Friday, September 11, 2015

Highly Recommended: Sarah Posner's Just-Published Essay on Duggars' Close Ties to Discredited IBLP Ministry of Bill Gothard

A very important essay to which I'd like to point you: Sarah Posner's exhaustively researched investigation of the ties of the Duggar family to the discredited ministry of Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). As Sarah reminds us, Jessica Michelle Duggar has used Gothard's Advanced Training Institute (ATI) curriculum to home-school her children.* 

As she also notes, Gothard and his organization(s) teach that women should submit to men and, if they're raped, are responsible for being raped. It was apparently Gothard who told the Duggar parents to keep Josh's molestation of his sisters a closely guarded secret, and it was to Gothard's outfit in Little Rock that the Duggars sent Josh for "therapy" when they discovered what Josh was doing.

Gothard is himself under a cloud due to multiple allegations of sexual harrassment of his employees, and he resigned as head of IBLP in 2014. Sarah has interviewed many of his former employees and uses their testimony in her article. If you've been following the Duggar story, and if you're interested in how religious ideas are used to prop up rigid gender roles that entitle men and disadvantage women (and also disparage LGBT people), this essay is must-reading.

As a sideline to this story: the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas, voted earlier this week to uphold an ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination. As Max Brantley notes in the article I've just linked, this past December, the city voted against the first iteration of this non-discrimination ordinance after the Duggar family attacked the ordinance, warning Fayetteville residents that it would expose their children to sexual predators. 

This time around, the Duggars were silent.

I wonder why.

(P.S. Because Arkansas's new tea party Republican legislature passed an anti-gay "intrastate commerce" bill early this year, which prohibits any municipality in the state from passing laws protecting LGBT rights, and because our new Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, allowed the bill to become law, it remains to be seen what will happen with the Fayetteville ordinance. The state's new tea party Republican attorney general Leslie Rutledge has been making noises about how such bills [which several Arkansas cities including Little Rock have now passed after the legislature forbade this] are in violation of current state regulations.)

*Thanks to Ursula for noting (see the comment below) that I typed Jessica here when I meant Michelle.

The graphic: as Julie Anne pointed out at her Spiritual Sounding Board blog on 5 June, as of that date, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were scheduled this summer to speak at Family Conferences organized by ATI and IBLP. Julie Anne points to the ATI's website, which has a program (still online) of the 2015 conferences, showing the Duggars as speakers.

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