Indicted Congressman is 'longtime' member of secretive religious org tied to Uganda’s 'kill the gays' bill: report

Indicted Congressman is 'longtime' member of secretive religious org tied to Uganda’s 'kill the gays' bill: report
Office of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), indicted on federal charges on Tuesday for allegedly lying to the FBI about campaign finance issues, is a longtime member of the highly secretive, highly political, and largely evangelical Christian group known as The Family.

That organization was recently highlighted in a Netflix documentary inspired by Jeff Sharlet's investigative book, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power."

In addition to its highly secretive political work The Family also hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which has been attended by every U.S. President since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Many Americans became aware of the existence of The Family a decade ago when it was revealed the group had ties to the Uganda lawmaker pushing extreme legislation known as the "Kill the Gays" bill. The Family allegedly supported the bill. It provided the death penalty for homosexual acts, and after years of international outrage the text was watered down to become the "Jail the Gays" bill, imposing a life in prison sentence for LGBTQ people. It was signed into law in 2014, and later invalidated by the Ugandan Supreme Court.

On Wednesday The Young Turks exclusively reported Congressman Fortenberry's membership in The Family. TYT notes the secretive organization has also "been tied to multiple political scandals in recent years," although that report does not mention The Family's connection to Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill.

"Fortenberry's involvement with The Family has not been previously reported," TYT adds. "However, his chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider, who has spoken publicly about his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast, dating back to 2014, and has ties to The Family dating back as early as 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile."

Fortenberry has hosted highly anti-LGBTQ guests at the National Prayer Breakfast, including Timothy Broglio, the Archbishop for the Military Services, USA. Broglio, who recently came out against Pope Francis' position on vaccines in order to publicly oppose them, supported then-President Donald Trump's ban on transgender service members. He also opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

TYT's report also says that Congressman Fortenberry "has been invited to multiple events overseas connected to The Family, two of which he was apparently invited to attend on The Family's dime. Congressional disclosure forms filed by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) list Fortenberry as having been invited on at least two of Aderholt's trips sponsored by The Family."

Also unknown to many is that, according to TYT, anti-LGBTQ evangelical activist Franklin Graham is the National Prayer Breakfast's only financial donor.

You can read the entire report here.

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