Josh Duggar, of ’19 Kids and Counting’ fame, has been making headlines lately for the molestation of multiple young girls when he was 14 years old. Not surprisingly, the controversy has been huge on social media, and continues as more and more people weigh in with their views and opinions. This is a good thing. Increased cultural discussion on these issues is what social media is all about … but it goes both ways. While many are properly outraged, an astonishing number of people are also jumping to Josh Duggar’s defence. The Facebook posts and Tweets are predictable, but now there are a number of articles attacking progressives as hateful animals who relish the opportunity to project all over this poor scapegoat, who “only made a mistake and should not be punished for something he did as a teenager.”
Before responding to the morally corrupt, a quick word for my fellow progressives: The one thing the other side has right is that many of you do appear happy, even ecstatic, about the opportunity to jump all over this. Even Dan Savage has noticed, and I agree with him when he says that there is nothing to be happy about here. Young girls were molested. When Josh Duggar confessed, as a teenager, his confession was met with spiritual quack therapy and being sent away for a stretch of time to do ‘hard labour.’ Years later the public has found out, and although he admits it, no justice will be served. Young girls were molested! Nothing about this is good, none of it should make us happy. Look, I don’t like the Duggars either, and I wish there was no reason to talk about them; but if you’re thrilled about this opportunity to attack them, you have a problem.
“Josh Duggar made a mistake as a teenager.” Don’t we all? Sexual assault is not a mere mistake, and shame on you for saying so. Duggar was reportedly 14 years old when he sexually assaulted those girls. Now, I have a 14-year-old son and he knows not to molest people. Better than that, he knows not to violate anybody in any way. If he ever crossed that line, my job as a loving parent would be to turn him in. Juvenile court deals with these things, that’s how justice happens. I wouldn’t send him to un-qualified religious leaders for guidance, and I certainly would not wait a year to report it like patriarch Jim Bob Duggar did. I would take the responsible steps that any loving parent should take. The worst thing you can do for someone guilty of sexual assault is to not appropriately deal with the situation. If we’ve learned anything from the Vatican’s protection of pedophile priests, it’s that sweeping these things under the rug only allows the offender to hurt more people; and often become even more dangerous as a result of the guilt from doing so.
“At least he’s admitting it.” I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised this is true. Josh Duggar openly admits what he did. It’s a refreshing change from people who deny it until they’re caught red-handed; people like Ted Haggard. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Duggars are any less reprehensible. With this skeleton in their closet, Michelle and Jim Bob signed their family to a television contract. They willingly became a product, a model family for the Christian community, and evangelicals everywhere bought into it. While it’s true that people can change (we don’t know if Josh is still a risk to children), society is very unforgiving when it’s discovered that morally pretentious role models live in glass houses. Even aside from sexual assault, let’s not forget Michelle’s little anti-trans robocall stunt, and the family’s involvement in anti-gay rallies and congressional hearings. Until this news broke, Josh was employed as the head of Family Research Council Action, the tactical arm of Tony Perkins’ deplorable hate group. Sure nobody’s perfect, but most of us don’t behave despicably, avoid justice, and then step forward as defenders of morality.
Still think Josh Duggar is being treated unfairly? Imagine a gay man comes under the same accusation. Tony Perkins and friends flip out and take to the airwaves saying that gay men are “perverts, pedophiles, monsters who are out to recruit our children.” Josh Duggar, an employee of Mr. Perkins, tows the same line. They go on a crusade to ban same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, and make homosexuality a crime punishable with ten years in prison … … … wait … … … we don’t have to imagine this. It’s already happening WITHOUT the accusation! All the LGBTQ+ community has to do is exist. They don’t have to molest children to be accused of molesting children. Interesting how things change when the tables are turned, isn’t it?
A final word on this: I know that for many, the Duggar family is a model of good Christian values. I probably would have thought so when I was a Christian. I understand the desire to jump to their defence, because I would have done the same thing … and I would have been wrong. The doctrine of salvation holds that Josh Duggar will repent and go to heaven, while the “unrepentant homosexuals,” who his former job required him to lobby against, will be tortured for eternity. Justice will not be served on Earth, and he won’t pay for what he’s done in the next life either. His victims, whose scars will be forever with them, get nothing but a half-handed apology and maybe some counselling from the same quacks he was sent to. This is what you’re defending – a system in which it’s okay for a person to be the worst kind of hypocrite. So long as there is repentance, one may do whatever they like. This is not a moral system.
Josh Duggar is homophobic, he is malevolent, he is entitled. He was severely indoctrinated as a child, and has failed to question any of it. He is willfully blind to the fact that the people outside of his bubble have value. He is a problematic person to begin with, and this latest scandal just adds a gigantic ‘ICK’ factor. Try to defend him if you like, but be prepared to lose all moral integrity if you do.