*C*heat Street

From Newsweek:

Another week, another sex scandal: Word broke late yesterday that former GOP Rep. Chip Pickering is the latest politico in trouble for allegedly cheating on his wife. Pickering’s now-estranged wife, Leisha, has filed suit against his alleged mistress, whom she says busted up their marriage and ruined her husband’s political career. […] What’s so juicy about this latest dust-up? Well, while he was in Congress, Pickering just so happened to bunk at the increasingly infamous rowhouse at 133 C Street SE here in Washington, a “Christian fellowship home” where he was roomies with John Ensign and where Mark Sanford used to hang out.

Original DVD cover.

Ensign and Sanford, as the world well knows, have been caught up in their own sex scandals in recent weeks. C Street is even mentioned in Leisha Pickering’s lawsuit: She says her husband and [his mistress, Elizabeth] Creekmore Byrd snuck around there. Scandal!

So what exactly is going on at this house on C Street? The Washington Post had a good profile a few weeks ago about the increasingly curious rowhouse, which is owned by a secretive religious group that encourages lawmakers to promote Christian ideals in public policy. At least five GOP members of Congress currently rent rooms there, including Ensign.


No doubt Pickering’s problems will turn up the focus on other residents in the house. According to the Post, that includes Reps. Mike Doyle, Bart Stupak and Zach Wamp—none of whom will comment on what’s been happening at C Street. Privately, they are said to be worried about being tarred by the various scandals.

From counterpunch:

As the Republican Party implodes the public is becoming aware of a secretive Christian society known as the Family or the Fellowship. The group was founded in 1935 in opposition to FDR’s New Deal and its adherents subscribe to a far right Christian fundamentalist and free market ideology. A minister named Abraham Vereide founded the Family after having a vision in which God visited him in the person of the head of the United States Steel Corporation (no, I’m not making this up). The Family has a connection to house on C Street in Washington, D.C., known simply as C Street. Officially registered as a church, the building serves as a meeting place and residence for conservative politicians.

Few members of the fellowship talk about the group’s mission. The organization organizes the annual National Prayer Breakfast which is attended by the president, members of Congress, and diplomats from around the world.


The Family’s current leader Doug Coe is secretive but enjoys considerable political influence as a spiritual adviser.


C Street’s stately red brick, $1.1 million building is subsidized by secretive religious organizations and is located a mere stone’s throw away from the Capitol. Lawmakers who live there include Reps. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; and Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and Sam Brownback, R-Kan. The lawmakers, all Christians, live in private rooms upstairs and pay an incredibly low rent — a paltry $600 — to live at C Street.


When they’re not philandering and violating their own professed Christian morality, C Street members push for the projection of U.S. power abroad. As Obama went to Port of Spain, Trinidad for the Summit of the Americas in April it was Ensign who criticized the President for shaking Hugo Chávez’s hand. […] Ensign, a big booster of corporate-style free trade, voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement or CAFTA in 2005. He also supports the coup government in Honduras and signed a letter to Secretary of State Clinton calling on the Obama administration to revoke its support for deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

Coburn, who is an obstetrician, has advocated the death penalty for any of his peers who carry out abortions. In the foreign policy realm he has stuck to a moralistic credo. He criticized a USAID program for example which sought to teach commercial sex workers in Central America about condom use to prevent HIV AIDS.


C Street’s real free trade messiah is South Carolina native son Jim DeMint who just chastised the White House for supporting Zelaya, thereby carrying out what he called “a slap in the face to the people” of Honduras. […] It’s hardly surprising that Demint would come out for the military takeover in Honduras given that he’s been a long time booster of Central American free trade. […] First elected to the House in 1998, he has been an eager promoter of far right wing economic orthodoxy like privatizing social security and abolishing the federal minimum wage.

Zach Wamp is another free trade zealot at C Street. Like his fellow Christian members, he supported CAFTA.


Wamp has also signed on as a co-sponsor to legislation which condemns former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya for carrying out unconstitutional moves.


In their own personal lives, C Street members have made a mockery of the group’s Christian teachings. Yet when it comes to the far more important and consequential issue of foreign policy these Republicans have stuck to their guns. From Chávez to Zelaya to free trade in Central America they have been consistent in seeking to overturn progressive reform and working to maintain U.S. imperial hegemony.


Filed under abortion, AIDS, Barack Obama, Christianity, Congress, Democrats, humor, movies, parody, politics, religion, Republicans, Sam Brownback, Scandals, snark, Tom Coburn, Wordpress Political Blogs

29 responses to “*C*heat Street

  1. As a Christian, I have to say that I find “The Family” very, very disturbing. The “gospel” that they’re peddling is religiously corrupt, but too few politically-active Christians are spending any time trying to discern the truth.

    These people are devoted to seeking the halls of power, and it’s scary how effective they are at manipulating voters who spend more time listening to talk radio than reading their Bibles.

    • wickle,
      as you know, i’m not a christian, and i’m not particularly religious. i think religion should be religion, and policy and politics should be policy and politics, and never the twain should meet, other than the constitution protecting the right of people being able to worship as they please. religion can be a great source of comfort to some people. using it as a political tool is disgusting.

