Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite

The Family

Prayer, Politics and Power

National Prayer Breakfast offers foreign lobbyists a chance

1894 "A Christian is a Christian no matter what church he belongs to." - John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

1919 John D. Rockefeller, Jr., guided by Ivy Lee and Mackenzie King, has been advocating "practical" Christianity for several years as the key to harmonious relations between capitalists and labor.

1920 Interchurch World Movement founded through John D. Rockefeller, Jr. with an endowment of at least $50 million concealed by Raymond B. Fosdick in "History of the Interchurch World Movement".

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Interchurch World Movement

"The movement is not directed toward the establishment of a superchurch." - John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

1921 Robert Staughton Lynd, a divinity student at Union Theological Seminary, is engaging is church missionary work in Elk Basin, Wyoming, the site of several oil camps.

Lynd pens "Done in Oil," an exposé critical of the conditions in the camps.

1922 Lynd pens "Crude Oil Religion" for Harper's Magazine.

1923 Rockefeller has the Institute of Social and Religious Research hire Lynd as a director for its Small City Study and Lynd's wife, Helen, as a coinvestigator.

"Rockefeller's plan was to bind ministers of participating churches in a common pension fund while uniting foreign and domestic activities to restore class harmony within global capitalism." - Charles E. Harvey

1924 Robert and Helen Lynd move to Muncie, Indiana, to begin an eighteen-month study of daily life in this Midwestern community.

The goal is measuring the effects of the Industrial Revolution on American life.

It was the first sociological study of an American community and a classic work in the field.

1929 Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture published.

"Only insiders knew of Rockefeller's intention of using the churches in class-harmonizing social service." - Philip Harvey

Lynd served on US government committees and advisory boards, including Herbert Hoover's Research Committee on Social Trends and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Consumers' Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration.

1935 Abraham Vereide founds the prayer breakfast movement in the United States.

1942 Vereide founds the International Christian Leadership (ICL) group together with Marian Johnsen, incorporated as Fellowship Foundation, in Chicago as the US headquarters for the International prayer breakfast movement.

He is the executive director of this organization until his death.

1953 Vereide started the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, later called the National Prayer Breakfast or the International Prayer Breakfast.

President Dwight Eisenhower speaking to an audience that included Billy Graham, hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and 400 political, religious and business leaders, proclaims that "all free government is firmly founded in a deeply felt religious faith."

The National Prayer Breakfast, held in the Hilton's International Ballroom, is typically attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries with Fellowship Foundation funding.

Records of the Fellowship Foundation

1976 "The Fellowship pays $1.5 million for The Cedars, the money coming from Tom Phillips, the CEO of Raytheon, and Ken Olsen, the CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation.

Sanford McDonnell of McDonnell Douglas Corporation was another deep-pocketed supporter of the Fellowship through Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, an activity linked to Fellowship core member Pat Robertson, began looking for a permanent headquarters in Arlington.

A letter from the Fellowship Foundation's lawyers, Barman, Radigan, Suiters & Brown, to Van Caffo, Zoning Administrator for Arlington County, dated September 9, 1976, requested permission to house "overnight guests" at the Fellowship's recently-purchased estate, known as "The Cedars."

The letter stated, "no more than ten individuals could be accommodated at any one time."

The letter also affirmed, "that no [emphasis in original] person not involved in the Fellowship would ever be invited to spend the night at the House."

That statement would later prove embarrassing to a number of politicians who stayed at Fellowship group homes while insisting they were not members of the group.

A letter from Arlington County's Department of Inspection Services to Coe's attorneys, dated September 20, 1976, granted the Fellowship use of the Cedars as a "place of worship."" - Wayne Madsen

1974 Sun Myung Moon asks church members in the United States to support President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal when Nixon was being pressured to resign his office.

Church members pray and fast in support of Nixon for three days in front of the United States Capitol, under the motto: "Forgive, Love and Unite."

1975 Moon speaks against North Korean aggression in Seoul and a speech at an event organized by the Unification Church in Washington DC.

