Most of us have come to know the Duggars through their popular TV series, 19 Kids and Counting. I just read, as many of you have, about Josh Duggar’s admission that he molested 4 family members plus an additional female between the ages of 14-18 years old. He is now 27, a father of 3 with another child on the way.
What strikes me as most disturbing about this story is not the transgressions themselves, which are horrid. It is the fact that this has likely caused issues for these women that will impact not only their self-esteem but their future relationships, and it is tragic. There seems to be mutual acceptance both by Josh and his family that because he “found God,” he is automatically absolved of his wrongdoing. I believe that he is remorseful. I am sure his admission to his family was devastatingly painful for everyone involved. But for someone who was Executive Director of Family Research Council, a group that promotes ‘traditional family values,’ which gave Mr. Duggar a forum to publicly protest highly polarizing social issues, the hypocrisy is too much.
The FRC advocates for the regulation of pornography and other “obscene, indecent, or profane programming” on broadcast and cable television as well as anti-gay, abortion and divorce legislation. At what point did Josh, this man of God and a father, decide to step up as a leader in this effort knowing what he has done?
I am not one for organized religion. I’ve always struggled to understand how a person can commit a range of offenses, ask for forgiveness and be automatically granted a ‘free pass’ for their behavior, all in the name of religion.
I have witnessed one woman stealing from her mother, another bankrupting his family because he hired prostitutes for sex while his wife was at home caring for his children. In both cases, these God-fearing individuals actively speak out against their definition of ‘social offenders’ who, in their eyes, act in opposition to God’s word. They seem to be the most vocal participants in making others feel ashamed for their life choices, all the while hiding their own.
I applaud Josh for going to his parents at an early age and asking for help. It takes a strong person to admit fault. But portraying yourself as a model citizen and Bible following individual when you are, in fact, so conflicted is inexcusable. Josh, I cannot fathom the number of young people who looked up to you, who believed they fell short as human beings compared to you. All the while, you knew the horrible acts you committed and instead chose to publicly alienate other human beings for their ‘sinful choices.’
At the end of the day, I hope Josh’s story dies a quick media death. Not on his behalf, but so people can start to concentrate on what is really important. Helping these women, his victims, begin to heal.