MADDOW: What is C Street? I know it‘s a house on C Street in Washington. How is it part of the Family?
SHARLET: Well, the C Street house is actually—it‘s a former convent. Now, it‘s registered as a church. And it‘s run by the Family, and used by them to provide housing for six to eight congressmen at any given time and to provide spiritual counsel to these congressmen—which all sounds fine so far.
What makes it a little bit different than other Christian conservative organizations—two things. You said that it‘s secretive. Indeed, the leader of the group describes it, he says, “The more invisible you can make your organization, the more influence it will have.”
And the other thing is the nature of the influence they want to have. I got to sit in on a spiritual counseling session between the leader of the family and Congressman Todd Tiahrt on the C Street house. I actually, met Senator Ensign there.
As the leader of the family was counseling Congressman Tiahrt, who had this very standard issue, bill of issues related to the Christian right, and he said, you‘ve got to have a bigger vision of what we‘re talking about here. He described—he called it “Jesus plus nothing.” And he said it‘s sort of a totalitarian idea of Christianity and he gave his examples of men who he believed, understood the way power should wielded. He actually gave his examples, Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden and Lenin.
MADDOW:Is there something about this type of theology that tells these guys, “Hey, don‘t worry about the affair, you know? Big picture, you‘re good. Stay where you are. It‘s important for you to stay in power”?
SHARLET: Yes. No. I think actually Governor Sanford made it very clear when he cited King David as an example of the reason why he wasn‘t going to be resigning office. And that just struck a bell with me, because I—the King David story is the core teaching of the Family. When I first heard it, I was living with the Family.
One of the leaders in the Family was explaining why King David was important. And he says, it‘s not because he was good man, it‘s because he‘s a bad man. You know, seduced another man‘s wife. He actually had the husband murdered.
And he wants to explain why this was a model—and he says to one of the men in the group, he says, “Suppose I heard you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?” And this guy, being a human being, says, “You would think I was a monster.” Well, the leader of the Family says, “No, not at all, because you‘re chosen. You‘re chosen by God for leadership, and so the normal rules don‘t apply.”