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In the last several months, a political storm has brewed around a religious right group called the Family and its center of activities, a residential dwelling reported for tax purposes as a church located on C Street in Washington, D.C. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Nevada Senator John Ensign, and former Mississippi Congressman Chip Pickering are three scandal-plagued figures who resided at the C Street townhouse. C Street has gotten heavy coverage with major media, which is something of a breakthrough, considering that issues with religious right groups like the Family have in the past simply been laughed off or ignored. In the last few days, however, the Family and the scandal surrounding C Street have gotten attention—with sharply differing treatment—in the media of the Christian right as well.
World Magazine, a leading Christian right publication, opens with a double-track assault on the Family in a cover-story entitled the “ABCs of C Street.” They trace the history of the C Street house and the principal figures behind it, and then turn to the money trail. As the lede makes clear (“an organization big on protecting its own and small on church ties and theology”), their attitude is critical and exacting. The piece looks like serious journalism, much like the publication’s exposé work on Ralph Reed and other scandals in the past.
Meanwhile, Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network has an entirely different take. They pass by the role played by C Street fellowship in the unraveling of marriages, focusing instead on the glass that’s half filled. They quote Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center:
“It is anything but a sort of conservative Republican kabal,” Cromartie said. And yes, while Sanford and Ensign morally failed even while attending C Street, there is a flip side. “The fact of the matter is what you ought to do if you want to do a real story on C Street is find out how many affairs were thwarted because of the accountability of this house,” Cromartie said.
Talkingpointsmemo reports that as originally aired, the CBN piece featured announcer Gordon Robertson talking about the organization’s intense secrecy and then remarking “God bless ‘em!” However, CBN took down the video version of the piece.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Number of tombstones in Tombstone, Arizona:
Electrofishing on the Irrawaddy River deters dolphins from their habit of assisting fishermen.
Trump tweeted that “millions of people” had illegally cast ballots in last month’s presidential election, and the Washington Post identified four cases of voter fraud across the country.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."