How to Deal with It (and Not Deal with It) When Yet Another Conservative Folk Hero Implodes

How to Deal with It (and Not Deal with It) When Yet Another Conservative Folk Hero Implodes May 27, 2015

Conservative Catholics love to anoint folk heroes.  And we love to circle the wagons when those folk heroes implode and blame “the media” or some “liberal conspiracy” or, in short, the victims.  We do it over and over.  We never learn, because we have completely convinced ourselves of the narrative which says that we are the Good Catholics, the Real Catholics, the True Catholics and all those liberal, pro-abort, fake CINO Catholics are clearly our inferiors.

So we did it with Maciel, circling the wagons and blaming the victims and speculating on the liberal media conspiracy against the Church.

We did it again with Euteneuer, because he was a true folk hero who told us what we wanted to hear about abortion.

We did it again with Corapi, because he not only hit all the right notes on abortion, but he stroked his fake Special Forces pin that told us we could be pro-life and fantasize about military exploits and derring-do as we sat at our computers and supported an unjust war.

We did it with Sarah Palin, a grifting quitter who blasphemed the sacrament of baptism by likening it to torture, but told us what we wanted to hear about our truly true patriotism.

We did it with Cliven Bundy, as visible-from-space obvious a disaster as you could want, with his huge flag and his cowboy hat and his horse and his anti-government rhetoric that we gobbled up from Sean Hannity, threatening a shooting war and longing to use women and children as human shields–right up until he came out with his completely predictable diatribe about how “the Negro” would be better off picking cotton as a slave.

And most recently, we did it with Josh Duggar, explaining that, in the words of Mike Huckabee, his molestation of his own sisters was “a mistake”.  No.  It was a sin and a crime.  And soft-pedaling it only invites the scorn such euphemism richly deserves.  The  penitential rite does not say, “through my mistake, through my mistake, through my own most excusable mistake.”

But since that would imply that we are wrong to anoint folk heroes (and through them, ourselves) as Living Saints in contradistinction to all those accursed fake Catholic liberals, we don’t say that.  Here, for instance, is Matt Abbotttraditionalist Catholic, fixing the fault where it squarely belongs:  on the shoulders of “the liberal media” who “are having a field day with this story.  Remember: if you’re outspokenly conservative and desire to be in the public eye, you’d better be squeaky-clean.  The left will still despise you, but at least they can’t ruin you.”

Yes.  Those damn liberal media, reporting what actually happened and suggesting that if you have a crime like that on your record, it may be questionable for you to be held up as a role model, pontificate on family values, and have adoring conservative fanboi circle the wagons and blame somebody else for their anointing you a folk hero.  Yet again, the Party of Personal Responsibility points the finger at somebody else.

What is particularly ironic is that Abbott cannot resist the urge to shift the blame to “the liberal media” for yet another Conservative Folk Hero implosion, even though he has sitting in front him an actual example of how to really deal with such fiascos.  For, almost as an afterthought, he publishes Dawn Eden’s sane response to the Duggar implosion:

As a Catholic Christian, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, and as an author who has met hundreds of fellow victims and their families, I find the Duggars’ statement to be a sad caricature of what it should be. The use of the word ‘mistakes’ to describe what are in fact crimes is deeply offensive to victims – all victims – and compounds their pain. It is effectively a re-victimization.

Yes, God forgives, but where there is forgiveness, there has to be an admission of sin. The family’s statement indicates they are in denial and have not fully acknowledged the enormity of Josh’s crimes.

He should have simply published that.  But no.  He had to find a way to blame “the liberal media”.  Because nothing is ever *really* the fault of the Party of Personal Responsibility.

God grant the swift arrival of the day when Catholics cease to anoint Folk Heroes, and stop playing “I know you are but what am I?” games when those heroes inevitably show their feet of clay.  Free us from the clutches of the Culture War and the need to reduce sins to “mistakes” lest we lose face to our ideological enemies.  Help us to put the victims of sins, not our need to win, first.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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  • Joseph

    If I replace *conservatives* with Catholics, I agree with him. If we take a public stance as a *model*, we’d damn well better do our best to be squeaky clean. And we better be able to make public acts of contrition when we fail. Catholics *should* be held to a higher standard and we should be thankful for a media that hates us and is always looking for ways to expose us for our failures.
    .
    Of course, Matt is making that statement as a sophisticated complaint and not a personal reflection and acceptance. Dude molested children… even worse his own sisters. He should get more press because he and his family sat on the throne of sanctimony constructed by Evangelicals, Mormons, and *conservative* Catholics. If he were an atheist not strictly bound by morality in his belief system, what point would there be to expose him in the same way?
    .
    Just like I have no beef that Catholic priests molesting little boys got more negative press than public school teachers/coaches who did the same in larger numbers. We deserve to be scrutinised more… and thank God for it.

