The roots of the Fellowship go back to the 1930s and a Norwegian immigrant and Methodist minister named Abraham Vereide. According to Fellowship archives maintained at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, Vereide, who immigrated from Norway in 1905, began an outreach ministry in Seattle in April 1935. But his religious outreach involved nothing more than pushing for an anti-Communist, anti-union, anti-Socialist, and pro-Nazi German political agenda. A loose organization and secrecy were paramount for Vereide. Fellowship archives state that Vereide wanted his movement to “carry out its objective through personal, trusting, informal, unpublicized contact between people.” Vereide’s establishment of his Prayer Breakfast Movement for anti-Socialist and anti-International Workers of the World (IWW or “Wobblies”) Seattle businessmen in 1935 coincided with the establishment of another pro-Nazi German organization in the United States, the German-American Bund. Vereide saw his prayer movement replacing labor unions.
A student of the un-Christian German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Vereide’s thoughts about a unitary religion based on an unyielding subservience to a composite notion of “Jesus” put him into the same category as many of the German nationalist philosophers who were favored by Hitler and the Nazis. Nietzsche wrote the following of Christianity: “When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking.”
One philosophical fellow traveler of Vereide was the German Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, a colleague of Leo Strauss, the father of American neo-conservatism and the mentor of such present-day American neo-conservatives as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. Strauss’s close association with Heidegger and the Nazi idea of telling the big lie in order to justify the end goals – Machiavellianism on steroids — did not help Strauss in Nazi Germany. Because he was Jewish, he was forced to emigrate to the United States, where he eventually began teaching neo-conservative political science at the University of Chicago. It is this confluence of right-wing philosophies that provides a political bridge between modern-day Christian Rightists (including so-called Christian Zionists) and the secular-oriented neo-conservatives who support a policy that sees a U.S.-Israeli alliance against Islam and European-oriented democratic socialism. For the dominion theologists, the United States is the new Israel, with a God-given mandate to establish dominion over the entire planet. Neither the secular neo-conservatives nor Christian fundamentalists seem to have a problem with the idea of American domination of the planet, as witnessed by the presence of representatives of both camps as supporters of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative blueprint for America’s attack on Iraq and plans to attack, occupy, and dominate other countries that oppose U.S. designs.
Not only was Vereide pro-Hitler, he was the only Norwegian of note, who was not officially a Nazi, who never condemned Norwegian Nazi leader Vidkun Quisling, a man whose name has become synonymous with traitor and who was executed in 1945. Vereide and Quisling were almost the same age, Vereide was born in 1886, Quisling in 1887. They both shared a link with the clergy, Vereide was a Methodist minister and Quisling was the son of a Lutheran minister.
Another pro-Nazi Christian fundamentalist group that arose in the pre-Second World War years was the Moral Rearmament Movement. Its leader was Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister from Philadelphia. Buchman was a pacifist, but not just any pacifist. He and his colleagues in the United States, Britain, Norway, and South Africa reasoned that war could be avoided if the world would just accept the rise of Hitler and National Socialism and concentrate on stamping out Communism and Socialism. Buchman coordinated his activities with Vereide and his Prayer Breakfast Movement, which, by 1940, had spread its anti-left manifesto and agenda throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Buchman was effusive in his praise for Hitler. He was quoted by William A. H. Birnie of the New York World Telegram, “I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism.” Buchman also secretly met with Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Gestapo and controller of the concentration camps. Buchman was at Himmler’s side at the 1935 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg and again at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The predecessor of Buchman’s Moral Rearmament Group, the Oxford Group, included Moslems, Buddhists, and Hindus. Buchman and Hitler both saw the creation of a one-world religion based largely on Teutonic, Aryan, and other pagan traditions mixed with elements of Christianity. Buchman saw Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as being compatible with his brand of Christianity. Hitler, too, had an affectation for Islam and Buddhism as witnessed by his support for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the anti-British Muslim Brotherhood, and Tibetan Buddhists. But Buchman had no sympathy for the Jews who Hitler was persecuting. Buchman told Birnie, “Of course, I don’t condone everything the Nazis do. Anti-Semitism? Bad, naturally. I suppose Hitler sees a Karl Marx in every Jew.”
