UNDER THE INFLUENCE
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.