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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is Mike Huckabee Going to Rock & Roll Hell? A Letter to Evangelist Bill Gothard from Justin Jeffre

Posted by Justin Jeffre

98 Degrees Singer with a letter to Bill Gothard

Photo courtesy of here.

Bill Gothard PhD, Founder/President
The Institute in Basic Life Principles
Oak Brook, IL

Dear Dr. Gothard:

For the past couple years, my colleague, the Dean of Cincinnati, has been writing articles about you and your various enterprises. Before then I’d never even heard of you, your institute, your “character-building” seminars, your unaccredited medical school, your unaccredited law school, your nursing program, your Children’s Institute, your bible-centered paramilitary boot camp, your music school, your culinary arts program, your Institute of Photographic Studies, your resort-style training center in Guadalajara, your upholstery training program, your hair design program, etc. As you know, I’m just scratching the surface - the list keeps just on going and according to this 2006 In These Times cover story, The Cult of Character, business is booming:

Gothard, the 74-year-old, unmarried man at the head of the Oak Brook, Illinois-based Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) - which brings in an estimated profit of at least $63 million annually - has been in the evangelism   business since 1964.

But my letter today concerns matters far more serious than earthly possessions and multi-million dollar bank accounts. Today I’m asking you to save the eternal soul of the man you support to be the next President of the United States - Mike Huckabee. Thanks again to recent articles by The Dean, I learned that you and Governor Huckabee are longtime associates and that you were photographed together at a recent “Huckabee for President” campaign event at a Houston home. I also came across a December 13 Denver Post article about Matthew Murray, the young Colorado church shooter, which includes:


Murray also claims online that he went through Bill Gothard home schooling, a fundamental Christian organization that has about 2,000 students enrolled nationally. Gothard’s program bases a curriculum on the 54 verses from the Sermon on the Mount, and its strict teachings prohibit rock & roll and television. Gothard, in an interview Wednesday, said he “didn’t recall"ever meeting the Murray family, but he was sure one of the parents was probably trained in his program. Ultimately,  Gothard blames rock music for Murray’s murderous rampage.  “That is the most contributing factor,” said Gothard,  who is based in a small town south of Chicago. “It’d be important to see the connection between his passion to rock music and how it ultimately brought this on.” Gothard said   whenever he gets calls from parents having trouble with their kids, he asks about what they listen to. “In every case,  (the kid) is listening to rock music,” he said.

Here’s why I’m writing you. Though it’s been widely reported in the media, it may have escaped your attention that Gov. Huckabee not only loves rock music, he plays bass guitar in a rock band! I have located numerous photographs of him engaging in this activity. I must warn you that these images may disturb you, but you may click here to view them.

I also have a confession to make. Like Gov. Huckabee, I’ve engaged in similar activities. For the past decade, I’ve been a member of 98 Degrees, a group that performs the kind of music warned against as “unclean” and “satanic” in an article you published, Ten Scriptural Reasons Why the “Rock Beat” is Evil in Any Form. Taken from that essay, here’s a list which might be called “Bill Gothard’s Ten Commandments of Rock”:












I thought our group was just having a great time making our fans happy with fun music. If only we’d known how dangerous the “ROCK BEAT” is, we might have considered musical styles like the CDs and cassettes you sell on your website, such as The Music of the Children’s Institute: Volume 1 & 2, described as “Well-loved, character-teaching songs from the 1997-1998 Children’s Institutes sung by the Carman Family.”

Anyway, steady yourself, Dr. G, because I’m about to reveal some even more shocking information about Gov. Huckabee. He recently told a New York Times reporter he wants The Rolling Stones to play at his inaugural. Get thee behind me, Mick!

Bill, do you want Their Satanic Majesties to desecrate President Huckabee’s inauguration? Do you want a Commander in Chief who willfully violates your “Ten Commandments of Rock”? Do you want “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed with the “ROCK BEAT”? I’m wondering if you stand behind your own words. I’m sure you recognize this “Commitment to Reject the Deception of the ‘Rock Beat’ in Any Form”, a pledge you have asked others to sign:


“Almighty Father, based on the authority of your Word and the testimony of others, I now purpose to remove from my life any music that contains a “ROCK BEAT”; and to replace it with melodious music that glorifies You and edifies others.”

Signature _____________________________________________

Date _________________________________________________

I’m now calling on you to make a public request for your good friend Mike Huckabee to sign it, too.

And there’s not a moment to waste. As I write this, CBS News reports that the Governor is encouraging the kind of blasphemy you said caused the Colorado tragedy:


With about 150 supporters crowded around a podium set up on the tarmac of Orlando Executive airport…Mike Huckabee strode out to the strains of “Right Now” by Van Halen….

You seem to prefer quick and easy answers, such as your claim that most mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, are simply a lack of personal responsibility.

