Tell us if this doesn’t sound like the plot of a Dan Brown novel: Five or more Christian U.S. congressmen live together in a discreet, unremarkable house on C Street near Capitol Hill. The house is owned by a group called “Youth With a Mission of Washington DC,” which doesn’t have a phone number and doesn’t seem to be known by anybody, but appears to have nothing to do with young people. The house is “affiliated” with the Fellowship, an “obsessively secretive” organization that runs the influential National Day of Prayer breakfasts and holds religious sway in Washington. The congressmen who live at the house “mostly adhere to a code of silence,” which extends to the many other politicians who stop by for prayer, or to talk about their troubles.
The congressmen who live there now include a mix of Democrats and Republicans, like Pennsylvania representative Mike Doyle, Michigan’s Bart Stupak, Tennessee’s Zach Wamp, and Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma. Another resident is John Ensign, the Nevada senator whose career was shattered this week by revelations of an affair. Turns out Coburn, upon finding out about his infidelity, arranged a “painful” meeting between Ensign and the husband of his mistress — which took place in the prayer house.
And, when philandering South Carolina governor Mark Sanford needed spiritual and emotional guidance, he turned to the secrecy of the house. Doesn’t it just seem like there’s gotta be something really freaky going on in the basement of that building? Like a sex dungeon, or, like, a secret tunnel to Mel Gibson’s place? With a trolley to and fro driven by a fat lady in bicycle shorts and a top hat?