When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian “cell” whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat.
Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or “the Family”), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to “spiritual war” on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship’s only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has “made a fetish of being invisible,” former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God’s plan.
Clinton declined our requests for an interview about her faith, but in Living History, she describes her first encounter with Fellowship leader Doug Coe at a 1993 lunch with her prayer cell at the Cedars, the Fellowship’s majestic estate on the Potomac. Coe, she writes, “is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — In a 2006 New York Times interview, Hillary Clinton said warmly that “Doug [Coe] was always very supportive of me.” One wonders then what her position might be on Coe’s promotion of the “Hitler concept”?
This is how Coe explained the concept in a conversation recounted in Harper’s:
“Do you know what a difference a friend can make? A friend you can agree with?” He smiled. “Two or three agree, and they pray? They can do anything. Agree. Agreement. What’s that mean?” Doug looked at me. “You’re a writer. What does that mean?”
I remembered Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which we had begun to memorize. Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded.
“Unity,” I said. “Agreement means unity.”
Doug didn’t smile. “Yes,” he said. “Total unity. Two, or three, become one. Do you know,” he asked, “that there’s another word for that?”
No one spoke.
“It’s called a covenant. Two, or three, agree? They can do anything. A covenant is . . . powerful. Can you think of anyone who made a covenant with his friends?”
We all knew the answer to this, having heard his name invoked numerous times in this context. Andrew from Australia, sitting beside Doug, cleared his throat: “Hitler.”
“Yes,” Doug said. “Yes, Hitler made a covenant. The Mafia makes a covenant. It is such a very powerful thing. Two, or three, agree.”
And Jeff Sharlet, the author of the Harper’s piece, in a subsequent interview went on to explain more about this concept as understood by members of Coe’s secretive organization:
All these guys Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden is another guy they cite a lot, are guys who understood the power of a political avant garde. That’s what they mean by the Hitler Concept.
If the evidence of disarray inside her campaign is any indication, it doesn’t seem that Hillary is making use of this Family principle. Even so, her association with Coe and his organization does little to burnish her Democratic credentials.