This is a guest post by R.L. Stollar, Homeschoolers Anonymous Community Coordinator. It is reposted with permission from Homeschoolers Anonymous.
“Jim Bob just radiates Christ.”
~ Doug Phillips at the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit
Rick Boyer, board member of Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and recent partner with HSLDA (what’s that?) for HEAV’s March 2015 Leadership Conference, has publicly defended Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar who was accused of (and has somewhat admitted to) child sexual abuse and incest. Boyer also defended Bill Gothard, the creator of the homeschool program ATI that the Duggars use and someone also accused by over 30 women of sexual abuse and harassment.
Boyer made the comments on a Facebook page. The following is the text from Boyer’s 3 statements:
Sometimes things are not what they appear at a distance. With all respect to everybody who has an opinion, I will unequivocally say that the Duggars are one of the happiest, holiest, humblest families I have ever met. Yes, I’ve met them. I’ve been in their home. I’ve been in their church. I am proud to call them my friends. Why don’t the critics ask the Duggar kids what they think of their oldest brother? Because they’d say he’s a sinner-which you and I are too, by the way-and he’s repented and he’s proven that he’s changed and they love and respect him. As for Bill Gothard, I am personally acquainted with him and I have a friend very close to that ministry. He was thoroughly investigated and what he was ACTUALLY found to be guilty of was touching some girls’ hands, hair and feet. He was honest enough to admit that these things were inappropriate and resign. But good grief, how does that compare with what most people are guilty of? All this piling on by people who are not in a position to really know, is just exactly what our enemies, human and spiritual, were hoping for. So many Christians are suckers.
“Abuse” is the new “racism.” As soon as you’re accused of it, you’re considered guilty. Just what would you like the Duggars to have done? Turn all their kids over to a godless psychologist? Maybe one supplied by the local public school system where “abuse” is so unheard of? Should they have skinned Josh alive, rolled him in salt and hung him on a meathook? They guy sinned, repented, changed, and lived an exemplary life for TWELVE YEARS before a tabloid spent thousands of dollars sending a team to Arkansas to go door to door trying to dig up dirt on this exemplary family. How much would it cost them to find dirt on YOU? Would they have to dig that hard? Do you hear Josh’s sisters railing against him? Not, it’s not the victims howling for scalps, it’s pagans and gullible Christians, eagerly grabbing the bait and shooting their own wounded. Ok, go ahead and follow the crowd. I am taking a stand here and now, and you may quote me anywhere you care to. The Duggars are an exemplary family and I wish I were half the man that Jim Bob Duggar is. I hope I have made myself clear. Let the chips fall where God guides them.
OH, I almost forgot: I love Bill Gothard and his ministry has been the most helpful influence in the development of my family. His teaching, and the teaching of others who learned from him has transformed my life and that of my wife as well, who is the most admired woman I know. We owe much of the blessing we’ve seen on our family of 16 to IBLP (although we are not members of ATI.) I highly recommend Bill’s basic and advanced conferences and I believe every Christian would benefit by attending. Is Bill a sinner? Yes. Did he ever claim to be anything else? No. The Apostle Paul was a sinner too but he was surely one of the most godly men in the New Testament age. I firmly believe that Bill Gothard is one of the most godly men in this age. Perfect? No. Just about a hundred times closer to God than I am (And I make and effort). Have you ever spent THIRTY days in prayer and fasting just to draw closer to God? Have you ever risked your life to witness to Chicago street gangs? Have you ever spent most of your time away from home, when you hate to travel, for the sake of ministering to others? Think carefully before you cast the first stone. There. I hope I haven’t pulled too many punches.
Images of Boyer’s comments can be viewed in full at Homeschoolers Anonymous.
Not only is Boyer a major fan of Bill Gothard and Josh Duggar, he also is a strict adherent to Christian patriarchy and the Quiverfull movement, as he detailed in his 2011 book Take Back the Land: Inspiring a New Generation to Lead America. Despite this, HSLDA recently partnered with Boyer and HEAV during HEAV’s Leadership Conference in March 2015. The conference’s theme was “Essentials of a Strong Organization,” with HSLDA ironically teaching “how to design policies that protect children from abuse in your support group” while Boyer — who apparently thinks nonconsensually “touching some girls’ hands, hair and feet” isn’t that bad and is “abuse,” not abuse — taught about “training leaders, not survivors.”
This is not the first time HSLDA has promoted Boyer. HSLDA also promoted Boyer’s “Take Back the Land” conference to their members as well as included (and continue to include) his book advocating patriarchy, The Hands-on Dad, in their website’s recommended resources.
Apparently Rick Boyer can easily cross Michael Farris and HSLDA’s “line in the sand.”
Boyer is not the only member of the Religious Right who has defended Josh Duggar. Republican Presidential hopeful and Michael Farris favorite Mike Huckabee also defended the alleged child molestor. Huckabee’s defense provoked a heartfelt response from Christian anti-abuse advocate Mary DeMuth. “God’s reputation is not marred when we dare to dignify the victim,” argues DeMuth, nor is God’s reputation marred when we “get them the help they need, send the perpetrator to get help (and/or punish him/her for a crime), and say, ‘Yes, this happened and it was wrong.’”
Farris and HSLDA’s Facebook pages have been silent since the news of Josh Duggar’s alleged criminal actions, with only Farris posting, and merely about a bike ride at that.
Previously on Leaving Fundamentalism:
- Josh Duggar apologised. So what?
- Had Josh Duggar been prosecuted, Duggars would have lost the right to homeschool
- Ray Comfort’s fans line up to normalise child sex assault
Elsewhere on Patheos…
- How Christian culture excuses sex offenders (Love, Joy, Feminism)
- Six of the worst defences of Josh Duggar’s child molestation by the Christian Right (Danthropology)