When they learned of his affair, John Ensign’s housemates confronted him. They told him he was ruining his marriage, and offending God. In attendance, as Ensign broke down crying, were Republicans and Democrats alike, all residents of 133 C Street, a kind of boarding house for Christian lawmakers. Chip Pickering lived there, too, and Mark Sanford came often to pray, so when their respective sex scandals became public, the house, and the secretive organization that runs it, became in the public imagination a kind of rambunctious, Bible-thumping frat house. Residents began to flee the place.
But the truth is more complicated, reports Peter Boyer in an in-depth New Yorker profile. The C Street house is owned by a shadowy organization known informally as “The Fellowship,” which specializes in ministering to the powerful, from Bill Clinton to Lee Atwater. It is aggressively welcoming and non-doctrinal, eschewing even the word “Christian”—Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists all consider themselves members. Its leader, a press-shy 81-year-old named David Coe, says the group keeps a low profile to ensure the powerful absolute privacy. But the group has a dark side: Coe has ministered to brutal dictators in Sudan and Somalia, and helped them form connections with US lawmakers. Click here to read the fascinating piece in its entirety.