"C Street House" Members Back Christian Nationalist H. Res. 397
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:59:14 AM EST
While high-profile mass media journalists such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow  have recently begun giving Washington's "C Street House" some long overdue scrutiny, another aspect to the story has been almost entirely overlooked. Beyond an apparent lust to be above normal legal and moral constraints, and a proclivity for illicit sex, some C Street members share another simmering, but very different, passion: overwriting and falsifying the historical record in order to justify claims that the United States was originally founded as a Christian nation.
According to a July 20th story from Politico.com, Virginia Congressman James "Randy" Forbes (R-VA) attends Bible study groups at the C Street House. When not piously engaging in C Street's Bible studies along with "family values" advocates such as GOP Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Ensign (R-NV), who shared knowledge of Ensign's extramarital affair before the news became public, Representative Forbes indulges his lust for foisting a fake, Christian nationalist version of American history upon the nation. Randy Forbes' latest legislative push, H. Res 397, backed by a sizable rump GOP House faction, is literally packed with American history lies.

Washington's 'C Street House' provides cheap rent, is registered as a church, and is run by a shadowy Washington based association known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship." The group and its activities, the subject of a 2008 book by journalist Jeff Sharlet, has over the summer of 2009 become notorious as a string of sex scandals has enveloped three national politicians who have lived at the C Street House or gone to Bible study classes there: South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford, Nevada GOP Senator John Ensign, and former Republican Congressman Charles "Chip" Pickering.

The frequency with which names of C Street House's current and former members are popping up in the news, implicated in sex scandals, lends credibility to media lampooning of the cheap rent church as a Christian frat house, but there's a sinister edge to C Street Culture.

The institution is run by "The Family", whose longtime head Douglas Coe operates in the Washington back-room shadows as if a Christian mafia don; for decades, Coe has been able to grants his supplicants private face time with US presidents. Doug Coe has also publicly evinced admiration for the revolutionary dedication of Bolsheviks, Chinese Red Guard who chopped their own parents' heads off, and Hitler Youth willing to follow their Fuhrer's every command. In a recent op ed, Buzzflash.com editor Mark Karlin observed that accounts of C Street's secretive, cultic subculture suggest the group might cover for  crimes committed by C Street members.

But The Family's crimes against the integrity of the American historical record have been very real and very public. For decades, a fabricated George Washington quote, known as "Washington's Prayer", has been incorporated into the program of the National Prayer Breakfast, an event held by The Family every year since President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended the first National Prayer Breakfast event in 1953. The egregious example fits into a wide pattern of abuse that amounts to a Christian nationalist guerrilla war to remake the historical record. In recent years Randy Forbes has been at the tip of the spear in that war.

On December 8, 2007, Randy Forbes introduced a House resolution, H. Res. 888, that purported to promote "education on America's history of religious faith." In fact, the resolution was packed with 75 assertions, most of which amounted to lies and distortions of the American historical record.

Enter historian Chris Rodda, author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History and also head researcher for The Military Religious Freedom Foundation. In January 2008, Rodda began an ongoing series, at the website Talk To Action (disclosure: this author is co-founder of Talk To Action), which disproved House Resolution 888's numerous historical fallacies.

The resolution contained a list of 75 historical assertions. HR 888 began as follows:

"Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as `American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith."

Rodda's writing was the centerpiece of an Internet-based campaign to publicize and oppose Forbes H. Res. 888, which never made it to the House floor but managed nonetheless to gain 93 co-sponsors, mostly Republicans.

Undeterred by the failure of H. Res. 888, on may 4th, 2009 Randy Forbes re-introduced the text of the resolution, as House Resolution 397, which currently has 74 co-sponsors.

The trigger for the reintroduction of the falsified US history fussilade was, by Randy Forbes' own statements, president Barack Obama's April 7, 2009 statement during a public appearance in Turkey, in which Obama declared that "one of the great strengths" of the United States is that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Obama's declaration set off a firestorm of criticism from Christian conservatives in Congress and the Senate, with GOP Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann attacking Obama, in an April 21 speech on the House floor in which Bachmann cited the falsified "Washington's prayer" as evidence that the United States was in fact a Christian nation. Mention of the falsified "prayer" is not at all unusual in Congress. The Congressional record notes multiple citations of the "prayer" in Congress, including by Senate chaplains associated with The Family.

In a May 6th speech on the floor of the US Congress, Randy Forbes asked the questions, "Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?" and "If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?" Forbes' speech, posted as a YouTube video segment, has so far received over 2 and 1/2 million views.  

In a May 7th, 2009 press conference Randy Forbes attacked Barack Obama's Turkey declaration, stating,

"I suggest the overwhelming evidence suggests that this nation was born and it was birthed with Judeo-Christian principles and I would challenge anybody to tell me that point in time that we ceased to be such, because it doesn't exist."

