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‘The Family’: The Evangelicals Trying to Turn America Into a Theocracy

Aug 14, 2019

By Nick Schager

According to The Family, Netflix’s unnerving new five-part documentary series, the most powerful club in America is a consortium of religious true believers bound by their fanatical love of Jesus. It has no official membership and requires no dues. It works overtime to avoid publicity. Its ranks are comprised of both Republicans and Democrats.

And it seeks the eradication of the separation of church and state in its quest for its most coveted asset: power.

Available now on the streaming service, Jesse Moss’s miniseries is an adaptation-cum-expansion of The Family (2008) and C Street (2010), two nonfiction books penned by Jeff Sharlet, whose experiences with “the Family”—often also referred to as “the Fellowship”—provide a window onto an invisible world, and movement, hiding in plain sight.

As Sharlet himself explains at length, the Family is a coalition of elite evangelical Christian men who hold positions of governmental authority both here and abroad. They organize the annual National Prayer Breakfast that’s hosted every American president since Eisenhower, and they establish and run Bible-study groups around the country. Driven by the belief that they’re God’s “chosen,” hand-selected by Him to lead, they spread the gospel far and wide—and, in doing so, shore up political and social influence right beneath the population’s nose.

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