Dan Webster's Religious “Family Values” – Disguised Misogyny: Former devotee speaks out

Dan Webster's Religious “Family Values” – Disguised Misogyny: Former devotee speaks out October 5, 2010

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2010.  For more information, contact Vyckie Garrison.

Women are conditioned to be submissive to their husbands, discouraged from using birth control, and prohibited from working outside the home. Gothard-style worldview and lifestyle overburdens women, enslaves the daughters and destroys families.

Vyckie Garrison was involved with Webster ally, Bill Gothard’s teachings for 14 years; after following the fundamentalist teachings of the ‘Quiverfull’ movement, Garrison was subjected to mental abuse and told to ignore medical advice not to have more children because her job as a woman was to obey God by submitting to her husband – an act that allegedly afforded her physical and spiritual protection.

“On the surface, Bill Gothard’s wholesome message seems to promote happy family life, but in actual practice, the lifestyle perpetuates heavy burdens and unrealistic standards for women.

“Gothard’s teachings stress that safe and proper, ‘godly’ living comes from submission to authority.  A woman must submit to any and all whims of her husband, including all types of domestic abuse,” said Garrison.  “Anyone concerned about women’s equality and empowerment should be alarmed by this religious movement.”

According to Bill Gothard, a man’s wife “has to realize that God accomplishes his ultimate will through the decisions of the husband, even when the husband is wrong.” Citing I Thessalonians 5:18 (“In every thing give thanks”), Gothard even advises a wife whose husband chastises her to say, “God, thank you for this beating.” And Gothard adds to Christ’s words from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But you know what you are doing through them to build character in me.” *

Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles has political ambitions.  Kathryn Joyce, an expert on Christian extremism, notes in her book, “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement,”  that the Institute of Basic Life Principles is a $63-million per year business that enumerates a series of “nonoptional” spiritual laws calling for strict authoritarian child training, including a fundamentalist condemnation of worldly modern music and toys and an ethos of unswerving obedience to one’s proper authorities in all jurisdictions of life.

On September 28, 2003 the St. Petersburg Times  reported: “”What he has said I believe to be the truth,” Dan Webster said of Gothard in 1987.

“I have personal experience as a woman who has lived under the rule of such religious extremism and I know it is a threat to women and families if a person who subscribes to these principles is elected to Congress,” said Garrison.

*Time Magazine, May 20, 1974

Browse Our Archives