Trump Picks Longtime Disciple of Gothard Cult, Sonny Perdue, for Cabinet Position

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Embajada de los Estados

By Wende Benner, HA Editorial Staff

President-Elect Trump announced his pick for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, this Thursday, January 19, 2017. Perdue is Trump’s final appointment to an already controversial inaugural Cabinet.

It may come as no surprise, then, that Perdue comes with his own questionable background. Perdue is a follower, supporter, and advocate for the disgraced Bill Gothard and his homeschool ministry, Advanced Training Institute (ATI). The curriculum and seminars Gothard required his followers claimed to be based on 7 Basic Biblical Principles and Godly character. Yet it has been shown these materials are full of spiritual abuse and helped to groom young people for abuse, including sexual abuse. Gothard himself is accused of sexual molestation and sexual harassment of minor women who were in his care. He is currently being sued by fifteen of these women.

Perdue credits Bill Gothard and his ministry Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) as having the most influential role in his life next to the Bible. He goes as far as saying, “every seminar and every piece of literature was produced impeccably in honor of the One whose message it delivered”. Perdue lent his support for ATI by speaking at an ATI family conference in Nashville in 2008. One of his speeches is still featured on ATI’s Embassy Institute website. Embassy Institute is an educational media program used by IBLP and ATI that requires a monthly fee to access.

While Govenor of Georgia, Perdue employed a Gothard principle of public confession and prayer in an attempt to end a drought. Though the drought came after Perdue led waste of water and natural resources, Perdue stood in the Capital grounds and, according to Christianity Today, confessed, “Oh, Father, we acknowledge our wastefulness. But we’re doing better. And I thought it was time to acknowledge that to the Creator, the Provider of Water and Land, and to tell Him that we will do better”. This confession took place soon after the National Weather Service had already forecast rain. However, IBLP still uses this story to show how applying their principles creates success.

Perdue’s involvement with IBLP led him to also help teach these 7 Basic Principles to other world leaders and businessmen. In 2011 nearly 30 leaders, teachers, and businessmen from Peru attended a ten day conference at IBLP headquarters in Hinsdale, IL to learn how to apply Gothard’s teachings and financial principles. Perdue was one of the featured leaders of this conference. He has not been content with using cult teaching just within his own government position, but has actively tried to spread these teaching across the world.

Now, Perdue is in a position to be part of the inner circle of one of the most powerful world leaders. He admittedly uses Gothard’s cult teachings as one of his main guiding principles. He has also shown that he is willing to spread these teachings as far as possible.

Perdue, with his slavish devotion to Gothard and IBLP, is a concerning choice for our country. Perdue brings his belief in God and teachings from an alleged sexual predator to his job and leadership. There is no evidence that he will not continue to use these beliefs  to further his own ambitions, instead of relying on laws, policy, and science to support this country’s people.


  • Thank you for making us aware! I am alarmed by the large number of Evangelical Fundamentalists Trump is surrounding himself with because I am aware of the “Dominionist” agenda.

  • Goodbye, United States of America.

    Hello, Republic of Gilead.

    Don’t say we didn’t warn you…..

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Well, 81% of white Evangelicals (over the 80/20 Groupthink threshold) went for Trump as Personal LORD and Savior, and all those corrupt Megachurch Pastors in Dallas-Fort Worth delivered the vote…

  • @Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I didn’t realize that casting a vote for anyone (including Jesus Himself) could force anybody to become a personal savior to them…………. Although many people try to obtain various “saviors” for themselves via this or other pitiful means. Which is what your point seems to be. I voted AGAINST Trump’s opponent for this very reason in casting my vote FOR Trump. Many of us who voting this way do not like to trust in mere people to solve the world’s problems. In other words, we don’t think the way Perdue does! BTW I have no doubt that people like him “wrote in” Bill Gothard’s name on their ballot. Bet Trump would think again about his appointment of Perdue if he realized this.

  • It’s the entire cabinet. We need to fight them. Please call your senators

  • I live in GA and I never knew all this about Sonny Perdue. He is very popular here (and not just among conservative extremists), and I always thought of him as having been a good governor. However, my perception may be skewed by the fact that his predecessor Roy “the Rat” Barnes and his successor Nathan Deal were even more inept than he was.

  • I lived in GA while Perdue was governor. I thought he was a good governor and seemed to be a good man. He intervened on my behalf when the Department of Family and Children’s services was unwilling to follow a new law in regards to foster parents’ rights.

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