Such global ecumenicalism is a founding principle for today’s Fellowship. With total devotion to Jesus and not necessarily His principles at its core, the Fellowship continues to reach out to Moslems (including Saudi extreme Wahhabi sect members), Buddhists, and Hindus. Its purpose has little to do with religion but everything to do with political and economic influence peddling and the reconstruction of the world in preparation for a thousand year Christian global dominion. Post-millenialist Fellowship members believe that Jesus will not return until there is a 1000-year pure Christian government established on Earth. It is this mindset that has infused the foreign policy of George W. Bush and his administration. The desire for a thousand year political dominion of the world is not new. Hitler planned for a “Thousand Year Reich” over the planet. It is not a coincidence that Hitler desired and the so-called Christian dominionists/reconstructionists now contemplate a thousand year reign. The Christian dominionists are the political heirs of Hitler, the Norwegians Vereide and Quisling, Buchman, Opus Dei founder and fascist patron saint Josemaria Escriva and their political and religious cohorts.
Meanwhile, Buchman’s co-ideologist Vereide made his first entrée into the U.S. Congress. In 1942, he began to hold small and discreet prayer breakfasts for the U.S. House of Representatives. The next year, the Senate began holding prayer breakfast meetings. Vereide’s Prayer Breakfast Movement was formally incorporated as the National Committee for Christian Leadership (NCCL). Its headquarters were in Chicago. In 1944, while Vereide’s friends in Germany were being pummeled by the Allies, especially by the Soviet Red Army, NCCL changed its name to International Christian Leadership (ICL), an indication that Vereide saw an immediate need to extend his influence abroad in the wake of a certain Nazi defeat. Vereide also made plans to move his headquarters to Washington, DC. In 1944, his first ICL Fellowship House was established in a private home at 6523 Massachusetts Avenue. In 1945, Vereide held his first joint Senate-House prayer breakfast meeting. In 1945, Vereide quickly got together a group of powerful right-wingers for a prayer breakfast following the death of President Roosevelt, one of Vereide’s and Buchman’s most despised politicians. Roosevelt did not comport with a President who followed the dictates of “God’s Will,” a major Vereide and Buchman principle. At the breakfast were Senators H. Alexander Smith (R-NJ), Lister Hill (D-AL), and World Report publisher David Lawrence. Lawrence was an ardent foe of the New Deal.
After President Truman announced that he was going to continue FDR’s programs – what he called the Fair Deal – the religious right of Republicans and southern Democrats decided to attack Truman. His vulnerability to charges that Communists were embedded in his administration would give rise to the cancer of McCarthyism. However, for the religious right of Vereide, Buchman, and their political allies, this was a necessary and God-driven form of political and moral cleansing. The radical right would also force Truman to consolidate power in a new post-war intelligence agency that would replace the Office of Strategic Services – the Central Intelligence Agency.
Senator Smith was a colleague of fellow Republican and anti-New Dealer Senator Prescott Bush from Connecticut (father of George H. W. Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush). According to Smith’s archived papers, he was also active with Buchman’s Oxford Group. Prior to the war, Alexander’s New Jersey was a hotbed of Nazi activity. The home of German admirer Charles Lindbergh (and the crime scene for a Nazi conspiracy to kidnap and murder his son) and the first port of call for the ill-fated Nazi airship, the SS Hindenburg, New Jersey was friendly territory for groups like Moral Rearmament, the Bund, the Ku Klux Klan, and Vereide’s Prayer Breakfast Movement. One of Alexander’s predecessors as a New Jersey Senator, J.P. Morgan investment banker Hamilton Fish Kean, was also a strenuous opponent of the New Deal until he left the Senate in 1935. His grandson, Thomas H. Kean would serve as New Jersey’s governor and co-chair of the controversial 911 Commission.
The connection between Vereide and segregation was highlighted by his close relationship with a Senator who was not only a member of the Ku Klux Klan but was engineered into office by them. But, surprisingly, this Senator was not from Alabama or Mississippi but from Maine. Republican Ralph Owen Brewster was not only a member of Vereide’s ICL, an anti-New Dealer but also anti-Catholic. This was yet another irony of the pre-Fellowship. Religious contradictions among its members were not as important as the drive for political and financial power.
The contradiction exists today with the Fellowship: Orthodox Jews, secular-oriented neo-conservative Jews, conservative Catholics, evangelical Protestants, and fundamentalist Sunni and Wahhabi Moslems all cooperate to further an agenda that uses Jesus as a de facto corporate logo.