    • CJ

      I hear you Joseph, but I also think it plays into the modern idea that hypocrisy is the only *real* sin. So if you don’t profess “anti-X” moral standard, it’s no big deal if you commit sin “X.” That’s hogwash. Culpability can be mitigated by ignorance and a host of other factors, but it doesn’t change the nature of the act. Focusing on hypocrisy at the expense of seeing sin objectively is a slippery slope towards relativism.

      • Mike Petrik

        I agree with Mark’s post; I agree with Dawn Eden’s statement; and I agree with you, CJ, that the charge of hypocrisy has become the modern refuge of scoundrals.

    • kirtking

      The difference is deviant Catholic priests molesting boys is a purely Catholic issue. If you aren’t Catholic, you weren’t at risk, you weren’t paying for it, you aren’t paying for it. Public school teachers affect us all, paid on the state’s dime, and with funds not voluntarily given by the members.

  • Pete the Greek

    How about just don’t anoint anyone a folk hero.

    • kirtking

      They would run out of names for Catholic churches and schools.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Once they’ve died and been canonized, they aren’t folk heroes, they’re saints, and therefore can have Catholic schools named after them.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    Who’s “we,” Kemo-Sabe?

    • Peggy

      Ding! Ding! Some of us are over 20 and have skills of discernment.

    • orual’s kindred

      Perhaps someone not “you”; and in that case, good for “you.” Not a bad thing, yes? 🙂

  • Dan13

    Were the Duggars that influential in the conservative Catholic world anyway?

    As for Sarah Palin, I think about 99% of it was that she was authentically anti-abortion. You get the feeling from many anti-politician politicians that abortion should be illegal for other people, but if my daughter became pregnant that I’d fly her up to Canada (essentially a reverse Mario Cuomo view)*. I also thought that Palin was and is totally unsubitable to be president because I can certainly understand why pro-lifers really liked her.

    *It is noteworthy to mention that five of the justices of the S.C. who voted for abortion in Roe v. Wade were nominated by Republicans and Republican nominees Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Harry Blackmun, and John Stevens voted to uphold it in Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Ironically the only Democratic-nominated judge in Casey, Byron White, was in the dissent (he was a JFK nominee).

    So, you can see why pro-lifers can think that when the chips are down, the establishment GOP will let them down. GOP presidents had nominated *eight* of the nine justices in Casey and abortion was still upheld (and the Democratic-nominated justice voted pro-life!). Thus, the admiration of Sarah Palin, who for her faults, was at least authentically anti-abortion.

    • Joseph

      Palin wasn’t authentically anti-abortion. She was pro-*emergency contraception* (i.e. Plan B), which causes chemical abortion in many cases. McCain wasn’t anti-abortion either. He was for abortion in the case of rape and/or incest. Just sayin’. *Authentically* implies 100%.

    • cheekypinkgirl

      Yes, the Duggars were that influential in the Catholic world. My feed on Facebook from Catholic friends and in reading blog posts from conservative Catholics has been filled for years with adulation for their large family and great morality. Except their reasons for a large family have zero to do with Catholic teaching that often leads to large families. The theology behind the two is very different. Also, the great morality held up by the Duggars is based on puritanical Calvinistic practice, which dumb Catholics have mimicked for years in the absence of true Catholic leadership. The long skirts and purity rings and courtship crap – none of it is Catholic. If conservative Catholics want to indulge in that, fine, it’s a free world. But I, for one, am sick of being held to a bogus standard by other “good” Catholics who think the Duggars are something to be admired and copied.

      • enness

        I understand how easy it can be to get the impression from a Facebook feed that “the Catholic world” (or any “world”) thinks XYZ. But maybe that is the friends you have and the blogs you read. On my feed, there tend to be a few people who post prolifically and overrepresent themselves online, so I have to take that into account.

