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In a continuation of a series I began some days ago on Police Dynamics Institute--a frontgroup of the Bill Gothard "Bible-based" cult targeting public safety officials, and one with links to not only some of the most extreme factions of the "Joel's Army" movement but also racist and separatist groups--and potentially other coercive religious groups too--I will touch on a subject I've not dealt with too much:

Namely, what the experience is for people who actually live in "Character Cities".  And...as we'll see today and in the next few days...let's just say Gothard's press and the common citizen's experience might as well be in different realities.

Steeplejacking--now at your local friendly police department

Even with the documented links to Gothard's program, it would seem Cincinnati was not the only city to be pulled in wholescale to what amounts to a neopentecostal dominionist cult.

Another city targeted in similar manner was Lexington, Kentucky--which in less than seven years has gone from one of the more liberal cities in the state to a new hotbed for the dominionist movement (including being home for the state Focus on the Family affiliate).  A blog from an IBLP staffer associated with the ALERT teams noted the presence of an entire delegation of the Lexington PD--a recent addition to Gothard's list of "Character Cities"--on their recruitment tour to multiple PDs nationally, along with the aforementioned recruitment visit involving members of the Romanian federal police:

During the past couple of weeks my Dad and I were with a delegation of 12 Romanian Police Chiefs that came to visit IBLP Headquarters, and Police Departments in other states.  It was a great blessing for me to have been able to go on a trip like this, it really was.  I also was able to spend more time with my Dad, which was really good. We had a great time.  My Dad was the translator for the delegation, and at times I helped to interpret as well.  It was a good oppurtunity for me to practice my Romanian and I enjoyed it.

The delegation arrived at Headquarters on Saturday November 3rd.  Monday morning we went to staff meeting, and afterwards got a quick tour of the Production Center.  Before we left, Mr. Gothard was able to share the Gospel with these men, and when asked if they would like to pray and accept Christ, they agreed.  Whether they truly believed and whether it was sincere, only the Lord knows.  Nevertheless, a seed was planted, and we should pray that the Lord would continue to work in their hearts.

On the trip we visited Police Departments in Chicago IL, Lexington, KY, Dorchester County, SC, and King's Mountain, NC.  The delegation then flew back to Romania on the 11th from Charlotte, NC.  On our way driving back to Chicago, we were able to stop and visit my Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins in Knoxville, TN for a few days.  It was so good to see them, and we had a wonderful time.  It definitely was a great trip, a great experience, and the Lord blessed.

These cities are far from alone.

A list of "Alumni and Key Contracts" at PDI's website notes the following groups:

1998
South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy staff – Columbia, SC
National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference – Phoenix, AR
Lifebuilders Conference – Columbia, SC
Heritage Community Services Leadership Conference – Summerton, SC
Law Enforcement Leadership Conference – Indianapolis, IN
International Association of Character Cities – Oklahoma City, OK
Trident Area Community of Excellence – Charleston, SC
Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association – State College, PA
Romanian National Police – Voineasa, Romania

1999
Ohio Sheriff’s Association – Columbus, OH
Romanian National Police – Bucharest, Romania
American Society of Military Comptrollers – Charleston, SC
United States Air Force, Junior Officer’s Training – Charleston Air Force Base, SC
Trident Area Community of Excellence – Charleston, SC
International Association of Character Cities – Indianapolis, IN
Idaho POST, Law Enforcement Leadership Conference – Boise, ID
Florence City of Character Conference – Florence, SC
National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference – Columbus, OH
United States Air Force – Charleston Air Force Base Fire Department
Winchester Police Department – Winchester, KY
South Carolina Jail Association – Santee, SC
Moscow Police College, State Law Enforcement Division – Columbia, SC
Cameron and Barkley, Inc. – Hilton Head, SC
Medical University of S.C. Dental College, Ethics class – Charleston, SC
State Law Enforcement Division, Police Ethics – Columbia, SC

2000
South Carolina Department of Corrections, Supervisor training – Columbia, SC
One Hundred Club, Law Enforcement Leadership – Charleston, SC
Cameron and Barkley, Inc. – Atlanta, GA
International Association of Character Cities – Indianapolis, IN
Hawaii County Police Department – Hilo, HI
Hattiesburg Mayor’s Breakfast – Hattiesburg, MS
Indiana Sheriff’s Association – Indianapolis, IN
Cincinnati Police Division – Cincinnati, OH
South Carolina Corrections Association – Myrtle Beach, SC

