Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is Jim DeMint Among the Chosen?

By Baynard Woods

Jim DeMint believes in the sanctity of the family. He lives in Christ. South Carolinians would be surprised to learn that DeMint may not mean the same thing they mean by these words.

The Fellowship Foundation, an influential religious group, held the National Prayer Breakfast last week. The Foundation is also called the Family.  Governor Mark Sanford brought a lot of attention to the secretive group when his scandal broke.

The Foundation’s spiritual leaders, Doug Coe and his son David (who is not, unfortunately, David Alan Coe) knew of Sanford’s affairs. They helped him. Jeff Sharlet lived with the group and wrote a spectacular book “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” about them.

According to Sharlet, David Coe guided John Ensign, the RepublicanSenator from Nevada who screwed an advisor’s wife and then paid him off for it, through the entire process. Sharlet was at the house when the younger Coe asked one of their members, “Let’s say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?”

According to Sharlet “the man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. ‘No,’ answered Coe, ‘I wouldn’t.’ Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he’s among what Family leaders refer to as the ‘new chosen.’ If you’re chosen, the normal rules don’t apply.”

The personal ethics part is surprising. But the political view is even weirder. Sharlet reports that Doug Coe often talks about the “totalitarianism of God.” Apparently, he doesn’t mean this figuratively.

On Salon.com, Sharlet makes this astounding claim: “Counseling Rep. Tiahrt, Doug Coe offered Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden as men whose commitment to their causes is to be emulated. Preaching on the meaning of Christ’s words, he says, ‘You know Jesus said ‘You got to put Him before mother-father-brother sister? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that’s what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn’t murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom.’”

You might think that DeMint’s connection with these people is just the Kevin Bacon variety, like Obama and Weatherman Bill Ayers. No.

DeMint lives in the Family’s infamous house on C Street. Reportedly he pays about six hundred dollars a month to live there, along with Senators John Ensign, Tom Coburn and others.

Sure, but maybe it’s just a convenient and cheap place to live.   Actually, DeMint said that living at C street was one of the “best parts of being up here,” in Washington.  He said: “I have a small group I meet with, and we continue to pray and encourage each other.”

Sharlet reports that the Foundation’s literature stresses the importance of the “cell” as the unit of operations for all successful insurgency groups from the Communists to the terrorists… to themselves.

DeMint called the group the “salt and the light” – a phrasing that mirrors the “revolutionary vanguard” idea of the other radical groups whose spirit—if not beliefs—the Family so admire.  The personal and political seem to come together for the Family like this: If you believe God plays an active role in politics—then any political action you take is the work of God and therefore right.

If you do not believe that God intervenes in politics, then any political action you take is godless and therefore wrong. This is the perfect encapsulation of DeMint’s opposition to Obama.

It seems that, far from being an unwitting member of this group, DeMint is, as “Counterpunch” reports “C Street’s real free trade messiah.”

This is just a small part of the fascinating story that Sharlet tells and you should check out his book.  As I read, I couldn’t help but think, these are the guys that the independent Tea Party Patriots want speaking for them?


Guys like DeMint and Sanford who apparently believe that they are chosen and therefore above morality. Sharlet wrote of the Family for Salon.com

“They’re followers of a political religion that embraces elitism, disdains democracy, and pursues power for its members the better to ‘advance the Kingdom.’ They say they’re working for Jesus, but their Christ is a power-hungry, inside-the-Beltway savior.” Is this the man the Tea Partiers want to represent them?

It is possible that DeMint does not believe in Coe’s more extreme positions any more than Obama believed Reverend Wright’s. If that is true, then DeMint needs to explain where and how he diverges. He needs to break the Family’s first rule. He needs to talk openly about these beliefs with his constituents.

Oh, and Sanford was at the group’s prayer breakfast. It seems (though has not been confirmed) that he flew in the state’s plane. Shouldn’t he explain his affiliations?



  1. If we’re choosing horses a$ses, then, yes, DeMint would most definitely be one of The Chosen.

  2. Jim DeMint thinks he is going to be riding in on a white horse....SURELY, South Carolinians are NOT GOING TO BE THAT STUPID!!!

  3. Agreed....the people of South Carolina have stood in front of the line of STUPID for way too long.....