Is the National Prayer Breakfast Surrounded by a "Christian Mafia"? Religious Publicity and Secrecy Within the Corridors of Power

One of the nation's most public annual events that bridge the religious and political realms is the National Prayer Breakfast. One of the most secretive religious groups among the country's elite is referred to as "the Fellowship." Many do not realize that the two are linked very closely, for the Fellowship administers the National Prayer Breakfast and supports the attendant prayer breakfast movement. I find this relationship is integral to both dimensions of the Fellowship, yet movement insiders demonstrate a clear preference for the private and secretive elements and minimize the role of public legitimation for the group and its activities. Data for this article are based on interviews with approximately 300 societal leaders and leaders of religious institutions as well as archival material and participant-observation surrounding the National Prayer Breakfast, the wider prayer breakfast movement, and its sponsoring organization, the International Foundation.