        I never paid all that much attention and I doubt that most of my Catholic friends did either.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          None of my Catholic friends follow them either, but they are followed quite closely by many of the homeschool families I know, and I have seen some people easily dismissing it was “normal exploration” or “experimenting” or even, “Boys will be boys”. I agree with Cheekypinkgirl about people trying to emulate their morality and it’s non-Catholic roots, though.

          • GeneFadness

            Never even heard of the guy until the news broke. And I’m a former evangelical turned Catholic.

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              Maybe it’s just families that watch TLC.

      • Dan13

        The whole purity ring thing really bothers me. It is like the girl’s body becomes a commodity.

      • LSpinelli

        I occasionally read the FB feed of the “Fix the Family” guy – the one who wrote about keeping daughters out of college. I was shocked at how closely his brand of Catholicism and the Duggars’ Quiverfull identity overlapped. Keep the girls locked up, don’t let the world tempt them. It was very creepy and not something I ever saw being espoused by Catholics – not until the more conservative sorts banded together with Evangelicals on socially conservative issues about 10-15 years ago.

    • kirtking

      No, not really. The Duggars are no more Catholic than Mitt Romney or Jim Wallis. As a conservative Catholic, I have no use for any of them related to spirituality, faith or religion.

    • LFM

      “It is noteworthy to mention that five of the justices of the S.C. who voted for abortion in Roe v. Wade were nominated by Republicans and Republican nominees…”

      What many people fail to recall or are too young to remember is that in 1973 it was the Republican party that was largely pro-abortion, while the Democratic Party, although divided about the idea because of the influx of new young radicals after 1968, still had many prominent anti-abortion members in its ranks. In the 1976 election, Jimmy Carter and his family spoke out against abortion (although he was not involved in trying to change the law), while Betty Ford was known for being an outspoken abortion supporter. Ford himself remained mostly silent on the matter.

  • MarylandBill

    Personally, I am not sure why anyone chooses to make themselves a public figure by staring in these reality shows. The more popular your show gets, the harder some are going to dig to find some dirt to expose to the public. Ultimately we are all fallen, and have all sinned; if someone digs hard enough they are bound to find something eventually.

    Regarding the liberal media, the only thing that concerns me was a blog post the other day that tried to suggest that all of this was related to the brand of Christianity that the Duggars follow. Now I am not really a fan of the quiver full movement since it seems to make women more property of her father/husband than anything, but to suggest that child molestation is related to one’s religion ignores the fact that it can happen anywhere and often by and to people will no religious affiliation at all.

    • Ken

      Having kids on these shows is child abuse. It’s despicable to use your kids as props to make huge amounts of money on “reality TV.”

      • MarylandBill

        I tend to agree to you, and include kids on scripted television for that matter. I am not at all sure adults can handle the attention of being a star, but at least they generally choose it; kids can’t.

  • prairiebunny

    I believe that Pope John Paul II had a hard time believing the accusations against Maciel. Do you include him among those who refuse to learn?

    • MarylandBill

      St. John Paul II was human like the rest of us. And mind you, I believe Mark is talking about the collective action of society. We all can make mistakes about individuals, particularly if we know them. Our affection for the good in them (and we all have good in us) can blind us to the evils that also dwell within them.

    • Sue Korlan

      Given that the Communists got caught (the man who set it up got drunk and talked prematurely) attempting to create a non – existent affair between Pope John Paul and some woman, he appears to have believed that the Communists had done that to others and therefore most sexual scandals weren’t based on reality. We are all victims of our experiences.

  • Anna

    It was a sin and a crime – but he was also a child (and kids usually aren’t perpetrators without being victims first, which should be taken into account). Yes, his victims deserve much better than “just forgive him and move on,” but he deserved better than his behavior being brushed off as well. He needed help, which I doubt he got since they asked a child pornographer-family friend to be the one to intervene.

    At any rate, I think it’s possible to think the Duggars handled the situation very badly without thinking that a 14-y-o should face the same penalties that Maciel should have.

    • anna lisa

      Yes. A fourteen year old boy is a child in so many ways; especially in this society, and especially when you have been treated like a cog in a wheel and a circus monkey your whole life.

      I’ve never thought that show was wholesome for a half second. It was always about *exploitation*. (The extreme Mormons like to play that squeaky clean card too–only the 14 year old girls get bought and sold like cattle to old perverts.)

