COMMENTS: Matricide for Jesus

Christians will recognize Jesus Christ's teachings about the family from the Gospel of St Luke: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." That was the text NBC's Andrea Mitchell showed Douglas Coe preaching from in exclusive videotape.

Coe is a lay preacher, who organizes the National Prayer Breakfast that Presidents attend and whose Capitol Hill prayer circle includes four senators: Sam Brownback (R-KS), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mark Pryor (D-AR). Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) took Coe's spiritual counsel when she was First Lady although he is not "one of her leading spiritual advisors." His ministry, called The Fellowship, is the topic of a new book The Family by a former member Jeff Sharlet.

So why does Mitchell find Coe newsworthy, besides his obvious close ties to those in power? Because when he preaches on the blind devotion that Jesus requires of Christians--devotion that supersedes that to family or self--Coe invokes the "leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao," according to Sharlet. The example of the requirement to renounce one's family he evoked in Mitchell's video was of Mao Zedong's Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution: "They would bring in this young man's mother. He would take an ax--and cut her head off."


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