Inside C Street, Washington’s frat house for Jesus
Peter J. Boyer - Sep 13 2010
One midwinter night in 2008, Senator John Ensign, of Nevada, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was roused from bed when six men entered his room and ordered him to get up. Ensign knew the men intimately; a few hours earlier, he had eaten dinner with them, as he had nearly every Tuesday evening since he’d come to Washington. Now they were rebuking him for his recklessness. They told him he was endangering his career, ruining lives, and offending God.
The men leading this intervention considered themselves Ensign’s closest friends in Washington. Four of those who confronted Ensign—Senator Tom Coburn and Representatives Bart Stupak, Mike Doyle, and Zach Wamp—lived with him in an eighteenth-century brick row house on C Street, in southeast Washington, a short walk from the Capitol. The men regarded themselves in part as an accountability group. Despite their political differences—Coburn and Wamp are Republicans, Stupak and Doyle are Democrats—they had pledged to hold one another to a life lived by the principles of Jesus, and they considered the Tuesday supper gatherings at C Street an inviolable ritual.
See also, “The Family of Sharlet.” His new book ships next week: C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy