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Everybody Run to Your Own Corners!

May 25, 2015

Well, I’ve been watching the flap over Josh Duggar, one of the sons of the Duggar “19 Kids and Counting” family and the revelation that, at the age of 14 he sexually molested his sisters and a number of other girls.  You can’t be anything less than horrified by what the boy did and by the multi-year cover-up that took place after his actions became known to his family and church.

As of now TLC, The Learning Channel, (Which is perhaps the most wrongly named TV channel ever.) has suspended the cash-cow of this series that looks into the lives of a family deep into the “Quiverfull” movement, a fundamentalist Protestant movement known for seeing children as an unmitigated blessing from God that promotes procreation and, for the most part, equates contraception with abortion.

But it is watching the reactions of many people that has me dismayed too.  For the political and religious left there is an almost gleeful piling on.  After paying lip service to the victims they proceed to making it clear that Dugger’s sins stain everyone from “his” side of the spectrum.  Duggar was very politically active and I’ve seen left-leaning articles including picture after picture of him posing with Republican politicians who didn’t have a clue about what he had done.  In the same way any Christian who has ever even briefly met Duggar is declared guilty.

The right, both religious and political, has been no better.  Calls like “he’s repented and been forgiven by Jesus so we must forgive him too” (An actual quote) are so common that left-leaning web sites are creating lists of Christian voices that are jumping to his defense or the defense of his family.  Mike Huckabee calls for Christians to “run to their defense.”  Duggar was a member of the Family Research Council and that organization issues the most tepid statement about Duggar you could imagine.  They acknowledged that Duggar has resigned and said that they thought this was “the best decision for Josh and his family.”  At the very least they might have hinted that what Duggar did was wrong and sinful even if they couldn’t bring themselves to mention just what it is that he actually did do.

The media meanwhile has been having a field day with the story and my problem with them is that this plays into the celebrity obsession of our culture.  Why is this news when the thousands of other cases are not?  Worse yet, the primary focus of the stories are Duggar and his family.  Seriously?  Do they actually think that they are the most important players in this tragedy?  What about the victims?

As Christians we need to make it clear that we firmly believe that what was done was wrong, illegal and sinful.  We can pray for Duggar if we want but we need to pray even more for his victims and use this horror as a time to redouble our support for the abused, perhaps by donating time or money to organizations advocating for them.

It is also a time to examine ourselves.  Are the factors in the Quiverfull movement that can be a breeding ground for abuse?  How about factors in the more generic evangelical belief in male leadership?  Is it possible that our convictions may at times outweigh our compassion?     When somebody on our side stumbles so badly we must be honest enough to examine our own flaws and those that may be in the manner we follow Christ.

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From → Christianity

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