Feminism

Christian Hypocrisy and the Response to Josh Duggar

The Josh Duggar scandal has been covered by multiple media outlets. Most people have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of Duggar, who served as the executive director of an organization that regularly links homosexuality and pedophilia, when he in fact sexually assaulted many underage girls. Unsurprisingly, the Christian news sites are coming to his defense, some even drawing parallels between Duggar and the story from the Bible where Jesus saved a woman accused of committing adultery.

Right now, the same people who conflate equal marriage with bestiality are jumping to Duggar’s defense, calling what he did a “mistake” and commending him for asking for forgiveness and getting “help.” One blogger went as far as to suggest that most teenagers commit sexual assaults against children. In response to a tweet saying “I don’t know what world you’re living in but ‘most teenagers’ don’t molest little girls,” Steven Crowder at Western Journalism said,

The thing is, you guys, they do. By 17-years-old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20. And it doesn’t count as consent just because you’re both under 18. Twenty-six and a half percent of 15-19-year-old girls are giving birth to kids – and those are just the ones that aren’t having abortions. And 17% of those births are to unwed mothers who already have at least one other child!

There is a huge difference between consensual sexual contact between teenagers and what Josh Duggar did to the girls he assaulted, who were mostly not teenagers. Crowder’s article doesn’t draw a distinction between non-consensual contact and pre-marital sex, though, because presumably both of those are “wrong” and “sins” so it doesn’t matter what the context was, right? (Oh and nice dig on young women who choose to have abortions too.) Can you guys believe that young women who aren’t married are having more than one child?? That is totally the same thing as Josh Duggar molesting a 4-year-old! Teenagers having pre-marital sex (because if they’re married teenagers then it’s OK, presumably) is logically equivalent to “teenagers molesting little girls,” which is exactly what the above paragraph implies.

This author and many other Christian apologists seem to conflate all pre-marital sex with “sin,” and so there is no differentiation between non-consensual and consensual acts. For more on this, read this article by Libby Anne, “Josh Duggar and the Tale of Two Boxes.”

How do we handle childhood sin? Yes, they should know better, but kids mess up. If we discipline them, they suffer consequences, repent, and turn their life around… What then? Do we show them grace and give them another shot at life? Or do we simply throw stones from our glass houses?

Given that this author has written other “thinkpieces,” such as “Dear Racist, Looting, Rioting Scumbags In Baltimore…” and “Top 5 Ways Liberals Are Already Submitting To Sharia Law,” I’m sure he has a suitably nuanced view on the injustices of the American criminal justice system and is likely anti-death penalty.

Another article that I’ve seen floating around is “The Duggars Aren’t Hypocrites. Progressives Are.” by Matt Walsh at The Blaze. It starts off with the same hogwash about how Josh Duggar committed sins and was wrong.

A Christian failing to live up to his faith does not make him a hypocrite. It makes him cowardly, perhaps. It makes him selfish. It makes him flawed. It makes him sinful. It makes him any number of things, but not necessarily a hypocrite. A hypocrite is an insincere person who misrepresents his own beliefs. But saying that you believe something is wrong, only to turn around and do it, doesn’t prove that you never held that belief. It just proves that you were too weak to stand by it.

I’m not diminishing Josh Duggar’s infractions. As I said, he did something very bad. Horrendous. Disturbing. Evil. These were major sins. But Christians commit major sins sometimes, which is the whole reason why Jesus died on the cross.

Actually, Josh Duggar is a hypocrite, because the commonly-accepted definition of a hypocrisy is “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.” Considering the fact that Josh Duggar was part of an organization that condemned people for consensual sexual behavior (and equated it with non-consensual sexual acts) when he was knowingly guilty of sexual assault against children, I’m pretty sure that makes him a hypocrite. People are basking in the schadenfreude because he is such a prominent Christian, even though we should remember that real people were hurt by Josh Duggar and that is nothing to celebrate or feel good about.