Republican Ralph Owen Brewster was the consummate “religious” politician-businessman of his time. He was the person who personally introduced Vereide to many of his colleagues, including Senator Harold Hitz Burton (R-Ohio), a future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Played by actor Alan Alda in the movie about Howard Hughes, The Aviator, Brewster engaged in a backroom illegal deal on behalf of Pan American Chairman Juan Trippe to force Hughes to sell Trans World Airlines to Pan Am in return for Brewster dropping a congressional investigation against Hughes for alleged war profiteering. One of Pan Am’s directors at the time of the feud between Hughes and the team of Brewster and Trippe was Prescott Bush. The grandfather of George W. Bush had seen the assets of Union Banking Corporation, on whose board he served, seized after the beginning of the Second World War by U.S. Treasury agents. It turned out that Bush’s bank was operated by Bush and his boss Averell Harriman on behalf of Nazi Germany. Prescott’s father-in-law, George Herbert “Bert” Walker, also represented Nazi German interests through his Brown Brothers, Harriman investment company and affiliated firms with names like American Shipping & Commerce, Harriman Fifteen Corporation, Holland Amercian Trading Corporation, Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, Silesian-American Corporation, and Hamburg-Amerika Line that were tangled together in a circuitous spider’s web. This would be a blueprint for future Bush family/right-wing oil and intelligence enterprises involving election fraud, drug and weapons smuggling, and political assassinations.
In January 1947, Vereide sponsored the first Washington meeting of ICCL. representatives from the United States, Canada, Britain, Norway, Hungary, Egypt and China. In 1949, Vereide sent Wallace Haines to represent ICL at a meeting of German Christians held at Castle Mainau in Switzerland. Haines would become Vereide’s personal emissary to Europe. Haines was replaced in 1952 by the virulent anti-Communist Karl Leyasmeyer. In 1953, Vereide made his first entrée into the White House when President Dwight Eisenhower agreed to attend the first Presidential Prayer Breakfast. By that time, Vereide’s congressional core members grew to include such senators as Republicans Frank Carlson of Kansas and Karl Mundt of South Dakota. Both were virulent anti-Communists who established close ties with Vereide and his worldwide anti-Communist movement. Vereide also became very close to one of the Senate’s most ardent segregationists, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the man who led the Dixiecrat revolt against the Democratic Party in 1948. Thurmond would be a key part of the strategy of Vereide to evangelize poor whites in the South. For Vereide, it would bring converts to his peculiar brand of Christianity; for Thurmond, it would bring into the Republican Party former New Deal Democrats who saw their party straying from segregation and embracing civil rights. For the United States, the strategy would bring a radical form of fundamental zealotry closer to taking control of the country.
By 1957, ICL had established 125 groups in 100 cities, with 16 groups in Washington, DC alone. Around the world, it had set up another 125 groups in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia (where Emperor Haile Selassie gave ICL property in Addis Ababa to build its African headquarters), India, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Bermuda. ICL’s international activities coincided with activities in countries where the CIA was particularly active – an obvious by-product of the close cooperation between Vereide and the CIA’s Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton. Angleton and his close associate, Miles Copeland, favored using private businessmen to conduct operations that the CIA was barred from conducting statutorily. The ICL fit the bill very nicely. And although the Fellowship despised homosexuals, that did not stop FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was strongly rumored to have been gay, writing a prayer for Vereide.
With the end of colonial rule in large parts of Africa and Asia, Vereide and his new disciple, an Oregonian Christian youth worker named Douglas Coe, set out to make contacts in a number of the newly-independent nations. Coe soon became Vereide’s heir apparent. ICL also established an Asian headquarters in Hong Kong.
In 1958, Representative Albert H. Quie (R-MN) became an important core member of Vereide’s group. The Presidential Prayer Breakfast became an annual Washington institution. Since Billy Graham became a regular fixture at the misnamed “Presidential” prayer breakfast, many attendees figured that the event was officially sponsored by the White House. They were wrong, very wrong. Had they understood the Nazi and Fascist pasts of Vereide and his associates, it is doubtful that the annual prayer breakfast would have taken on such trappings of a state function. Early attention to the group may have prevented them from gaining a toehold in the White House and Congress.
