Maybe this is what the Family, at its core, and despite its many flaws, is really all about. Sharlet says the documentary’s arrival in the age of Trump can also help people understand what he calls a “landmark transformation in American evangelicalism.” The Family has never batted an eye about working with unsavory leaders. And he, like the Family, is happy to build relationships with unsavory leaders. As Sharlet notes in “The Family,” and Princeton historian Kevin Kruse has argued in his book, “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,” Vereide’s organization had more than just a spiritual agenda. From white supremacists to the radical Religious Right, right-wing extremism is on the rise. Moss and Sharlet don’t seem to be interested in exploring these questions. Clinton and Wallis do not appear in the documentary, but Carter is interviewed.) From there they expanded across the country via groups of business and political leaders who would gather for prayer meetings. Take, for example, the Family-inspired fellowship group that meets in Portland, Ore., and is featured prominently in Episode 5. [1] The series is a revival of the original series of the same name that first aired in 1974. Among current members of Congress highlighted in the documentary is Rep. Robert Aderholt, a conservative Republican who has traveled the world on The Family’s dime, including a trip to Romania where he publicly advocated for a 2018 referendum to put a ban on same-sex marriage into the country’s constitution. Aspects of its philosophy and operating principles are shared in less secretive portions of the Religious Right. Browse our archive of posts on key right-wing groups, Browse our archive of posts on key right-wing figures, Read in-depth reports on key people, organizations and issues on the Right. And he would like the political press to wrestle with the fact that this network exists and is trying to “organize government around the person of Christ.”. The Grewals also have two dogs named Rusty and Dusty. Videos American Murder: The Family Next Door. But the Coe portrayed here was a puppet master who demanded loyalty of his followers. The Family – also called the Santiniketan Park Association and the Great White Brotherhood – is an Australian New Age group formed in the mid-1960s under the leadership of yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne (born Evelyn Grace Victoria Edwards; 30 December 1921 – 13 June 2019). Of course, The Family has plenty of company. But, while leaders of the Christian Right have always known that the politicians they supported were not entirely pious, says Sharlet, they argued that electing leaders of moral character was essential. From there they expanded across the country via groups of business and political leaders who would gather for prayer meetings. Since the death of Coe, who led The Family for decades and insisted that it remain as invisible as possible, remaining members of the network have reconsidered the value of secrecy as an operating principle. They concentrate on the Family’s numerous efforts to blur, or in some cases, cross the line between church and state. The history of the organization suggests that its members and friends also include Christians who reject the Christian nationalism that has come to define much of evangelicalism. This piece has also been updated to fix the original name of the group profiled in the documentary: International Christian Leadership. Indeed, “The Family” makes a convincing case that many of Coe’s followers are crusading Christian nationalists who use fearmongering tactics and political influence to spread a false gospel that equates Christianity with worldly power. Long before current leaders of the U.S. Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that Doug Coe started the prayer breakfast gathering and has been updated to reflect that he took over the gathering. List of The Family (2008 TV series) episodes, "Kent Online 'Kent family chosen for TV insight into domestic life' (28 August 2008)", "TV documentary on warts and all family life", "BBC - BBC London 94.9 Programmes - Sunny and Shay", "BBC - BBC Asian Breakfast Programmes - Weekend Breakfast", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Family_(2008_TV_series)&oldid=966091217, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 July 2020, at 02:16. Even after Trump and his cabinet are gone, how many like-minded people will they leave in place throughout the executive branch? Historian of religion Randall Balmer, who over the past 30 years has been one of our most discerning observers of American evangelicalism, panned the “The Family” in a 2008 review in The Washington Post. