CODE BLUE at C St: Religious Right On Damage Control

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , , , , , ,

CODE BLUE at 133 C St. SE: The Religious Right is on damage control over the shinanigans that have come to light at the secrative brick building on C Street. The fact that three out of six congressman that lived there were caught up in sex scandals speaks volumes. We now know that in the case of the 3 married congressmen, their affairs where known by other members of the C St. Fellowship.

It seems disingenuous that anyone would try to defend the C Street Fellowship at this point in the game. Perhaps they forgot that we reap what we sew and in the future, instead of assisting in the coverup of these sexual affairs, they’ll tell the offending member this type of behavior is unacceptable and suggest they move out immedaitely.

A post on POLITICO today said that the large townhouse is valued at more than $1.8 million, and that it’s run by Christian network of nonprofits and ministries known as “The Fellowship.” Headquartered in Arlington, Va., the group focuses on what Fellowship leaders call the “up and out,” or powerful politicians struggling to confront their personal demons. I guess it is safe to assume from this point forward that congressmen both Republican and Democrat connected to the C Street Rehab are in the process of confronting their personal demons.

By ministering to the most powerful, The Fellowship believes, it can bring Christian beliefs to the larger culture. Jeff Sharlet, who wrote a book about his time in The Fellowship's Virginia headquarters, said the group believes that lawmakers have been "chosen" to lead by Jesus Christ.

In February, Nevada Sen. John Ensign — who lives at the house — was confronted at C Street by colleagues who wanted him to end his affair with a staffer.

Earlier this month, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — who lived at C Street when he served in the House — said C Street was where he’d been asked the “hard questions” that were “very, very important” in his decision to admit an affair with an Argentine woman.

And last week, the estranged wife of former Rep. Chip Pickering said he carried on a long-term extramarital affair while living at the “well-known C Street Complex.”

But Christian lawmakers say Washington prayer and Bible-study groups — and the secrecy that surrounds them — provide crucial counseling for their lives in the nation’s capital.

“One thing about having members meet with members is they kind of understand what each other goes through and the stresses and the pressures and those kinds of things,”

Congressional Prayer Caucus Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who participates in a small Bible study group on Wednesday mornings. “And one member can tell another member, ‘I don’t think that’s the right thing for you to do.’”

In an interview with the evangelical World Magazine, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) described living at C Street as “one of the best parts” of life in Washington.

“We kind of make that commitment to each other to get together once a week,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s a Bible study; we always have a spiritual or scriptural thought. But sometimes we just talk about each others’ lives, try to get to know each other, remind each other that we are not important, that it’s just a title.”

Although titles may not be important, there are plenty of them at C Street. In addition to DeMint and Ensign, C Street residents include Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.). Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) lived in the house before moving to his own condo, and he still attends events there. Former Reps. Steve Largent (R-Okla.), Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have also studied at C Street.