Stupak’s knuckles.

Sharlet thinks it’s unlikely that Stupak and Pitts came up with their plan on their own. The Family supposedly doesn’t directly try to influence political policies–they just offer support, guidance and powerful connections to their followers.


Joseph Pitts

Which raises the question: Who’s pulling whom? Did backbencher Bart Stupak really come up with the bluff that led pro-choice Democrats to abandon not one but two compromises, one of which Stupak himself seemed to be signing off on earlier this summer? Or was it Pitts, an abortion-wars warrior since the 1970s, and a longtime leader of the House Values Action Team — an off-the-record caucus of religious right organizations and members of Congress — who drew up the blueprint?

Neither Stupak nor Pitts is talking. Of course, if they just keep quiet, the press will pin it on the bishops — who, to be fair, are more than happy to take credit. That version of events neglects the role of relationships forged within the evangelical context of the Family — a group founded in the spirit of virulent anti-Catholicism, and which maintains to this day that being Catholic brings you no closer to Christ than being Jewish or a Muslim — and the growing evangelical movement within the Democratic Party. A source close to the Faith Table, a gathering of ostensibly progressive Christians gathering of ostensibly progressive Christians helmed by evangelical leader Jim Wallis, notes that the group has been agitating for Stupak-Pitts for months, with Wallis declaring Stupak-Pitts the most important vote of the year.

May I remind you that Jim Wallis was a major supporter of President Obama and is one of his close “spiritual advisers?”

Terri Gross did an interview with Jeff Sharlet last summer. You can listen to it here and read an excerpt from Sharlet’s book if you’re interested. I heard that Rachel Maddow covered this story last night, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video.

What is happening to our country? Is there any way to turn it around?

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154 Responses

  1. I’m really afraid it’s too late to turn this mess around. I don’t think there is any way I can leave the country. I’m not sure what to do.

  2. Very Creepy Stuff. I thought Halloween was over.

    The Salon article mentions quite a few members of ” The Family ” but I wonder if there is a complete list of its’ members available anywhere?

    bb: I am trying to find a Canadian who will marry me. 🙂

  3. how does the Obama left like the Fundie Care that’s being pushed through under Obama’s (and Pelosi’s) watch? (Remember how they tried to make an issue out of Hillary attending the Senate prayer group and before that the bible study for political wives).

    • As I said in the post, Obama is deeply enmeshed with the fundies. I could tell when I read his book that Obama would try to outlaw abortion. I’m not in the least surprised. Just horrified.

      • Ditto. He told us who he was. People ignored it. I’m beginning to wonder is some of the women’s organizations are infiltrated as well. All those endorsements during the election had to make you wonder.

        • Well I know for sure NARAL is. The boss is pro-life (in private supposedly)

          • I know, isn’t that astounding. Wouldn’t being prochoice be a natural job requirement for NARAL. How the h$ll did she get that job? And that’s just one that we know about.

            Let’s see. Think I’ll go apply to be head of the Right to Life movement, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hire me….

          • Yeah. Keenan is supposedly “personally pro-life” or some damn thing. How she became head of the national abortion rights action league, your guess is as good as mine.

    • The left thinks that the amendment is fine, because the greater good is the increased healthcare coverage for millions of more people that this giveaway to the health care industry will supposedly will lead to. They don’t think abortion rights supersedes health care for all.

    • At Open Left, Mike Lux is predictably still for the bill. The comments on his post tore it up though.

      • The first comment at OL nailed it:

        “Can this bill EVER get so watered down that you night stop shilling for it?”

        • If I wasn’t banned at TL, I’d pose that question to BTD. The answer would be fun.

          • jeesh, what did you do? Even I am not banned at TL and I am pretty much banned everywhere. = )

          • I’ve been banned from lots of places.

            Corrente (Lambert was the first to ban me) TL, MyDD (Chuckles Lemos did that) and even DU

            Strangely enough, none of my alternate aliases has ever been banned from anywhere. I think it’s the big shoes.