      • I agree. If the only justification I can come up with some policy is “because God says so,” then I shouldn’t implement it. I don’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians.

        I wouldn’t want to keep kosher if this was a majority Jewish country, I don’t want to pray toward Mecca throughout the day just because my neighbors are Muslim, and I don’t think that I should impose my kind of prayer on anyone else — for a variety of reasons both civil and religious.

        These people tie religion and politics together as if there’s no difference. The result is losing the true religious element and replacing it with fanaticism. Just like Usama bin-Laden lost sight of Islam a long time ago, so did these guys lose sight of Christ a long way back.

        • well said, wickle. religion should be a personal guidance system. personally, i think you can be a moral person and have no religious beliefs whatsoever. we need to respect other people’s religion as well as other people’s right not to believe. belief and/or the lack of it should never be the basis of a political campaign or the reason for voting for someone.

  2. Mike Licht

    There’s nothing sinister about the C Street Fellowship. The group just believes that “love thy neighbor” trumps the Ten Commandments if you’re rich, white, male and Republican.



  3. I don’t know about there not being anything sinister.. It really scares the hell out of me.. They are just too frightening for words if you ask me. They have a cult like feeling and that’s scary. There have been too many and too much is not known about them. I read the Harper’s article and it was pretty out there.. I really want to read the book now. Thanks for writing this one up.

  4. this group is more than scary – and why are there such a HIGH PERCENTAGE of our elected leaders belonging to a modern day version of the brown shirts without the violence..

    that is what is truly appalling

    • they are more than scary. remember that penetrating investigation batshit bachmann wanted done on the member of congress? maybe the fruitcake was onto something, though i doubt she would investigate the same people we would.

      • KarenZipdrive

        Near as I can tell, the C Street politicians follow the Nine Commandments pretty well.

        • 9? they follow 2. thou shalt do whatever it takes to get elected, and thou shalt use your seat in congress for as much personal wealth as possible. okay, maybe a 3rd–thou shalt use power to get as much nookie as possible.

  5. “Fox Film Noir”? Nah, “The House on C Street” would be a porno — the latest in the already-lengthy “Republicans Gone Wild” series.

    Why should we be afraid of a clique of secretive and hypocritical religious totalitarians ruling the country? It’s worked so well in Iran for the last thirty years.

    • hello infidel753,
      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      i often change the names of the movie studios a bit to fit the parody, but every once in a while, i get lucky, and the name is perfect as it is. this is one of those cases.

      the c street players would have no problem pointing at iran and bloviating about the horror of a theocracy. pot, meet kettle. irony is lost on them.

  6. Sounds to me like they are worshipping something on “C” street— rhymes with runt???
    How crude of me (them???) to make such references on a Sunday no less!

    What is it with these people– not bad enough they screw over the country as politicians…. but they literally have to do some extracurricular screwing over as well???

    Don’t know how well Pickerings estranged wife will do suing the mistress– it takes two to tango…. but she can sue him too.
    Or as they say– Take him to the cleaners!
    He’s definitely *dirty*.

    • i love these stories, not only because they point out the hypocrisy of the rethugs, but because they eventually get to the really scary underbelly of what’s going on. they might have done a lot of screwing, but it just may be that they’ve succeeded in screwing themselves. let’s hope no pop stars die so that reporters will keep following this story and doing some digging.

  7. Couple of thoughts cross my mind:
    Firstly, in America, the rethug brand of religion is specifically designed to be self-serving for political gain and personal convenience. At the personal level, it is very convenient to be able to fall by the way side whenever you feel like, and if caught out, to then be able to ask forgiveness and be welcomed back as some sort of super penitent christian hero by all and sundry. At least, that is how these rethugs view their religious christian values working out for them, I think. Like a get out of jail free card. Unfortunately, there seems to be the odd wife that gets in the way, and messes up the whole rethug christian values set up working out the way its supposed to for the poor rethug.
    Second, influence peddling is the single most all consuming occupation in Washington, and most of it is out in the open to a degree, and some of it is highly secretive. Lets say the C street mob are into secretive influence peddling, but that hardly matters when taking a look at the big picture, their little group will only account for a small percentage of the overall influence peddling deluge that goes on in Washington on a daily basis.

    • mighty mikk0mouse,
      i wish that sex scandals in this country were like sex scandals in other countries–only about sex.

      i think there should be some kind of law where rethug wives are protected like whistleblowers (well, like they’re supposed to be). let’s coax all the rethug wives to come out and tell everything they know about their hubbies. they’ll take desperate housewives off the air, because it will be too boring in comparison.

  8. jeb

    I personally find this group un-democratic and un-American. I question the understanding of the concept of our nation of any group that desires to operate in the shadows without any accountability.

    • remember when the rethugs were wringing their hands over jfk answering to the pope instead of the constitution? that’s laughable now, in light of the fact that these assholes answer to doug coe. it really, really bothers me that there are 2 dems living in the house.

  9. Thanks for this post Nonnie!! This house is news to me. Another reason to dislike politics and politicians.

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