“…So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.…” Gary North
The basic bitch in me may have gone too far this week, during an online comment back and forth with a very well-meaning young woman. I found her research enlightening, very well done, but it was tainted, not by the inaccuracies of her work, but the fact that she was incapable of evaluating the world around her. Her life is so caught up, still, in the strange little universe crated by Bill Gothard and ATI, that it has literally rendered her unable to grasp certain realities. It is not because she is illiterate, or poorly educated, but because, the way she was raised, religion – her version of it – and those in charge, are omnipotent and omniscient. She doesn’t understand that, for the vast majority of the American people, our world does not revolve around religion – and religious leaders.
It was all so simple and tragic. Without disclosing who the person is, or the topic, she stated that a specific organization literally controlled a county and a city in the south. Having quite a bit of knowledge about the topic, I know good and well what she was writing was not true. Yes, her story was fascinating, her research on the history of a certain organization basically confirms years of gossip. But, she was incapable of understanding that the group in question was not all that important.
It’s quite sad, and from what I’ve been able to ascertain, extremely common for people who are literally second generation ATI refugees. They don’t grasp the real world. When you are dealing with a second generation of people raised in what is literally a religious cult, created by a man who can only be referred to is a pervert, strange things are going to happen. In many ways, they are the castaways of the Gilligan’s Islands of life.
“…Now this is the tale of the castaways, they’re here for a long, long time, they’ll have to make the best of things, it’s an uphill climb. The first mate and the Skipper too, will do their very best, to make the others comfortable, in the tropic island nest. No phone, no lights no motor cars, not a single luxury, like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be. So join us here each week my friends, you’re sure to get a smile, from seven stranded castaways, here on “Gilligan’s Isle.”..”
Augmented by Doug Phillips now defunct Vision Forum curriculum and brainwashing educational material there are at least two generations of grown Americans who were raised in this environment. It is a world where they are taught to follow the leader, to respect, adore, and almost worship him. (It is always a him) They are not to question, gossip, or criticize the leader. They are not to talk amongst themselves about the leader or what they are doing. Individuality is almost forbidden. From childhood friends and associates are chosen. Books are monitored. Television is a tool of the devil. Movies are forbidden. A child’s computer time is monitored (I agree with that one).
Life revolves around religion. I understand that one, too. It was that way for my father’s family. Religion was a spectator sport, social, and part of their Norman Rockwell, middle America, Mid-western, story-book lives. One for all and all for one, their lives revolved around going to church, to camp meetings, revivals, and retreats. When my father’s older brother decided to enter the ministry, his mother reaped the social rewards of being the mother of ‘the reverend’. My mother’s family was far more circumspect. Her Froehlich grandparents were basically lay ministers, Pa Froehlich having a prison ministry. They helped people. One of their sons became a very big-time Presbyterian minister. Religion was not social to them, but a way of life.
Because of this, both sets of grandparents, then my parents, then my sister and I were given an excellent background in the Bible, very solid, not given to flights of fancy, cults, or the worship of the leader. It was a Christ-centered reality where churches were chosen for how Christ was worshiped, not the quality nor messianic personality of the fearless leader. We were taught to be leaders, not followers, to think for ourselves, and to dig into an issue, to question it. We were taught to analyze and question our faith. As kids, we were in church and Sunday school every week (no matter how much we protested). By the time we were in high school, both my sister and I were teaching the little kids. Then, we went to church because we wanted too – that’s where the boys were! It was clicky, but it was not a cult. And – that’s the difference.
“…If thinking and education are a matter of God’s disputed sovereignty, then Rushdoony believed that Christians who turned their children over to public schools were in open rebellion against God. In Rushdoony’s view, court orders forcing public schools to cease prayer and bible readings actually removed the only possible foundation for viable knowledge. Following such earlier Presbyterian luminaries as A.A. Hodge (1823-1886) and J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), Rushdoony’s solution was to remove one’s children from public schools and to educate them in an explicitly Christian environment. Such an action brings both child and parent into accord with the “fundamental task of Christian education,” which, Rushdoony summarized, is to exercise dominion, “subduing the earth agriculturally, scientifically, culturally, artistically, in every way asserting the crown rights of King Jesus in every realm of life.”22
In many of the Faith and Freedom articles published during the 1940s and 1950s, Rushdoony saw a reservoir of popular discontent with compulsory public education and he hoped to develop it as an explicitly Christian resistance to the authority of centralized political structures. In this sense, Rushdoony was a shepherd in search of a flock and the libertarians looked more promising than alternatives. When Edmund Opitz helped secure Rushdoony a position with a small but influential libertarian organization known as the Volker Fund in 1962, Rushdoony moved to exert his unique brand of Calvinist-inspired libertarianism on the organization. He began writing a host of position papers that attacked public education, reinterpreted American history in starkly Christian terms (see box), and advocated for the regeneration of America along explicitly Christian lines. After some internal wrangling, the Fund fired Rushdoony in 1963, but the separation was gentle, giving Rushdoony the necessary resources to write two more books….”