Okay, now let’s see you take some personal responsibility.

For decades, you’ve been blaming rock music for society’s problems. Now’s your chance to make an international public statement, courtesy of your good friend, Rockin’ Mike Huckabee. What do you have to say to this man who consistently violates one of your most cherished “Basic Life Principles,” a man you want to be leader of the free world?

When are you going to condemn him like you condemned young Matthew Murray?

If that question’s too tough for you, I can direct you to some character-building seminars.

Justin Jeffre


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  1. Prayer Closet Case says:

    Best one yet - thank you Beacon!

    Cross-posting on DailyKos is generating strong comments.

    FYI, Huckabee is so far up Gothard’s nose that he named one of his ghostwritten books, “Character is the Issue.”

  2. ohdave says:

    The Studdard link on the other story isn’t working… must have taken it down.

    Wow, crazy stuff.  Good job guys!

  3. cincysuz says:

    Gothard + Huckabee. Smitherman + Finney. What’s the problem? It’s a free country. Having totally opposite political, moral and philosophical viewpoints shouldn’t get in the way of a beautiful friendship. Why are you writing letters and questioning their motives? Don’t they have a right to be buddies?

  4. anon says:

    ohdave, Robert Staddon of the Staddon family’s page with the Huckabee-Gothard photo and Houston event info is still available via Google cache here.

  5. Vera Z says:

    Justin, I loved your letter to Gothard, I like the way you think.  Keep up the good work. 
    By the way, Gothard’s fifth commandment is not biblical.  As I recall, Jesus intstructed the people, in his sermon on the mount, “judge not lest ye be judged, for with what judgement you judge ye shall be judged.”  Thanx, Justin for your potentially inciteful insights.  A great read.  I really enjoyed reading it.

    Vera Z

  6. Cabbage Patch Kidder says:

    Justin, Dean - You just got picked up by Cliff Schecter - and with big props. From Huckabee the Sinner is Going to Rock and Roll Hell. Let Us Pray:

    Mike Huckabee has crossed the line into hell. At least that’s what evangelist Bill Gothard believes. Or does he? Only 98 Degrees’ Justin Jeffre knows for sure. This is a must read.

  7. ohdave says:

    Check out your link at Brave New Films.

    Thanks, I’ll check out the google cache. 


  8. cincysuz says:

    What about Beacon bff Chris Finney and the Gothard connection that the Dean wrote about in 2006? Must be worth at least a passing comment.

  9. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Chris Finney does not, to my knowledge, have a connection to Gothard; he just knows someone who does.

    Anyway, there’s a passing comment for you.  Now, cincysue, since you hate Republicans, why not focus your comments on Huckabee?  Justin really showed that Republican, didn’t he!

  10. Recovering Pornaholic says:

    cincysuz may be referring to Chris Finney’s (ex-)bff, Gothardite Phil Heimlich, now running for Jean Schmidt’s Congressional seat. But she raises a crucial issue which needs to be brought to the attention of Bill Gothard immediately!

    Remember the video of Phil running away from Justin last year? At the end, Phil said he liked The Supremes, as reported by the Beacon, Hey Phil!  Stop, In The Name of Love!:

    It should be obvious that the music of The Supremes frequently employs the “ROCK BEAT,” (especially their 60s LP “A Bit of Liverpool” in which Diana, Flo, and Cindy covered fab British Invasion hits).

    Isn’t it clear what’s going on here? ROCK BEAT music lovers like Mike Huckabee & Phil Heimlich are using their affiliation with Dr. Gothard to give them cover! They pretend to be true, decent Gothardites, but their real intention is to promote the ROCK BEAT!!!

    Good people must ask themselves this question. If Dr. Gothard allows Phil to listen to The Supremes, what’s next? Donna Summer? Bette Midler? The Village People? Do we want bare-chested elected officials doing erotic gyrations on the floor of the US Congress. I think not!

    This must immediately be brought to Bill Gothard’s attention. Either he says it’s okay to love The Supremes or else Phil Heimlich must be cast out of the Gothardite flock.

    Dr. Gothard, if you are reading this, it is within your power to affect the course of political (and musical) history. Tell Huckabee & Heimlich to renounce the ROCK BEAT!

    Also, please tell them never, ever to take off their shirts in public.

  11. cincysuz says:

    You made the connection between Gothard and Finney, not me. I will admit that when I reread your article I couldn’t understand your point at all.

    Justin showed that Republican? Sure, since you asked, I’ll be happy to focus my comments on that. Outing Huckabee as a hypocrite won’t earn Justin an interview on Democracy Now. But, you see he didn’t even do that much. This letter is directed solely at Gothard, I think advising him to rethink his endorsement of Huckabee based on Huckabee’s approval of rock and roll and Gothard’s disdain for it. I see no criticism of Huckabee though Justin had ample opportunity. In fact, if one didn’t know more about Huckabee, Justin’s letter makes him sound like a fun loving, head banging, rock and roll party guy. Almost an endorsement.

