"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


Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (0 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Say You Want A Christian Nation?: Let's Try This One
Last week an article began circulating on social media claiming that 57 percent of Republicans in a recent poll said they believe Christianity should......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Are The Fundamentalists Winning?
We missed Evolution Weekend, which was held February 13-15 this year.   This worthwhile effort, which began the same year as Talk to Action,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Mario Cuomo's Memorable Lesson on Challenging the Political Authority of the Church
It is never too late to remember. Here is a reposting of a column I did following the death of former New York Gov.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Legacy of Francis Bellamy
"We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principles of universal enlightenment and equality; the most characteristic......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Inquisitional Urge Gets the Better of Bill Donohue (Again)
Bill Donohue is at it again. The Catholic League president went apoplectic over President Obama’s seemingly innocuous comments at the February 5th National Prayer......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Recommended to Lead United Church of Christ
I am very pleased to report that John Dorhauer, who joined us early on at Talk to Action has been recommended by a national......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (8 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)

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.