Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast?

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Bahati.jpegThe National Prayer Breakfast February 4, that is, and it’s David Bahati, the mover of the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan parliament. Bahati is connected to the Family, the secretive Jesus organization that sponsors the breakfast, and has himself helped organized a Uganda version of it. As Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway sums up the latest, Bahati has not only accepted the Family’s invitation to attend, but may actually speak.

Now, all U.S. presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have turned out for the annual event, including Barack Obama last year. But thanks to Jeff Sharlet’s 2008





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exposé–and the unwanted attention its C Street House received last summer in the Mark Sanford affair–the Family is now perhaps the most controversial religious organization in Washington. Nevertheless, so much of an institution has the Prayer Breakfast become that few would have objected if Obama showed up again. Now, as Burroway makes clear, Bahati’s presence puts the president’s attendance in question.

Clinton-Coe.jpegBut a no less important question is: What Will Hillary Do? The Secretary of State has herself been associated with the Family as a regular participant in its prayer groups. In 1993, she had this to say about its current leader:

Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, 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 to God.

On December 14, speaking on “the U.S. Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century” at Georgetown University, Clinton was asked how the U.S. can help protect the rights of LGBT people around the world, and she brought up the Uganda bill:

And then the example that I used of a piece of legislation in Uganda
which would not only criminalize homosexuality but attach the death
penalty to it. We have expressed our concerns directly, indirectly, and
we will continue to do so. The bill has not gone through the Ugandan
legislature, but it has a lot of public support by various groups,
including religious leaders in Uganda. And we view it as a very serious
potential violation of human rights.

The Family seems to be doubling down on hate-mongering in Uganda. Will Clinton vote with her feet and send a message–to her erstwhile Family friends, on behalf of human rights and potential victims of anti-gay persecution? WWJD?

Update: Looks like maybe Bahati won’t be coming after all. Was he disinvited? Will he try to crash? Whatever, the Family, er, the National Prayer Breakfast “has never advocated the sentiments expressed in Mr. Bahati’s legislation.” And the point is? 

  • The Family and MANY other sectarian Christian missionary organizations have long viewed Africa as a cash cow. And, they’ve wrapped their missions in the cloak of development and, most laughably, AIDS prevention (condom free, abstinence only…). The latter issue has enabled them to secure considerable funding from secular and state organizations. Instead, what those funds were used for was to convert people to sectarian Christianity, and to secure power for sectarian religious activists like Bahati. This has happened throughout Africa, and it has been promoted by a variety of sectarian Christian groups (the “family” is only one, and not the most influential one).
    Hopefully, Presidential support for the Sectarian Christian Prayer Bacon and Cheese Breakfast will be eliminated.

  • Mark Silk

    I doubt very much that it will be eliminated–but it will be very interesting if there are prominent no-shows who take the occasion to criticize the organizers.