  4. “…and the growing evangelical movement within the Democratic Party…May I remind you that Jim Wallis was a major supporter of President Obama and is one of his close “spiritual advisers?”

    I am sick to my stomach. It’s not as if there hasn’t been ample evidence–the stable of extreme preachers that Obama has consorted with, then Rick Warren at the inauguration. Nevertheless, the confirmation is nauseating. I have no idea what this Party is anymore, but I’m damn glad to be out of it.

    • Didn’t I read, during the primaries, that Wallis was one of the MEN in charge of Obama’s abortion policy?

    • I always thought Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, was a leftist. I admired him.

      Obviously, labels don’t mean anything these days.

      • I never trusted him, only because everytime I met fans of his, they would say things that are untrue about the Democratic Party, abortion, and reproductive right policy (for example that Bobby Casey’s father was barred from speaking at the DNC because he wasn’t pro-choice). My feeling is, if you have a case, why resort to misinforming your supporters?

        • They can’t help themselves, like the christian that got caught making up the phony quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers.
          Any religion that has to resort to chicanery, lies, threats, and violence is an anathema to the Creator if he or she exists.
          There is nothing so rare as a Pope or Televangelist in heaven.

        • you know the Caseys are still whining about that and they tell the same lie.

      • “leftists” are not more liberal democrats. Leftists are not necessarily pro-choice. They are no more for womens rights than the right wing is. Leftists are pseudo socialists and often not the least bit liberal.

  5. Thank you, BB for clueing me into to this.

    Best strategy? Keep shining the light on these creeps.

    This wiki link is informative:


    “Fellowship leader Doug Coe is described as preaching a leadership model, and a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, comparable to the blind devotion that Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot demanded from their followers.[19] In one videotaped 1989 lecture series, Coe said, “Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had…But they bound themselves together in an agreement…”

    ouch and oh my

  6. Is it just me or does Bart Stupak look like a constipated Pomeranian?

  7. Have you guys heard about the threats from Diane Feinstein and others that they will hold the budget hostage unless Nancy Pelosi makes sure there are deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare? All my worst predictions are coming true. I so hoped I would be wrong.


  8. The Salon article lists several members of “The Family” not cited by wiki, including the thoroughly obnoxious Marsha Blackburn ( R-TN), who often appears on “Hardball”.

    • At least they let women in. That was going to be my next question.

      • I’m not sure women are full members. They can go to the prayer breakfasts. I’m reading Sharlet’s book, so I’ll find out I hope.

        • Somebody has to cook and serve the food.

          • Just like that golf outing back in October when the president invited Melody Barnes along.
            When asked by a reporter’ as he was zipping up Obama’s fly, how Melody did, Barack replied she did good keeping up with the cart while carrying their golf bags. He said he was surprised Ms. Barnes didn’t break a sweat even though she was wearing a burka.

          • And run out for coffee and clean up afterwards.

  9. I like how Sharlet points out that Repubs were able to effect a political realignment on the basis of handing their party over to right wing extremists. Guess why that won’t work for you, amoral power hungry Dems? It’s because the political spectrum in the US is unbounded on the right side. That means, whatever you give them, it will never be enough. The Republicans will always, always, move even farther to the right. This is a game you can never win

    • Yep. The only thing the Dems will get out of this is losing power for another 30 years, or more. Imagine what will happen if they actually cut Social Security?

      • Long considered the third rail of politics Obama could destroy Social Securtiy and the O-bots would still worship him.

  10. Good thing that Palin b*tch didn’t win, huh?:

    Now contending for the most bizarre stories about Sarah Palin are this and this and this by dogemperor at Corrente. According to dogemperor, Ms. Palin is part of some religious conspiracy called the Dominionists that is headquartered within the Assemblies of God church and wants to impose a theocracy on America.

    • Your first link didn’t work for me. Where does it go to?

    • She’s a snake handler! Her freaky voodoo cult asks for blessings on stuff! Hillary goes to Bible study with Repubs! Shut up!

