CC image courtesy of Flickr, Embajada de los Estados
By Wende Benner, HA Editorial Staff
President-Elect Trump announced his pick for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, this Thursday, January 19, 2017. Perdue is Trump’s final appointment to an already controversial inaugural Cabinet.
It may come as no surprise, then, that Perdue comes with his own questionable background. Perdue is a follower, supporter, and advocate for the disgraced Bill Gothard and his homeschool ministry, Advanced Training Institute (ATI). The curriculum and seminars Gothard required his followers claimed to be based on 7 Basic Biblical Principles and Godly character. Yet it has been shown these materials are full of spiritual abuse and helped to groom young people for abuse, including sexual abuse. Gothard himself is accused of sexual molestation and sexual harassment of minor women who were in his care. He is currently being sued by fifteen of these women.
Perdue credits Bill Gothard and his ministry Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) as having the most influential role in his life next to the Bible. He goes as far as saying, “every seminar and every piece of literature was produced impeccably in honor of the One whose message it delivered”. Perdue lent his support for ATI by speaking at an ATI family conference in Nashville in 2008. One of his speeches is still featured on ATI’s Embassy Institute website. Embassy Institute is an educational media program used by IBLP and ATI that requires a monthly fee to access.
While Govenor of Georgia, Perdue employed a Gothard principle of public confession and prayer in an attempt to end a drought. Though the drought came after Perdue led waste of water and natural resources, Perdue stood in the Capital grounds and, according to Christianity Today, confessed, “Oh, Father, we acknowledge our wastefulness. But we’re doing better. And I thought it was time to acknowledge that to the Creator, the Provider of Water and Land, and to tell Him that we will do better”. This confession took place soon after the National Weather Service had already forecast rain. However, IBLP still uses this story to show how applying their principles creates success.
Perdue’s involvement with IBLP led him to also help teach these 7 Basic Principles to other world leaders and businessmen. In 2011 nearly 30 leaders, teachers, and businessmen from Peru attended a ten day conference at IBLP headquarters in Hinsdale, IL to learn how to apply Gothard’s teachings and financial principles. Perdue was one of the featured leaders of this conference. He has not been content with using cult teaching just within his own government position, but has actively tried to spread these teaching across the world.
Now, Perdue is in a position to be part of the inner circle of one of the most powerful world leaders. He admittedly uses Gothard’s cult teachings as one of his main guiding principles. He has also shown that he is willing to spread these teachings as far as possible.
Perdue, with his slavish devotion to Gothard and IBLP, is a concerning choice for our country. Perdue brings his belief in God and teachings from an alleged sexual predator to his job and leadership. There is no evidence that he will not continue to use these beliefs to further his own ambitions, instead of relying on laws, policy, and science to support this country’s people.