”I was part of a group called C Street when I was in Washington. It was … a Christian Bible study; some folks that asked of members of Congress hard questions that I think were very, very important. And I’ve been working with them.”
“I see Cubby Culbertson in the back of the room. I would consider him a spiritual giant …. … and an incredibly dear friend. And he has been helping us work through this ….”
– South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, in a Statehouse news conference.
“Sanford … detailed more visits with [Maria Belen] Chapur, including an encounter that he described as a failed attempt at a farewell meeting in New York this past winter, chaperoned by a spiritual adviser ….”
– Tamara Lush and Evan Berland, Associated Press.
From recent remarks and actions by Governor Mark Sanford, you might think his spiritual advisor hails from a galaxy far, far away, but he has several spiritual advisors, all apparently terrestrial. Few are actually clergymen, and none appear to be accredited marriage counselors. This is free-style, free-range, free-market spiritual advising, and the Invisible Hand needs a good rap on the knuckles.
There are two teams of known Sanford spiritual advisors in our solar system, one in Washington DC, the other in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia.
The Carolina contingent includes founders of an influential evangelical men’s Bible study group:
Warren ”Cubby” Culbertson, described as a local businessman, is son of a former state legislator and small town mayor.
E. C. Burnett, III – Former Justice of the South Carolina State Supreme Court.
W. T. “Tobin” Cassels III – President of Southeastern Freight Lines, son of company CEO William T. “Bill” Cassels, Jr. and grandson of the big corporation’s founder. Quote: “Jesus is my role model, because there is no one who has ever perfected servant leadership like he has. Leadership is all about taking care of people, helping them to be successful, and to serve their needs.”
William H. (Bill) Short, Jr. — Attorney, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, active in the Carolina Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, South Carolina Law Bankruptcy Association, and South Carolina Ducks Unlimited.
Gary A. Schraibman – First Vice President – Wealth Management/ Investment Management Specialist / Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Columbia SC.
Dr. William H. “Bill” Jones, president of Columbia International University (formerly Columbia Bible College). “ In the spring semester of 2007 … the “physical expression of affection” standard (dating couples may not hold hands or kiss, but may only hug briefly) was revised to allow for more freedom of physical expressions (couples dating seriously are now allowed to hold hands and kiss briefly).” Dr. Jones, also co-founder and president of Crossover Communications International, appears to be (or has been) a Baptist minister.
We are sure Mr. Sanford has made these Southern gentlemen proud.
Sanford’s DC spiritual advisors are harder to pin down, and that is intentional on their part. The group is often known as The Fellowship or The Family. Governor Sanford called it “C Street” after the organization’s Capitol Hill hideout at 133 C Street SE, which provides bargain-rate housing for fundamentalist senators and congressmen but is registered in the name of a tax-exempt religious organization. The wealthy Mr. Sanford did not live there when he was a congressman but was a habitué. The Fellowship is said to have at least one large estate in Northern Virginia.
Affiliated with many other Christian fundamentalist groups, The Fellowship serves as a sort of missionary effort to the rich and powerful. It organizes and funds the annual National Prayer Breakfast but keeps its own name off the letterhead. Jeffrey Sharlet has written extensively about this outfit; after you see this article you might want to read his book. (excerpt here).
Current residents of the $1,844,810 “C Street” townhouse are though to be Congressmen Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). Past C Street Bible study group members have included the residents plus then-Congressman Mark Sanford, Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA), Steve Largent (R-OK), and Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), John McCain (R-AZ), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mark Pryor (R-AR), James Inhofe (R-OK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Conrad Burns (R-MT) and (astoundingly) Hillary Clinton (D-NY).
Even though she now oversees foreign affairs as Secretary of State, we can probably rule out Mrs. Clinton as a mediator between Mr. Sanford and his Argentine lover. Other C Streeters, however, including those named above, may have advised the wayward Governor, and we cannot rule out Sanford spiritual advice from Fellowship leader Doug Coe:
Read Jamie Dean’s excellent article on Mark Sanford in WORLD Magazine.
Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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