I realize that I am the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to this subject
After poring over the many disturbing facts surrounding Josh Duggar’s molestations, I want to extend the focus from Josh’s deviance and his parents’ learned, willful ignorance and denial to what I believe to be at the root of their troublesome response… which would be:
PIETY-BASED, MOVEMENT-SUPPORTED DENIAL.
Jim Bob and Michelle’s parenting practices mirror dogmatic parenting policies of the highly influential Christian home schooling curriculum that has become a Movement, the Advanced Training Institute, established by Bill Gothard.
The Christian fundamentalist movement also known as the Gothard Movement. It’s the one though the Duggars as well as countless others, have placed unwavering confidence and loyalty, has one (of many) major defects.
itsdownright refusal to acknowledge, own and correct its own errors and abuses.
This movement– advanced, promoted and populated– by many prominent leaders of Christian fundamentalism at large, who while eagerly identifying and decrying sins of ‘this evil and adulterous generation, are much less inclined to respond appropriately when its own transgressions are exposed.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (emphasis mine)
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (again, emphasis mine)
Additionally, the faithful followers of these hyper-charged sin detectors can’t or won’t accept the possibility that many of their beloved movement’s militant beliefs might actually be at the core.
To reexamine those beliefs and renounce the ones lacking would be to accept and admit they actually can be and often ARE desperately wrong…all-the-while imposing these wrongs on their families and others.
It is rare indeed for the typical devout, self-respecting fundamentalist Christian, much less The Movement, to readily admit being wrong for fear of jeopardizing status, respect, credibility and public image.
And then the Duggars are discovered and become the fulfillment of every good Christian Personality and parent’s fantasy of what they want their own family to be (at least in looks and pious behavior).
They appear so genuine, so humble, so happy, so pure, so attractive and sooooo convincingly Godly. They validate beliefs converted families have embraced and promoted in their own (non-famous) circles and gradually, they too gain recognition and admiration for incorporating such principles,
forgetting the fact that the Duggars are no more than ordinary people with extraordinary ideals…who being exalted by their Movement (and celebrity status via TLC) are fortified with the religious fervor and determination to live them out.
They are striving to, by due diligence and fear, circumvent the possibility that their children will dabble in the dubious ways of The World.
But, the uglier truth is the level of control, repression and suppression they have to exercise over the wills and lives of individual human souls who, once grown, should be granted the physical and emotional freedom to make choices for themselves.
So when the Duggars are declared “America’s Favorite Family,” it becomes verification that admiring participants have earned a spot (vicariously) in the elite fraternity of Christian parents who ‘do it right’.
Problem is: rearing ‘Godly‘ kids or even healthy, happy responsible kids is much simpler than any complicated formula extrapolated from private interpretations of the Bible by Bill Gothard or any other Christian parenting guru.
This man has never been married and never reared children of his own but has won over a nervous multitude of parents by merit of his charisma and scholarly-appearing, counter-culture, ‘biblically-legit’, impeccably-organized, highly decorative materials and teachings.
But, the ‘formula‘ fails. The champions fall. And the leaders whose credibility rode piggy-back on the Duggar’s success and fame resort to juvenile-brained defenses to shore up their own Duggar-relied credibility.
It’s as if the fundamentalist Christian community has been so hungry for positive public acclaim that once they get a champion to represent their ideologies, they can’t or won’t accept it nor admit it when they fall.
So, what could be the cause for such blatant contradiction?
I think it’s a kind of tribalistic pride.
Yes, the same Christians who have always condemned the tribalistic pride they see in the rest of the world, artfully (even if unintentionally) spin their own gratuitous pride into opportunities to promote the cause of Christ by their chaste choice of Duggar-types as supreme examples.
I am no longer surprised at Christian fundamentalist movements and their devoted followers’ defensively deceptive responses.
Because we don’t have to search long or hard to find that historically, this movement is not a culture that is known for owning its own blatant errors. To give lip-service to the obvious fact that ‘even devout Christians screw up’, is an anemic attempt at diverting attention from the uglier truths.
Consider how long it took for the Southern Baptist Convention to acknowledge and apologize for its racism and defense of slavery? Somewhere around 200 years?
Christian fundamentalists have yet (as far as I know) to publicly acknowledge its own racism and I doubt seriously it has ever, as a collective movement, renounced it.
Christian fundamentalists’ positions on: women’s suffrage, segregation, contraception, pain relief in child-bearing and equality for women in the work force….just to name a few, were also found to be on the opposite side of good.
So, could we add beliefs such as: home schooling; separation; early indoctrination; extra-biblical interpretations of the scripture; excessive protection and control of children by parents in all things even into adulthood; fixated attention to modesty and purity; a quiver as full as the mother’s womb can bear; syrupy-sweet and submissive expectations of women and steadfast, authoritarian, entitlement-prone-with-a-smile fathers will almost always guarantee children will grow into Godly adults, to the list of things Christian fundamentalists just MIGHT be wrong about?
Do we dare even consider it?
Judging by the growing online communities of ex-fundamentalists such as Homeschoolers Anonymous, No Longer Quivering, Fundamentalist Cult Survivors etc. etc. etc., could we safely surmise that there are a host of abuses committed as a direct result of incendiary beliefs and practices of radical Christian fundamentalists?
Considering my past intimate knowledge and experience as a defender and enthusiast, my answer would have to be….
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