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MSNBC's Maddow Show Propels Growing DC "Christian Mafia" Scandal

09/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In a new August 17, 2009 Maddow Show segment, Rachel Maddow and Jeff Sharlet discuss, among many new revelations, the disturbing fact that the "Christian Embassy" scandal, propelled by a complaint to the Department of Defense from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, was investigated by a Pentagon Inspector General who is in fact a Family member.

The Family, also known as "The Fellowship", is a secretive fundamentalist Washington DC ministry which runs the National Prayer Breakfast and Bible study groups attended by numerous US Senators and Congress members, wields global influence, and celebrates the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.

Over the course of the summer of 2009, Washington's Family-run "C Street House" has become notorious as a string of sex scandals have engulfed national GOP political figures who live at, have lived at, or attended Bible study classes at the secretive former convent turned church-cum cheap-rent high end boarding house: Senator John Ensign, former Congressman Charles "Chip" Pickering, and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

By far the story has been driven, first, by Jeff Sharlet, who wrote the 2008 book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at The Heart Of American Power, which followed Sharlet's 2003 Harper's expose Jesus Plus Nothing. But MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who has pursued breaking new aspects of the festering scandal with a long-term dedication only rarely seen in mainstream media news coverage, has played an invaluable role in giving the mafia-like "Family" widespread public exposure.

Maddow's willingness to cover the story of The Family and the C Street House in an ongoing manner, week to week over the summer, implicitly indicts much of mainstream news coverage as suffering from collective attention-deficit disorder; given the level of international, geopolitical influence The Family apparently wields, its members' penchant for describing their group as a Christian "mafia", and in light of Family head Doug Coe's zest for celebrating useful leadership lessons Coe says can be gleaned from studying Lenin's Bolsheviks, Mao's Red Guard willing to chop off their own parents' heads for the good of the revolutionary state, and Hitler's Nazis, it's nothing less than astonishing and appalling that most of mainstream news media has neglected for so long to dig further into revelations seeded in Jeff Sharlet's The Family book, which came out early in 2008.

Now, bypassing most mainstream news organizations, Christian media is getting into the act. As covered on the latest Raddow Maddow The Family/C Street House segment, a conservative Christian news magazine, World Magazine, has not only covered the Family/C Street saga but also advanced the story in important ways.

In "All In The Family," Emily Belz and Eric Lee Pitts do what is sorely lacking in much of mainstream journalism -- they investigate, dig that is, and uncover new information on the welter of Family-owned properties located in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC as well as on the financial dealings of The International Foundation, the Family's central nonprofit entity which finances international travel.

World Magazine quoted Chris Halverson, the son of Former US Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson, one of the earliest Family members, as stating,

They used to call themselves the Christian mafia -- and they would laugh. Meaning one family is in strong power and then other families around that family have some power....I would have been considered one of the families that have power....[Doug Coe] became the godfather...but for good, not for bad.

This story is certain to continue to generate new revelations on the influence that The Family's elitist, theocratically oriented members have managed to garner both within the Washington DC power establishment but also worldwide. As Family member David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith, has stated, "...the Family's reach into governments around the world is impossible to overstate or even grasp."

Revelations concerning The Family and other fundamentalist groups it works with, such as Campus Crusade For Christ and Youth With a Mission, will no doubt continue to break throughout the rest of August and into Fall 2009. Other angles to The Family story include its proclivity for promoting falsified American history and The Family's relationship with the global behemoth missionary group Youth With a Mission, which owns the "C Street House".

The founder of Youth With a Mission, Loren Cunningham, espouses a widely marketed program for Christian world domination called the "Seven Mountains" mandate (also known as the 7-M mandate and "Retaking the Seven Mountains") that is promoted in conferences, books, literature, and videos and has been espoused at Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, during an October 2005 Palin ceremony and "anointing" Palin attended before running for the Alaska Governor's seat.

In 2000, YWAM and The Family co-founded a bipartisan Congressional junket by two US Congress members and went with their wives to Kona, Hawaii, the location of YWAM's international university. The two Congressman indicated that they went on official congressional business relating to the National Prayer Breakfast, the yearly signature public event of The Family since the institution was first established, during the Eisenhower Administration, in 1953.

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 15th 2009]

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 16 2009]

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 20 2009]

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 21 2009]

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 24 2009]

[Maddow Show, C Street w/Jeff Sharlet, July 24 2009]