2001
Allen County Sheriff’s Office – Ft. Wayne, IN
LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office – Shipshewana, IN
Cincinnati Police Division – Cincinnati, OH
South Carolina Jail Administrator's Association – Myrtle Beach, SC
International Association of Character Cities – Flint, MI
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office – Tuscaloosa, AL
Collier County Sheriff’s Office – Naples, FL
South Carolina Department of Corrections, staff training – Columbia, SC
ALERT Academy – Big Sandy, TX
Skiatook Police Department – Skiatook, OK
U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Wrightsville Beach, NC

2002
Missouri Department of Conservation, Law Enforcement Division – St. Louis, MO
Owasso Police Department – Owasso, OK
South Carolina Polygraphers Association – Myrtle Beach, SC
Law Enforcement Summit – Ridgecrest, NC
Character Training Institute – Oklahoma City, OK
Cincinnati Police Division – Cincinnati, OH
Indiana Sheriff’s Association – Indianapolis, IN

2003
Illinois Sheriff’s Association – Oakbrook, IL
Colorado Sheriffs’ Association – Ft. Collins, CO
Owasso Police Department – Owasso, OK
Character Training Institute – Indianapolise, IN
Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy – Douglas, WY

It's worth noting a few of the groups that are not PDs here.  International Association of Character Cities, Character Training Institute, and ALERT Teams are all Gothard frontgroups.  Also of note are a polygrapher's association (often relied upon by police departments before polygraphs were ruled as inadmissible in court due to concerns re reliability); another very disturbing discovery (especially with concerns about military steeplejacking in general, and with ALERT Teams' known support with US Air Force intelligence directors in particular, is the inclusion of Gothardite recruitment sessions at United States Air Force Junior Officer’s Training sessions and American Society of Military Comptrollers at Charleston AFB.  The attendance at the Lifebuilders Conference is notable as a very damning link to neopentecostal dominionism; Lifebuilders is a yearly "Lay Missionary" conference of the Church of God of Cleveland, TN, a neopentecostal dominionist group which can be considered a sister church of the Assemblies of God (both are splits from the Christian and Missionary Alliance, one of the earliest pentecostal denominations) and which shares similar theology to the Assemblies; in some ways it is even more explicit, in that part of the church's mission explicitly calls for growth rates of over 10 percent per year to be expected for churches.  (This would also be at least the second CoG-related link to Gothard; we went over the "property and money" laundering between WWCoG, Gothard's ALERT Teams, and Hobby Lobby (a funding front for the Assemblies and other "Joel's Army" orgs including Wallbuilders) yesterday.)

Life under a Gothardist PD: some case studies

Gothard and Nash like to promote PDI as helping keep cities safer by having them essentially become dominionist cities.

Unfortunately, even the stories from some of the better-known "example cities" read more like what happens when Judge Dredd Finds Religion.

Cincinnati--which was held up for years by Gothardites as a crown jewel of a "city of character"--ended up descending into bona fide race riots after a notable series of shooting by policemen of African-American suspects--shootings that largely occured after Gothard's PDI program became mandatory for Cincinnati cops.  Not only was there evidence of racial profiling, the riots led to a call for complete and systematic reform of the Cincinnati Police Department--eventually leading to a civil rights lawsuit against the CPD.

The riots ended up being sparked over an incident reminiscent of the Rodney King case--in this instance, Cincinnati's cops shooting an unarmed African-American teen; the police officer was indicted but ultimately acquitted of misdemeanor charges.

Not exactly what you'd expect from a "City of Character" based on "Biblical principles".

Sadly, it looks as if Cincy may not be alone as far as towns with troubled "Gothardised" police departments.  Folly Beach, SC--home of Terry Boatwright, a potential successor to Ray Nash (who is not running for re-election for Dorchester County sheriff--presumably to concentrate on "shepherding" his particular Gothard front and due to the controversies exposed in the audit)--also has had its shares of troubles due to Judge Dredds for Jesus:

At 12:30 a.m. on Wed., June 6, Folly resident Leshall Conklin left her house on Third Street to ride her bike to Bert's Market. At the corner of Second and East Ashley, a policeman turned on his lights and signaled her to stop. Claiming that she'd been swerving, Conklin says he demanded she breathe in his face. She questioned the request and says she asked for a Breathalyzer.