      On the rare occasion that I paused to marvel at the freakiness of that “reality” show,(yeah right) my husband would say “Stop! No! ”
      –Even the Kardashians don’t make him choke like that (what you see is what you get). But the Duggars were promoting a weird cult, and packaging it as Christianity. That poor kid of theirs was acting out on a cocktail of hormones, and jumping the gun on what he was being taught about women. every. day. of. his. life.

      There is a sub group of Catholics that behave similarly. They give me the shivers even more.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Have you ever heard about the Pearl’s book “To Train Up A Child”? I’ve only see excerpts, but what I’ve seen appalled me, and I understand that the Duggars follow it or a very similar type of parenting style (I’ve only seen one full episode, but I’m not much of a reality TV person. Give me A good sci-fi series any day.)

        • anna lisa

          After I read the Wikipedia page about them, I remembered the deaths of those children and maybe a documentary? Scary stuff. I used to be a lot more naive about evil. Evil always dresses up it’s malice with an attractive lie. Using “wholesomeness” to bait and switch (abuse) is particularly odious.

          Reality shows make me feel weighed down and slightly cynical. I will watch them for a few minutes, and end up sitting there, staring slack jawed at the antics of human beings. It’s not edifying.

          We’re watching “El Gran Hotel” on Netflix. It makes me feel like my Spanish may suddenly come out with a lisp. I’m starting to giggle over the sheer magnitude of murders, and the refined cunning of well dressed Spaniards at the turn of the century. I rewarded my husband’s patience with consenting to go see Mad Max in iMax 🙂 But I’m on to him too. He’s watched several episodes of Gran Hotel without me when I fall asleep. Ha!

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            I may to look “El Gran Hotel” up.

    • LFM

      I don’t know if “kids usually aren’t perpetrators without being victims first”. What I do know is that the trouble with having 19 children is that it becomes difficult to supervise all of them adequately. People, especially the young when sexual desire first hits them, are weak, and parents need to be vigilant. Josh Duggar had 12 younger siblings, as far as I can tell, at the time his offenses occurred. His parents may have had strict attitudes regarding modesty and avoiding various temptations, but they can hardly have been able to watch over and guide him, given their other responsibilities.

      Another issue: the senior Mrs Duggar appears to have decided on her prolific course after a terrible miscarriage convinced her to do so. I know through various distressing stories, not my own but from people close to me, that the miscarriage of a wanted child can have a profound impact on some women, as they blame themselves for the loss.

  • LFM

    There are so many questionable assumptions in this post, Mark, that they weaken a point I would otherwise agree with – that we should not put our trust in *any* human hero.
    • How do you know that a significant number of “conservative Catholics” made folk heroes out of any of these people? A handful of Catholic media people may now be defending them, but I was barely aware of their existence until the recent saturation bombing of commercials regarding the daughter’s wedding. Yet I read widely in “conservative Catholic media” and if this had been a broad trend, I’m sure I would have noticed.
    • You assume that people’s disappointment – such as it is – is rooted in some kind of circle-the-wagons mentality, and not an affection for this family whom they had mistakenly come to believe they knew.
    • You assume blaming the “liberal media” for their attitudes to this issue is the the same as wanting to remove blame from the sinner. Much of the liberal media’s attitude has in fact been repulsive, gleefully rejoicing in the revelation while expressing what seems like a spurious sympathy towards the victims.
    • You assume that it was right that young Mr Duggar’s crime should be exposed by the liberal media, but he was not yet 14 at the time he committed his offenses and at least one of his victims, still underage, didn’t want them to be publicized either. In Canada, juvenile records are ordinarily sealed to the public after a period of time. I’m sure that in other circumstances, you would agree that this might be a good idea.
    • You assume, or rather the tone you take suggests, that the Duggar family as a whole was guilty of setting themselves up as public examples; I suspect it was the parents that were to blame.
    • You assume that Josh Duggar has referred to his past crimes as mere “mistakes”. In fact, a statement he made on May 21 sounds quite penitent to me: ‘Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.’ From the Duggars’ official Facebook page, http://tinyurl.com/m2ha6h4. Note that the police were involved, by his parents’ choice, and he made a full confession at the time. Is that enough? Perhaps not, but it is rather more than a generic “mistakes were made” comment.

    • Petee

      “You assume blaming the “liberal media” for their attitudes to this issue
      is the the same as wanting to remove blame from the sinner. Much of
      the liberal media’s attitude has in fact been repulsive, gleefully
      rejoicing in the revelation while expressing what seems like a spurious
      sympathy towards the victims”.

      ah – so it is the liberal media.
      and why does the sympathy (of sources you don’t name) seem spurious to you?

