The C Street House, a former convent on Capitol Hill, complete with stained glass, used to be known as the “Prayer House,” a place for congressmen to practice piety behind closed doors under the protection of a secretive religious group known to outsiders as the Fellowship and spoken of by members as “the Family.” But, although the $1.8 million red-brick townhouse is registered as a church (and thus tax-exempt), it has won a new reputation this summer in the wake of sex scandals centered around Family members John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and former representative Chip Pickering as something just shy of a brothel.
Such obvious religion-and-sex hypocrisy, however, obscures the fact that C Street House is a whole lot more than a love shack. I’ve chronicled the Family over the past seven years, but it’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve seen how it acts like a lobby, even as it does not register as one. It reaches out to congressmen, providing below-market housing at the C Street House for half a dozen at a time and hosting many more for prayer and policy sessions. It also funds their travel around the world, makes matches with businessmen backers (a few women are involved, but this is a boy’s club; serious prayer is gender-segregated), loans them money when they’re down, and introduces them to foreign leaders when they’re ready to rise from provincial politics and into the stratosphere of foreign affairs.
And while I think Scott has much of this covered over at his place including the Thune link I just wanted to add a clip from Bill Maher's Real Time from last Friday that further discusses with Sharlet what is also known as the "Christian Mafia"
Do you know where you Senator is sleeping tonight?