Hobby Lobby Spent Millions Funding Accused Child Molester and Cult Minister Bill Gothard
Yesterday Bill Gothard released a statement. Just as notable as what he refused to admit to is what he did admit to. Here is the relevant paragraph:
This emphasis on outward appearance was also manifested by bringing selected young people to serve at the Headquarters and causing others to feel rejected and offended by my favoritism. My actions of holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies crossed the boundaries of discretion and were wrong. They demonstrated a double-standard and violated a trust. Because of the claims about me I do want to state that I have never kissed a girl nor have I touched a girl immorally or with sexual intent.
Several women have gone on record saying that Gothard kissed them or fingered them while they were working at Headquarters as teens. But the most consistent accusation across the testimony of at least several dozen women is that Gothard played footsie with them, spent long periods of time holding their hands, and touched their hair—all of which Gothard has now publicly admitted to. And if you ask me, that Gothard would feel so backed against the wall as to admit to these things rather than continuing to deny them rather confirms the the reliability of these women’s stories in general.
But why, you ask, would I assume that Gothard isn’t being honest here? Could it not be possible that the women who have accused Gothard of kissing or fingering them were making that part up to sensationalize their stories? My regular readers are unlikely to believe Gothard’s denial for the same reasons I am—Gothard has been finding ways to get away with his predatory behavior for over three decades, and that makes him therefore more than a little bit untrustworthy. But some in Gothard’s camp may be predisposed to believe that he is now being truthful.
Does Gothard honestly expect anyone to believe that a 50 or 60-year-old man could play footsie with a 16-year-old girl, hold and stroke her hands for long periods of time, caress her hair, etc., all without any “sexual intent”? Especially a 50 or 60-year-old man who leads a religious empire and teaches his followers that couples should not touch or have physical contact before marriage? Why in the world, if not with “sexual intent,” would Gothard touch these girls like this, violating not only his own rules but also the girls’ consent and their parents’ trust?
Back in 2003, Midwest Christian Outreach president Don Veinot published a book called A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life. In it, Veinot detailed the history of Gothard’s ministry and accused Gothard of being legalistic and unscriptural.
In that book Veinot said nothing about concerns regarding Bill Gothard’s behavior toward the young girls sent to work at headquarters. Instead, Veinot focused only on Gothard’s theology. In the wake of Recovering Grace’s new revelations regarding Bill Gothard’s sexual molestation of young employees, Veinot has published a new article on the Midwest Christian Outreach website.
It turns out that he knew and intentionally chose to say nothing.
We also knew we had information about his behavior and sexual proclivities which we did not use or comment overly much about in the book. We knew, for example, that he is far too, shall I say, familiar with the young females he selects as his personal assistants. The reason we did not go into that too much was that we had spoken with the families of some of the former IBLP women and/or their families and realized that Bill had done so much damage, we did not want to subject them abuse to additional shame or possible embarrassment by making it more public. We decided that we could make our case that he is unqualified for leadership in a Christian ministry without having to describe his more prurient behavior toward those under his authority.
- Through various trusts and corporations, the Green family / Hobby Lobby donated millions of dollars worth of real estate to the Gothard organization beginning in 2000. This includes the Little Rock Training Center, the Nashville Training Center, the New Zealand Training Center, and the Big Sandy Campus.
- David Green (Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby) is listed on Amazon as an endorser of Gothard’s 2010 work The Amazing Way.
- In 2009, Steve Green (President of Hobby Lobby and son of David Green) shared the stage with Bill Gothard at the Big Sandy Regional Conference. In 2012, he was listed alongside Gothard as a speaker at the Business Leaders Seminar, held at the IBLP Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. Steve Green is also a featured speaker on Gothard’s online Embassy Institute.
- In 2009, Bill Gothard was invited by David Green to speak to Hobby Lobby employees and distribute IBLP materials to employees at one of their retail locations.