      “Note that the police were involved, by his parents’ choice, and he made a full confession at the time.”

      not the police, a family friend who was a cop. and what about that guy? what has happened to him?

      • LFM

        If the medium via which the family reported this story was a family friend who was a policeman, the end result was that the offense was reported to the police, or how else could it have been in Josh Duggar’s records? I don’t see how the ultimate fate of “that guy” is relevant, either.

        What you wrote about “so it is the liberal media” is very odd. I said that the liberal media have their own kind of blame for reporting the story with such glee, not that Josh Duggar or his parents (above all, since he was a minor at the time of his offenses) should be absolved of blame.

        As for examples of this, you can find any number with a quick search. Look at the comments of Bette Midler, Pierce Morgan and Montel Williams for a few especially egregious examples. (Yes, they are not journalists but they are well-known media figures and two of them have talk shows.) In the age of google, grumbling about lack of sources for information in a comment is usually a way of ducking the issue, unless the information in question is extremely specific or extremely obscure. The reason the sympathy they express, such as it is, seems spurious is that the people in question are more gleeful about seeing the Duggars’ fall (and they do not see it as merely Josh Duggar’s fall, but that of the whole family and everything they stand for) than sad about the fact that people were injured, or that a boy was guilty of a grave sin/crime.

        I am, as it happens, something of a liberal myself about matters like crime and punishment, so that’s why I find the behavior of supposed “liberals” (actually, statist progressives) about this matter distasteful. Neither Duggar’s sisters nor his unrelated victims seem eager to have his offenses exposed. In fact, it’s likely that his sisters will suffer more as a result of this brouhaha, and it was apparently one of his non-related victims who got the Arkansas authorities to expunge Duggar’s record, fearing her name would come out. (Yes, I will leave you to look that up, too.)

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          I think the fate of the policeman they reported to is relevant ONLY because he has been incarcerated for child pornography. It also was not reported when the parents discovered it, it was reported three years later when a friend outside the family discovered what had happened, but it was past the statute of limitations. Josh’s “counseling” was him being sent away to work for a family friend. I strongly suspect that Josh was either molested himself or exposed to pornography, something a professional counselor might have uncovered at the time, but it wasn’t professional counseling he received.

          • LFM

            Sorry. I misread the InTouch Weekly account (the most comprehensive I’ve found) to say that the elder Duggar initially reported the story to the police a year, not 3 years, after it happened. That was his fault, however, not his son’s, who was still a minor at the time as far as I can tell.

            Josh Duggar may have been exposed to pornography or molested, but no one knows this for certain. In any case, exposure to pornography is not usually regarded as exculpatory in such cases, though it is a fault on the part of adults who make it available to the young.

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              Not exculpatory, no, but if there was another adult or older child who had already victimized Josh, how likely is it that other children in the same circles were victimized too (I consider intentionally exposing a young child to porn to be a type of sexual abuse)? If it had been reported to police at the time, and proper counseling was provided, it could have pointed to another predator. It’s all speculation, I know, but the possibility is there. It was handled poorly at the time.

      • kirtking

        Police officers have long been mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, so if the family did contact a police officer and he made a full confession to that police officer, was the family responsible for the failure of duty for that officer? Once a person confesses to a crime to a law enforcement officer, are they then obligated to continue reporting themselves until they get the book thrown at them?

  • John Leavy

    The “liberal media” are real enough, and of COURSE they’ll pounce on any offense by a prominent conservative, be that offense a minor embarrassment or a genuine atrocity.

    But what difference does that make? If a conservative KNOWS the liberal media will make hay of his every misdeed, that’s all the more reason for him to keep his nose clean!!!!!

  • enness

    I would love to ask them all what they were thinking. Not least is what they’ve done for Christian witness right now; much less than thrilled.

    That said, what I will defend them against is what I detect to be a thread of entirely pre-existing schadenfreude. For instance, too many just criticisms I’ve seen out there get hijacked by irrelevant, misogynistic comments about Michelle’s anatomy and childbearing. Sometimes the contempt, disgust, and hatred directed at them goes beyond.

