More On Hillary’s Choice and The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

I’ve known about Hillary Clinton’s association with the religious right for a long time but considered it more of a personal matter until she attacked Barack Obama for his choice of affiliating with Jeremiah Wright. While I have criticized her conservative positions which grew out of this association, such as her support for a ban on flag burning and her crusade against video games, I didn’t consider comment on her personal associations, which I  detailed in this post yesterday, relevant until she launched her personal attack on Obama.

Others have thought along similar lines and there is now more discussion of Clinton’s associations. Joshua Green has written about this today and refers back to this article he wrote back in 2006. His post today also provides links to additional articles on the subject:

If you’ve never heard of The Fellowship (also known as The Family), it will sound like some shadowy organization in a John Grisham novel. (Indeed, as a Google search will demonstrate, critics consider it a cult.) The group was formed in the 1930s to minister to political and business leaders throughout the world, modeling itself as a kind of Christian Trilateral Commission. Several members of Congress are affiliated with the group, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, too. To the extent The Fellowship is known beyond its members it is probably for founding the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Like Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity Baptist Church, The Fellowship is run by its own mysterious and controversial figure, Douglas Coe, although temperamentally Coe is Wright’s opposite. He eschews the spotlight and has never made a controversial public utterance that I’m aware of — mainly because he rarely speaks publicly at all. (You won’t find him on YouTube.) But like Wright, Coe has ministered to a Democratic frontrunner. He personally leads a private Senate prayer group that Clinton has been a part of.

In my piece, I chose to focus on the Senate prayer group, but others have written extensively about the strangeness and secrecy of The Fellowship. As this Los Angeles Times story and this exquisitely reported Harper’s piece make clear, there is something deeply strange about the group. They certainly do not like press coverage, so in that regard Clinton’s attraction might make sense. Reporters hoping to look into the group might want to think again. A few years ago, The Fellowship’s archives, which are held at Wheaton College, the evangelical school in Illinos, were reclassified as “restricted” and placed under lock and key.

The Clintons have had a very strange association with the “vast right wing conspiracy.” They sometimes attack each other, and at other times work together, but they have worked to ensure that for the last generation our choices have been limited to one or the other. Finally this year we have a chance to change this.

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