After an unsuccessful search of his car for that equipment, Charleston County Deputy Sheriff Shawn James informed Conklin that bicyclists and pedestrians don't require a Breathalyzer and began reading her her rights. Dressed in her bathing suit, skirt, and flip-flops, Conklin was taken to the county jail in North Charleston for drunkenness, despite never being given a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test. Her bail hearing was set for 4 p.m. the next afternoon, where she was released on a personal recognizance bond. Just after midnight that evening, after being locked up for 24 hours, Conklin was released.

Conklin is just one of many young Folly Beach residents who have faced arrest under seemingly questionable circumstances in recent months. Eric Kovach, who works at Rip Tide Jet Ski Rentals, was walking to Bert's Market around 4 a.m. on April 20 after a night out. Earlier in the evening, he'd witnessed a county cop approaching people seated on park benches outside the Sand Dollar Bar and demanding to see IDs. He called in a complaint about the cop's actions, which he considered inappropriate. "I don't see how it's right to stop me when I'm not bothering anybody and take 15 minutes out of my time to find out if I'm a wanted person or not," says Kovach.

Outside Bert's, Kovach walked into the road to avoid a puddle beside the building. A police car headed towards him and passed him, then swerved in reverse, and "pretty much about took me out," says Kovach. When the officer saw the name on the license, Kovach says that he asked, "You're the guy who made a complaint on us earlier. Are you going to make a complaint about me?" Kovach, who evidentally photographed the puddle he was avoiding with his camera phone, said that he probably would if he felt unduly harassed. Deputy Shawn James then wrote him a $232 ticket for walking in the roadway and, according to Kovach, threatened to take him to jail for disorderly conduct if he continued to speak.

In fact, Boatwright has been such a terror that much of his force has resigned in protest--requiring him to pull police assistance from Charleston.  And he's notably sparked all manner of protest from people in the area.

And in another instance of "Many, many things PDI come back to the Romanian Tour", it seems that Ray Nash rather explicitly asked his protege Boatwright to give the recruits from Romania a tour of the town lowlights:

On an otherwise quiet Thursday afternoon, the Folly Beach Public Safety Department hosted about 20 Romanian police officers, chiefs and commissioners to learn about "community policing."

Police in the Eastern European nation are trying to improve relations with the Romanian people, who still distrust them 17 years after the fall of communism, officers said.
. . .
Their American contact here was Dorchester County Sheriff Ray Nash, who met a member of the Romanian delegation when he spoke at a conference last year about policing. Nash was invited to Romania to speak about community policing, an invitation he accepted.

To get firsthand experience, the Romanians came to visit Nash and see Dorchester County, one of several stops in their weeklong trip to America. Nash, an honorary Romanian police officer, asked the Folly Beach Public Safety Department to co-host the Romanians and teach them about how they do community policing.

Folly Beach hosted lunch for the officers with Frogmore Stew, took them out to the beach and to shops on Center Street. Many had never seen the Atlantic Ocean before.

Other cities on the Romanians' tour included Chicago; Lexington, Ky.; and King's Mountain, N.C.

Yes, for the record, Folly Beach is also where Terry Broadwright is now chief of police--yes, the same one running for Ray Nash's position now that Nash is concentrating on running the Bill Gothard Police Recruitment Division.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised, though it would be darned hard to find out, that Boatwright might well be "shepherded" by Nash in similar manner to how Phil Heimlich and others were recruited.

And it would seem that Folly Branch and Cincy are far from isolated in being particularly problematic "Gothard Cities".  Oklahoma City--the de facto home of Gothard's operations nowadays--has had some particularly troubling issues as well.

And it's OKC's experience with Gothardisation we'll deal with in our next post.

Originally posted to dogemperor on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 02:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This series is excellent. (5+ / 0-)

    More of the same.  But establishing anenduring "base".

  •  I am sorry you are under the weather (5+ / 0-)

    I am going to savor your diary as soon as I have a free moment today and then I have something to share with you..

      •  Ok..the butter is folded into the croissants.. (6+ / 0-)

        I was contacted by a person from a local radio station..AM 820 in Seattle.  While this woman was asking me for donated miniature wedding cakes, I looked up her radio station on this computer and noticed that the radio station was a Christian radio station and mentioned this fact to the woman.  She asked if I had ever advertised on radio and I said that I had advertised on Air America.

