The Family, Uganda, Power and the Kingdom of God

If you’ve not been following the news about the odious proposed legislation in Uganda that would create death penalties for gay and lesbian people, and life sentences for their family members if they refused to out them, follow this link. Once you’re up to speed, please return and continue reading here.

It turns out there’s a direct connection between the proposed legislation and an American group of Evangelical politicians and power brokers that are called “The Family”.

You can read more about the Family, it’s shadowy leader, and some of the scandals it has become connected with in Washington DC here. I know from conversations I’ve had with people here in Arizona that the sorts of things described in the linked article are what they see out here when the governor or someone else decides to have a “Prayer Breakfast”.

Elizabeth Kaeton writes about the group and it’s founder David Coe:

“One of the ‘core ideas’ of ‘The Family’ that Coe ‘preaches’ is that the message of the New Testament is not love, mercy and justice but power.

In the interview, Sharlet reports a ‘sermon’ preached by Coe in which he asks his audience to name three people who embody the message of Jesus.

The answers come swiftly.  ‘Martin Luther King, Jr.’  ‘Gandhi.’  ‘Mother Theresa.’

‘No,’ says Coe.  ‘Hitler. Stalin.  Pol Pot.’  The audience gasps as he quickly adds, ‘That is not to deny that what they did was Evil, but they understood the message of Jesus.'”

Read Elizabeth’s full essay here.

Lest you think that this is just some sort of right-wing group, there are a number of people on the left that have connections to Coe as well:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Coe on many occasions as First Lady of the United States. According to NBC News, she participated in a prayer luncheon at The Cedars, the Fellowship’s mansion in Arlington, Virginia in February 1993 and met privately with Coe in her West Wing office on December 19, 1997, and a “Meet & Greet with Business Leaders” on Feb. 4, 1998.[4] Clinton has written that Doug Coe 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.”[19] Doug Coe has been referred to as a friend and hero by former Senator and Vice President Al Gore.[20][21]

From here.

It’s the broad base of appeal to those in powerful positions in part that troubles me.

But what really has me concerned is the frankly heretical idea that the Gospel of Jesus is concerned with the accumulation of power.

Check this piece of news about the Family out:

In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of “biblical capitalism,” military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, Doug Coe, the Family’s current leader, declares, “We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.”

The Gospel of Jesus is about Agape Love. It’s about the self-emptying of God. It’s about the humiliation of God at the altar every Sunday. It’s about our learning to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and loving our enemies. All of which, when followed, protect us from falling into the heresy of using Power to achieve our goals, no matter how noble they might be.

The Kingdom of God will not come about by using our power to achieve it. It will come about by allowing God to transform us by God’s loving servant ministry in our lives and within our hearts so that God’s goals become our goals. And so that we will have the strength to pick up our cross and follow Jesus in his Way not our way.

Please do not allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 thought on “The Family, Uganda, Power and the Kingdom of God”

  1. This is indeed heretical, a version of American Christian, if you will. The Churches need to be very upfront that this is a perversion of the Christian message.

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