    Why is Gothard’s support any more relevant than Jan & Paul Crouch, Bennie Hinn, Creflo Dollar or any of the other dozens of religion pimps that work behind the scenes directing the “religious” right?

  12. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Why is Mitt Romney not a front runner? 

    Short answer:  Mormonism.  Christians are concerned that Mormons are a cult.

    Gothardism has been called a cult.  And if Christians are afraid of Mormons, they should fear Gothardites even more.

    Huckabee is not just associated with this guy.  He is a “character” advocate, and he has been endorsing Gothard programming for years.  If this hits mainstream, Huckabee’s appeal among mainstream Christians—even mainstream evangelical Christians—goes right down the toilet.

  13. cincysuz says:

    Kenneth Copeland also endorses Huckabee and Robertson endorses Guiliani. And I believe that Cindy Birdsong replaced Florence Ballard so they wouldn’t have been appearing together. Mary Wilson was with the group then. No disrespect intended. Fact checker, you know.

  14. Recovering Pornaholic says:

    cincysue And I believe that Cindy Birdsong replaced Florence Ballard so they wouldn’t have been appearing together. Mary Wilson was with the group then. No disrespect intended.

    No disrespect taken. Good catch and thanks for the correction. I must have been blinded by outrage, indignation, and self-righteousness, a sin known to afflict other Beacon posters. Please join me in praying for us all.

  15. All-Night All Frantic One says:

    Why is Gothard’s support any more relevant* than Jan & Paul Crouch, Bennie Hinn, Creflo Dollar or any of the other dozens of religion pimps that work behind the scenes directing the “religious” right?

    1. Because Gothard is relatively unknown to the secular world and even to many conservative Christians, yet he is an extremely rich behind-the-scenes mover connected to powerful Republicans. For example, Jim Leininger, the San Antonio billionaire who heavily funds the school voucher movement is on the board of Gothard’s organization, as is Texas Rep. Sam Johnson: Leininger is also close to GW Bush, pic here:

    2. Because Gothard seems to be as crazy as a sh*thouse rat. That’s no problem for Huckabee, as long as nobody knows about Gothard’s “demonic” Cabbage Patch dolls and ROCK BEAT paranoia. But when the reality-based community gets a look at Mike’s bff, neither of them are likely to enjoy the scrutiny. Justin and The Beacon are helping shine a light on their relationship.

    That meets my needs.

    * “More relevant” than the others you listed? Who knows? Justin pulled together a good item on Gothard and the Beacon has been doing reporting on Gothard for some time.  If you’ve got something on your other so-called “religion pimps,” nobody’s stopping you. Do some work, write it up, and submit it to The Beacon.

  16. cincysuz says:

    The entire corporate relgious right including the 700 Club, Trinity Broadcasting, Moral Majority, et. al. are interchangeable and each with their own strong political influence on the Republican Party. Search a little while and you’ll find the same fanatic positions espoused by each, as outrageous as Gothard’s mental illness/sin link, from armageddon, to multiple gay disease proclamations as well as female submission, links to armed militia and other anti-government groups, violent anti-abortion groups and 2nd Amendment radicals. They make the most radical Islamists seem like Quakers.

    The real story is the whole story—the radical religious right’s hold on the Republican Party, beginning with the Reagan years, Gothard being a part of that big picture. None of these have ever endorsed a Democrat unless you include the cult of Oprah Winfrey.

  17. False Profits says:

    Must read article, Ties to Christian conservative Gothard could hurt Huckabee, Much More Than Words (blog), 12/30.07  

    I hesitate to use the word “cult” because it’s so loaded, but I’ll do it anyway: Attending some Gothard seminars decades ago is the closest I’ve come to experiencing a Christian religious cult. Gothard would regularly fill indoor arenas thousands of people who would pay good money to attend more than 20 hours of his lectures over the course of a week. A few of his precepts — the most notorious was his opposition to divorce even in cases of physical abuse — grabbed most of the press attention…(Trust me on this: As much as you’ve heard some critics on the left make fun of Mitt Romney for his Mormonism, that’s nothing compared with what you’ll be hearing if Huckabee is ever identified with Gothardism, which has some support in Southern Baptist circles as well as some segments of the homeschooling movement.)

    Since then, Gothard has built a mini publishing and training empire, weathering criticism from some evangelicals and even getting past a sex scandal involving his staff (but not him personally). But he has remained as reclusive in some ways as he was in his heyday, when he would almost never give interviews nor allow himself to be photographed.

