On today's date in The Beacon archives, we published:•Are you smarter than a Fox News viewer? How about CNN? (2011)
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Posted by The Dean of Cincinnati
As recently reported by The Cincinnati Beacon, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has close ties to fringe evangelist/tycoon Bill Gothard, who runs the little-known Chicago-area Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and a string of affiliated businesses. It’s been widely reported that Gothard’s organizations advocate strict authoritarianism and blind obedience. Allegations of child abuse such as locking kids for extended periods in “prayer closets” and other misconduct have led to investigations.
According to a recent In These Times cover story, “The Cult of Character,” Gothard oversees an evangelical empire “which brings in an estimated profit of at least $63 million annually.” For example, see these photos of “IBLP’s beautiful Guadalajara Training Center property” which looks like a 5-star resort. Among the many hats Gothard wears, he’s “Chancellor” of a non-accredited school and founder of the “Medical Training Institute of America” which recommends such unconventional treatments as calling “elders of the church for prayer before receiving medical treatment for a serious illness” and annointing with oils.
Then there’s the “Character Cities” movement, Gothard’s secular front which infiltrates the public sector and chips away at the wall between church and state by bringing their quasi-religious programs into schools, prisons, police departments, etc. - sometimes on the taxpayer dollar. We originally got onto the story because Phil Heimlich, former Hamilton County commissioner and Gothard fan who’s now running against fellow Republican Jean Schmidt, brought the Character program to Cincinnati.
More people learned about Gothard a few weeks ago when Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray was identified as having been raised and home-schooled in an extreme Gothardite program. From the Denver Post:
Meanwhile, Gothard himself remains relatively unknown outside his gilded realm. He rarely speaks to the press and photos of him in mainstream publications are hard to find. So this photo from just last week of Gothard with Mike Huckabee at what is identified as a private campaign luncheon in Houston is noteworthy. The photo comes from “Huckabee in Houston” by Robert Steddon on the Steddon family blog. (The Steddons are apparently devoted Gothard followers. Son Robert Steddon says he previously travelled to Mexico with Gothard as his “assistant.”)
Perhaps Huckabee’s recent rise in the polls will motivate big media to finally take a closer look into the glitzy empire of his friend and supporter Bill Gothard.
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