Forbes went on to issue an even more explicit challenge, in a July 1, 2009 appearance on the Jody Hice Show, during which Forbes declared,

"I challenge the president or anyone else -- come up, either debate me on this issue or simply tell me where that single moment in time was when you can say we crossed the threshold -- we ceased being a Judeo-Christian nation -- and you can't do it."

Defending the House Resolution 888/397's "extensive footnotes", Congressman Forbes declared on the show,

"This...is the most documented resolution, I think, that's been filed in Congress in years because we footnote every single thing that we've put in there, and you can read this resolution and it's like reading a history of faith in America. So, we hope to get that dialogue and that debate started again..."

Randy Forbes then emitted a  pugilistic rhetorical ultimatum,

"The spiritual heritage bill basically just draws a line in the sand and says wait a minute, we've got a rich history of faith in this country. We shouldn't be obscuring it. We shouldn't be running away from it. We should be talking about it."

In a July 20th Huffington Post story, entitled "I Accept Rep. Randy Forbes's Challenge for Someone to Debate Him", Chris Rodda wrote,

"Well, someone needs to cross that line in the sand, and it's going to be me.

So, Mr. Forbes, just name the time and place -- your turf, my turf (up here in NJ-6), DC, or anywhere else -- and let's debate your resolution clause by clause and see how well that very impressive looking list of footnotes you keep boasting about stands up to scrutiny.

I'll be sending a registered, return receipt letter to Mr. Forbes's office formally accepting his challenge to make sure he knows that I, as an "anyone else," have stepped up to accept it."

Over the course of the 19th and 20th Centuries, an entire parallel historiography, based on fabricated historical details, falsified founding father quotes, quotes taken out of context, deceptive textual ellipsis, and a host of other methods, has arisen and been incorporated not only into books but also textbooks and curriculum, including that taught in the national Junior ROTC program.

That falsified American history campaign has apparently had some effect. Over the last three decades, the percent of Americans who incorrectly believe the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation has increased significantly. A 2007 poll from the First Amendment Center showed that  65%, nearly 2/3, of Americans believe the founders intended the US to be a Christian nation and 55% from that poll thought the US Constitution establishes the US as a Christian nation.

As Frederick Clarkson, journalist and author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy wrote in the commentary History is Powerful: Why the Christian Right Distorts History and Why it Matters published in the Spring 2007 issue of Public Eye, a publication from Political Research Associates,

"The notion that America was founded as a Christian nation is a central animating element of the ideology of the Christian Right. It touches every aspect of life and culture in this, one of the most successful and powerful political movements in American history. The idea that America's supposed Christian identity has somehow been wrongly taken, and must somehow be restored, permeates the psychology and vision of the entire movement. No understanding of the Christian Right is remotely adequate without this foundational concept.

But the Christian nationalist narrative has a fatal flaw: it is based on revisionist history that does not stand up under scrutiny. The bad news is that to true believers, it does not have to stand up to the facts of history to be a powerful and animating part of the once and future Christian nation. Indeed, through a growing cottage industry of Christian revisionist books and lectures now dominating the curricula of home schools and many private Christian academies, Christian nationalism becomes a central feature of the political identity of children growing up in the movement. The contest for control of the narrative of American history is well underway.




Display:
Thank you for the work you are doing on this issue, and on the broader issue on this web site. We need to get your message out there!

by American Teacher on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:28:06 PM EST
Existing institutions, even many good ones, haven't been especially helpful.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:37:53 PM EST
Parent


We should do to Randy Forbes what Barry Goldwater said we should do to Jerry Falwell, being: " All good Christians should give Jerry Falwell as kick in the ass." That Mr. Forbes is what you are obviously asking for, which you will no doubt eventually get. As a so-called Christian Mr. Forbes should know that "one can go to Hell for Lying just as fast as for stealing."

by Bonatti on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 01:54:35 AM EST
Oddly, prohibition against lying isn't one of the Ten Commandments. It's possible, however, that given Forbes is a legislator he's arguably engaged in bearing "false witness". I'll have to get a lawyer and a theologian to knock heads on that one.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:52:38 AM EST
Parent


As long as they still aren't fully in charge we have a chance, though a slim one, to defeat this multi-million dollar assault on reality. If they win they will sweep away the real history and only their modified history will remain. That would be a bad thing for the world. It is already bad now with our gargantuan military presence in over 147 countries and over 878 bases world wide. How many of them were educated using this material and believing it? 75% of the home schooled are Christians and they aren't the Unitarian/Universalist kind. Might makes right and their God is a War God of lightning bolts and surveillance drones firing hellfire missiles into other people's homes and wedding parties. Power=right in their eyes. A dangerous combination that evinces aggression and domination of others.

by Nightgaunt on Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 01:03:12 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (4 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (6 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (5 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (5 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.