Douglas Coe Theocracy in America
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Uploaded on Aug 17, 2009
So who is Doug Coe? He shuns almost all interview requests. But in hours of audiotape and videotape recordings obtained exclusively by NBC News, he frequently preaches the gospel of Jesus to followers and supporters. In one videotaped sermon from 1989, Coe provides this account of the atrocities committed under Chairman Mao in Communist China: "I've seen pictures of the young men in the Red Guardthey would bring in this young mans motherhe would take an axe and cut her head off. They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of father, mother, brother sister and their own life. That was a covenant, a pledge. That's what Jesus said."
In his preaching, Coe repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Its a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded from his followers -- a rhetorical technique that now is drawing sharp criticism.
"Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had, these nobodies from nowhere, Coe said.
Later in the sermon, Coe said: "Jesus said, You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.' Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people."
Coe also quoted Jesus and said: One of the things [Jesus] said is 'If any man comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple. So I don't care what other qualifications you have, if you don't do that you can't be a disciple of Christ."
The sermons are little surprise to writer Jeff Sharlet. He lived among Coe's followers six years ago, and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric.
We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. And I would say, Isnt there a problem with that? And they seemed perplexed by the question. Hitlers genocide wasnt really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated, said Sharlet, who is a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone and is an Associate Research Scholar at the NYU Center for Religion and Media in New York.
Sharlet has now written about The Fellowship, also known to insiders as The Family, in a soon-to-be published book called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.
Theyre notoriously secretive, Sharlet said. In fact, they jokingly call themselves the Christian Mafia. Which becomes less of a joke when you realize that they really are dedicated to being what they call an invisible organization.
Federal tax records for Coe's non-profit group shows it funds charitable programs around the world -- but that it is also a family business.
The 990 tax forms for 2005, the last tax year available, show that both of Coes sons were on the payroll, at $110,000 a year each. The organization also paid his wife, his daughter and his daughters-in-law.
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