Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Columbus Pastors Ask IRS to Investigate The Family.

From Joe Hallett The Columbus Dispatch:

In their 10-page complaint, the pastors say they are concerned that "an exclusive residential club for powerful officials may be masquerading as a church."

C Street's activities, they say, "are shrouded in secrecy. Its powerful residents reportedly adhere to a code of silence. This lack of transparency shows a disdain for the political, legislative and economic accountability that define constitutional democracy."

The IRS complaint has the potential to pry open the funding sources and activities of a red-brick house at 133 C Street SE - just a short walk from the Capitol - that is a residence and spiritual refuge for influential members of Congress and last year became the epicenter in Republican sex scandals.

"I look at C Street as a total abuse of claiming to be a church," said one of the complainants, the Rev. Forrest Hoppe, Columbus-based regional minister of the United Church of Christ. "On behalf of the churches I work with and serve, I have a responsibility to call into question the legitimacy of this organization as a church."

Various news reports have said that the C Street facility, valued at more than

$1.8 million, is run by a secretive evangelical Christian network called the Fellowship Foundation, also known as the Family, which has its headquarters in Arlington, Va. For more than 50 years, the Fellowship Foundation has organized the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, traditionally attended by U.S. presidents.

But Richard Carver, president of the Fellowship Foundation, said his charitable organization does not own the C Street Center and has no control over its policy. He said he does not know who owns or runs the center.

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