If you spend any time at all on social media (and if you are reading this, you probably do), you’ve been bombarded with stories about Josh Duggar, one of the “stars” of the popular reality television show 19 Kids and Counting, having sexually assaulted and abused his younger sisters.
Everything about this scandal bothers me. From the abuse to the way that his parents handled it to the way the press has portrayed it, it stinks like month-old trash. In many ways, it’s a lens to many of the things that are so very wrong with American society today.
While this is not meant to be a definitive list, I do consider it a pretty good start.
1) Let’s start with the liberals who are looking to take those on the right down a few pegs by mis-hyping the scandal.
You’ll find post after post calling Josh a pedophile. It’s certainly attention grabbing and even shocking – but it’s not true. He was 14 when he committed the horrific acts and the official diagnoses of pedophilia cannot be made of anyone younger than 16.
A molester? Yes. On his way to becoming a pedophile? Certainly seems likely.
Calling him a pedophile, though? That’s just hype and opportunism.
You can see the opportunism clearly in all the photos being shared of Josh with leading Republican candidates.
So, what? Those candidates had no clue about Josh.
America, you are better than that.
2) The majority of the media’s focus is on Josh and how difficult the public disclosure is for the family.
Seriously? You think that’s the most important thing about this story?
What about those girls who could possibly face a lifetime of physical and mental issues because of the trauma they’ve had inflicted on them?
Even worse, the Duggar family is part of the “Quiverfull” movement (more on that in #4) and teach their girls that their “purity” is one of the most important things they can have and that losing it makes them damaged goods!
We desperately need to readdress our priorities not to mention our moral compasses.
3) The fact that this case is the one that is splashed all over the headlines when the reality is that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 16 tells you something very sad about our nation’s obsession with “celebrities” – specifically, that celebrities somehow matter more than everyone else.
Worse yet, it also points to a whole new category of “celebrity”: those who gain fame through voyeurism television; the kings and queens of so-called reality T.V.
It would seem that we are so desperate for new celebrities that we will make practically anyone a celebrity (I’m looking at you Sarah Palin and Duck Dynasty).
4) Conservative Christianity frequently lets its convictions trump its compassion.
Even the parts of conservative Christianity that allow women to participate in church leadership still unofficially condone treating women as less than men. The Duggars are part of the fundamentalist Protestant movement called “Quiverfull” which is known for seeing children as an unmitigated blessing from God and therefor it promotes procreation and, for the most part, equates contraception with abortion.
Not surprisingly, even former members of the movement says it is also known for the subjugation of women.
It should come of little surprise then that when the Duggars learned about what Josh had done to his sisters, they stuck with their conservative Christian convictions and protected the boy and not his victims.
5) The political Right will twist anything to make it “work” for them.
Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mike Huckabee (a former conservative minster) recently attacked the Obama’s parenting skills over the kind of music they allow their girls to listen to.
The Duggars whose son molested their daughters? Huckabee had this to say, “We will run to them with our support.”
The political right wants us to think that they are the party of “family values.” Clearly, for them, it matters whose family you’re a part of. It might be more appropriate to call them the party of “tribal values.”
Said differently, to quote former President George W. Bush, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”
Makes me wonder what ever happened to E Pluribus Unum – “Out of many, one.”
While I do think the Duggar scandal should make us think about these very important issues, we need to take item #2 the most seriously.
The single most important thing about this story are those who were abused – and those who are abused every day.
If you are truly bothered by the Duggar scandal, do something about it. Give to a charity that supports sexually abused children or helps promote awareness. If you can’t afford to do that, even something a simple as sharing this post could raise someone else’s awareness or encourage them to contribute to the cause.
Much like this list, raising awareness and contributing to good causes isn’t everything we can do, but I do consider it a pretty good start.
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