Also, was this really the reason that Jesus died on the cross? So that people like Duggar could commit heinous sexual acts and then just ask for forgiveness and spend three months remodeling houses (a.k.a. working a job that many adults choose to do willingly, unlike prison)? This “loophole Christianity” is so bothersome to me and reminds me of the brutal story of Christina Johansdottor. (Warning: fucked up Christian reasoning and child death ahead.) If you’re not familiar, Johansdottor was a woman who lived in the 18th century and decided she wanted to commit suicide. But suicide is a sin, so she knew she would go to Hell if she did that, so instead she found a loophole. She killed a child, who she reasoned was going to Heaven because it was free of sin. And she freely confessed the crime, knowing that she would be sentenced to death, but she repented and asked for forgiveness, thus ensuring her passage to Heaven. And she wasn’t the only person who decided to commit such a “brilliant” crime in order to hasten death.

It’s always interesting to watch progressives discover sexual morality just in time to denounce a right winger, only to shed the pretense as soon as the next liberal pervert comes out of the woodwork.

Yep, you know those dirty liberals. Always condoning rape whenever fellow liberals do it. Would it surprise you to learn that feminists routinely call out rape culture and rapists? Probably, if you’re the author of the above quote.

As a parent, you have to think whether your 14 year old son deserves to have his life ruined over his mistakes. Maybe you’d decide that he does. I can’t say I’d agree.

If I had a son who sexually assaulted anyone, I would not consider it a “mistake.” I would consider it a crime and I would turn them over to the police. I would be more concerned about the people he sexually assaulted than his own future. I’m not the one who would have made the decision to ruin his life–he would have made that decision by knowingly committing sexual crimes. Fourteen is old enough to know the difference between wrong and right. If Josh Duggar was doing something he thought was right, he wouldn’t have done it while the girls were asleep, and he wouldn’t have continued to do it after first being told it was wrong by his parents (although who the hell knows what those clowns actually said to him, they could’ve even just told his sisters that it was their fault for committing the immodest crime of having female parts).

That said, I admire the family. They are living by their convictions, in defiance of cultural trends, and clearly bestowing a strong faith in all of their children.

In other words, this family lives by their convictions, which include never having their son convicted for committing a crime.

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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21 Comments

  1. May 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm —

    So, I grew up with one foot in a conservative Christian community, where dating was frowned upon- courtship was preferred, for those wondering how marriages were made. (The other foot was in a lesbian, atheist, science loving side of things. Haha.)

    So, first, I don’t know all the details yet, but I did first hear about this from an article discussing how Jim Bob Duggar turned Josh in when he caught him in a girls’ bedroom. I mean called the police right there and then. I understood that the responding officer failed to follow up, and in fact now is serving time for his own crimes against young children.

    I was impressed to hear that about Jim Bob, as he certainly has enough oomph to cover up whatever, but it did seem to me from this one article that what was moral mattered more to him. I certainly have known cops who did not give a flying shit about protecting the innocent, and I have also known deeply religious people who would upset the apple cart of their life before allowing evil to go on with their knowledge. (To be fair, I’ve known many many MANY more who would take “private steps” to alleviate such things. Think endless prayer and counseling with the sinner, moving pastors(or priests) church to church, we know the drill!)

    Anyway, I also just wanted to add that anyone who is defending Josh Duggar from the liberals or talking about childhood sin can go jump. They are wrong! And as a doula who specialized in working with teen moms, something like 75% of teen pregnancies are fathered by men over 21. The numbers are horrifying.

    What happens to Josh needs to be what’s best for the victims- and I can’t stop thinking about his children, either.

    • May 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm —

      After many assaults, one of the victims finally told Jim Bob, who had a talk with Josh. Months later, he assaulted another girl, and someone told Jim Bob, who then spoke to the church elders, who recommended a treatment program. The parents didn’t want Josh to be around his fellow sexual predators, so instead they sent him away for 3 months with a family friend to remodel houses. And then when he came back, he got a stern lecture from a state trooper (who was later convicted of possessing child porn) about how he was going to ruin his life.