    So I thought that Gothard was acting a bit out of character when I found out that he was photographed earlier this month with Huckabee at a political fundraiser in Houston…Allowing himself to be photographed must have been an oversight for Gothard. The Staddon family’s blog entry, which included the photograph as well as the only known web-published account of a gathering that included both Gothard and Huckabee, has been removed.

  18. Housebroken Heathen says:

    Justin, Dean - Your article just got bumped from diary to front page at Talk To Action.

    Also Bill Sloat gave you a nice hat tip and added some funny lines of his own at The Bellwether.

    Go, Beacon, go!

  19. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Everything I’ve read and seen Huckabee is the best for the job because he’s never jumped around issues and answers everything i’ve seen asked. I am leaning more towards him more then anyone actully.

  20. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:


    Before you judge someone based on how they appear to answer media soundbites, I suggest you do just a tiny bit of research into Bill Gothard.

    This guy is nasty, and Huckabee is part of that club.

    Scary stuff.  Follow the links in Justin’s letter, to start.

  21. R n R says:

    I take it Mr./The Right Rev. (if he is?) Gothard has never replied to this ditty?
    Or is he too taken up in the Iowa win in the Prayer Closet to let himself out to answer any mail?

  22. K.W. Leslie says:

    I don’t see Gothard’s endorsement of Huckabee to be anything other than the typical political behavior of voting for the lesser of the evils. Gothard may not agree with Huckabee’s taste in music, but he’ll vote for him because he likes his taste in foreign policy, or domestic policy, or whatever.

    It’s not hypocrisy to endorse someone you don’t 100% agree with—and if it is I defy you to find anyone who isn’t a hypocrite.

    Besides, if celebrity Christian endorsements actually counted for anything than Rudy Giuliani would have cleaned up in Iowa. After all, Pat Robertson endorsed him, and we all know that every Christian follows Robertson’s marching orders, right? Except Huckabee, for some reason. Or Gothard. Or 96.5 percent of Iowa’s Republicans. Well, they’re going to hell now. Don’t they know Robertson talks to Jesus personally?

  23. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Gothardites are not typical.  You must understand this.

    Giuliani, for example, led the polls in Florida.  Then, leading Florida Republican Daniel Webster came out with an endorsement for Huckabee, and he surged. 

    Who is Webster?  For one, he is a Gothardite, attending Gothard seminars and speaking to Gothardites.  He has been linked with Hucakbee and Gothard for over ten years, as has been documented by 1997 press accounts.

    According to the Staddon family blog (a Gothard family blog), they learned about Huckabee at a Gothard Seminar when they heard Webster talking about him.

    SO maybe you are right, and this is just a big coincidence:  but a secular Republican hated by the fundamentals leads in Floriday, and Huckabee has 9%.  Gothardite Webster endorses Gothardite Huckabee (with, of course, the Gothard connection totally under the radar), and next thing we know he is a front runner.

    Or what about Jim Bob Duggar?  That’s the Gothardite who was following Mitt Romney around asking hiim about abortion at press events.  Only everyone missed the Gothard connection.

  24. K.W. Leslie says:

    Dean: I think you’re misunderstanding the Fundamentalist subculture. (I’m a recovering Fundie myself.) These guys aren’t in lockstep, but they do network.

    That a lot of Fundies have gone to Gothard seminars doesn’t mean Gothard is the locus of any vast right-wing conspiracy. Contrary to your statements, Gothard isn’t under the radar. Virtually every conservative-leaning Protestant has heard of him; but if that’s not the group you hang out with, it stands to reason you wouldn’t know about him… just as any rightist wouldn’t know who Peter Camejo is.

    Part of the reason for the recent Fundie surge for Huckabee is because the press has only been reporting on Giuliani and Romney for the past year. By and large Fundies don’t read the news and don’t know squat about it, but they do pick up bits and pieces of it through osmosis and maybe Rush Limbaugh. All they knew of was Giulani and Romney, and to their minds, better a backslidden Catholic than a cult member. (Except for James Dobson and his ilk, who would rather vote third-party; and those Fundamentalists like Bob Jones who think Catholicism is a cult too.)

    But as soon as Huckabee turned up on the political radar? Why, he’s one of them. Of course they’ll vote for him.

    Talk to any of them and you’ll find they generally don’t know squat about him except that he’s a Baptist minister and he’s against abortion. They might be horrified to discover that Huckabee did more to expand Arkansas government services than Gov. Bill Clinton ever did; but generally they won’t care. So long that he claims to defend fetuses, he has their vote.

    I accept that maybe Gothard might have contributed to their looking his way; but beyond that they largely make up their own minds. How else do you explain all these so-called “Gothardite” kids (and parents) who still listen to Christian rock?

  25. Stryper Fanz says:

    he needs to headline for Stryper smile

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