One of Buchman’s followers in the military was General Edwin A. Walker, fired by President John F. Kennedy for insubordination. It was later alleged that Lee Harvey Oswald had attempted to assassinate Walker, a laughable charge considering the right-wing affiliations of both.
As the world reeled in horror at the shooting death of President Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963, the ICL moved into a new Fellowship House at 2817 Woodland Drive in northwest Washington, DC near the Shoreham Hotel. Later it would move to 1904 North Adams Street in Arlington, Virginia, just a few blocks from 2507 North Franklin Road where another virulent right-winger and anti-Semite named George Lincoln Rockwell had set up his own national headquarters. From another one of his Arlington headquarters, nicknamed Hatemongers Hill, Rockwell flew the Nazi flag, blared the Nazi Horst Wessel anthem into the street and menaced trespassers with two vicious dogs – one named Gas Chamber, the other dubbed Auschwitz. Rockwell, a retired U.S. Navy Commander, was the Fuehrer of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell and Vereide shared something in common other than the same neighborhood: absolute hatred for Jews and homosexuals.
In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated after he won California’s Democratic primary by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian émigré to America. Kennedy was succeeded in the Senate by Charles E. Goodell, appointed by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Goodell was also a core member of the Fellowship.
On January 30, 1969, Vereide, Billy Graham, and newly-inaugurated President Richard Nixon gathered for the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. There is little doubt that Nixon had been tipped off years before by his friend and bankroller Howard Hughes about Vereide’s ties to Pan Am’s Trippe and his bought-and-paid for senator, Brewster. Nevertheless, Nixon, a Quaker, became close to Billy Graham, the North Carolina-born evangelist and one-time student at Bob Jones University who is also the Fellowship’s patron saint. Obviously, Nixon shared the Fellowship’s and Graham’s anti-Semitism.
The tapes reveal the inconsistencies of the Fellowship. On one hand, their Nazi and Fascist past and tendencies make it seem unlikely that they would be supportive of Israel. Yet, support for Israel is not only something advocated by Graham but also by the shock troops for today’s fundamentalist movement, the so-called “Christian Zionist” wing of the Fellowship.
Although Nixon would later come to distrust the Fellowship, one of his closest confidants, Charles Colson, would become one of the key figures in the group. Colson served time in jail as a result of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He would later re-emerge “born again” and serve as a covert adviser to the very same elements who would propel George W. Bush into office as President. No longer would the Fellowship have a paranoid, moderate Republican like Nixon or corny, superficially Christians like Reagan or George H. W. Bush in the White House. For the Fellowship, Nixon, Reagan and the first Bush served their purposes but they were not true believers. In their minds, after an unsuccessful coup against Roosevelt and war with their brethren in Germany; the uncooperative and “left leaning” administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson; a paranoid administration in Nixon; a transitional Gerald Ford; a born again Christian anomaly in Jimmy Carter; partial entrees to power with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush; and absolute disgust with Bill Clinton, the Fellowship believed it was God’s will that they would have one of their very own core members wielding power in the Oval Office and carrying out God’s (the Fellowship’s) dictates. In George W. Bush, who had been indoctrinated into the total submission to Jesus (the Fellowship) after his involvement with alcohol and drugs, fundamentalists would not only be able to remake the United States but, indeed, the entire world.
Billy Graham also supported the war in Vietnam. On April 15, 1969, just a few months after the National Prayer Breakfast, Graham sent a secret letter to Nixon from Bangkok, where the evangelical preacher was meeting Fellowship missionaries from South Vietnam. Graham and the missionaries urged Nixon to step up the bombing of North Vietnam and include in the campaign the bombing of dikes to “overnight destroy the economy of North Vietnam.”
In 1969, Vereide died and was succeeded by Coe. It is amazing how this right-wing Nazi sympathizer has been eulogized by Fellowship adherents. Norman Grubb’s biography of Vereide, titled Modern Viking — The Story of Abraham Vereide, Pioneer in Christian Leadership, offers the following description of Vereide’s biography:
“This is the story of a Norwegian immigrant to the United States who was the founder of International Christian Leadership, the legal name of what is popularly called The Fellowship, the origin of the Prayer Breakfast movement. While pastoring in Seattle, he also founded the first Good Will Industry. Vereide was a single-minded pre-World War II pioneer. The book is a narrative of meetings, people and letters as Vereide befriended government and business leaders in the name of Christ. He was a world-class leader whose legacy is thriving today on every continent.”
