Is there no limit to the embarrassment that we South Carolinians must endure while Mark Sanford publicly grinds through his mid-life crisis — a scandal made even more creepy by Sanford’s Jesus-deluded idea that his adulterous affair is but a stepping stone to fulfulling his greater mission from God?
On that topic, I suspect the time has long passed when any of us could exercise real control over the malignant end-times evangelical movement — that ubiquitious “invisible hand” of Doug Coe and The Family — that has encroached into our political system. Our country has become comfortable, to the point of embracing the rhetoric of politicians such as Sanford and Palin, who sound more like, say Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker than presidential hopefuls — and whose spiritual leader is reading from the same playbook used by men like Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs and David Koresh. Only, this is no tiny cult in the middle of some godforsaken nowhere. It may be too late to slam shut the doors (from Capitol Hill, to corporate board rooms, to front-row seats at the Rapture), which these politicians believe God is opening for them, as part of their greater destiny:
I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm. — from Mark Sanford’s June 29, 2009 letter of apology, in which he explains why he intends to remain in politics
Don’t know what the future holds. I’m not gonna shut any door. That — who knows what doors open? — Sarah Palin, July 8, 2009, answering a question on her future presidential aspirations.
Like any cancer, it gradually crept up on us — the nagging symptoms easily dismissed. But we have no excuses now. Myraid stories on Doug Coe and the Family are a mere google away. All that’s left is the reading, then the votes. We are, after all, still somewhat of a democracy. Shall we fight for the integrity of this democracy? Or shall we willingly — or, through benign complacency — turn the reins of our country over to the very religious tyranny that our forefathers fought to escape when they fled to the shores of North America — aspiring to build a country, whose constitution would guarantee the separation of church and state, so that its citizens would never be subjected to the authority of any tyrannical religious idealogue?
Because, make no mistake. Sanford is right about his greater mission, only his mission is not from God, per se, but from Doug Coe and the Family. Anytime a vote is cast for Sanford or Palin or any political leader who defers authority to God in matters of state, we are inching one step closer to a country run by the ilk of leaders embraced in the speeches of Doug Coe: Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Goebbler and Hemmler.
In this vein, I offer, without apology, both the text and subtext of Mark Sanford’s most recent apology:
I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, being discovered as a philandering, unethical hypocrite and in that regard I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying “I am sorry.” “I’m still not going to resign.” A handwritten note or phone call simple “fuck you” would ultimately be more appropriate in keeping with the style of my governorship, but given the number of people Christians I need to apologize appeal to by shamelessly pandering God to, I write this to begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others. everyone off my back.
It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God being a minion of Doug Coe can make good of our respective wrongs in life. powerful politicians out of the most disreputable characters. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for oblivious to the perspective it has afforded.
If you ever have the misfortune of being at this point, caught with your pants down, whether self-induced as in my case or not, it will give you an indeed amazing perspective on life crash course in damage control and on what really matters. how difficult it is to fly by the seat of your pants while they’re still rolled around your ankles. I read notes from someone who worked in a sandwich shop I ate at ten years ago, from seventh-grade classmates, from state employees and more. While there have been you’d think I’d have learned lifetimes of lessons learned over the past weeks, three things most immediately come to mind. Ive changed nothing.
One, forgiveness and grace really do matter. Still, if you’re a Christian, it’s your job to forgive me. I used to believe that at an intellectual level. Now it is at the level of heart. I see that it is my only hope of salvaging my political career. Over my life I have not given enough of either, always been too narcissistic to give a thought about anyone or anything but my own personal ambitions, and yet given all the ways in which my failings have come to light, that I’ve been caught misppropriating taxpayer dollars while engaging in an adulterous affair, I write to apologize for, in the most profound of ways, letting you and so many others down. explain how this is not just about me anymore — this is part of God’s plan.
In life it’s always the people closest to us that we hurt the most, and given my standing of public trust, I know I’ve hurt many across our state. I wish I could put myself aside long enough to show remorse to my family, my friends and the citizens of South Carolina, but everytime I try, the words fall flat. I apologize for this, and more than anything would don’t know what else to do but keep pulling the pull the Christ card to ask for your forgiveness going forward.
Two, To paraphrase Doug Coe, life is indeed about way more than public standing or political views. It’s about recognizing that none of us is the arbiter of truth, that there are moral absolutes, and that there is a God to whom we will all report for our actions. power, influence and money, and exploiting God to get these. My failure has been was in revealing the role that Doug Coe and The Fellowship have played in my political and my personal life most glaring on this front, where no public apology can make wrong right. but, lucky for me, folks don’t seem too concerned about connecting the dots between Doug Coe, Howard Rich, Biblical Capitalism, the Santee Cooper scandal and my ongoing efforts to privatize the South Carolina school system.
