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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

 
The Freedom Caucus (for patriarchs)

by digby


I think one of the most astonishing ironies of the House speakership brou-ha-ha is the fact that member of the so-called "Freedom caucus" are backing a member of the Duggar's authoritarian fundamentalist cult. You cannot make this stuff up.

I mentioned it the other day but Sarah Posner has the details:

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) is running as the alternative to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House. He also has a decades-long affiliation with the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the controversial ministry whose founder, Bill Gothard, resigned last year after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment. As TPM reported earlier this month, IBLP subjected young followers to victim-blaming “counseling” for rape, as well as grueling work schedules at its facilities for little or no pay, requiring women to engage in gendered tasks that included scrubbing carpets on their hands and knees.

Webster’s association with IBLP and its homeschooling program, the Advanced Training Institute, made national headlines when he first ran for Congress in 2010. Alan Grayson, the firebrand incumbent Democrat, criticized Webster, who had served 28 years in the Florida legislature, in an ad characterizing him as “Taliban Dan.” The ad showed clips from a Webster speech to an IBLP conference during which he spoke of a biblical command that wives submit to their husbands. Webster, who went on to win the election, insisted the clips were taken out of context.

But IBLP’s teaching on wifely submission is just the tip of the iceberg of the ministry’s authoritarian ideology, which includes opposition to, among other things, public education, “humanistic” laws, contraception, and even rock music. Despite downplaying his adherence to a core Gothard teaching, Webster has been, as a 1997 St. Petersburg Times article put it, “an enthusiastic supporter” of IBLP.

Webster’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

In a 2003 speech at an IBLP conference, “Discover the True Qualities of Leadership,” Webster boasted of how he diligently conducts both his private and public life according to the “commitments” he made to the principles he learned at IBLP seminars. By his own account in the speech, and according to statements in ATI newsletters, Webster began his affiliation with IBLP when he attended a seminar for legislators at IBLP’s Northwoods Conference Center in Watersmeet, Michigan, in 1984. A few months later, Webster said during the speech, he attended an IBLP “basic seminar” in Tampa, Florida. His family later joined ATI, and his wife homeschooled their six children with the curriculum. (Webster’s first legislative achievement in Florida was a bill legalizing homeschooling, which became law in 1985.)

In the 2003 speech, Webster said he “made every commitment” Gothard asked of attendees at his seminars. “I raised my hand every time, because it absolutely changed my life,” Webster said.

There's more. You have to read the whole thing to really understand just how extreme this man is. He's running for Speaker of the House. Meanwhile, recall that Ben Carson insists that Muslims must repudiate the beliefs of their most extreme members before they can be considered for office.

When you think about it maybe his being a member of the Freedom Caucus makes some sense after all. A patriarch is pretty much free to do whatever he wants, amirite?


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