|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Members of the Family have occupied seats in both houses of Congress going back to the 1930s, but for all but its most recent history, the hallmark of the Family has been secrecy. In the past year, however, three sex scandals involving highly placed associates — Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.; Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; and Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss. — have thrust the group and its C Street house into the national spotlight.
And just this month, Family members Rep. Bart Stupak, a Catholic Democrat from Michigan, and Rep. Joe Pitts, an evangelical Republican from Pennsylvania, brought more attention to the secretive group when their Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed as part of the House health-care reform bill, threatening to further restrict abortion funding for the poor, if it remains in the final bill. (Pitts, like all his GOP colleagues, voted against the bill, even though it included his amendment.)
But what many people may find surprising is that the Family has branches around the world. In fact, yesterday, Jeff Sharlet, author of “The Family: Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” reported on NPR’s “Fresh Air” that it was a Family member in the Ugandan parliament who introduced a bill that would increase the punishment for homosexuality from life imprisonment, which is the maximum sentence today, to death:
SHARLET: [The] new legislation adds to this something called aggravated homosexuality. And this can include, for instance, if a gay man has sex with another man who is disabled, that’s aggravated homosexuality, and that man can be – I suppose both, actually, could be put to death for this. The use of any drugs or any intoxicants in seeking gay sex – in other words, you go to a bar and you buy a guy a drink, you’re subject to the death penalty if you go home and sleep together after that. What it also does is it extends this outward, so that if you know a gay person and you don’t report it, that could mean – you don’t report your son or daughter, you can go to prison.
And it goes further, to say that any kind of promotion of these ideas of homosexuality, including by foreigners, can result in prison terms. Talking about same sex-marriage positively can lead you to imprisonment for life. And it’s really kind of a perfect case study and the export of a lot of American largely evangelical ideas about homosexuality exported to Uganda, which then takes them to their logical end.
And who is David Bahati?
SHARLET: [The] legislator that introduces the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of the Family. He appears to be a core member of the Family. He works, he organizes their Uganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which the Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda…
Looking at the the Family’s 990s [IRS records], where they’re moving their money to – into this African leadership academy called Cornerstone, which runs two programs: Youth Corps, which [it] has described in the past as an international “invisible family binding together world leaders” and also, an alumni organization designed to place Cornerstone grads – graduates of this sort of very elite educational program and politics and NGO’s through something called the African Youth Leadership Forum, which is run by – according to Ugandan media – which is run by David Bahat…