    • She’s too late – “the family” is already here

    • BostonBoomer writes:

      As hard as it is for me to accept, I now have to face the face that the forces of theocracy not only control of the Republican Party, but also they are well on the way to taking over the Democratic party.

      So, in 2008, we looked into that re the Repubilcan Party’s candidate for President. And the problem would be?

      • Typo: “Vice-President.” Not “President.”

      • The problem would be that dogemperor was totally full of shit. Oh, and the fact that you guys bought into every lie perpetuated and passed them on.

        • And that people were running around with their hair on fire screaming about Scary Sarah when everything they said was either bogus or applied equally to the Democrats.

        • Or in the immortal words of Dr Socks in a comment to one of those love dogemperor posts.,..

          By Violet Socks on Tue, 09/16/2008 – 7:22pm

          I’m amazed that Corrente is publishing this crap. Even the grotesque rape kit smear, which has been pushed by His Hopiness and Changiness, Lord Unity Obama.

          You’ve done great work on Health Care Reform. You ought to stay out of electoral politics

        • “You guys bought into every lie perpetuated and passed them on.”

          Oh, really? “Every”? Let me shoot that fish in a barrel. Here’s one takedown of Jeralyn on Paiin; here’s another. So much for “every” — so over-the-top, unverifiable, and laughable as to be a lie itself.

          But do continue to use your any stick to beat a dog” methodology! As I said, different strokes….

          Oh, and dogemperor got sorted out in comments over time, when they couldn’t back up their thesis with evidence. Like some others. That’s called “blogging,” or used to be…

          • What about Mandos? Did he get “sorted out in the comments over time?” Is that why you’re still carrying on his viscious attacks on Dakinikat?

          • Just last week a Correntian named cg.eye was calling us racists

            I asked him/her to back it up with proof. I’m still waiting.

          • Yes, that’s right. In those posts they were perpetuated. I don’t give a damn if you got pissed at Jeralyn later and took her on.

            The point is, when it counted, that’s when dogemperor posted that junk and he was cheered on for some time. If you don’t see a problem with that, get your eyes checked!

      • Too bad you weren’t bringing the same level of scruitiny to bear on anyone else. With your religion obsession, you might have discovered how many members of Congress were living in housing provided by a religious cult if you hadn’t been so sidetracked.

        • Oh, dear, the first comment went in, unmoderated, and now the moderation’s been turned on again. Buh-bye!

          • Look who’s talking. You won’t even let most of us comment at Corrente. You called us racists, you continue to badmouth Dakinikat at other blogs, yet you won’t even let her register at Corrente to defend herself. I don’t understand your attitude at all.

            Frankly I don’t believe you are so obtuse as to not be able to understand what a protest vote is. Yet you keep pretending that people here actually supported or agreed with McCain/Palin. We voted *against* Obama, and it turns out we were right about him, as the rest of the progs are now beginning to finally understand.

      • Has Obama given up religion since he left Trinity. Those 20 years were also just for show. Such dedication to the craft. He had his own religion in mind.

        • This is outrageous. I need a break. I’m really angry that these people did this to us.

    • ya know, I have been waiting for years for the dominionists to try and take over my church and they have never shown up. We are still a mainline moderate to liberal congregation, open to gay people and supportive of women’s rights. I think the scare about the dominionists is way over blown.

  11. Women’s groups met with Rahm today and had a “frank exchange.” Are they finally realizing Obama isn’t a feminist?

    The White House sought to downplay the meeting, with spokesman Reid Cherlin saying in a statement, “As part of our ongoing outreach surrounding health insurance reform, staff met with today with representatives of the women’s rights community. Staff will also be meeting in coming days with leaders from communities of faith and other groups involved in the effort.”

    • Someone needs to remind the administration of the separation of church and state. The faith groups should not have a say on a woman’s autonomy and privacy. Everyday becomes more surreal. SCREAM!

      • this is what happens when people don’t get enough science and math in school … superstitions rule

        • For many people this is true, but what is the administration’s and Pelousy excuse? Besides being ruthless politicians.