Yet another influence convinced Nixon that for the good of the Republican Party he should resign. He was the individual Nixon named as chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973. His name was George H. W. Bush, the man whose grandfather and father had championed the very same interests who were behind the pseudo-Christian Fellowship and Moral Rearmament – the Nazis and Fascists.
Bush had reason to be thankful to the Christian fundamentalists. They helped his son, George W. Bush, avoid a certain court martial and prison time. On or about April 18, 1972, the Houston Police arrested First Lieutenant George W. Bush of the Texas Air National Guard for possession of cocaine. Bush and a friend were booked into the Harris County jail. Bush’s father, who was serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, hurriedly flew to Houston from New York and began to make the required phone calls to keep his son from receiving a court martial, dishonorable discharge, and a prison sentence. As one senior Bush business partner recalled, then-Ambassador Bush knew that junior was in “deep shit.” Senior Bush arranged for his son to serve at a religious drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in San Diego between May and November 1972. Conservative San Diego was a major center for Fellowship activities.
The time Bush spent in religious rehab in San Diego represents part of the famous “gap” in Bush’s National Guard service record. http://www.rehabinfo.net/california/san-diego/
Junior Bush’s time in San Diego at a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is where the future President of the United States would first be given large doses of Jesus indoctrination. With Nixon’s resignation in disgrace and the Republicans taking a beating in the 1974 elections, little did the Fellowship realize what a huge catch they had made in George W. Bush. Gerald Ford’s administration vainly tried to salvage the Republican cause – but Ford would be defeated in the 1976 race against a born-again Christian, nuclear submarine commander, and former peanut farmer from Georgia named Jimmy Carter. True, Carter was an evangelical Christian but he was not the type favored by the Fellowship and their big business allies, especially two key members of the Ford administration, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And Ford’s CIA Director, George H. W. Bush, was miffed when Carter did not invite him top stay on as spy chief. Bush would have his revenge against the upstart former Governor of Georgia and peanut farmer soon enough.
One young Texas college apprentice of Nixon’s chief dirty tricks sorcerer Donald Segretti, Karl Christian Rove, was one of them. There were also credible reports that Segretti used members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist White People’s Party in Los Angeles to engage in dirty tricks on behalf of the Nixon campaign. Another suspected Nazi sympathizer with the Nixon campaign was his White house aide Fred Malek. Nixon was also deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). Nixon ordered Malek to find out if there was a “Jewish cabal” within the Bureau of Labor Statistics and he ordered him to make a list of Jews in the agency. Later, in 1988, Malek was George H. W. Bush’s liaison to Eastern European right-wing “ethnic community” leaders who were members of the Heritage Groups Council. Many of these ethnic leaders were ex-Nazis. They included Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross officer Laszlo Pastor, Romanian fascist Iron Guard official Father Florian Galdau, and Radi Slavoff of the Bulgarian National Front, the successor organization to Bulgaria’s wartime Nazi and Fascist parties.
Like Vereide, Rove was a Norwegian-American with a penchant for evangelical politics. Rove’s decidedly un-Christian method for going below the belt politically earned him the attention and interest of the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, George H. W. Bush. The 22-year-old Rove, who dropped out of college, decided to run for Chairman of the College Republicans. The coordinator of his campaign in the southern states was Lee Atwater, another noted dirty tricks operator. Both Rove and Atwater would rise to prominence as members of the Bush Dynasty’s inner circle.
In 1973, Weyrich and Joseph Coors (after all, “Jesus” and beer are not mutually exclusive) started the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a spawning ground for future Republican politicians and policy planks. Many of their policy initiatives, including the dismantling of Roosevelt’s New Deal, Truman’s Fair Deal, and Johnson’s Great Society, were to have their genesis in the Heritage Foundation.
Rove helped George W. Bush in his failed 1978 campaign for a congressional seat in Texas. Although Bush got his first dose of “Jesus” control in 1972 in San Diego, he was not a very good disciple. In 1978, he was still drinking heavily. A failed oilman in west Texas, it would have been easy to write him off politically. But this son of George H. W. Bush would prove extremely useful for the Fellowship and its allies.
