In my last post, I mentioned the Duggars in passing and in a flippant way. I really shouldn’t have been as glib as I was. Their execrable show was its own punchline and could stand on its own (lack of) merit.
But all that changed with the revelations made by Josh Duggar. He admitted recently that he molested several girls, apparently including his sisters. That makes the Duggars no longer a joke and their show no longer a punchline.
This is incredibly serious. Child molestation is one of the most horrific things that can happen. And, yes, I say that coming on the heels of a couple of very public shootings in the USA, and also with all the nonsense happening around the world, particularly terrorism, but also natural disasters such as earthquakes that kill hundreds or thousands.
What makes child molestation so horrific is that it hits children, innocent creatures who have no idea what is happening or has happened to them. It hurts them, scars them for life. I’ve only scratched the surface. It’s simply an unimaginable crime and the perpetrators are disgusting individuals. I should not have been so flip about talking about the Duggars in light of that and I’m sorry I was. I apologize to anyone who might be offended by my comment.
But continuing with the recent ‘rant against religious types phase’ I’m going through, I will now relate this despicable act to an attitude that seems prevalent in evangelical circles. It’s not a rant against religion or all religious people per se; it’s against an underlying attitude that manifested when the feces hit the proverbial metal-bladed cooling implement.
When Josh Duggar came clean about his pathetic, inexcusable acts, a number of people came to his defense. Far too many, for that matter. Those who did were from the Christian, political right. They said things along the lines of ‘the liberal media is having a field day with this. They just wanted to get rid of a wholesome family show and the entire Duggar family are now victims.’
I won’t get into detail about the whole “liberal media” silliness that conservatives relish tossing around like the political football it’s become, using this “issue” solely to rile up their political base and increase their viewership. The “liberal media” had nothing to do with the hoopla. The media’s coverage was a universal reaction, left and right and all points in between, to the revelation of Josh Duggar’s obscene acts.
Moving away from the whole “liberal media” stupidity at least for now, one of those who came to the Duggar’s rescue was none other than former Arkansas governor, ex-pastor and current Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. “Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ . . . He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. . . . Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things” (This probably won’t make the follow up to Huckabee’s “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy”). I kid you not. He posted that comment on his Facebook page.
So here’s my take on that comment. Yeah, you’re right, Mike. So long as Josh is cool with Jesus, forget about the trail of victims he’s left behind. If God’s forgiven him, that’s all that matters. Screw everyone else who doesn’t think so. Everything’s okay because Josh Duggar is now living a “responsible and circumspect life as an adult” (again on Huckabee’s Facebook page). Life for the victims is just hunky-dory and Josh is just a good person who made a simple mistake. We all do, and that’s the glory that is being Christian: we’re forgiven, not perfect. That’s the attitude in evangelical circles that Huckabee, et al. have.
I am really, really ticked. We know what was in Josh’s heart: lust. Pure, unadulterated lust. Not the love of God, Jesus or even his own family (again, his victims included his own sisters), let alone mankind. He touched others and without their wanting to be touched. Even if they did give consent, it wasn’t reasoned so let’s not go that route either. So what was in his heart was fulfilling some sexually deviant need. Good person? Forgiven? He molested several children but he’s not doing that now so everything’s okay.
What a load.
Here’s the key point, what’s most important: child molestation is not an issue between the perpetrator and God. It involves the victims too. In point of fact, it pretty much centers on the victims. It involves the victim’s families. It involves the victim’s future relationship partners. It involves the community because molesters rarely stop with one. There can be hundreds of victims of a single molester (if one person goes undetected long enough). It does not end with God’s forgiveness. It does not end when someone “comes clean.”
By essentially saying that ‘if God’s forgiven him, that’s all that matters’ Huckabee has completely diminished the victims and missed the main point. The point being that it’s not about Josh, it’s about the victims. It’s their lives Josh Duggar has screwed up, massively. It doesn’t matter if the acts were “only” groping above the clothes. This . . man . . and I use that term reluctantly, in a position of authority, older than his victims, even if only a teen at the time, took advantage of others. It’ll be a testament to those victims’ resiliency when/if they recover.
But it’s not just whether ‘God has forgiven’ the creep. It’s about the victims. Whether they forgive the creep is up to them. But to say ‘If God’s forgiven him, that’s all that matters’ is flat out wrong. It isn’t all that matters. What matters is the victims, and how they’re doing now.
Forget Josh. Forget his apologists.
Remember the victims.