Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cincinnati "Character Cities" group hosts program t'row night in shadow of evangelist's resignation after abuse allegations

"Honored Guests" for tomorrow night's "Heroes of Character" event include Steve Raleigh (WCPO-TV meteorologist), Dr. O'dell Owens, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College), and Kim and Bonnie Nuxhall (source)

What does the screenshot above -- which advertises an awards event tomorrow evening arranged by the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky -- have to do with the screenshot below from the March 7, 2014 Washington Post?

Via Cult of Character, a January 9, 2006 In These Times cover story:
(Bill) Gothard, the 74-year-old, unmarried man at the head of the Oak-Brook, Illinois-based Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) – which brings in an estimated profit of at least $63 million annually – has been in the evangelism business since 1964.

...Although legally and fiscally independent, the CTI (Character Training Institute) is for all intents and purposes a “secular” front group for Gothard’s IBLP. In the last decade, the CTI has quietly gained entry into hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools, state and city offices, corporations, police departments and jails.

Though he never uses the term, Gothard’s ideology fits into the framework of the burgeoning “Christian Reconstructionist” movement, which aims to rebuild society according to biblical mandates. Within the Christian Reconstructionist worldview, modern-day chaos is directly attributable to the division of church and state and the consequent degradation of individual character.

...Each of the 49 Character Qualities in CTI’s secular materials have their exact counterpart in IBLP materials. In books like Gothard’s Power of Kingdom Living and The Sevenfold Power of First-Century Churches and Homes, they are typically referred to as “The Laws of the Kingdom.”

The IBLP’s “blue book,” formally titled The Power for True Success, is carried around by many of the IACC officials. It explains the imperative for learning the 49 character qualities this way: “Character reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, since He is the full personification of all good character qualities.” It continues, “understanding character explains why things happen to us, because all things work together for good to conform us to the character of Christ.”

This book is now in the hands of most of the 1,200-strong Cincinnati police force, courtesy of a life insurance salesman and CTI cheerleader named Mike Daly who, along with Phil Heimlich, helped turn Cincinnati into a City of Character.
That would be my brother Phil, a former high-profile Cincinnati elected official who in 1981, according to a Topeka, KS, newspaper, found Jesus in a Big Boy hamburger restaurant.

Via his September 2005 lecture to the International Association of Character Cities entitled -- yes -- Truthfulness in Politics, here's a quick clip of Phil asking if Bill Gothard is in the audience. (H/T to the Cincinnati Beacon.)

Today Cincinnati's WLWT posted this interview with Mary Russell, longtime Executive Director of the local Character Council. She explains the "49 character qualities," but doesn't say anything about the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Last week I e-mailed multiple inquiries to Ms. Russell and asked if she'd ever communicated with Bill Gothard or any other IBLP representatives.

She said no about Gothard. She didn't respond to the rest of the question.

Here are the recipients for tomorrow's awards ceremony:

Do they or the celebrity guests know about the IBLP and Gothard conections?

Does it matter?

I'll send out some inquiries and report the results.