Checking in on a friend's brother at Ivenwald, a Washington-based fundamentalist group living communally in Arlington, Va., religion and journalism scholar Sharlet finds a sect whose members refer to Manhattan's Ground Zero as "the ruins of secularism"; intrigued, Sharlet accepts on a whim an invitation to stay at Ivenwald. He's shocked to find himself in the stronghold of a widespread "invisible" network, organized into cells much like Ivenwald, and populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists; Sharlet is present when a leader tells a dozen men living there, "You guys are here to learn how to rule the world." As it turns out, the Family was established in 1935 to oppose FDR's New Deal and the spread of trade unions; since then, it has organized well-attended weekly prayer meetings for members of Congress and annual National Prayer Breakfasts attended by every president since Eisenhower. Further, the Family's international reach ("almost impossible to overstate") has "forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most oppressive regimes in the world." In the years since his first encounter, Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family's life and times is a chilling expose. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. LINK
"Madrid - Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday came under criticism for accepting an invitation to join US President Barack Obama at a Christian event in Washington in early February: The National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event hosted by members of the US Congress and organized by ("The Fellowship Foundation", known as "The Family"), is attended by (3000 guests)Link. Zapatero had accepted an invitation to the 'ultra-Christian' event despite taking pride in his secularism, the daily Periodico pointed out, while readers posting comments accused the premier of 'cynicism.' Even Muslim world leaders had attended the National Prayer Breakfast in the past, but they had 'faith,' while Zapatero wanted to separate the church from the state, the daily El Mundo wrote. Zapatero on Thursday defended his decision to accept Obama's invitation, describing the National Prayer Breakfast as having an 'exceptional' significance which 'those who issued the invitation need to explain.' Zapatero also referred to the 'democratic greatness' of the United States which was open to people of 'different convictions.' The Zapatero government has adopted reforms opposed by Spain's Catholic Church, such as homosexual marriage and speedier divorce. Spain is also in the process of liberalizing its abortion law". LINK
"The Spanish European Union presidency wants the EU and the United States to boost their fight against terrorism with a joint declaration on common principles, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Thursday. The priorities of the Spanish EU presidency include "relaunching and reinforcing" the trans-Atlantic relationship and "renewing" its agenda, Vega said. Spain holds the rotating EU presidency until June 30. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is due to meet Obama in Washington early February, Spanish government sources said Thursday. The agenda is expectd to include Obama's upcoming visit to Madrid on the occasion of the EU-US summit. The visit will be Zapatero's second official one to the White House.
The new US ambassador to Spain, Alan Solomont, said Thursday he would work to reinforce bilateral ties." LINK