Another troubled young man who was exposed to Christian evangelism but who became active in right-wing Nazi causes was John W. Hinckley, Jr., the Texas-raised son of the wealthy head of Vanderbilt Energy Company, John W. Hinckley, Sr. Eventually, the Hinckleys moved from Dallas, Texas to Evergreen, Colorado. Hinckley, Jr., like Rove, dropped out of college. After a failed attempt at becoming a songwriter in Hollywood, Hinckley returned to Evergreen, where he worked as a busboy in a nightclub. In late 1980, at the same time George H. W. Bush was planning his meeting in Paris with emissaries of the Islamic regime in Iran to convince them to hold on to U.S. embassy hostages taken captive in Tehran in 1979 until after the presidential election — in order to deny President Carter an “October Surprise” — Hinckley began stalking Carter. He also stalked presidential candidate Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. When Nashville Airport baggage metal detectors identified two handguns in Hinckley’s luggage, he was arrested, had his weapons confiscated, fined $62.50, and released. President Carter was making a campaign stop in Nashville the day Hinckley was arrested but the Secret Service decided not to make any more inquiries. Hinckley then purchased two more handguns.
John Hinckley’s brother Scott, who was Vice President of Vanderbilt Energy, was a friend of Neil Bush, George H. W. Bush’s Colorado-based son who would later go on to infamy in the Silverado Savings & Loan scandal. George H. W. Bush was sworn in as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1981. Instead of a surprise that would help Carter win re-election, the October Surprise turned out to be a Bush surprise that cost Carter the election. True to their agreement with Bush, the Iranians released American embassy hostages they very moment Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. A few weeks later, Reagan appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Hotel along with Vice President Bush. Longtime Fellowship leader Albert Quie, then Governor of Minnesota, gave the keynote message.
A little over two months later, John W. Hinckley, Jr., stepped from a crowd gathered outside the very same hotel where Reagan had prayed in February with the Fellowship. Hinckley fired six shots from his Rohm R6-14 handgun in the direction of Reagan. One struck the president in his left chest, the bullet lodging an inch from Reagan’s heart. George H. W. Bush was literally one inch from the presidency. But the Bush dynasty’s total seizure of the White House would have to wait.
At George Washington Hospital, Reagan was erroneously given a cold blood transfusion, something that a number of medical experts later saw as contributing to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. White House Press Secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington police officer were also wounded – Brady so severely he became an invalid. Ironically, the next evening, Neil was to have hosted Hinckley’s brother Scott at a dinner party at his Colorado home. Immediately, the media began to concentrate on the connections between Reagan’s attempted assassin and the Bush family. NBC’s John Chancellor was particularly interested in the connection between Bush and Hinckley. According to the Houston Post, Bush spokeswoman Shirley Green called the connection “a bizarre happenstance, a weird occurrence.” For a family whose imprimatur is connected to so many American scandals, bizarre and weird should have been replaced with commonplace and expected.
John Hinckley and Neil Bush both lived in Lubbock, Texas during 1978. Neil was in Lubbock to work as manager for his brother George’s 1978 congressional campaign. Also in Lubbock was John Hinckley, Jr., who lived there since 1974. Rove was also a frequent visitor to Lubbock as a campaign strategist for the Bush campaign. It was yet another nexus between the Bush Family and other nefarious events. After all, George H. W. Bush’s address and phone number (“Bush, George H.W. [Poppy] 1412 W. Ohio also Zapata Petroleum Midland 4-6355”) were found in the address book of George de Mohrenschildt, a Texan and Russian émigré with a fascist past in Europe who befriended Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald after the future accused assassin of President Kennedy returned from the Soviet Union. The pro-Nazi Allen Dulles was appointed by President Johnson to serve on the Warren Commission, which ensured the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination never went beyond the self-described “patsy,” Oswald, to include his right-wing friends and associates.
And the Nazi thread was also strong with both Oswald and Hinckley. Oswald had the Arlington, Virginia Nazi Party headquarters address of George Lincoln Rockwell in his address book when he was arrested following Kennedy’s assassination. Hinckley was a member of the National Socialist Party of America, which continued to function after Rockwell’s assassination in Arlington in 1967. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hinckley, Jr. had participated in a march honoring Rockwell.