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. Watch offline. Among those who declared Trump anointed is “prophetic” author Lance Wallnau, who shortly before the 2016 election published a book calling Trump “God’s Chaos Candidate.” Wallnau, who appears briefly in a video clip used in the documentary, took to Facebook last Friday to complain about the documentary. Doug Coe, the longtime leader of The Family who died in 2017, was focused on powerful men, and promoting a Jesus who came for the “wolves” and not “the sheep.” Coe argued that it was important to identify and come alongside the “wolf king”—now personified in the U.S. by Donald Trump. Or did they believe that Coe’s vision for prayer and Bible study was not only appropriate, but valuable, in the United States? Each series follows a chosen family, consisting of parents and their children. This is especially the case in the episodes dealing with the Family’s influence outside the United States. With her husband Bill, she acquired numerous children – some through adoption scams, some born to cult members – and raised them as her own. The group is interracial and is led by an African American evangelical. Using raw, firsthand footage, this documentary examines the disappearance of Shanann Watts and her children, and the terrible events that followed. While such meetings are not problematic in and of themselves, the documentary points out that these ambassadors for Christ rarely condemn, or in some cases simply ignore, the human rights violations of these leaders. Watch all you want. If you use Right Wing Watch, please consider making a contribution to support this content. That, Those who saw Trump’s buffoonish appearance as an embarrassment, Sharlet says, missed the point, and the significance of the National Prayer Breakfast as a ritual of power, a ritual that allows The Family to signal to the world, “We can sanctify anybody, we can anoint anybody we want.” (For a bit of contrast, the Religious Right celebrated when author, The prayer breakfast, in and around which world leaders, U.S. politicians and business leaders, and political insiders build relationships and lobby one another, has recently gotten more scrutiny than usual given Russian Maria Butina’s use of the breakfast as a means of gaining access to conservative movement leaders in the U.S. Butina was sentenced to prison for failing to register as a foreign agent, but the breakfast is designed as, in Sharlet’s words, “, Members of Congress often carry out on behalf of The Family a kind of shadow diplomacy, a secretive “unofficial” and unaccountable outreach to foreign officials. The Family wants Democratic members so it can have “access to everyone” and “changing the very terms on which the conversation is had.” People affiliated with the Family have been involved in institutional decision-making that has long-term consequences, he says, such as the creation of offices for faith-based initiatives in federal agencies. The prayer breakfast, in and around which world leaders, U.S. politicians and business leaders, and political insiders build relationships and lobby one another, has recently gotten more scrutiny than usual given Russian Maria Butina’s use of the breakfast as a means of gaining access to conservative movement leaders in the U.S. Butina was sentenced to prison for failing to register as a foreign agent, but the breakfast is designed as, in Sharlet’s words, “an unregistered lobbying festival” to promote the kind of networking she was apparently engaged in. The Christian right has found renewed energy since President Trump’s election. Right Wing Watch readers are a key PFAW constituency, and we depend on your support during the year-end giving season to keep the research and content flowing. Sharlet notes that the long-term institutional power-building of The Family complements the more overt political and lobbying activities of Religious Right groups. © 2020 Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way. Many pundits and scholars wonder whether the evangelical movement can be separated from the agenda of the Republican Party. Sharlet wrote the original “The Family” based on his first-hand experience of having been invited by a friend to live and work at the organization’s headquarters in northern Virginia, where he cleaned toilets, bonded with other young men, and participated in dinners with powerful political leaders—and his coming to understand the scope of the enterprise that he had fallen into. Sharlet’s books have appealed to progressive pundits anxious about the Christian right’s threat to the separation of church and state, but his work also has had its share of critics. wrote that he believed that Christian fundamentalism in America would actually act as a check against fascism, because devotion to Jesus would encourage resistance to the cult of personality and fetish for violence that fascism demands. This month Netflix released “The Family,” a five-part documentary based on the work of journalist Jeff Sharlet, whose books exposed and explored a secretive organization that for decades has quietly built relationships with powerful government officials in Washington, D.C. and around the world. “The Family” documents several incidents in which Coe’s organization funded the travel of sitting members of Congress to meet with autocratic world leaders for the purpose of sharing the message of Jesus. And he operated in secrecy with little accountability. Of course, The Family has plenty of company. But much has changed in the past decade. His primary concern was telling people about Jesus. Series 2 followed the lives of the Grewals, a British Indian family consisting of parents Arvinderjeet and Sarbjit, and their three children - Mandeep (33), Gurdip (32), and Tejind (23) along with Mandeep and Gurdip's spouses - Gursharonjit (24) and Jitender (36), respectively, who live in west London.

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