As a consequence, it is on this plane that I’ve grown the most over the past weeks — and where I’m committed to growing the most keeping my work with the Family invisible going forward. I’ve been humbled and broken as never before in my life and as a consequence have given up areas of control in a way that I never have before far exceeded the levels of submission I achieved in my Fellowship prayer cell with Doug Coe [see quote at bottom of post] and it is my belief that this being a vessel thus emptied will make me a better father, husband, friend and advocate.disciple for Doug Coe.
It’s in the spirit of making good from bad the Fellowship’s belief that God’s “chosen ones” don’t have to adhere to man-made laws and ethics, nor God’s law that I am committing to you and the larger family of South Carolinians staying in office to use exploit this experience to both trust God Coe in his larger work delusional plot of changing me, to construct a Kingdom of God on earth with Washington as its capital, and from my end, to work continue sidestepping whatever laws and ethics are neccesary to becoming a better and more effective leader disciple for Doug Coe.
In this regard I think all that has transpired will be particularly relevant in the way I deal with the legislative body and other state leaders going forward. In my apology last month, I paraphrased Doug Coe and compared myself to King David, which didn’t go over very well. Maybe you’ll like this one better: Micah 6:8 asks us to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly; and as I begin these steps into the last 18 months of this administration, as I have no intention of resigning, I’m thinking that — since this Micah quote works so well for the Fellowship’s many evangelical missions around the world, working behind the scenes to spread capitalism and covert wealth to despotic leaders, under the mantle of helping the sick, the impoverished, the hungry and the oppressed — heck, it oughta work for me in South Carolina, so long as I act as if it will indeed be with a more contrite and humble spirit.
I’ve realized that as much as I have and will continue to advocate for things ranging from restructuring cutting public services and redistributing the state’s wealth into the private enterprise , to responsible spending saying “no” to anything-Obama, “yes” to reimbursing the state for my trip to Argentina, and “hell yes” to traveling first class on the taxpayer’s dime, to school choice, re-segregating the schools in South Carolina, my approach needs to be less about my will and more about looking for ways to more humbly present the greater principles and ideas at play. Doug Coe’s will and His greater plan for Mark Sanford and the Fellowship. It needs to be less strident more invisible and more about finding ways to work with behind the scenes to buy and/or coerce legislative leaders to advance the ideas so many of us believe in. agendas for South Carolinians of wealth and priviledge. It means less time fighting the tide Democrats — and a greater awareness of the fact that God money and power controls it. can buy most anything.
In working with a few alterations to my approach, I think this could be a far more productive last session than the one that would have been had the tragedy that has unfolded not occurred, I not been forced to take the stimulus money, and in turn, people’s lives can be made better as I scored a lot of political capital outside the state by refusing this money, which may be helpful, if I can channel it into the right pockets.
Finally it is at your funeral a press conference in the wake of a political scandal that you your constituents in many ways not only can see most clearly the things that really matter in life, that this has been an onging pattern in the State House, but where one gets the best glimpse of who your real friends are governor is — and how much they little the citizens of South Carolina matter. For that reason, I want to thank so many for their kindnesses and support being oblivious to what I’ve doing (and not doing) over the years and for their kindness in not taking to the streets with pitchforks after being subjected to this latest chapter (albeit not written on the Appalachian trail, but during my drive home from the airport) in our book together as South Carolinians.
by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers
The following quote (referenced 6 paragraphs up ) is from the 2006 Rolling Stone article by Jeff Sharlet, titled, God’s Senator: Who Would Jesus Vote For? Meet Sam Brownback, wherein Sharlet describes Doug Coe’s method for breaking the will of Fellowship members through confession. (As an aside, the use of confession as a tool in mind control has been well-studied and documented by many scholars. Psychiatrist Robert Lifton, a well-published scholar in the field of mind control and cult formation, cites confession as one of eight methods used to coerce what Lifton terms, “thought reform.” Further research into the Fellowship leaves one wondering if Family leader, Doug Coe, has overlooked the other seven methods. It appears not.)
