Yesterday Rachel Maddow interviewed Sen. James Inhofe, whose new book includes the claim that Maddow had attacked Inhofe on one of her shows for his views on climate change. Maddow asked if he had watched the show, which was not about climate change, but about the Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality bill. She quoted The Family member David Bahati, the bill's author, interviewed by Maddow in 2010. Inhofe responded, "Can you tell me who he is? I've never heard of him. ...I don't have any idea who you're talking about. ...Let's talk about something to do with global warming instead of getting off on these hysterical things."
Jeff Sharlet's 2010 Mother Jones article includes segments from an interview with Bahati concerning his ties to The Family and Sen. Inhofe.
"We know Senator Inhofe," David Bahati, the author of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, told me. "We respect him." Bahati considers his anti-gay bill (which Inhofe didn't see fit to condemn until after it started making headlines in the US) a prime example of Inhofe's teachings: "When he says 'political philosophy of Jesus,' I think he's responding to politics as the management of society according to Jesus."
In the video embedded below (h/t to Crooks and Liars), the segment on Uganda begins at about the one minute mark.
In the paragraphs preceding the one above, Sharlet explains how the Family was promoting an initiative to train young international leaders.
By 2003, Inhofe was using his access to foreign leaders to push a Family initiative known as Youth Corps. Endorsed by former Secretary of State James Baker and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Youth Corps doesn't lead with Jesus--its official brochure doesn't even mention his name. But an internal Family document sets out the vision: to target promising young leaders overseas, "training them on how to live like Jesus and share Him with the poor of their country." The document lays out how:
A) A congressman and/or Senator from the United States will befriend the leader of another country and tell him/her how Jesus and His teachings will help his country and its poor. B) U.S. leader and foreign leader will select 5 men (mentors) from the foreign country to commit to learn about Jesus and how He will help themselves, their country and the poor.
The five would then be matched with American support teams that would cover their costs for travel to the US. The men would not be asked to convert outright--in fact, the Family believes, it'd be better if they continued to call themselves Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever the customs of the land dictated; as "followers of Jesus" who also still adhered to their religion, they could serve as spiritual double agents. To those who were ready, however, the true leader would be introduced: "We will teach the mentors to confess their sins (known or unknown) and to ask the Holy Spirit of Christ to live in them, and to teach them how to live, what to think and what to say. We will teach them to ask the Spirit of Jesus to teach them as they read God's word."
It's a new variation on the idea Abraham Vereide began with in 1935: Win the leadership, win the nation. Only instead of trying to persuade a man like Abacha to come over to its side, the Family is seeking to build the next generation of rulers. A 2004 Family budget for Inhofe's Youth Corps work includes $375,000 for a total of 11 African nations: Benin, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For each country, the local liaison is listed in the budget document. In all but Ethiopia and Mauritius, it is the president. Then the US leader: Inhofe.
Now Inhofe claims that he's never even heard of Bahati and attacked Rachel Maddow for persecuting Doug Coe, the leader of The Family.
"I wish you knew Doug Coe. I've never known anyone in my life who just loves everyone ... I am sorry that you did that."
Perhaps Sen. Inhofe should have read Jeff Sharlet's books The Family and C Street House or watched Maddow's interview of Bahati before agreeing to this interview. It's a little late to be claiming he never heard of Bahati.