Check out Joshua Pease’s piece at The New Republic on fundamentalist parachurch leader Bill Gothard. As a young evangelical, I read some of Gothard’s stuff. My church would often send groups to his Institute in Basic Life Principles conference in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I never attended one of his sessions, but members of my family did. The Institute in Basic Life Principles removed Gothard from leadership in 2014 after multiple members of his organization reported his inappropriate sexual behavior.
Pease sees a link between the #metoo stories emanating from the Institute of Basic Life Principles and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with evangelical support for a POTUS who does not hold to traditional evangelical values and has had his own #metoo moments. Here is a taste of his piece:
Gothard’s religious teachings are increasingly ignored today, even within fundamentalist churches, thanks in part to the various abuses they engendered. But the public sphere is another matter. Rather than reject misogyny, abuse, or patriarchal authoritarianism, a sizable segment of modern Christianity appears ready to tolerate these traits in its political leaders, as long as it is all in service of fighting the “enemy,” which is usually a shorthand for “liberals.”
Gothard’s legacy is not his thousands of pages of bizarre dogma, but the insight he offers into the way the Christian right once responded to the threats posed by liberal America. He was celebrated by the culture warriors for promising stability in a changing world, all while he warped the message of Jesus to build an empire for himself and prey on the vulnerable. The victims of his abuse are still waiting for justice—and watching as many of their fellow Christians show, in their actions and their politics, that they really don’t care.
Read the rest here.