        She wanted to come over and show me the event the Christian radio station was going to have for Valentine's Day.  She brought some promotional pieces over and I thought she just wanted mini wedding cakes.  I asked her if she had gone to any other cake makers in Seattle for this promotion and she said she had not and this was just last week.

        I told her I would think about the promotion and let her know..I thought I was making cakes for two radio stations, one Spanish speaking and one Anglo..of course the Anglo prize was much more attractive than the Spanish speaking prize.  I told her I would be happy to make cakes for her promotion but .. I did not know she was having me buy radio commercials which for us are not necessary.  She was very sneaky about it and I let her know that I was rather upset with this as I did not know she was going to have me spend a considerable amount of money on right wing Christian radio..

        She claimed that they were not right wing Christian radio but I looked up the owners through Edgar Archives and googled the owners of Salem Communications in North Carolina..both of the owners are members of the Coucil for National Policy.  The company has a PAC that donates huge sums of money to the farthest right wing members of Congress and George Bush.

        I was really angry with this situation and let the woman know I did not intend to pay any money for radio commercials.  I became so angry that they let me out of the "obligation".

        Since that time, I have been inundated with Christian charities looking for free cake.

        The Scientology thing is strange also..the turn out to be occupying one of the largest buildings in one of the most left leaning nieghborhoods in Seattle.  Go figure...

        •  Not at all surprised by this (5+ / 0-)

          Congratulations--you apparently became the target of what is an increasingly common method for dominionist groups to get funding and freebies: the charity affinity fraud.

          It is far from uncommon for dominionist-run stations (and yes, Salem is a known offender here) to solicit either donations for charity, to sign up for "charity rebate" programs at retailers (who will give X percent of profits to charities who have signed up with the company), or to even use "online mall laundering"--soliciting people to buy from an online mall owned by either the station or a partner, from which dominionist groups are funded.

          It's not just dominionist radio that does this, either--it's apparently a very common funding method for dominionist political groups, especially state AFA affiliates.

          More on this particular scam here--and, I'm afraid, you likely ended up on a "mark's list" distributed to dominionist groups in your city for not telling them to bugger off to begin with.

          (Scientology also pulls the same stuff too--be aware of it)

  •  Oh. Dear. Gawd. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, deMemedeMedia

    Oops. Sorry.
    At least no Wisconsin cities are on the list. Yet.

    I'm at the junction of short, nerdy, and oddly attractive.

    by Pan Zareta on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 04:57:43 PM PST

  •  Is police brutality unusual? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Oke, dogemperor

    Most police departments make pain compliance their standard operating procedure, protect officers who shoot civilians, and target civilians who don't keep quiet after suffering or witnessing crimes by the police.

    So the Pentacostals infiltrate these departments ... and the cops there act like cops everywhere (and like gangsters everywhere, too) ... we need to compare the Gothardized group to a control group, don't we?

    It strikes me as surprising that any nominally-Christian group can have any presence in the police or the military, given that Romans 12 specifically and unequivocally condemns involvement with law enforcement.

    Liberty - Mother, not daughter, of Order

    by Mike Erwin on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 09:22:55 PM PST

  •  What I find amazing is that Lexington (6+ / 0-)

    has had a Democratic mayor for years... Scotty Baesler, then Pam Miller and Teresa Isaac (the largest American city with an Arab-American mayor) and yet our police force has been infiltrated by these Gothards and Blackwater has been invited in to indoctrinate our forces.

    It's not like Lexington is a hotbed of unrest. It's not really even a large city.  And it's so bland. And 25% of the population have a college degree... Lexington is in the Top 10 of the most educated cities in the country.

    Doesn't the mayor run the police force? Or is it the city council?  Who has control and authority to make these decisions?

    Lexington has altered... it's character has changed for the worse. Fifteen years ago... it was a progressive city.  Today... no... it has ugly undercurrents.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 09:58:20 PM PST

  •  Thanks For Keeping Tabs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Oke, dogemperor, deMemedeMedia

    You are relentless.  Good.  These jumped theocrat tyrants need somebody to keep an eye on them.

    Get well soon.  (My cold has lasted only a week so far.)

