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

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  • Emily

    “If a person who subscribes to these principles is elected to Congress.”?

    Did I misread this, or is there actually a person who subscribes to these principles running for office? And if so, where and for what office?

  • denelian

    we’ve HAD several congress people who ascribe to these teachings already IN congress. and more are coming up through the “Tea Party”…

  • I hope people can begin to see that “19 Kids and Counting” is a show with a sinister message–not just cute kids with bad manners picking noses, etc. I also wonder how Jim-Bob rationalized that cute play-house product placement earlier in the show, since normally we are shown only Vision Forum-marketed toys [for boys] and the same grubby, undressed baby dolls for the little girls. Since toys are so evil and all……

  • Barbara

    Yeah, Florida’s 6th District. Alan Grayson v. “Daniel Webster.” Alan Grayson is a living doll. Even if you hate Democrats, he’s a duuuude. He’s for stopping the deportation of jobs out of the USA and for auditing the Federal Reserve. Even the Tea Party folks can agree with that!

  • Barbara

    Yeah, I wonder where Jim Demented (R-SC) goes to church? He had the voting machines rigged so that an Iraqi war vet who stepped on several dozen IEDs won the Democratic primary. The Dem candidate Alvin Greene, when he makes sense, it’s an accident. Demented also mentors Sharron Angle (another emotionally challenged religious person) and Christine “Witch” O’Donnell.

  • Ryan Garber

    I have recently left Fundamentalism and no longer subscribe to Gothard’s teaching that influenced me in the early 90’s, but can you name ONE person specifically running for Congress who is adheres to Gothard and his teachings?

  • According to http://www.factcheck.org, there’s absolutely no truth to the assertion that Webster endorses patriarchy. Grayson’s ad against him used a quote that says, “She should submit to me.” The entirety of that quote was, “Don’t pick the ones [Bible verses] that say, ‘She should submit to me.’”


    I’m opposed to ATI/IBLP but there are a lot of good people sucked into it. There’s nothing in that speech that looks wrong to me.

    For all I know, Webster may be awful or he may be great. I don’t live in Florida and don’t care. But I happened to come across Fact Check’s summary of an ad Grayson ran against Webster and it reminded me of this post. If I were to run for office one day, I sure hope that general statements I made in 1987 wouldn’t be the central reason for opposing my campaign.