    • LFM

      I disagree. We need only accept that these are sinners, one of whom was also potentially guilty of a criminal offense. The schadenfreude of secular media is not, or should not be, any concern of ours. It is of course possible that this will cost Christians something in terms of lost souls but it’s much less likely than in the case of guilty priests, for example. The Duggars may be public figures but they are not priests or ministers; the abuser was a minor at the time of his offenses; and the parents, though their handling of the incident was certainly questionable, and their decision to appear on a reality show even more so, do not so far appear to have been guilty of repeatedly ignoring their son’s actions, as bishops in the Church did with their pastors.

      The idea of reacting to such incidents as embarrassments is what leads in some cases to stupid and reprehensible attempts to cover them up.

      I do agree with you about the pre-existing schadenfreude. The attitude to Mrs Duggar that you describe reminds me of what happened to Sara Palin and the repeated threat to “hate-****” her.

  • zebbart

    I’d like to know from Mark, anybody, what do you think you would do, back then and now, if you were in Jim Duggar’s shoes? I honestly don’t know, but the first time I read about this what they did sounded pretty good to me. Get the kid out of the house and make sure he really understands the seriousness of his wrong and how absolutely important it is to never do it again. We don’t know what was said or done with the girls. 30 years ago when a ~10ish kid got a 6ish me to do some dirty stuff that was how it was handled – a serious talk between parents and then a serious talking to with the kid. Maybe that was a big mistake but it seemed like a decent ending. So what would you do as a parent?

    About the “liberal media” charge, I think the real blame for them is in how this will effect the girls. Depending how intense the abuse and how holistic the treatment the girls got afterward they may have pretty much put this behind them and reconciled with Josh and the parents over it. Now every time they’re in public they have to worry about some idiot bringing it up. Every time they go on a date they know the guy is probably going to know some very dark things about their early childhood. What a nightmare the liberal schadenfreude has caused these girls.

    • Stu

      My first CO was my best CO. He had a policy of not second-guessing decisions made in the cockpit during an inflight emergency. Something about not actually being there in the heat of it. He remains a great leader.

  • Na

    Wow…other than Sarah Palin…I only vaguely know who any of these people are….I guess I am not a true conservative catholic. Or perhaps the interactions of 1 person out of 1 billion catholics is not necessarily representative. Oh well.

    Are you sure you did that Mike Hukabee quote justice…I’d make sure he didn’t actually say more than you quoted and that you happen to be taking “artistic” license to make a point….and also smear someone who might actually have said more and is trying to practice mercy. For a disciple of someone who says blessed are the peacemakers that would be big motsa ball to have to answer for.

    • Dave G.

      Read Huckabee’s entire piece It’s actually quite good.

      • Na

        Hey..thanks Dave…what a novel suggestion for a catholic to fully investigate a potential smear against someone before publicly repeating the smear to make the same political point over and over and over again …I just googled the article and it turns out that Mr. Hukabee did have a larger point and actually clearly referred to the acts as “inexcusable” and “disgusting”

        Don’t worry…I am sure this is just part of the new evangilization where after those with any attachment to revealed truth enter a perpetual state of self flagellation…those who were previously chanting what is truth ..stop for a brief second in order redefine a 5,000 year old institution based on their feelings.

        • Dave G.

          To be honest, I never watch the show, and didn’t connect the story in the news with the show at first. But the more I’ve read, the less it seems to reflect Mark or Dawn’s take on the responses. I don’t know much yet, so I’ll withhold final judgement. Maybe the parents did do bad, or the kid didn’t repent. But at least Huckabee’s article didn’t seem anything like I expected given the phrase referenced above. So that has given me the feeling I should at least hesitate before rushing to judgement with the others.

          • Na

            Dave, I had very little idea who these people were either…but i think you are right…given the gravity of the situation the prudent catholic approach should be to investigate further not score political points.

          • Na

            Hey Dave…i noticed Mark didn’t feel a need to apologize or at least clarify his comments on Gov. Huckabee. Perhaps he is taking his time to reflect and write a thoughtful, heartfilled response.

            Anyway when he does respond he can take the opportunity to opine on why Lena Dunham, who confessed to abuse, was actively recruited to be a key campaign surrogate for the president.

            • chezami

              You just don’t get it. I don’t care about Lena Dunham. I care about Catholics not anointing folk heroes and then circling the wagons and blameshifting (as you are yet again doing) in order to avoid taking responsibility when they implode. I’m not comparing such behavior to Dem. I’m comparing it to the gospel.

