And then there was Kate. She wrote asking to have cofee with me because she was a fan. When a gorgeous blonde walked into the restaurant we'd agreed on and immediately said she loved my article, I thought, journalism has its rewards. But an hour into our conversation, I started making connections. She'd been living in Annapolis, Maryland, where the Family has a group of homes much like the compound in Arlington. She'd recently left a job at the national Security Agency. She'd been raised fundamentalist, but she'd left it behind; she wanted a relationship with Jesus untainted by tradition. So I asked her, "Do you know anyone in the Family?" Silence. I asked her again. For whatever reason - Christian conscience? - she confessed that she did know someone in the Family, [organization leader] David Coe. "He's like a father to me." In fact, she admitted, she'd been sent to spy on me.Point of reference: One of the killers the Family supported is the genocidal dictator General Suharto, who may have killed close to a million people. But if you've ever been physically attracted to someone you're not married to, that's just as bad.
We ended up talking for three more hours and drinking a lot of wine. I tried to persuade her that the Family was a secretive, undemocratic organization that aided and abetted dictators. She agreed, only she thought that was a good thing. She said the Family still loved me. I told her about some of the killers the Family had supported. She rallied by pointing out that we're all sinners, and thus shouldn't judge those whom God places in authority. "Jeff," she said, holding my eyes, twisting her wine stem between her fingers, "in your heart, have you ever lusted for a woman? Isn't that just as bad?"
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