      Then, basically nothing else was done except having the girls forgive him.

      The only reason there was a police investigation was because 3 years later, the family was going to be on Oprah, and they learned about the allegations and told the police. In the report. all of the victims say they had forgiven him although at least one admitted that they were no longer comfortable in his presence.

      • May 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm —

        You are so right, the article I read was some nonsense! I shouldn’t have taken just one report at face value. Now I’ve read the police report, and everything I could lay my hands on… and fuck the Duggar parents, and fuck Josh Duggar, and fuck Bill Gothard, and fuck the lot of them except the innocents they hurt and brainwash and warp.

        I am sorry that this sweeping shit under the rug is so much more acceptable to people who claim to live for morality than genuinely giving their lives for what they believe. Sorry, not surprised. I AM surprised that people defend them with shit like, “He didn’t REALLY molest them, it was all over the clothes!” or “Why can’t you respect the VICTIMS’ forgiveness?” or even, “He couldn’t have done that to his sisters, they act so loving and normal around him!” I should know by now that humans are full of shit to their eyeballs.

  2. May 24, 2015 at 5:08 pm —

    Um, ‘called the police right then…?’ Please read some of the actual reports.

    The Duggars aren’t really hypocrites in the usual sense, their behavior is a fair representation of the ACTUAL ‘character, moral or religious beliefs or principles’ they really profess:

    All power is divinely vested in the hands of self-appointed patriarchs. These men police the conduct of their subjects, but have license to commit any act they wish, so long as they make gestures of ‘repentance,’ however insincere, or however often they repeat the offense.

    David and Bathsheba. Muhammed and his adopted son’s spouse (not to mention Aisha AGAIN), David Koresh and his followers wives and daughters, Hassidic rabbis and children, Cardinal Law….. carry on until you’re too tired or disgusted to continue.

    • May 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm —

      They truly live up to the cliche of “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

  3. May 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm —

    I don’t know what pisses me off more about the Josh Duggar story: the fact he did it, the fact his family has been telling people that trans people like me are child molesters when they knew all along what Josh did, or all the evangelicals who are playing the “we’re all sinners” card.

    • May 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm —

      Also, the fact that his parents were seemingly OK with him still being near his sisters. Those poor girls who had to forgive him and see him every day.

      • May 24, 2015 at 10:58 pm —

        I couldn’t agree more with you both. After reading about them today, and learning about their link to Bill Gothard’s ATI, a horrible, gut-wrenching rape factory, I want to set up an underground railroad for minors fleeing this stuff.

  4. May 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm —

    Hey Mary,

    I agree that it’s important to point out the hypocrisy that, if you make a career out of selling your virtue and how others who don’t act – like you purport too – can’t be trusted with children, you deserve all the outrage thrown back at you when you are caught covering up your own shameful behaviour. I think if he’d made a point of atoning for his childhood mistakes, from the outset, that would be an unlikely but different story.

    I also like to point out that Steven Crowder is either not very good at maths or intentionally missed a decimal point, as that U.S. teen birth figure is out of 1000 not 100… 2.65% not 26.5% – besides it’s dropped by over 57% (or 3.53 percentage points) in just over 20 years despite the best efforts of conservative christians to thwart sensible approaches to sex education.

    • May 26, 2015 at 7:20 am —

      Maybe someone had already commented to point that out, but there were too many comments to trawl through to check and I figured adding one more couldn’t harm. It’s a really stupid mistake to make. That’s some twisted misuse of statistics even without the error.

    • May 26, 2015 at 8:57 am —

      I didn’t even check his math, nice catch!

  5. May 26, 2015 at 11:18 am —

    I found the TV series offensive to start with, the idea of 19 children being a sustainable lifestyle is ridiculous. Of course now we discover the not-so hidden costs of that lifestyle. Even if one parent is home with the children full time and puts 16 hours a day into child rearing, that makes a maximum of 24 parent hours/day on child rearing. In practice of course the total is much less because the mother is spending 24/hours a day being pregnant.

