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In the last few days, a stream of prominent Republican leaders have stood up to defend C Street, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Virginia’s Randy Forbes. They call C Street a “safe space” in which they can be themselves without concern. But Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet returns to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to give us a fuller sense of what goes on within the guarded walls of the C Street compound. We hear more about the background of C Street warrior Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas congressman now seeking election to the Senate, and how the Family’s “spiritual counseling sessions” have helped mold Tiahrt’s political message to make it more palatable to a broader audience. In the cloistered confines of C Street, Tiahrt explains that his preoccupation with abortion stems from his demographic concerns about Muslims who are having “too many” babies, while “Americans are killing too many of their babies.” Tiahrt has since “softened” his message. On the floor of Congress, he recently talked against a backdrop of murmurs and boos about the possibility that Barack Obama’s mother would have aborted her son if she had access to federal abortion funding. At C Street, the “totalitarianism of Christ” is advocated, and Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, and Lenin are held out as positive examples of how a politician can achieve his goals.
Jeff also surveys the dramatis personae of the still deepening C Street scandal in a piece at Salon.com, just up. But the definitive introduction to the C Street scandal remains his March 2003 article in Harper’s, “Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats.”
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”