              • Na

                I get it. You don’t feel a need to take a pastoral approach. You don’t feel a need to consider the consequences of your approach, which in certain cases might be legitimate It is certainly the Pope’s preferred approach. I disagree. I believe that Christ is constantly at work calling all people which requires the Church to be all things to all.

                Either way, you definitely do owe Governor Huckabee an apology.

              • Na

                btw…my complaint isn’t that you compare conservatives to the gospel, its that you never compare liberals to the gospel.

                We are being told now that “real” American Catholics are all now liberal. Are you telling me they all also happen to be perfect? If you need suggestions, try investigating how much Biden gives to charity, Pelosi’s investing or the Kennedy’s carbon foot print.

                If your goal is to challenge and humble conservatives, don’t worry, the media, academia and hollywood is already committed to going several steps further. If your goal is to actually preach the gospel, you should just seek the good and afflict all who don’t. Otherwise you are just a child of the age.

                • chezami

                  And again with the blameshifting. It’s not really a secret what I think of such core lefty issues as abortion, euthanasia, and gay “marriage”. And you know this. But because the right is intellectually bankrupt, all it can think to do is demand parity with complaints about the Left when it is clearly (as it so often is) in the visible from space wrong side of an issue.

                  Clues for the clueless: I spend more time on conservative wrongness because nobody in my audience is tempted to think Pelosi’s dumb defences of abortion make sense, but lot and lots of them think the latest folk hero who is about to implode should be worshipped and heeded.

                  The Party of Personal Responsibility should try the novelty of taking some responsibility instead of perpetually whining “But Democrats!”

                  • Na

                    well i guess we will just have to agree to disagree. But as a Christian, you still owe Governor Huckabee an apology or at the very least a clarification.

                    btw i didn’t mention abortion etc.. I mentioned care for the poor and the environment. (And I also should have mentioned minorities and women outside of the US.) It is widely assumed that democrats are the “real” followers of Christ because of these issues. And yet if you take the time to actually look at Biden’s charity or Pelosi’s graft, they are complete hypocrits. They could care less about the treatment of muslim women or the fate of minorities in failing schools or the creation of a permanent underclass.

            • orual’s kindred

              When more conservatives hail Lena Dunham as a hero of the group, I expect Mark Shea to criticize them for that as well. (I say ‘more’ because I have seen self-described conservative Catholics support mainstream feminism.) From what I can see, it’s a personal matter to him when conservatives do not live up to the ideals of conservatism (let alone Christian ideals). And so he spends more time on this than the failings of other groups. And for myself, I don’t see why this should generate the kind of controversy it typically does.

              • Na

                uhmm…Lena is a liberal and was a key advocate during 2012 campaign

                When Jesus was asked “who is my brother”….He responded…”He who hears the word of God and keeps it”…the same principle works here. Once you start supporting some “causes” while purposefully ignoring other “causes” you stop being a disciple and start being a partisan.

                • orual’s kindred

                  Yes, I understand Lena Dunham to be a liberal. What has your comment to do with anything I said?

  • antigon

    Speaking of (former) folk heroes, the Duggars do perhaps deserve some credit for not following the example of what Phil Lawler reveals to have two of every three American bishops who, when confronted with comparable crimes by folks who were not adolescents, regularly arranged to cover them up until they could be repeated, as they steadily were.
    *
    Plus aren’t the German & Swiss bishops angling to applaud & welcome such behavior in preparation for the upcoming Synod Against the Family? No? Not yet formally perhaps, but give them time.
    *
    And, just per accidens, what is this ‘we’ business Kemosabe?

  • Jared B.

    Anointing ‘folk heroes’ is just human nature. It is never going to stop and it isn’t unique to the Right. Our problem isn’t with the natural and in itself good desire to seek out examples of the values we espouse and then hold them up to ourselves and to the world; it’s anointing people who turn out not to really be worthy of being held up. As Mark Shea has said again & again, it’s like an anti-charism of discernment.

    And that is a scandal. Still, at least when a popular conservative figure turns sour, it’s a scandal. To see how for example Roman Polanski was treated by the liberal media, they don’t even have the decency to act embarrassed. I’m not defending conservative idiocy here, just saying that having some of our own turn out to be embarrassments isn’t a specifically conservative problem.

    • chezami

      Exactly. When the right goes gaga for a folk hero or fad, you can practically guarantee it will be a disaster. The capacity of this subculture to back obvious losers and then never take responsibility for it is epic.