"You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend." said Hillary Clinton, to reporters and editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday the 25th.
This is an interesting choice of words, since - while we mostly hear about her Methodist upbringing - Hillary Clinton has chosen to associate herself with The Family (also known as the Fellowship), a very conservative, fundamentalist organization started by Abraham Vereide...
"...an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a "family" that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, Doug Coe, the Family's current leader, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't."
This quote is taken from the book on The Family by the same name which will be published in May... a book which claims to
"...dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not "What do fundamentalists want?" but "What have they already done?"
A long article was written about Hillary Clinton's participation in this organization last September in Mother Jones, and The Family, itself, was the subject of an extensive article in Harper's in March of 2003. And on March 21st, The Nation published an article on Hillary and The Family by Barbara Ehrenreich that was published on The Huffington Post and CBS News' web site.
The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the "meek." They believe that, in mass societies, it's only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God's "dominion" on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it's all about power - cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or "cells."...wrote Ms.Ehrenreich.
Is it possible that Hillary's participation in this fundamentalist group - which apparently preaches the "gospel of military might" - would help explain her vote in favor of authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq? Is it possible her pro-NAFTA stance during her husband's administration comes from its embrace of "the no-holds-barred economics of globalization"? Is it possible that the sense some get that Hillary feels entitled to be president comes in part from this group's belief that "it's only the elites who matter"?
I encourage any reporter covering Hillary's campaign to ask her about all this.
At a time when so many people are wondering what sort of effect the Rev. Wright's sermons may have had on Barack Obama, I think it's only fair to ask what sort of effect The Family's fundamentalist mission has had - and continues to have - on Hillary Clinton. We know that George Bush engages in truly fundamentalist thinking. There is no person or new information capable of challenging his belief that what he already knows is right. Is Hillary Clinton like this in some way? I am not sure.
But the opinion I have formed from this is that - while Hillary Clinton may be considered a Liberal by many - on the inside she is a deeply Conservative person... possibly as close to being a Republican today as she was when she was a young woman supporting Senator Goldwater. This helps explain, to me, why she and John McCain are such good friends. They are both drawn to the use of military power and free market capitalism... and to taking money from lobbyists. The other opinion I have formed is that those who say there are no policy differences between Hillary and Barack haven't taken into account how their religious differences might impact the policies they would actually seek to implement as president.
Finally, getting back to Hillary addressing the subject of the Rev. Wright's sermons, I was taken by the carefully crafted language she used during her press conference on Tuesday afternoon, where she said, "Given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor.". At the risk of going off-topic, I would like to offer you all a chance to hear what I have now "heard and seen" of one of Rev. Wright's controversial sermons. When you watch the video below - and Hillary, if you see this, I hope you will watch it too - you will learn that at least in this instance what the Rev. Wright said ("America's chickens have come home to roost.") was taken completely out of context. Rev. Wright was quoting someone else when he said those words, and he said much of value during the 10 minutes I found on YouTube.
I urge you to give the cause of truth the 10 minutes it will take you to watch this too.
crossposted from huffingtonpost