Since the teenage molestation incidents concerning the now 27-year-old son of the Duggar family, featured in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” came to light, much of the media and commentators have taken delight in bashing the clan and its particular brands of Christianity and parenting.
Last night, Megyn Kelly of Fox News’ “The Kelly File” interviewed the Duggar parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, and on Friday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, Fox has a “Kelly File Special,” in which she talks to two of the Duggar sisters, who were among their brother Josh’s victims.
The whole thing began when a retired official released Josh’s sealed juvenile records — and that’s nothing to dismiss lightly. The idea of sealing juvenile files is to prevent people from being ruined for life solely because of crimes they committed as minors. Kelly and the Duggars address this, and some of the media types are criticizing that, saying it deflects from the main issue at hand, which, for a lot of them, seems to be condemning Josh Duggar for crimes he committed as a minor.
Whatever Duggar’s misdeeds, that doesn’t give someone license to unseal records without a court order to do so (UPDATE: Apparently the records weren’t sealed after all, but anyone releasing them had to know that the identities of the victims wouldn’t be hard to figure out).
Since the Duggar parents chose to keep their children on TV for a decade, knowing this was in their past, my sympathy for them is limited. But, unless somebody shows me evidence that Josh Duggar is a repeat offender, I’d like to know what people think they’re accomplishing here, other than destroying Josh and making his victims relive the incidents and be exposed in the public square.
Of course, there is the glee certain folks get from exposing hypocrisy, especially among Christians, as if they’re never guilty of it themselves. But then, when you don’t have to live up to a set of religious principles, you can’t ever been seen as falling short of them.
It’s a messy and complicated subject, and one of my takeaways is, think long and hard before tossing your children into the meat grinder that is the modern media, especially if you espouse traditional values. Even a few months ago, I might have thought differently, but watching the media in the last couple of weeks, I couldn’t in good conscience urge any Catholic parents to expose their children to this sort of savagery. And it’s a shame, because one reason the world loathes us is that much of the world really doesn’t know anything about how we live our lives.
So, I’d advise a Catholic take on a scripted show like “The Waltons,” rather than anything connected to reality TV.
Over at my other home, CatholicVote, I examine the interview and provide links to clips. Here’s an excerpt:
If you hate the Duggars, this interview won’t change your mind. If you love the Duggars without any reservation, one hopes you’ll learn to think twice before putting fallible human beings on a pedestal. Only one Son of Man who walked the Earth deserved that.
But we see it happen every day, people lifted up because they serve someone’s social or political agenda, and then no one will hear any criticism of them. Then when they’re revealed to have feet of clay — and this happens on both sides of the political aisle and on all sides of the faith debate — open warfare breaks out.
And Satan sits back and chuckles.
Click here to read the rest.
Image: Wikimedia Commons