The Secret Political Reach Of 'The Family'

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The fundamentalist group The Family has operated secretively with the help of influential congressmen and senators who are members of the group to promote their anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-free-market ideas in America and other parts of the world, but two sex scandals involving people connected with The Family -Nevada Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford – have brought public attention to the group.

Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts are members of The Family. They introduced the amendment to the House health care reform bill that would prevent funds appropriated from the act to cover abortion and go to any insurance company that covers abortion.

The Family is also connected to proposed anti-gay legislation in Uganda that could sentence, quote, repeat offenders to the death penalty. That family connection is revealed in new reporting by my guest, Jeff Sharlet. Sharlet is the author of the bestseller "The Family" and is a contributing editor for Harper's. He's been investigating The Family for years.

We recorded our interview yesterday, with an update this morning, after the news about John Ensign on "Nightline" last night. We're going to hear that interview in a minute. We're just having a little bit of an audio problem. So we'll have that for you, momentarily.

Read the full interview here: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=120746516

 

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