“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power.” – Seth Berkley
Inspired by “The Family” on Netflix
What is “The Family” about?
The family is a documentary that aims to expose a secret society of Catholics in the United States and abroad, which have huge implications on politics all around the world. These people work diligently towards the acquisition of power, because they believe in doing so, with the hope that they are better able to do “God’s work”. This group calls themselves “The Family” and they have ties with numerous political leaders, especially in the United States but also around the world.
Journalist, Jeff Sharlet, provides the main narrative in the documentary. He had infiltrated The Family’s ranks for some time in his younger years, and documented all of his interactions and observations. He felt that there was something off about the group’s lack of transparency and that the information may one day be important to the world.
Were you hoping for a Review?
Before I go any further, I want to say that writing reviews are not my strong suit. So, if you would like a detailed review, please visit this review from The Vulture, which does a good job of hitting on most of the important points of the series in an unbiased way. I aim to provide a brief summary, but I also encourage you all to watch the documentary for yourselves and to draw your own conclusions. I digress…
The Family has a melting pot mentality when it comes to members within it’s secret circle, where you are either with them or against them, and so very few people have the courage to speak out against the troubling issues seen within their ranks. If you are not “all in” when it comes to matters of “The Family” then you are shunned from the group. Essentially, it operates like a cult and it kind of reminds me of Scientology a little. They’re nicknamed “The Christian Mafia“.
The Family may seem like it’s all about preaching the word of God, however, as more and more is revealed, it becomes apparent that God’s name seems to be more their tool for acquiring power rather than spreading His love. Power comes before morality in their cause. Power comes before staying true to their teachings. Obedience comes before standing for your own principles.
The Family is intricately involved with politics and it influences politicians in big ways in an informal capacity. The National Prayer Breakfast which runs annually all around the world is one way in which this religious group aims to influence policy through back channels. National leaders are often invited to these events and in other countries, including Russia, political leaders attend and mingle in an “unofficial capacity“. As stated in the documentary, even if this religious group is acting in a naive manner rather than an intentionally corrupt one, they leave plenty of opportunity for bad faith actors in other countries to push their own influences on politics.
Many acting members of this group are not democratically elected officials but hold great influence over those who are. Some diplomats, as members of The Family, have also attempted to push their religious agendas while on official duty with other foreign powers.
There’s one powerful scene where all of these religious leaders are in the White House, standing around Donald Trump with their hands placed upon his back and shoulders, and they pray for him to do God’s work. In justifying any inappropriate behaviors, they say, “God always uses imperfect vessels to do his perfect work”, because apparently his perfect work means securing power for the church. Basically, do whatever you may, but as long as you are under God’s wing and part of the group, all will be forgiven and you can do no wrong. “You’re with us, or against us.”
Basically, the essence of the message behind the series is that Religion and Politics should not be intertwined. They should be very separate entities, because religion can be a sort of threat to an open and transparent democratic process all around the world. This is not something new, but perhaps it’s something that we should pay attention to.
So, Now It’s My Turn To Have An Opinion…
For anyone unfamiliar with my background, I was raised Catholic and lived as such until I was about 20 years old. I had attended exclusively Catholic schools and even church semi-regularly. So, I have a right to an opinion. I cut ties with that religion precisely because of hypocritical crap that I noticed on a regular basis within the organization. I never understood why people weren’t just taught to love each other, to fight for human rights and to work towards being just fundamentally good people. If the moral principles of a religion are what’s most important, then why do we need all of the other crap?
Why is being part of a church necessary at all to be a good person deserving of God’s love? What happens to good people who were never taught about Catholicism? Do they go to hell, just because they’re ignorant? And why do good people need to be so afraid of Hell, when they should be focused on acting out of love rather than acting out of fear? Would I not be equally as loved by God for being a good person without being obedient to the church?
It never made any sense to me, and I didn’t like living that way.
So, I suppose that’s why I felt the need to create my own spiritual beliefs, outside of what someone else had told me to believe, in blind faith. I want you to know, that I believe that the majority of Catholics are acting in good faith, and let me be clear, I am not knocking anyone else’s beliefs one bit. In fact, I encourage everyone to decide for themselves, what it is that they believe in, using their own heart and brain. What I do criticize is man, corruption and hypocrites. The Catholic church is an organization like any other which is not beyond being corrupted by man, and the same goes for all religions around the world.
There are going to be leaders in the church, as well as the government, who are in it for the wrong reasons. Most often, the most effectively corrupt trait of any leader is a hunger for power. Those in search of power for the sake of power, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They intentionally steer others wrong in order to fulfill their own selfish desires. Their words and actions do not line up. I’ve met quite a few religious types who truly do have great hearts and wonderful intentions. They typically have an abundance of love inside of them. I don’t believe all leaders in the church are corrupt, but I’m just saying, no person should be beyond criticism even if they’re part of your “team”. Fighting for the principles which your faith is founded upon and the principles of your own heart, should always be priority number one. No person deserves your faith blindly handed to them.
But, Is Organized Religion Even Necessary Anymore?
Frankly, I don’t think it is, and it’s not just me who thinks this way. There are millennial’s all around the world who are beginning to shape their own ideas of spirituality, but let’s use America as an example:
In 1972, only 5% of American’s claimed to not be affiliated with any religion, but in 2019 according to a “General Social Survey“, no religion topped the charts of religious identity answers, totaling 23.1% of all Americans. This is just marginally above those who claim to be Catholic at 23%. The “No Religion” category does not even include atheists, but only spiritual types of non-religious sorts and agnostic individuals. I would be part of the agnostic crowd, because I do believe that there is a bigger picture, but I do not believe that we truly know what that is just yet and in my opinion, we probably never will! I don’t waste my time trying to crush other’s beliefs but I spend time fighting for decent human principles and morals.
So, I may not think that religion is that important, but do you know what I do think is important?
That we treat each other with love and respect, that we are nurturing and live by our principles. That we show strength in protection of the weak. That we lead by example, rather than to preach and project. I believe in honesty, integrity and transparency. I believe in a world of equality that is inclusive to all and exclusive to none. I believe it’s right to hold other’s accountable for their actions. I believe it’s fine to have your beliefs whatever they may be, but those beliefs should not be forced upon others or harm others in any way.
I believe that the age of forced religion and heresy is over.
I believe it’s time to stop destroying each other for being at odds with different beliefs and it’s time to begin showing tolerance for each other, as long as those people are not hurting anyone. Discrimination against homosexuals and against women in need of reproductive rights only goes to show how some traditional religious beliefs can be completely outdated and sometimes even dangerous.
I would really hate to believe that a God would be so hateful to his own “children”, but I can certainly see Man being that hateful. Whatever you believe in, I think we’re all in this together and we need to work together. We need to love each other and cooperate with each other. We need to stop trying to push our own selfish agendas on each other because we can’t afford to lose our humanity in division and hate.