(Updates at bottom)
According to Olberman, Congressman Brad Sherman of California, a Clinton superdelegate, is quoted as saying “Her minister will not appear in McCain commercials.”
Perhaps not, but Hillary does have a questionable religious affiliation of her own — one which bothers me a lot more than Obama’s, to be honest:
Sean Hannity has called Obamaâ€™s church a â€œcult,â€ but that term applies far more aptly to Clintonâ€™s â€œFamily,â€ which is organized into â€œcellsâ€â€“their termâ€“and operates sex-segregated group homes for young people in northern Virginia. In 2002, Sharlet joined The Familyâ€™s home for young men, forswearing sex, drugs and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power. He wasnâ€™t undercover; he used his own name and admitted to being a writer. But he wasnâ€™t completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in dinersâ€“alone.
The Familyâ€™s most visible activity is its blandly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast, held every February in Washington. But almost all its real work goes on behind the scenesâ€“knitting together international networks of right-wing leaders, most of them ostensibly Christian. In the 1940s, The Family reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolf Hitler, has continued, along with ties to a whole bestiary of murderous thugs. As Sharlet reported in Harperâ€™s in 2003:
During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africaâ€™s postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand â€œCommunistsâ€ killed marks him as one of the centuryâ€™s most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise.
At the heart of The Familyâ€™s American branch is a collection of powerful right-wing politicos, who include, or have included, Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe and Rick Santorum. They get to use The Familyâ€™s spacious estate on the Potomac, The Cedars, which is maintained by young men in Family group homes and where meals are served by The Familyâ€™s young womenâ€™s group. And, at The Familyâ€™s frequent prayer gatherings, they get powerful jolts of spiritual refreshment, tailored to the already powerful.
Clinton fell in with The Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the Senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Familyâ€™s â€œmost elite cell,â€ the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginiaâ€™s notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, The Familyâ€™s publicity-averse leader, that he is â€œa unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.â€
Furthermore, The Family takes credit for some of Clintonâ€™s rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing â€œreligious freedomâ€ in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.
… adding, my point was mainly that Hillary’s surrogates shouldn’t be reinforcing right wing talking points, because that sort of thing can really backfire on you. But as a friend notes this morning, Obama’s paid the Family an occasional visit as well. And Obama’s campaign released a photo recently showing that Bill Clinton attended a prayer breakfast with Jeremiah Wright. And on and on it goes …