          • Well, blind ambition can blot reason out also. Blind ambition, blind faith … either way, you can’t see reality.

          • CEO of Goldman Sachs claims to be doing God’s work. Who would have known!

          • You’re right. Blind amibition and blind faith both corrupt and block out reasonable behavior. Pelosi and her peers are definitely in a bubble and are out of touch with most Americans, especially women.

          • Is the phrase ruthless politician sort of repetitive?
            Like honest politician is an oxymoron?

    • Damn. Next he’ll be promising a fumigation and exorcism.

    • translation: ‘today we met with some wimmen repz to tell them to get over it…don’t worry, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we’re going to meet with the real *leaders* running the show.’

      • True, true, true. This Admin is more disgusting than I could have imagined, and believe me, I imagined it would be bad.

    • notice he didn’t appoint any one from those groups to HHS … those appointments came from the folks with myth-based realities. It would be way too much to ask for people that actually had training and backgrounds in important things. No paying it forward here, all payback

      • oh stop, my church is full of scientists and other people with Masters degree and doctorates.
        You constant bashing of religion as myth etc.. is so DU 2003.

        • myth (mth)
          a. A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth.
          b. Such stories considered as a group: the realm of myth.
          2. A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal: a star whose fame turned her into a myth; the pioneer myth of suburbia.
          3. A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology.
          4. A fictitious story, person, or thing: “German artillery superiority on the Western Front was a myth” (Leon Wolff).

          uh, all religion by definition, is a myth. People should keep it mind that it reflects a personal ethos as it merely ‘illustrate a cultural idea’. It’s should not be used to make public policy decisions like health care that should be based on science and medicine …

          I know people obtain solace from their cultural and religious myths and that’s their prerogative … that’s not the point here. Also, education doesn’t necessarily yield wisdom but training in medicine and science should yield unbiased truths upon which to make health decisions. Relying on stories of miraculous healings and ignorance around the mechanics of fetal development and wishful thinking about the exist of a soul shouldn’t.

          Also, calling it a myth isn’t bashing it. (When I call it a superstition, I’m bashing it.)

          Besides, which myth do we chose and when we do aren’t we violating the establishment clause?

    • “also meeting with communities of faith and other groups”

      American women are so screwed. I cannot believe this is happening in 2009. Seems like 1969 redux.

      • You got your year wrong. I was around and awake in 1969. At a conservative estimate, it was about 3 lightyears ahead of now. I’m serious. People knew which end was up. Not all people, but enough so they were easy to find even without an internet.

        To find something like now in the past I don’t know how far back you’d have to go. Salem witch trials, maybe.

    • Notice they’re meeting with “representatives” of women’s groups. However, they’re meeting with “leaders” of the faith groups.

      And why the hell do they say “faith” instead of WTF it really is: Religion. Religion that thinks abortion is murder but murdering adults and children is OK if it’s war.

  12. For the past nine years I have felt that this country is becoming more and more like Germany in the 1930s. I want my kids and grandkids to leave. They think I am just a over reacting old lady but I really do not see a good future anymore. More and more voices are being silenced, more and more rights being taken away.It is almost like the government is at war with the people.



    • My grandmother lived in Europe during that time. I remember her stories, and from what I’ve read, you’re exactly right. 1930s Germany. Early 1930s. Before people let themselves realize that the Nazis were more than just kind of peculiar. But they told everyone who they were. A lot like now….

      • We resemble the Weimar Republic more all the time. I’ve thought that for about 9 years now. Maybe it will never go all the way. I certainly hope it doesn’t.

  13. Now President Terry O’Neill:

    “It’s ‘Not Acceptable’ for President Obama to Achieve Health Care Reform ‘By Pushing Women Back Into the Back Alleys to Die”

    “He has passed health care for half the population and an anti-abortion bill for the rest of us,” O’Neill said.

