how they pray: a dozen clear-eyed, smooth-skinned “brothers” gathered
together in a huddle, arms crossing arms over shoulders like the weave
of a cable..., The house is a handsome, gray, two-story colonial that
smells of new carpet and Pine-Sol and aftershave; the men who live
there call it Ivanwald."
“'Jeff, will you lead us in prayer?' Surely, brother. It is April 2002,
and I have lived with these men for weeks now, not as a Christian—a
term they deride as too narrow for the world they are building in
Christ's honor—but as a “believer.” I have shared the brothers' meals
and their work and their games. I have been numbered among them and
have been given a part in their ministry. I have wrestled with them and
showered with them and listened to their stories:"
"Ivanwald, which sits at the end of Twenty-fourth Street North in
Arlington, Virginia, is known only to its residents and to the members and friends of the organization
that sponsors it, a group of believers who refer to themselves
as 'the Family.'"
" The Family is, in its own words, an “invisible” association, though
its membership has always consisted mostly of public men. Senators Don
Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R.,
N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson
(D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as “members,”
as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.),
Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D.,
Mich.). Regular prayer
groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense,
and the Family has
traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and
aerospace industries. The Family maintains a closely guarded
database of its associates, but it issues no cards, collects no
official dues. Members are
asked not to speak about the group or its activities."
"The organization has
operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National
Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership,
the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship
Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International
Foundation. These groups are
intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent
it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family's leaders, 'a
target for misunderstanding.' The Family's only publicized gathering is
the National Prayer
Breakfast, which it established in 1953 and which, with congressional
sponsorship, it continues to organize every February in Washington, D.C."
"In the process of introducing powerful men to Jesus, the Family has
managed to effect a number of behind-the-scenes acts of diplomacy."
"During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships
between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos
Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of
thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an
evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads
before his own demise. 'We work with power where we can,' the Family's
leader, Doug Coe, says, 'build new power where we can't.'"
"At the 1990 National Prayer Breakfast, George H.W. Bush praised Doug
Coe for what he described as 'quiet diplomacy, I wouldn't say secret
diplomacy,' as an 'ambassador of faith.' Coe has visited nearly every
world capital, often with congressmen at his side, 'making friends' and
inviting them back to the Family's unofficial headquarters, a mansion
(just down the road from Ivanwald) that the Family bought in 1978 with $1.5 million donated by, among
others, Tom Phillips, then the C.E.O. of arms manufacturer Raytheon,
and Ken Olsen, the founder and president of Digital Equipment
"There they forge 'relationships' beyond the din of vox populi (the Family's leaders consider
democracy a manifestation of ungodly pride) and 'throw away religion' in favor of
the truths of the Family. Declaring God's covenant with the Jews
broken, the group's core members call themselves 'the new chosen.'"
"Sometimes the brothers would ask me why I was there. They knew that I
was “half Jewish,” that I was a writer, and that I was from New York
City,... I told my brothers that I was there to meet Jesus, and I was:
the new ruling Jesus, whose ways are secret."
"Three women from Potomac Point, an 'Ivanwald for girls' across the
road from The Cedars, came to help serve."