The problem, today, is ATI, what it still teaches, and the plan to brainwash. I wish I could be more charitable toward what is going on with ATI, but, after months of research, the only possible explanation for what we are seeing is that it was planned. ATI is the brainchild of Bill Gothard, who was a close, personal friend of R. J. Rushdoony, until Rushdoony divorced his first wife. Gothard does not believe in divorce, dating, hand-holding, kissing. romance, or normal relations between men and women.
“…The foundations of Christian Reconstructionism were laid by the late Rousas J. Rushdoony in his prolific writing including his major tome, Institutes of Biblical Law and promoted through his Chalcedon Foundation. Reconstructionism teaches that all institutions of society and government must be reclaimed from “humanists” and reconstructed on the basis of biblical law. Reconstructionists claim that the unfettered free markets are biblically mandated. In other words, God is the invisible hand behind laissez-faire capitalism and government intervention is putting faith in man instead of God. Reconstructionist leaders have overlapped significantly with two other organizations that have sacralized radical free markets – Lew Rockwell’s Ludwig von Mises Institute, which promotes Austrian School economics, and the John Birch Society….”
Getting back to Rushdoony, he was friends with Robert W. Welch, Jr. who founded the John Birch Society. Rushdoony was so impressed with the JBS that he patterned his version of what Christianity should be along the organizational lines of the JBS.
“…Except for perhaps Christian Identity, Christian Reconstructionism has to be one of the worse perversions of Christianity ever devised. It is the personal political opinions of its founders wrapped in a form of hyper-Calvinism totally stripped of anything Jesus ever said (they claim Jesus’ moral teachings are for Jews only) while preaching a society stripped of all freedoms and personal choice. Every facet of society, government, family, schools, etc, would be “reconstructed” along Old Testament lines. This includes the death penalty for abortion, homosexuals, atheists and other non-believers, blasphemy, etc….”
Rushdoony’s movement was embraced, from the beginning by the original stalwarts of the John Birch Society: Larry Pratt, Phyllis Schlafly, then his son-in-law, Gary North. North is the political brains behind Ron Paul and his son, Rand. North has basically written the book on how homeschooling should be used to train the new culture warriors.
“…Mainstream Baptist is looking at the theological arguments of R. J. Rushdoony and Gary North, and their effect on the rise of the Christian Right and the Dominionist tendency. I am tracing how Rushdoony and North intersected with the economic libertarians. Both Rushdoony and North were early retro-Calvinist Christian libertarians who wrote for the “ Austrian School” Freeman magazine and other similar outlets. North worked for Rushdoony after a stint at the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE), publisher of the Freeman magazine…”
Even Mike Huckabee is a member of the Gothard cult. It is a cult, plain and simple. It is a cult designed to train generations of people, in the right way, with the correct curriculum, to take over the country, then the world, in a theocratic movement to bring God on Earth. The leaders will be men anointed by God, to tell baptized Christians how to live. In order to learn how to follow the leader, several generations will need to be trained not to question, criticize, or think for themselves. It’s rather almost a follow the bouncing ball effect. One is NOT to question the leader – ever.
When a young person, who has grown up under such pressure, not allowed to think for him/herself finally realizes that they have been sold a false agenda, it is shattering. They are at risk of losing homes, families, spouses, siblings, and everything they hold dear. It is that bad – just like exiting a cult.
One of their very real problems is world-view. Many refugees from the ATI cult still don’t realize that most of the problems they see within their controlled world are part of the real world. I’m not quite sure if they yet understand that their problems are much the same as the rest of us, only different. That is what happens when someone exits a cult. Their world-view is disoriented. And – that is what I’m seeing in this well meaning young woman.
Unfortunately, as more and more people do what she has done, and try exiting the cult of ATI and Christian Reconstruction, they are going to encounter the same culture shock. Seriously, how do you tell a very sincere, and very honest young woman that the sexual abuse covered up within religious institutions is just the same thing as abuse covered up in those same secular institutions? There is no difference. I am beginning to see that they don’t quite understand the fact that we all face the same problems. Religion has played such a dominant role in their lives, I am finding that there are some who just can’t grasp the fact that certain religious institutions are not as powerful, in the real world, as they are in the exaggerated world of their cult. I don’t think they quite realize that the reverence and respect they were brainwashed into having for various religious leaders, churches, and institutions is not part of the world around them. Their numbers are so small, but the abuse and the manipulation that has been part of their lives is so great, they are not getting the big picture.
Maybe that is the real damage all of this is doing to the former followers of ATI. How do you change your mind-set, where the institution that was the most important part of your life is viewed as a joke to 95% of the world around you? They still don’t quite get the fact that the emperor indeed has no clothes. I think it is a cautionary tale we all need to understand and to protect ourselves against.