UN­DER THE IN­FLU­ENCE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - DETECTIVE DON’T MISS THE WEEK’S TOP SHOWS - with Holly Byrnes

THIS is one of those chilling se­ries that shocks you into a new state of un­der­stand­ing the world around you. Well, it did me. In this case, the se­cret Chris­tian sect known as both The Fam­ily and The Fel­low­ship has been op­er­at­ing be­hind the scenes of US and world pol­i­tics for more than 80 years. De­scribed as “do­ing the Lord’s work in the Devil’s play­ground” that is Wash­ing­ton, this largely in­vis­i­ble force is shown to have had enor­mous in­flu­ence on ad­min­is­tra­tions, right back to the ’30s. Ex­pos­ing what some have called “the Chris­tian mafia” is

in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter Jeff Sharlet, who was in­vited by a friend to Ivan­wald (pictured), just out­side DC, a kind of frat house for a brother­hood ded­i­cat­ing themselves to Je­sus, with reg­u­lar vis­its from res­i­dents of Po­tomac Point, a sim­i­lar set-up for women. What he dis­cov­ered was al­most cult-like, with the young men in par­tic­u­lar told they were cho­sen to be the power­bro­kers of their gen­er­a­tion and given jobs in the of­fices of se­na­tors and con­gress­men, diplo­mats and party peo­ple from both sides of the po­lit­i­cal aisle. At the time of film­ing, the head of the peck­ing or­der was a Doug Coe, who be­lieved “the more in­vis­i­ble you can make your or­gan­i­sa­tion, the more in­flu­en­tial you will be.” There’s your first red flag and be­lieve me, as this se­ries un­folds there is one alarm bell af­ter the other as you re­alise how en­meshed this church is with the state.

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