1976 Charles Wendall Colson founds Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Charles Colson's Jails for Jesus

"The church has been plagued with celebrity Christians for much of this century. Colson is a good example of a man who has had some sort of religious experience and is smart enough to parlay that into an organization and movement that keeps his celebrity status alive. But the doctrine he teaches is false." - John W. Robbins, The Counterfeit Gospel of Charles Colson

"This formulation - against the world for the world - is not precisely biblical language. But I think it elegantly sums up the Christian public-square posture writ large. I would challenge pastors to preach on this theme, or a related one. I would challenge lay Christians to act on it. We all have a role to play." - Owen Strachan, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

1978 Koreagate scandal: Tongsun Park and Congressman Richard T. Hanna agree to share the commissions from American rice sales to South to obtain favorable decisions for Seoul in the United States Congress.

Hanna aided Chung Il Kwon and Park in finding effective lobbying techniques by advising the pair to emulate Taiwanese and Israeli models that had succeeded in the past.

1983 Sun Myung Moon starts the Washington Times, a paper that was built on the remains of the William F. Buckley's defunct Washington Evening Star.

1984 The Fellowship achieves a record at its National Prayer Breakfast.

The 34th such gathering attracted representatives from over 100 nations. Similar prayer breakfasts are held in over 500 American cities. Pat Robertson's 700 Club began the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), which cleverly combined news broadcasts with religious programming. In Ronald Reagan called the money-losing Washington Times his favorite newspaper.

2002 Showing Faith in Discretion

2010 Junkets for Jesus

A secretive religious group that operates a congressional boardinghouse near the US Capitol might have used money from a terrorist organization to fund overseas trips for certain members of Congress, according to a complaint filed Oct 13 with the Internal Revenue Service by 13 Columbus pastors.

"We believe that the facts detailed in this complaint present a dangerous threat to the integrity of our government and to churches and other charities in the United States," the pastors wrote in the eight-page complaint. It is the pastors' latest attempt to lift the cover off of the Fellowship Foundation, which for decades has sponsored the annual National Prayer Breakfast and has provided discreet religious counseling to high-ranking American and international government officials.

The foundation and its leader, Doug Coe, "poach the teachings of Jesus and distort them to their end," said the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ on the Northwest Side. The 12 other ministers who signed the complaint, and their denominations: Eric Brown, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); William Casto, United Methodist; Al Debelak, Evangelical Lutheran in America; Jim Gebhart, United Methodist; Forrest Hoppe, United Church of Christ; Kim Keethler Ball, American Baptist Churches/USA; David Meredith, United Methodist; Roger Miller, United Church of Christ; Bob Molsberry, United Church of Christ; Jo Anne Nay, United Church of Christ; Stephen Smith, Episcopal; and Cynthia Speller, United Church of Christ.

Since 2004, the year the foundation received funds from the terrorist organization, the complaint says that it has sponsored a number of overseas trips by members of Congress: Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Mike Doyle, D-Pa., Joe Pitts, R-Pa., and John Carter, R-Texas; former Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va.; and Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and John Ensign, R-Nev.

The complaint also offers new evidence that the Arlington, Va.-based Fellowship Foundation "provides direct and indirect assistance" to the C Street Center, a red-brick boardinghouse for members of Congress just a short walk from the Capitol.

The pastors complained to the IRS that the C Street Center is providing cut-rate rent for congressional residents, who might be liable for unpaid taxes and penalties if they did not report the rent perquisite as income.

Ohio Clergy Seek End Of Tax Exemption For Structure Owned By 'The Family'

2011 Why does James Inhofe still support Gbagbo?

2014 Which U.S. Senator Revealed He Has Traveled to Africa More Than 100 Times to Pray With Those in Need?

February 2, 2017 3,500 political leaders, military chiefs and corporate moguls meet for eggs, sausage, muffins - and prayer at the Washington, DC 65th National Prayer Breakfast.

Donald Trump opens with a dumb joke.

February 21, 2017 Douglas Evans Coe, a lay minister and global ambassador for Jesus known primarily for his unassuming personal relational and spiritual mentorship - from inner-city youth to national and international leaders - passed peacefully to his reward on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, at his home in Annapolis, Maryland, after a brief hospitalization following a heart attack and stroke. He and his wife had six children and 21 grandchildren.

2018 66th National Prayer Breakfast: Donald Trump opens respectfully.

Maria Butina and the National Prayer Breakfast

Inhofe wants to change U.S. policy on Africa

2019 Inhofe urges Republicans to back budget deal for military's sake

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