The Secret "Political Philosophy of Jesus Christ" at the heart of the LGBTQ Death Sentence in Uganda

Crossposted on Amplify
I wrote earlier this week about the homophobic legislation being considered in Uganda, the one the gives a death sentence to LGBTQ people.  I have some more news about how United States politicians are affecting this legislation, through a group called “The Family”, which runs The C-Street house in Washington DC. On ‘Fresh Air’ on NPR, Terry Gross did an interview with Jeff Sharlet, who is the author of the bestseller The Family, “about the secretive fundamentalist group that promotes its anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-free market ideas with the help of several Congressman and Senators who are connected to the group, including John Ensign, Bart Stupak, Joe Pitts, James Inhofe, Tom Coburn, Charles Grassley and Zach Wamp. The Family is active in America and around the world.”

The Family has been heavily involved the Uganda anti-homosexuality bill.  They lend political and economic aide to proponents of the bill, and the person who introduced the anti-homosexuality law is a member of The Family in Uganda.  

According the Jeff Sharlet’s book and his appearances on the Daily Show, Rachael Maddow, and Fresh Air, The Family believes in a different teaching of jesus Christ.  Rather than help for the masses, the poor, and the meek, The Family believes that Jesus’ message was meant for an elite group of people.  I recommend listening to the Fresh Air interview with Sharlet, as it was fascinating. 

Some of these ‘select few’ people live in the C Street house in DC and have become very powerful in American politics.  The C-street house is a tax-exempt church in DC that provides below market priced housing for congressmen. Governor Mark Sanford and Senator Ensign are members of this group, as well as Representatives Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts.  The Family prides itself on being bipartisan, Bart Stupak and Bill Nelson are among its Democrat members.  Having extramarital affairs is excused, because chosen leaders do not have to follow the rules.  The Family also believes that Hitler, Stalin and Mow understood the New Testament the best, and the Family studies these leaders carefully.  The Family teaches that Jesus’ message was not about peace, mercy, and justice; it was about power.  More power for powerful people, not peace and love for the masses.  The idea is that the powerful have the right to pass blessings onto the poor, kindof like  trickle down theory for love, peace and justice. 

The Family does not sound like a fundamentalist Christian group, but a different interpretation of Jesus teachings altogether. They apply this to politics.  They believe in biblical capitalism, which opposes all regulation of markets because it interferes with the “invisible hand” idea, which they literally believe to be God. According to Jeff Sharlet, the Family has been involved in international affairs for the last 50 years.   The Family identifies leaders of countries where they think God chose the leader, and they try to get that person to focus on very traditional, conservative values.  United States Senator Inhofe has traveled to Africa more than 20 times on missionary trips, using tax payer dollars, to promote the political philosophy of Jesus as taught by the Family.  

This group is pretty scary.  They oppose gay rights, women’s rights, abortion, programs to help the poor, and comprehensive sex education.  They identify leaders and sometimes dictators of foreign countries and they lend political and economic aide in promoting these policies.  The Family also believes in what is called “male headship,” and women in The Family act like a maid service for the males in the group.  They believe women should live their lives submissively and in service to men.

Sharlet promoted his book In a recent interview with NPR's Terry Gross, and he broke the news that The Family has significant influence in the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. Terry Gross asked him about the Uganda anti-homosexuality bill:

The legislator that introduced the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family," he said. "He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan 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.

When asked how he found all this out, Sharlet said,  

 

You follow [the] money.  You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It's not so invisible anymore. So that's how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family's work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni's kind of right-hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family's National Prayer Breakfast. And here's a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda's executive office and has been very vocal about what he's doing, in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.”

 

This is shocking.  The Family, who seems to control dozens of American congressmen, also has incredible power in Africa.  More from the interview:

"The Family identified [Museveni] back in 1986 as a key man for Africa. They wanted to steer him away from neutrality or leftist sympathies and bring him into conservative American alliances, and they were able to do so. They've since promoted Uganda as this bright spot - as I say, as this bright spot for African democracy, despite the fact that under their tutelage, Museveni has slowly shifted away from any even veneer of democracy: imprisoning journalists, tampering with elections, supporting - strongly supporting this Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009.”

 

This, of course, is the bill that would KILL any HIV positive gay person for having sex, and imprison people for life for having any homosexual sex. 

 

The Family scares me, and we all need to be aware of what they are doing.  As a young person, I am shocked that a semi-secret organization like this has existed (since the 1930’s) and has not been stopped. Taxpayer funded missionary trips to Africa to promote the political philosophy of Jesus Christ is wrong, no matter what your religious beliefs are.  Promoting a bill that would kill some gay people is disgusting and horrific, even if you hold the belief that gays should not be allowed to marry.  The Family is not a crazy conspiracy theory, everything I wrote about has been fact checked  by many major news outlet and experts who study The Family.  Evangelical influence in Uganda got attention from the New York Times on Monday, and Advocates for Youth has also written about this on their website

If your congressmen is a member of the family, please do everything you can where you live to help stop reelection. We young people need to ask ourselves, “Do we want to live in a world where a group like this wields such immense power over domestic and international affairs?” The answer to this is NO. What the Family is doing is wrong, and it needs to be stopped.  

 

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Heath Shuler

one of the chosen.