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As most of you know, I am a former member of the highly abusive charismatic Christian outfit Every Nation.  This organization is, in turn, a repackaging of Maranatha Campus Ministries, one of the more notorious "campus cults" of the 1980s.  For more info about my experiences with this bunch, read these entries on my personal blog, or if you want, check out the Reader's Digest version.

So you can imagine how alarmed I was when I found out that Shrub has appointed a major leader in this outfit to a post in his administration.  Namely, Brett Fuller, pastor of one of EN's most important churches, Metro MorningStar Church in Northern VA.  He's been tapped for a post on the President's  Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Many of you guys probably remember Maranatha from the 1980s.  It caught all kinds of hell for its highly authoritarian structure, in which campus leaders exercised very close supervision over members' lives.  For instance, members were not allowed to date.  The group was kicked off two campuses after allegations of abusive behavior came to light.  An ad hoc committee was called in by Maranatha's leadership to deflect allegations that it was nothing more than a Christianized version of the Moonies and Krishnas.  But the committee ended up raking Maranatha over the coals.  Its report stated that unless Maranatha made some major changes, "we would not recommend this organization to anyone."  This group was also a MAJOR player in the religious right.

The pressure from campus administrators, former members and the press didn't let up a bit, and Maranatha supposedly dissolved in 1990.  However, there is overwhelming evidence that a bunch of Maranatha's leaders simply engaged in a rondo of corporate realignments that culminated in the formation of Morning Star International in 1994.

Fuller is EN's highest-profile black minister.  He's been a major player in Maranatha and EN since the 1980s.  He's served as chaplain of the Washington Redskins for a few years.  His church, which grew out of Maranatha's outreaches in the DC area (he actually started the Maranatha chapter at Howard University), counts a few Redskins as prominent members--including Art Monk and Darrell Green.  Even without the links to a recognized cult, some of this guy's activities stink to high heaven.  For instance, he lives in a $790,000 house in the tony Northern VA suburb of Chantilly--even though his church has only 200 members and meets in a high school in Herndon.  At one time, his church also raised almost $3 million for a new building in Fairfax County--again, despite having only 200 members.

I can't imagine that this appointment wouldn't require Senate confirmation.  Just in case it does, here's the new lineup for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (from Wikipedia):

Democrats:
Ted Kennedy, MA (chairman)
Chris Dodd, CT (vice-chairman)
Tom Harkin, IA
Barbara Mikulski, MD
Jeff Bingaman, NM
Patty Murray, WA
Jack Reed, RI
Hillary Rodham Clinton, NY
Barack Obama, IL
Bernie Sanders, VT
Sherrod Brown, OH

Republicans:
Mike Enzi, WY (ranking Republican)
Judd Gregg, NH
Lamar Alexander, TN
Richard Burr, NC
Johnny Isakson, GA
John Ensign, NV
Orrin Hatch, UT
Jeff Sessions, AL
Pat Roberts, KS

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 12:23 PM PST.

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