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C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to…

C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy

by Jeff Sharlet

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I found this a slightly inferior successor to Sharlet's incendiary The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. While Sharlet wasn't precisely beating the same drum again, it wasn't as clear an argument and a good third of it (concerning fundamentalism in the military), while still exposing matters of serious concern, really didn't have anything to do with the Family or C Street in any direct way. I'd still recommend C Street to the curious, but if they hadn't read The Family yet, I'd tell folks to read it instead, if time did not permit a broader survey.

Full review here at my blog:

http://kateofmind.blogspot.com/2011/01/100-books-4-c-street-fundamentalist.html ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
This follow-up to The Family (2009) is an equally disturbing look at the entrenchment of extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalism in Congress, the military, and corporate America. The so-called "Christianity" of The Family, however, is little more than American exceptionalism, imperialistic hubris, homophobia, and laissez faire capitalism dressed up in religious rhetoric. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
The most important word in the title of this book, C STREET: THE FUNDAMENTALIST THREAT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, is "threat." According to the leaders and members of The Family, the group that owns and uses the former convent on C Street as a headquarters, the most three most important things are faith, family, and country, in that order.
Near the end of the book, Jeff Sharlet has a picture of a placard worn by his wife at a demonstration outside the Republican convention in New York City in 2004. It shows a seated Jesus with his head leaning on one hand and saying, "That's not what I meant." It sums up what the author describes as how American leaders have taken control of our government and pushed their conservative, fundamentalist, evangelistic ideas into many facets of our lives and governments.
In foreign countries, congressmen, senators, and other government leaders have convinced the leaders of those countries to embrace Jesus (if not actually converting at least saying they believe in following what the Americans say are Jesus's principles). They have been very successful, excusing the murders of thousands of civilians, by promising financial aid to the dictators if they fall into line. No wonder many Muslims think the US is trying to convert them. It is.
One of the big issues is homosexuality. Until the US and its funds became involved, Uganda had been very successful in lowering the number of AIDs cases. With US influence, very stringent anti-homosexual laws, including punishment for people who did not turn in suspected homosexuals, managed to curtail the use of condoms and increase the spread of the disease.
In this country, they have inserted their interpretation of religion into many areas of our lives. They have severely limited the ability of women to utilize planned pregnancy services and have abortions. In 2010, a Utah law even allows a prosecutor to determine if a woman's miscarriage was deliberate. They have worked to disallow cities from gun control laws while allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons almost anywhere they want. The are against environmental laws and regulation of businesses. They pushed for laws to regulate freedom of speech and peaceful protests and their supporters on the Supreme Court ruled that corporations, unnamed donors, and individuals could buy elections.
In the military, the majority of chaplains are evangelistic fundamentalists and have harassed, or worse, service members with differing religious beliefs. Many of those with other beliefs left the service. Women who joined the movement resigned their positions because they came to believe they should stay at home and raise children.
In 2005, US military officers were caught appearing in uniform while proselyting. They were forbidden to do so, but the acts have now gone underground. Hundreds of US service personnel are converted on a regular basis. The Air Force Academy buses recruits to religious services. The superintendent had no idea what "the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause" of the Constitution, which he had pledged to uphold, even meant.
This book, a sequel to THE FAMILY, should be studied by everyone who believes in America and its Constitution and all of us be aware of the threat from within. ( )
1 vote Judiex | Oct 11, 2012 |
Sharlet's follow up to The Family doesn't seem as hard-hitting in some ways, perhaps because it's slightly less personal, or maybe because it's a follow up, which makes it a bit less dramatic. In spite of that, the snappy writing style and the personal interviews with key people keep the story moving, and it certainly never fails to hit home. Many familiar names, names we see everyday on the news, stomp through the story like they own the earth - which appears to be what many of them feel. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how the likes of a Sarah Palin or a Rick Perry could possibly be taken seriously for the highest job in the nation, a role that has huge implications for the safety and prosperity of the entire global community. The only real sour note is struck at the end, when a personal vignette of an individual the author met at a protest, leaves a secularist cringing, especially with the approach the author (a secularist himself) takes to the incident. He presents an idea that, to many of us, is truly frightening to think about, and seems to be presenting it as a moderate position. That very anecdote puts a true period to his story, by demonstrating just how successful the Religious Right has been at mixing religion and government. Anyway, if you're curious at all about the biggest self of self is self, this is definitely the book for you. ( )
  Devil_llama | Oct 4, 2011 |
"C Street" is the sequel (of sorts) to the 2008 book "The Family." Jeff Sharlet's investigative journalism is top-notch, and I was horrified by the many instances of corrupt disregard for human life explained both in this book and its predecessor. Here, he chronicles involvement of The Family (a loosely connected fundamentalist group centered on gaining power and using the government to further their agenda at home and abroad) in many shameful affairs. The origin of this book is the public interest in the Family after three prominent members had highly publicized extramarital affairs, reaping charges of hypocrisy. Sharlet, however, portrays those affairs as the very least of their many offenses, and uses that as a jumping off to study other more public offenses. The chapter on Family involvement in the Uganda law criminalizing homosexuality as a capital offense made me ashamed to be an American and a Christian both. Another particularly horrifying chapter involved offenses agains religious freedom in the military. While this book is required reading for anyone interested in either politics or the legacy of Jesus and the Christian church, it also was done more effectively in the first book. If the two were published together, perhaps, the whole volume would be more complete and more coherent. ( )
1 vote metamariposa | Apr 16, 2011 |
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In 2008 I published a book called The Family, which took as its main subject a religious movement known to some as the Fellowship and to others as the Family and to most only through one of the many nonprofit entities created to express the movement's peculiar approach to religion, politics, and power.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316091073, Hardcover)

C Street - where piety, politics, and corruption meet

Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside the C Street House, the Fellowship residence known simply by its Washington, DC address. The house has lately been the scene of notorious political scandal, but more crucially it is home to efforts to transform the very fabric of American democracy. And now, after laying bare its tenants' past in The Family, Sharlet reports from deep within fundamentalism in today's world, revealing that the previous efforts of religious fundamentalists in America pale in comparison with their long-term ambitions.

When Barack Obama entered the White House, headlines declared the age of culture wars over. In C Street, Sharlet shows why these conflicts endure and why they matter now - from the sensationalism of Washington sex scandals to fundamentalism's long shadow in Africa, where Ugandan culture warriors determined to eradicate homosexuality have set genocide on simmer.

We've reached a point where piety and corruption are not at odds but one and the same. Reporting with exclusive sources and explosive documents from C Street, the war on gays in Uganda, and the battle for the soul of America's armed forces - waged by a 15,000-strong movement of officers intent on "reclaiming territory for Christ in the military" - Sharlet reveals not the last gasp of old-time religion but the new front lines of fundamentalism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Picking up where his best selling expose "The Family" left off, author Jeff Sharlet, continues to shed light on D.C.'s most enigmatic Christian political group. Here, Sharlet reveals that the Family is vying to transform the American government into an overzealous, religious regime bent on spreading Christian fundamentalism throughout the world, and shows how the organization was closely linked to three publicized Republican sex scandals in 2009.

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