September 10, 2019

CAN'T OUT-CULT THE TRUMPBOTS:

Why Is Tulsi Gabbard Paying This Obscure Consultant Big Bucks? : Kris Robinson grew up in the same controversial religious sect as Gabbard. Now, he's one of the top-paid vendors on her 2020 presidential campaign. (Nick Grube, 9/09/19, Honolulu Civil Beat)

While turnover and dysfunction have been hallmarks of Gabbard's congressional career and, now, her presidential campaign, Robinson has been a near constant in her political orbit.

Like her, he has ties to an obscure religious sect called the Science of Identity Foundation that's based in Kailua and run by a reclusive guru whose devotees have displayed political ambitions. [...]

The Robinsons and the Stewarts all have ties to the Kailua-based Science of Identity Foundation, a controversial religious sect that was founded by Chris Butler, someone Gabbard has described as her "guru dev," or spiritual master.

Their names have appeared on a number of online forums tracking the organization. Former members interviewed by Civil Beat also confirmed the Robinsons' and Stewarts' affiliations with Butler and his religion.

The Science of Identity Foundation is an offshoot of Hare Krishna that was started in Hawaii by the surf-obsessed Butler in the 1970s, and has since spread to other parts of the U.S. as well as countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines.

Butler and his followers had clear political aspirations in Hawaii, launching their own party called the Independents for Godly Government that in 1976 fielded a slate of more than a dozen candidates for federal, state and local office.

Much has been written about Gabbard's upbringing in the religious sect and speculation continues about how much Butler and the organization are influencing or involved in her presidential campaign.

Gabbard's parents, Mike Gabbard, a Hawaii state senator, and his wife, Carol, a former school board member, were both Butler devotees. The congresswoman even spent a couple childhood years at a school in the Philippines that was run by Butler's followers.

Kris Robinson also attended one of these schools, according to Ian Koviak, a Portland, Oregon, resident whose mother was a devotee of Butler and his religion.

Koviak says he was a classmate of Robinson's at the Science of Identity Foundation's all-boys school in the Philippines, where his mother sent him while she went on a mission to Poland.

Like others who have distanced themselves from Butler and his religion -- which they call "a cult" -- Koviak has been outspoken about his experiences within the Science of Identity Foundation and at the school, participating in online forums at the Cult Education Institute website and posting to social media.

Tulsi Gabbard's Inner Circle
Robinson isn't the only person with ties to the Science of Identity Foundation who has been affiliated with Gabbard in recent years, since she's been in Congress or even during her run for president.

The congresswoman surrounds herself with people who are linked to Butler and his followers, from her chief of staff, Kainoa Penaroza, to some of her closest campaign advisors.

Posted by at September 10, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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