Brownback was placed in a weekly prayer cell by “the shadow Billy Graham” — Doug Coe, Vereide’s successor as head of the Fellowship. The group was all male and all Republican. It was a “safe relationship,” Brownback says. Conversation tended toward the personal. Brownback and the other men revealed the most intimate details of their desires, failings, ambitions. They talked about lust, anger and infidelities, the more shameful the better — since the goal was to break one’s own will. The abolition of self; to become nothing but a vessel so that one could be used by God.
They were striving, ultimately, for what Coe calls “Jesus plus nothing” — a government led by Christ’s will alone. In the future envisioned by Coe, everything — sex and taxes, war and the price of oil — will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture. The Bible itself is for the masses; in the Fellowship, Christ reveals a higher set of commands to the anointed few. from Rolling Stone (2006) — God’s Senator: Who Would Jesus Vote For? Meet Sam Brownback
If you’ve made it this far, you might also be interested in these:
The Wall Street Journal: Mark Sanford’s Once-Secret Wall Street Deal –
Despite the impression given by his aw-shucks mea culpa today, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford isn’t new to furtive dealings. The governor, a long-time darling of the GOP, was criticized heavily in 2005 for secretly trying to orchestrate a sale of the state’s largest asset, a massive 70-year-old utility named Santee Cooper….
The Post & Courier (Charleston, SC) Sanford weighed utility privatization — Wall Street firm was asked to assess value of Santee Cooper
Gov. Mark Sanford’s office orchestrated the hiring of an investment bank to determine how much Santee Cooper would fetch in a sale that would privatize the state-owned utility, according to newly obtained documents and a former board chairman. Sanford has denied for months that he is interested in privatizing the Moncks Corner-based power business, and has said the study was undertaken to see how Santee Cooper stacks up against other utilities. But Graham Edwards, former chairman of Santee Cooper, said Thursday that the governor proposed selling the utility in a November 2003 meeting held to discuss the utility’s contributions to the state’s General Fund….
Howard Rich: Obama’s Chilling Effect on Capitalism
LA Times: (Sept. 2002) Showing Faith in Discretion The Fellowship, which sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, quietly effects political change. It acts with the blessing of many in power.
Ben Daniel: Dysfunction in the Fellowship Family
The Fellowship Foundation, a secretive organization of wealthy and powerful American political, religious, and business leaders, would rather that you not be aware of its existence.
The Fellowship Foundation is an organization that goes by many names, but members mostly call it “the Fellowship,” or just “the Family.” It is a loose, worldwide affiliation of mostly wealthy, mostly powerful, mostly men, using the Mafia as an organizational model. Preaching a simple gospel of “Jesus plus nothing,” and, being adverse to institutionalized forms of Christianity (even shunning the name “Christian”), the Fellowship eschews organized churches, choosing instead to build strong relationships in the community of small cell groups.
Harpers: (March 2003) Jesus plus nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats
The organization has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family’s leaders, “a target for misunderstanding
Heritage Foundation This is but one of the many organizations that work as an “invisible hand” in promoting the agenda of the Fellowship. Here is a tiny handful of others, which I’ll add to if and when I have the time or inclination:
The National Association of Evangelicals
Values Voter Summit This site is an excellent resource for Fellowship members, as the lists of speakers at this annual event are heavily seeded with the names/causes/organizations of the politicians, media figures, corporate leaders and Christian leaders that work (albeit invisibly, for the record) in concert with the Fellowship’s mission. :
2009 Roster of Values Voter Summit speakers: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Dr. Ted Baehr, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Ken Blackwell, Rep. Roy Blunt, Rep. John Boehner, Gov. Jeb Bush, Herman Cain, Kirk Cameron, Dr. Ergun Caner, Rep. Eric Cantor, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. John Cornyn, Jim Daly, Sen. Jim DeMint, Lou Dobbs, Ed Feulner, Sean Hannity, David Horowitz, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Brit Hume, Dr. Ken Hutchenson, Terry Jeffrey, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rush Limbaugh, Frank Luntz, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCullough, Ed Meese, Kate O’Beirne, Bill O’Reilly, Gov. Sarah Palin, Star Parker, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence, Tony Perkins, Gov. Rick Perry, Carrie Prejean, Gov. Mitt Romney, Joel Rosenberg, Lila Rose, Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Sinise, Ben Stein, Mark Steyn, Fred Thompson, Eduardo Verastegui, Don Wildmon. (see also the rosters for 2008 and 2007).
Focus on the Family Action
Family Research Council (see also FRC Blog and FRC/Washington Watch Radio)
One News Now
American Family Association
Young America’s Foundation
The Leadership Institute
In the Fight/Matt Friedeman