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.”