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CREW Asks Obama to Avoid Scandal-Plagued Group's "National Prayer Breakfast"
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is asking President Obama not to attend this year's National Prayer Breakfast, the signature annual event of a secretive, Washington, D.C.-based, conservative Christian organization known as "The Fellowship" or "The Family." News reports link The Fellowship to the introduction of legislation in Uganda (pdf) that would sentence homosexuals and people who are HIV-positive to death. Jeff Sharlet, author of a book about The Family, reports that the Ugandan legislator who introduced the bill, David Bahati, is a "core member" of The Family. The Fellowship has also designed the prayer breakfast to have the appearance of a government-sanctioned event; Sharlet says the event "appears to the world to be an official function of the federal government," and reports that when he attended the National Prayer Breakfast in 2003, he obtained his press credentials through the White House. The Fellowship also operates the C Street House, a Congressional residence for which The Family illegally escaped paying taxes on the building by claiming it was church instead of a rooming house. C Street has also housed a number of "ethically-challenged" elected officials, including Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada), South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.