Skip the National Prayer Breakfast
In the coming days, you’ll probably hear quite a bit about the National Prayer Breakfast. The event has been a Washington tradition since the 1950’s and thousands are expected to participate in the 2012 event on Thursday. President Obama has attended all three years he’s been in office, and in fact, every president since Eisenhower has attended. Congressional leaders, cabinet secretaries, and even foreign dignitaries will be there as well. Yet in all the news about the breakfast, very few stories, (if any) will tell you the truth about who’s behind this well-spun event.
The National Prayer Breakfast is a meeting and recruiting event for the shadowy group known as the Fellowship Foundation, or colloquially as “The Family.” The group’s leader, Doug Coe, offers his services as a spiritual advisor to some leading government officials, all the while using that access to push his brand of Christianity on the American people by influencing the lawmakers he advises.
Mr. Coe’s group also owns and operates the infamous C Street House on Capitol Hill, which over the years has been home to some rather ethically challenged (and morally self-righteous) politicians, among them former Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and John Ensign (R-NV).
Outside of Washington, “The Family” has used its government clout to facilitate backdoor meetings between U.S. and foreign officials, and has persuaded members of Congress, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), to engage in Fellowship-sanctioned evangelizing while traveling at taxpayer expense. Salon.com uncovered, revolting detail, the lengths to which members of “The Family” went to help Laurent Gbagbo, the now former president and dictator of the Ivory Coast, hold on to power. Mr. Gbagbo is now in The Hague awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. “The Family” has also supported abhorrent anit-gay legislation in Uganda.
You can tell a lot about people by the company they choose to keep; why would any lawmaker want to be associated with a group like the Fellowship Foundation?
There are plenty of great places to have breakfast in Washington, D.C., and we suggest lawmakers and leaders avoid the prayer breakfast and eat elsewhere instead of heading to the Washington Hilton. Our elected leaders’ attendance confers Mr. Coe and his followers the legitimacy they don’t deserve.