Sharlet on Maddow: US Government “At the Beck and Call” of the Family

Jim Burroway

January 7th, 2010

Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show tonight to counter some of the claims made by “The Family” member Bob Hunter on Tuesday’s show. Hunter had claimed that Sharlet disavowed much of his own book, that The Family was not involved in politics, and that Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo, one of the prime supporters of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, was not a member of the Family.

Sharlet revealed that just this week he had obtained a budget for The Family’s work in Africa “identifying (Sen.) Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as the designated point man selected to work with eleven African leaders, most of them Presidents including the President of Uganda Museveni, President of Rwanda Kagame and to work with them to help set their nations on a sort of a Jesus footing. … There’s a budget, there’s money, there is a support staff, it’s a very formal effort that he’s undertaking.”

Sharlet also said that the Senators use their status as U.S. Senators to open doors for the Family in Africa. Sharlet said of Hunter:

He explained to me that those senators who were traveling with The Family… I had made the mistake of saying that Mr. Hunter travels at the behest of the U.S. government. He corrected me. He said ‘No, Senators travel at the behest of me. I use them as bait; I use them as tools to reach those in power, and then we can go about trying to get them on this Jesus footing.

Rachel clarified that it is not the Family that is at the beck and call of the U.S. government, but that the U.S. government is at the beck and call of the Family.

Hunter had denied knowing Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo, implying that Buturo was not a member of The Family. Sharlet said he was puzzled by that, saying that Hunter had told him that establishing the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity had been created for The Family, and that Buturo “inherited” that position, along with his position in the Family. Buturo has since traveled overseas representing Uganda at Family events.

Oh yeah, we got a shout-out from Rachel as well. You can find the Scott Lively videos here.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2010

Y’all may recall that Sen. Inhofe is also one of the two Senators that signed the amicus brief demanding that the DC marriage bill be brought to an initiative.


January 8th, 2010

Congratulations on being referenced on the Rachel Maddow Show!


January 8th, 2010

I think, when referring to Jim Inhofe, I will henceforth refer to him as “Senator Bait”. One can only hope that his efforts in Uganda have all the success of his recent visit to Copenhagen to combat the ‘myth’ of global warming. Sadly, that may not be the case in Uganda, where belief in things like witchcraft is still strong (especially in the northern part of the country). Of course, he’ll fit right in there.

Bob Hunter

January 9th, 2010

Hi, Bob Hunter here.

I thought you might like to see the transcript of the interview Jeff Sharlet and I had, where I make clear that the reason a Senator and a former UN Ambassador were willing to be “bait” was not about a “Jesus footing”, whatever that is (I have never used the phrase) but about trying to bring peace to Uganda. It worked, eventually helping create a few friends from various political perspectives, meeting around the teachings of Jesus about loving enemies and turning cheeks. Here is the transcript that makes this clear:

[Ed: This comment has been reposted as a commentary in it’s own thread here]

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