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Last week, I mentioned that Bill Gothard, one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right, was forced to go on administrative leave from his Institute in Basic Life Principles in the face of charges from 34 former female employees that he sexually harassed and molested them.   The women, some of whose claims go back as far as the 1970s, claim Gothard played footsie with them, touched them and petted them, and even peeked in them while they were wearing their nightgowns during retreats.  At least one of the women claims Gothard molested her when she was 16 years old.

Well, yesterday, only a week into the investigation, Gothard dropped a bombshell--he's resigning from all of his posts, effective immediately.

Gothard told the Board of Directors he wanted to follow the New Testament command to listen to those who made accusations against him, according to an email sent from David Waller, administrative director of the Advanced Training Institute to families involved in the ministry.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus directs his followers to “go and be reconciled” if “your brother or sister has something against you.”

“To give his full attention to this objective, Mr. Gothard has resigned as president of the Institutes in Basic Life Principles, its Board of Directors, and its affiliated entities,” Waller’s email said.

Recovering Grace obtained a copy of the full email.  Read it here.  Incredibly self-serving, I say.  No word of sympathy to the victims or anything.  It has the air of someone who is only sorry he got caught.

Gothard was one of the pioneers of the Christian homeschooling movement, and has rubbed noses with the likes of Sarah Palin, Sonny Perdue, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee.  He's also a proponent of the Quiverfull movement--indeed, the most famous Quiverfull family of all, the Duggars, have been big fans of his for years.  To put it mildly, all of that is in tatters now.

No word yet on where the investigation will go now.  But the only acceptable resolution is for the police to get involved.  I said last week, and I say again--I don't care if Gothard is 79 years old.  If this is true--and thus far, there is nothing that indicates that these women aren't telling the truth--he needs to GO TO PRISON.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's too easy... (6+ / 0-)

    to make fun of his last name.

    I'll just keep on walking.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 10:57:34 AM PST

  •  Self serving e-mail, maybe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, Lujane, sturunner

    But not intended to serve Gothard particularly. It's the words and message of the Institute, which no doubt is more interested in its own continued survival as opposed to their founder.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:23:13 AM PST

  •  This fits Gothard. (14+ / 0-)

    Back when he was getting rolling in the 80's he'd do talks and rallies across the country on "Biblical marriage" which was always interpreted as "the wife" submitting to "the man's headship" in all matters.
    (I was in a position where I had to clean up after he would leave town. All sorts of parishoners coming in, the husbands dumbfounded they couldn't get away with it, the wives upset, livid, depressed or ready for a divorce.)

    Starting from that mindset, harassing and molesting female members of his "ministry" staff follow easily. Not surprised, just sorry it took so long to nail him.


    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 11:28:37 AM PST

  •  "To put it mildly, all of that is in tatters now." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No, it's not.

    He is one of the leaders of the patriarchy, as well as quiverfull, movement.  This will become a sick, twisted game of blame the victims and Gothard will come out a martyr and saint.

    •  You'd think that something like this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH, Penny GC, BachFan

      would cross the line, though.  Molesting a 16-year-old girl would be a bridge too far even in this world.

      "Leave us alone!" -Mike Capuano

      by Christian Dem in NC on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 12:00:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But there will still be an element... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That will blame his accusers because they're "harming christ" or the church or whatever.  

        (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

        by homogenius on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 12:10:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It will have no impact (0+ / 0-)

        The movement itself will circle the wagons and Brother Bill will be prayed for and life will go on as it has.

        He's not the first - stories are starting to emerge of other "pastors" who have had "issues"... and so far it's been the woman's fault, not the mans.  A great many more victims, will have to emerge before anything starts to change.

        And may god have more mercy on them than their fellow christians will have.

      •  Unfortunately thes types of "men" (read animals) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        see women as items to be possessed and the way for them to possess them is to abuse them. I would think that the fathers are taught that they are just 'training' their own daughters when they abuse them. So not so far fetched to have the leader get to have his power over another. Women, children, minorities...they are all there to SERVE the MAN. Items and possessions, not people and humans...

        Stop with the purity trolling!

        by Penny GC on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 01:18:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gothard's teachings lend themselves to that. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Penny GC, terabytes

          A lot of it is based on being spiritually under someone's metaphorical umbrella of protection - with the idea that you comply absolutely with what they want and if that's not what God wants then THEY'RE the ones who are supposed to get divine consequences.

          And in this movement, Gothard's metaphorical umbrella is the one every pastor and head of household in the entire movement is under. If you're about three or five levels down and the type of teenage girl he's interested in, you've been taught you have the sole choice between utter compliance or nothing barring you from divine wrath for every little mistake you ever made.

          I've been following some fundamentalist survivor blogs and that's basically what was happening. NO ONE had the authority to even suggest Gothard might be wrong about so much as which of two clocks set to nearly the same time was right, much less anything else.

          It's pretty sick.

  •  I remember being a teen in the '70s. (3+ / 0-)

    Even in my ostensibly mainline megachurch attending "Bill Gothard" (as his seminar was eponymously known) was a big goal.  It was like a big Jesus merit badge.  

    (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

    by homogenius on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 12:08:53 PM PST

  •  thanks for this. quite interesting, not (8+ / 0-)


    when i was a teen in the 80s, my parents dragged me to more than one of these conference things and they dropped all kinds of cash on 'supplemental materials' and tapes, etc. i came across them last year, gathering dust in my parents' garage. and i threw them away. mom is so far gone now, she'll never miss them.

    the conferences were, like so many other religious activities my parents participated in, focused almost solely on female submission in a 'traditional' marriage. so controlling.

    i thought he had disappeared into oblivion after that, and had no idea of the quiverfull connection (another way that women are exploited).

    i hope justice finally comes to him, and that the victims will know peace.

    let me take you down, 'cause i'm going to strawberry fields. nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about.-jpgr

    by shesaid on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 12:18:57 PM PST

  •  These asshats never disappear; they get re-born (0+ / 0-)

    just like their favorite dead Jew. (ok their only favorite Jew)
    He'll return, "blessed & refreshed" and ready to take on a whole new generation of naive girls and women who'll be taught that whatever he does to them, it's in "god's name."
    Stupid, deluded, faithful dolts.
    And they wonder why we need a nanny state!

    "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

    by sajiocity on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 01:09:24 PM PST

    •  He's old enough that I doubt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sajiocity, FarWestGirl

      he'll return -- not sure if he's got any sons/grandsons to pick up the reins, or if some young staff member is waiting in the wings. Smells a bit more like "why don't you just step back and let the younger generation carry on your legacy" to me. They'll dress it up in new language but it'll be the same thing.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 03:10:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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