“I don’t know who their version of Jesus or God is. I have no comprehension of the Duggar’s idea of right and wrong.”
In 48 hours the Duggar’s reputation came tumbling down like a house built on stone-colored sand.
Their marginal brand of Conservative Christianity propelled them into a rose-colored national spotlight, where chastity, ‘tradition,’ and over-population are celebrated with a Pollyanna innocence.
The spotlight grew more intense this week with revelations that Josh sexually assaulted some of his sisters as well as another little girl. I’ve read the redacted police report. It’s stomach turning.
Interviews with the sisters and parents are cited . . . for example, one of the little girls tells the police investigator that others touch her bottom – her parents when they beat her with a rod.
The father said they sent their son to a Christian counselor, but a subsequent police interview with the mother reveals that Josh wasn’t sent to counseling, he spent three months helping a man work construction.
When Josh returned from his vacation, he was taken to a state trooper who gave him a ‘stern’ talking to. The trooper incidentally is in prison, convicted of possession of child pornography. When the police asked to speak to Josh, the family closed ranks, consulted several lawyers who declined to represent them, and finally refused to allow investigators to speak to Josh.
The statute of limitations expired, no criminal charges were filed, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar continued to reproduce and their television show when on air. (Full disclosure. I’ve never seen more than a minute of the program. But I don’t need to taste poison to know what it is.)
But more disturbing than his repeated sexual assaults of his sisters over the course of months, it’s that the parents did nothing for their daughters. Nowhere in the police report nor in any of the Duggars public statements this week, did they talk about counseling for the victims.
Josh Duggar sexually assaulted several of his sisters, said he was sorry, and that was the end of it. Nothing was done to help the girls. They were forced to forgive him, because that’s what Christianity says to do.
And life proceeded as normal for everyone. (Do the little girls have nightmares of their brother lifting the covers while they slept so he could fondle them? I pray not.)
The sister victims don’t appear to have received any counseling from a licensed professional. They continued to live in the same very crowded house with the young man who had fondled their breasts and ‘private areas.’
I can try to understand the conflicted feelings the parents must have had – they love all of their children, so they didn’t report the crimes – felonious sexual assault of multiple girls – committed by their young son. But Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar didn’t protect their daughters. They didn’t send Josh away to live with relatives, or to a military school. They kept the victimizer and the victims together.
In their faith tradition, women are subservient to men. By definition women are worth less than men.
The needs and wants and feelings of the daughters are less important than the needs of the brothers. In many ways, Michelle Duggar is as much a victim of her faith as her daughters and all the other women trapped in traditions that preach they are not equal to men.
The Duggar’s flawed, patriarchal, and broken idea of Christianity teaches each of them that men are more important than women.
And some of those little girls were reminded of it every night, when they gathered around the table and sat across from the young man who assaulted them.
Thank God the Duggar’s misogynist representation of a warped Christianity isn’t the actual message of Christ.
Jesus would have us protect the innocents and the victims, not victimize them daily by making them remain in the same house with the man who assaulted them.
We can hope the Duggar’s television show remains off the air, and that their confused, conflicted and poisonous version of Christianity slinks back into the shadows and away from the mainstream.
I don’t know who their version of Jesus or God is. I have no comprehension of the Duggar’s idea of right and wrong.
The Christ I know would be saddened by what happened, and would be just as appalled as we are by how the Duggars handled it.