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2006/03/solar-video.html

    by gmoke on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 10:27:42 PM PST

  •  First hand account here (6+ / 0-)

    Lived in Charleston/Summerville, spent a lot of time  at Folly Beach and what I saw and heard about was very disturbing.
    My own experience was my daughter and her boyfriend going to jail for 28 hours for "arguing while Black". Yes, that is what it amounted to.
    It took eight cops (Charleston and Dorchester Co. we lived close one of the lines) swarming our house to talk to them about arguing as they were walking home from a convenience store. I asked the officers if the complainant had witnessed any physical violence or any damage done to property. Their answer was no, but "they disturbed one of out older people" arguing loudly. This happened at eight p.m. hardly an hour that could be considered disturbing the peace.
    During the time they were questioning both of these young adults (18) I was present. Both of them were very respectful and answered the questions they were asked.
    I was absolutely horrified when they slapped handcuffs on them both and took them in for disorderly conduct.

    When their court date came they went to plead not guilty and was told that their court date was two days earlier and they were guilty because they did not show up.  They both had their court date showing they were there on the proper day. When they complained they were asked if they wanted another disorderly conduct charge.
    That is Charleston/Dorchester County "justice".
    Thankfully I no longer live there. In Nov. we were there for the holiday and went down to Folly Beach. At the county park we got out to walk the beach. Coming back to the car we got to the other side of the dunes and their was a FB cop car driving through the lot. When they saw our group with "dark people" a  they pulled over, watched us until we got in the car, and followed us until just before the Folly River Bridge. For those who have never been there we are talking about 3 to 4 miles of being tailed. Having spent a lot of time there I knew how to navigate side streets and I did so just to see if they were following us. No doubts after that.
    It is a scary world down there and it even scarier to know it is being seeded and spread.
    Please keep us informed. Your diaries are not tinfoil tripe, I can attest to the fact it is really happening.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr."

    by Oke on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 10:37:37 PM PST

    •  To be clearer in my comment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, saildude, BYw

      I feel some additional background might be helpful. I am white, my oldest daughter is white, my two younger daughters are biracial. That day in Nov. I referred to in my above comment our "group" was me, my daughters, and my second daughters AA boyfriend.
      We are from, and my girls grew up, in the Midwest.
      Going out in public was a whole new experience for us in most places. Acquaintances I had made there through work and an organization I belong to changed their demeanor towards me once they had met my children, it was not positive.
      It is important they I add this is not everyone or every place I encountered there, but it was a good majority

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr."

      by Oke on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:33:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good on ya' for these diaries. .........h/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oke, dogemperor

    "...fighting the wildfires of my life with squirt guns."

    by deMemedeMedia on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 11:06:36 PM PST

  •  The comments of the Folly Beach residents are... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oke, dogemperor

    ...mostly in defense of the sheriff.  Scary.

    Is it that when you believe that your interpretation of the Bible is the only law that counts you turn into a monster?

    But where does the justification of racism come in?

    The connection with the Blackwater thugs is very troubling too.

    dogemperor, your diaries paint a picture of a growing cancer in our society. I hope one day we find a way of reversing this.  If we don't, we will need to cut it out and this implies a cataclysmic struggle with an uncertain outcome.

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 07:19:00 AM PST

  •  How could I forget? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, saildude, BYw

    The "Gothard City" issue pertains to our experience also.
    My youngest flew down for spring break last year with her best friend. There was an ad for a reasonable rate for a room on the beach at Folly. Thought it would be nice for them to spend a few days right on the ocean. When I called to inquire I was asked if I had ever heard "the plan of Salvation", and if I was "saved".
    The fact that they only did business with "born again Christians" was made quite clear.
    Oh, it took a lot for the natural smartass in me to refrain, but I did considering where I was living.
    Didn't qualify, didn't want to, and I certainly wasn't putting my daughter and her friend in that kind of situation.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr."

    by Oke on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:44:16 AM PST

  •  In OKC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor

    By coincidence, I paid a visit to Oklahoma City this morning.

    The city is an interesting place, with a good deal of history, and I encourage everyone to visit the National Memorial if at all possible.  It turns the place of the worst terrorist attack on American soil before 9/11 into a place of peace and healing.

    Scars of the Dominionist seige are thick on the ground, if one knows how to see them.  For example, a billboard on the highway into town reads "A Concert of Prayer!  We hope and pray that ALL of Oklahoma will be saved."  Designed to sound innocent and safe to those who can not hear the dog whistle frequencies, it sent a cold chill down my spine.

    Now look what those barbarians are making us do! Gavin M.(-8.75,-8.36)

    by alain2112 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 01:14:11 PM PST

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