The senior Hinckley had been involved with World Vision, a Christian evangelical association involved with a number of covert U.S. intelligence operations abroad. Like the Fellowship, World Vision acted as a Trojan horse for U.S. intelligence and business interests in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and Central America during the illegal U.S. support for the Nicaraguan contras. In fact, a number of World Vision officials, including two of its presidents, have been core members of the Fellowship. World Vision continues to involve itself in such hot spots as Iraq and Congo. According to Jeff Sharlet’s 2003 article in Harper’s, Coe admitted to having a close relationship with Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the dictator the Sandinistas overthrew in 1979. While the senior Hinckley headed up World Vision, one of its youthful volunteers was Mark David Chapman, also a native of Texas. He would later assassinated ex-Beatle John Lennon on a New York City street. Like John W. Hinckley, Jr., another right-wing would-be assassin and busboy was Arthur Herman Bremer from Milwaukee.
The world would not hear the last of Rockwell and his disciples. His Nazi Party would change its name to the National Socialist White People’s Party and remain in Arlington. Eventually, it would change its name to “The Order” and move to the West where it became even more violent. One former Rockwell assistant, William Pierce, would form the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Pierce had worked with Rockwell in Arlington in the 1960s. He later joined the National Youth Alliance, headed up by another neo-Nazi, Willis Carto, who also led the Liberty Lobby. Using the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald, Pierce would pen “The Turner Diaries,” a neo-Nazi rant that called for the overthrow of the U.S. government and the extermination of non-whites and Jews. Pierce was the inspiration behind the founding of the Aryan “Christian Identity” movement. One of Pierce’s fans was Timothy McVeigh, found guilty of bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including a number of children. According to Jersey City Police sources, when arrested, McVeigh had the business card of a Jersey City social services worker in his possession.
Jersey City was a major base of operations for Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi, who piloted two passenger jet liners into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This would not be the only connection between right-wing Nazis and radical Islamists. The Fellowship and Doug Coe reached out to the most radical elements in the Islamic world, including members of the Saudi royal elite who bankrolled Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers. According to the Los Angeles Times, as early as 1979, Coe had a special relationship with the Saudis when he arranged a meeting between a Pentagon official and the Saudi Minister of Commerce. In 1988, Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Saud, read passages from the Koran at the National Prayer Breakfast. This was at a time the Afghan mujaheddin was coming under the radical influences of Saudi Wahhabis through the “good offices” of Osama bin Laden and other radicals. Coe and his Cedars members also kept in close touch with such Muslim leaders as Presidents Suharto and Megawati Sukarnaputri of Indonesia, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia (who offered Coe that he would convert to Christianity from Islam if he could be assured of U.S. weapons sales to combat aggression from Soviet-armed Ethiopia), Kuwaiti officials, and even Saddam Hussein. At the same time, Coe heaped praise on the “covenants” Bin Laden, as well as Hitler, established with their respective followers.
Another organization affiliated with the Fellowship is the Campus Crusade for Christ, which, in turn, runs something called the Christian Embassy, its outreach arm in Washington. There is also an “International Christian Embassy” in Jerusalem that also houses the studios of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Through the Campus Crusade, the Fellowship and its affiliates seek converts among college students in the United States and abroad. An additional Fellowship activity is the National Student Leadership Program and the associated Navigators, which seek converts among college and high school-aged young people. The Fellowship’s network can also reach out to other evangelicals for the purpose of political marches on Washington. Whether they are called “Jesus Marches,” Promise Keeper rallies, or anti-abortion gatherings, the fundamentalists have been able to tap the support of Falwell; Richard Roberts, the son of Oklahoma-based evangelist Oral Roberts; and Florida-based evangelist Benny Hinn. In addition, the Fellowship has its own aggressive “Youth Corps,” which is active seeking converts, according to Jeff Sharlet’s Harper’s article, in countries as diverse as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, India, Pakistan, Uganda, Nepal, Bhutan, Ecuador, Honduras, and Peru. The Fellowship seeks to groom young leaders for future positions of leadership in countries around the world.
