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What are the lessons from the Duggar child molestation case?

By now, the story is everywhere. Reality TV son Josh Duggar has had to step down as executive director of Family Research Council Action and apologize for having molested several underage girls, including his own sisters, when he himself was 14 years old. The fact that Josh Duggar was 14 years old at the time weighs heavily with me, and I think should with all of us. The question is how his family—especially 19 Kids and Counting patriarch Jim Bob Duggar—responded to Josh's actions at the time and took steps to ensure that his pattern of sexual abuse wouldn't continue, and what the family learned from the experience as they went on to become national figures. The answer to the first question appears to be "badly and inadequately," and the answer to the second appears to be "not much." 

When they realized that their oldest son was molesting younger girls, sometimes while they slept, the adult Duggars disciplined him. When it continued:

Jim Bob then “met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on.” No one alerted the police or any other law enforcement agency. Instead they decided to send Josh to a “program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling. James said that [redacted, Josh] was in the program from March 17, 2003 until July 17, 2003.” He said the program was a “Christian program.” Michelle Duggar later admitted to police that Josh did not receive counseling and instead had been sent during that time to a family friend who was in the home remodeling business.
Jim Bob and church elders subsequently took Josh to a state trooper for a "very stern talk," but didn't officially report the incidents. When police were later tipped off, the statute of limitations had expired. So Josh never faced legal trouble and he never got counseling. 

These are people who hold themselves up, and who are held up on television, as models of sexual morality. For many observers it was clear before now that Duggar morality is founded on repression, but this adds secrecy and total lack of accountability to that score. Most importantly, it's clear that none of them—not Jim Bob, Michelle, or Josh—developed any compassion or hesitation about condemning others as a result of this.

Josh Duggar's career has been more or less as a spokesman for bigotry. It's obvious he didn't learn the lesson that he, as a child molester, was not in a position to judge others for their loving, consensual, adult relationships. So it may be worth asking if he learned the lesson that he shouldn't sexually assault people—true, his parents didn't even try to teach him not to judge others, but it doesn't seem like they tried all that hard to turn him away from his predatory behavior, either.

For what it's worth, Mike Huckabee, who the Duggars endorsed and campaigned for in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, is standing by Josh. Then again, even without a valued endorsement on the line, Huckabee has ample reason to want the things fine young Christian men do as teens to be erased from memory.

UPDATE:  CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS??  All court records from the Duggar molestation case were destroyed on Friday, 22 May 2015, by order of the local judge!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To those outside the Evangelical Christian bubble, the nature of Josh Duggar's criminal actions are seriously disturbing, as are the actions of the Duggar family and the Arkansas criminal justice system in covering them up. 

However, within the closed, insular, and perverted universe of today's "Conservative Christian" movement, Ted Nugent's enthusiastic songs and statements about having sex with underage girls have been completely ignored. We've seen Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Commander morons extolling the virtues of wedding and bedding underage girls with nary a peep of protest from supposed "family values Christians". And, perhaps most disgustingly, we get to hear Republican Christians not only downplay the brutal nature of rape while joyfully celebrating the pregnancies that result, but also sponsor legislation and policies that give rapists legal access to the children their victims have given birth to.

In other words, as long as the sexual predators are white males and the victims are female, "family values Christians" and Republicans will make excuses for it. Why? Because similar kinds of actions are repeatedly described approvingly in the Old Testament. They only give a shit about sex when it involves people of the same sex.

This horrible story will have very short legs not just within the Evangelical Christian and conservative movements (not that there's any real separation between the two), but also within the non-Fox mainstream media. The quivering, ignorant, lazy stenographers who make up the vast majority of the nation's "professional journalists" are petrified at the prospect of going after the "Christian" hypocrites who effectively control today's Republican Party.

ANOTHER UPDATE.  The Arkansas court may have ordered the records destroyed, but, on the Internet, things live forever.

Here's a link to the Josh Duggar court records!!! 

AND ANOTHER UPDATE.  Here is an excellent article that addresses the Duggars as an example of the evil that exists and that is being promulgated by the closed world of evangelical families.  I will not reproduce the entire article here -- go to this link -- below are the five main points of the article.
 
 #1 - The Duggars are “Pro-life.”

#2 - The Duggars believe that, under God, the FAMILY is the highest authority, particularly Daddy.


#3 - The Duggars frame dysfunction, abuse, and psychopathology in terms of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and grace … oh, and DEMONS.


#4 - The Duggars embrace Evangelical Christian teachings on “modesty.”


#5 - The Duggars believe that a benevolent God is intimately involved in every aspect of their lives and He is working all circumstances out for their ultimate good.

And here is the powerful conclusion of the article:

JimBob and Michelle Duggar live in a fantasy world of their own making, and they believe that, just like in the fairy tales, they all will live happily ever after. While confessing to not being a perfect family, and admitting their family faces challenges and struggles every day, the Duggars are convinced “that dark and difficult time caused [the family] to seek God like never before,” which in their minds, means the molestation really wasn’t so bad, and in fact, has turned out to be a kind of blessing in disguise since each one of them “drew closer to God,” as a result of “something so terrible.”

According to the “eternally happy ending” story which the Duggars are telling themselves, the little girls whom Josh allegedly groped and fondled are not victims or even survivors of sexual abuse, but are instead equated with the “highly favored” Old Testament Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery: What Satan meant for evil, God used for good.

Suffering in this life is insignificant - even trifling - compared to the faith-strengthening and soul-saving purpose of trials which will be richly rewarded with eternal life in Heaven … so praise the fucking Lord for whatever misery He sends to you and your children.

The Duggar delusion is so deeply ingrained that even in the midst of this horrifying revelation, JimBob and Michelle are hoping that the onlooking world will be inspired by their family’s witness: “We hope somehow the story of our journey — the good times and the difficult times — cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.”

Um … no, JimBob and Michelle, I don’t see the kindness of God. All I see is the most twisted and insidious spiritual abuse which minimizes, rationalizes, and even glorifies the sexual assault of children.

Stop. Please, just stop. Quit trying to spin this situation into a pretty story. Do not attempt to salvage your “Reality” TV program. Go home and “focus on your family”: get some legitimate, professional help for yourselves and your children. You have a quiver full of kids counting on you to stop the delusion and self-deception. For their sakes, do not allow your legacy to be the prolific multiplication of mania.

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