Political Animal

Blog

July 02, 2014 11:50 AM Lobbying For More Than Hobbies

By Ed Kilgore

If you are inclined to view the plaintiffs in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as nice, gentle Christian business folk who just don’t want to be complicit in the slaughter of zygotes by women with those little IUD execution chambers in their ladyparts, you might want to look at today’s MoJo article by David Corn and Molly Redden about the Green family and their world view.

For a decade or so, Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, have been generous benefactors of a Christian ministry that until recently was run by Bill Gothard, a controversial religious leader who has long promoted a strict and authoritarian version of Christianity. Gothard, a prominent champion of Christian home-schooling, has decried the evils of dating, rock music, and Cabbage Patch dolls; claimed public education teaches children “how to commit suicide” and undermines spirituality; contended that mental illness is merely “varying degrees of irresponsibility”; and urged wives to “submit to the leadership” of their husbands. Critics of Gothard have associated him with Christian Reconstructionism, an ultrafundamentalist movement that yearns for a theocracy, and accused him of running a cultlike organization. In March, he was pressured to resign from his ministry, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, after being accused by more than 30 women of sexual harassment and molestation—a charge Gothard denies….

The Institute in Basic Life Principles is a familiar part of the Christian Right landscape:

Gothard and the Institute have drawn support from conservative politicians, including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. The Duggar family, the stars of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting, have been high-profile advocates of Gothard’s home-schooling curriculum and seminars.

In my TPMCafe column on the SCOTUS decision, I argued that the whole “religious liberty” movement of which Hobby Lobby is so conspicuous represents a new strategy of “aggressive separatism” in which supposedly persecuted conservative Christians claim the right to create their own segregated world of laws and institutions that its proprietors ultimately intend to impose on us all. Gothard’s vision of a patriarchal theocracy is the model for where the Greens would take America in a lobby that’s about far more than hobbies.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

(You may use HTML tags for style)

comments powered by Disqus