    Having such a large family means that either other people are going to do all the work or the children are essentially going to be left to fend for themselves. And this police report is probably only one of the consequences.

    Such large families were not so unusual in the past of course, but most of the children would die early on and probably the mother too. Its modern medicine and welfare that makes this behavior feasible on a large scale. One of the major concerns for secular Jews in Israel is the growth of a religious community that doesn’t work and doesn’t join the army. Work and military service are for schmucks.

    Outside such environments, is this behavior self perpetuating? What is the probability that the children of large families will have large families in turn? Are the Duggars pumping out little Duggar clones that are just like them or is this an isolated case that quickly bends towards the mean?

    In the meantime it looks like TLC are quietly moving to shelve the program. I suspect this is something they can’t just shrug off like the Duck Dynasty producers were able to shrug off Phil Robertson’s bigotry. While the bigotry is offensive to many, it is not exactly a consequence of the lifestyle the show is showcasing. Josh Duggar’s behavior looks like it is not just a consequence of the showcased lifestyle, it is a rather predictable one.

    • May 26, 2015 at 5:22 pm —

      Agreed.

      I found the show offensive just on hearing about it. We have some 7 billion people on this planet, untold numbers of unwanted children without families to care for them, and this woman is popping out more and more children, like some kind of brood mare. It’s just disgusting.

      It’s simply not sustainable to have such huge families ad yes, they are raising their kids to be the same way. It’s called Quiverfull living, or some such. (Google it!) Some of the more radical Evangelical groups require their members to make as many Christians as possible to counteract the birth rates of Muslims, so they can take over the world, or something.
      So yeah. It’s as bad as you thought. The Duggars aren’t alone in this behavior and are encouraging their sons and daughters to live the same lifestyle

      • May 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm —

        Oh I know about the Quiverfull folk. But is it self sustaining? Are they going to expand or disappear after a generation?

        I don’t think we know at this point. The Amish population is growing, some predictions say it will grow to 910,000 by 2050. But they have also run into major expansion problems as the price of agricultural land near their settlements has become unaffordable.

  6. May 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm —

    For fuck’s sake, assholes. Sex. Education. Teach children about their bodies, consent, and sexuality. Create a safe culture where they can talk comfortably about their urges and the the things that happen to them. This is how we keep kids safe and happy.

    I know typing this is futile, though, because they’re going to double down on their Puritanical sex-fearing perversions.

    • May 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm —

      Hmm, I think you are mistaken on the sex fearing thing. At least one of them has had sex at least 19 times.

      • May 26, 2015 at 8:40 pm —

        I think the Quiverfull mindset is “All forms of pre-marital sex are bad bad bad, don’t even THINK about it. But once you’re married, BE READY FOR ALL THE SEX YOU CAN HANDLE.” And if you’re a woman, it’s “Who cares if you’re in the mood, SUBMIT ALREADY, or else your husband will go elsewhere (even though I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed by our dogma).”

        • May 26, 2015 at 8:49 pm —

          And sadly, the passage in Paul this particular misogyny comes from is almost certainly an addition by a much later hand.

  7. May 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm —

    A lot of attention is placed on Josh…rightly so, he is the perp…but his dad’s role doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves. From what I’ve read, it seems Jim Bob actively obstructed the investigation and used his pull to cover up the incidences, not to mention just sitting on the story for some years. Seems like abetting a crime to me. I’m sure Christian apologists would make all kinds of excuses…fatherly love for his son, blah, blah, blah…but he’s an adult and should have acted responsibly the moment he learned of the first incident. He didn’t. Sure, to protect his son (and to heck with those daughters), and most especially to protect that lucrative TLC deal. However, I can’t help but worry if there’s more to Jim Bob’s reticence than simply protecting his son and their gravy train.

    • May 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm —

      Definitely, his mom should be on the hook also. I feel bad for the family actually. Josh is the perpetrator, his parents are enablers for his predatory behaviour, and his sisters are the victims and forced to defend their family.

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