On the Religion Report yesterday Stephen Crittenden interviewed Jeff Sharlet author of the book “The Family: Politics, Power and Fundamentalism’s Shadow Elite”. The full transcript of the interview can be read at the Religion Report, where the audio is also available as a download.
This is the opening to the transcript:
The Family (or the Fellowship as it is also known), is a shadowy organisation founded in the United States in the 1930s to promote a gospel of theocratic capitalist power and American empire. Like a Protestant version of Opus Dei, the Family is best known for founding the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC in the 1950s, and its invisible network has not only penetrated the highest levels of political power in the United States but wherever in the world America has political or economic interests.
Jeff discusses how the Family works and what it has achieved in America. He talks about how political leaders in America basically have no choice but to act pious.
… because The Family, populist fundamentalism, and elite fundamentalism working together have so set the terms of religiosity in American life, that we don’t have a whole lot of room for genuine religious discussions, …
His discussion on what happened in Uganda regarding AIDS is downright horrifying, and evil.
In the 1990s Uganda was being held up for its ABC policy, Abstinence, Be faithful, use a Condom.
But because it became so enmeshed with the American Christian Right, …, [it] was able to put pressure on these countries to drop the ‘C’ from the ABC.
As any right minded thinking person will tell you, that is a stupid idea. Guess what happened?
… the AIDS rate skyrocketed, and people are dying again.
And people wonder why we rail against religion, particularly fundamentalist religions of any kind.