According to Sharlet, the goal of the Fellowship is “two hundred national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.” In Fellowship-speak, the “family” is synonymous with the Fellowship. The strategy of placing Fellowship “moles” in foreign governments would pay off nicely when George W. Bush and his advisers had to cobble together a “Coalition of the Willing” to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Christian Right, having cleverly hidden its Nazi and Fascist past, was on the march. The movement would soon tap ambitious conservative politicians eager to use its vast resources to achieve political power. Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay, Dan Quayle — and, after a concordat with failed 1988 Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson — George H. W. Bush, would all become followers, some for truly religious reasons, but most for political opportunism. But the biggest prize of all was yet to be heard from. The failed businessman and politician from west Texas, George W. Bush, was now a firm believer in the Fellowship agenda. In his father’s 1988 race against Michael Dukakis, the junior Bush was his father’s liaison to the fundamentalist right. Junior Bush would help channel advice and money from the Christian Right to his father’s campaign. In a sign of things to come, the Bush campaign savaged Michael Dukakis over a convicted murderer and prison parolee in Massachusetts named Willie Horton, who, after he was released from prison, held a Maryland couple hostage, raping the wife and stabbing her husband. The strategy was based on the Bush campaign notion that Dukakis, if elected, would pardon African American prisoners who would rape white women. An attack ad ran on television by a Republican group insinuated that Dukakis would release blacks who would threaten whites. For the junior Bush and the Christian Right, it was a campaign position that would pay off handsomely in the future when dealing with John McCain and John Kerry. One of the architects of the 1988 “Willie Horton was Lee Atwater, the close associate of Karl Rove.
A senator who incurred the wrath of the Fellowship and its allies was the man who challenged George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 – John McCain. After McCain beat Bush in New Hampshire, the right-wing evangelicals pulled out all the stops to nail McCain on their home turf – South Carolina. Christian operatives associated with Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, and South Carolina’s Bob Jones University began spreading rumors – through “push polls,” e-mail, sermons, and word-of-mouth that McCain fathered an illegitimate “black girl” out of wed lock (a reference to his adopted Bangladeshi daughter), that he was a traitor while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, that his wife Cindy was a druggie, and that he was gay. The gambit paid off. McCain was trounced by Bush in South Carolina and Bush went on to win the Republican nomination. For the Christian mafia, Bush was their best hope for total control since the founding of the United States. Next, the fundamentalists turned their attention to the Democratic nominee – Al Gore, a former theological seminary student.
Although Gore won the popular vote for President, a phalanx of right-wing GOP operatives descended on the pivotal state of Florida to engage in judicial subterfuge after widespread voter suppression took place at the polling places. Two fundamentalists on the U.S. Supreme Court – Antonin Scalia (an Opus Dei member) and Clarence Thomas – voted with three other members to stop the Florida vote recount, ensuring that Bush won the White House. Nevertheless, Gore has always admired Doug Coe, even calling him his “personal hero.”
Prior to 2000, the FBI, in a report titled “Project Megiddo” warned that Christian millenialist sects might use the beginning of the 21st century to pull of a grand terrorist act. The report stated, “The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and [New World Order] conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible.” The name Meggido refers to a hill in northern Israel that was the site of a number of Biblical battles. “Armageddon” is Hebrew for Megiddo Hill. The FBI report warned that Christian millenialists might strike military installations and buildings in New York City such as the UN headquarters.”
Journalist, columnist, and television commentator Bill Moyers wrote that “for the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.” Ever since Abraham Vereide, a misguided immigrant to this country who brought very un-American ideas of Nazism and Fascism with him in his steamer trunk, the so-called “Christian” Right has long waited to take the biggest prize of all – the White House. Moyers correctly sees the Dominionists or “End Timers” as being behind the invasion of Iraq. He cites the Book of Revelation that states, “four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.” Such words may have their place in Sunday School and in church halls but using such thinking to launch wars of convenience or religious prophecy have no place in our federal and democratic republic. Moyers also rightly sees fundamentalist thought behind Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” and the rolling back of environmental regulations.
The political and religious dynasties who have embraced the Fellowship, Vereide, Fascism, Moon, Buchman, Moral Rearmament and all of their current and past manifestations, hatreds, and phobias show no sign of ceding power any time soon. There are many such father-son dynasties that hope to ensure a continuation of their shameful racketeering and political chicanery under the corporate “logo” of Jesus: George H. W. Bush to George W. Bush; Douglas Coe to David Coe; Billy Graham to Franklin Graham; Oral Roberts to Richard Roberts, Pat Robertson to Gordon Robertson; Jerry Falwell to Jonathan Falwell; Jeb Bush to George P. Bush; Robert Schuller Sr. to Robert Schuller, Jr., and Sun Myung Moon to at least nine sons.