    • Maybe NOW is going to be relevant again … that would be nice

      • Nah! They’re like Taylor Marsh trying to recapture the limelight.
        Real liberal feminists should start a new group, they could call it Not Now!

    • I saw Obama on TEEVEE the other day saying “it’s not an abortion bill”.. he was very petulant and arrogant about it. I wished I was there so I could have yelled back “so why the hell is abortion IN the bill”.

  14. Maybe we could get back into the blogger boys’ good graces by supporting Randall Terry for Prez.

  15. http://pumasunleashed.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/blockbuster-obama%e2%80%99s-godfather/

    I posted this on an earlier thread. Between Soros and the fundies we are losing more and more freedoms every day.
    I really think we need to pay attention, and speak out. It is very hard not be caught up in distractions but as someone said during the primaries ” We must always be vigilant”



    • Thanks, Helen. I agree with you. We really don’t have any freedoms now, thanks to the Patriot act and other “laws” that followed it.

  16. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hf92aHEwYT87J1XPP4JrIusKBT-AD9BSTO1G1

    The Catholic Church is looking for signs of alien life on other planets, I guess thay are running out of Earth children to molest.

    On another topic, Bart Stupid’s hair looks like a cross between Rod Blagojevich and John Edwards, I wonder if he shares their morality?

    • I just tool a closer look at that picture, is that a woman’s reproductive orifice on the bottom of his chin?

    • that reminds me of the South Park episode where the local catholic priest goes to the Vatican and there’s those green aliens there from golgamack

  17. Unfortunately I’m in Pitts district.
    A district of Amish farms surrounded by outlet malls where you can count on fall farm animal molestations during the many county and local fairs.

  18. CMA Awards Song of the year:

  19. Somewhere out there is an article by someone who went undercover in this “family” — he exposed how this fundamentalist sect/cult was influencing politicians.

    This has been going on for a very very very long time.

    FINALLY — more people are waking up. What is it going to take to get more people to wake up??

    I wish I could remember the name of the reporter who joined this cult and then wrote in detail about what they were up to.

    BB — this is very important information.

    And I can tell you that women seem to be waking up —

    Key words to use to wake more women up is the so called health care bill considers — female as a special medical “condition”. THAT bit is getting through — as well as the religious wack jobs trying to push women back to the 19th century.

    • Harpers, 2003.

    • THIS is the guy, Jeff Sharlet, who went undercover in this cult — I read his article ages ago and was EXTREMELY upset because these creeps were so damned powerful and mostly no one knows about them.

      This is a must read book — I am ordering it based on the article I read so long ago. I though that this cult had killed him — really — he seemed to have disappeared!!!

      • I’ve known about the Family for years. I guess Lambert is trying to imply that it’s news to me. This post is about Jeff Sharlet’s latest piece about how this is going to affect the Democratic Party. But Lambert wants to play some game of “informing” me, as if I never knew about the Family or hadn’t read the Harpers article or Sharlet’s book.

        We’re all supid racists here and Lambert is soooo very well informed and so far superior to poor ignorant me. The simple truth is, we were right about Obama all along, and we’re hated for that.

        • We’re all just ignorant rubes around here, dontcha know?

        • Yep!

          I’ve never seen such hatred directed at truth tellers — and the venom from the haters can be found in the archives of many blogs. We’ve been called “r@cist for merely questioning 0bama’s qualifications. 0bama had little or no qualifications which is why his cult followers were/are so abusive — they have no answer so the use the oldest trick — redirect the subject with the “ultimate” insult.

          Someone will have one heck of a PhD project!

    • Yes, that was Jeff Sharlet, the guy who wrote the book and article I’m talking about in my post.

    • Does it burn to know that Hillary was a member of “The Family?”

  20. Excellent post BB, thanks. Scares the hell out of me.

  21. Here’s another reason why church and state don’t mix:

    The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.


  22. the truth is, as americans we haven’t made it clear to elected government officials what we really want, so there’s this underlying feeling that no matter what washington d.c. does, it will still wind up falling short of what quality health care for all americans could be.

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