The latest news dispatch out of Tontitown, Arkansas ins’t which of the Duggars are entering a new courtship, engagement or wedding, it’s a scandal of the most salacious kind. Their eldest son Joshua Duggar was accused of molesting several underage children while he was about 14 years old. His parents first notified their church elders and after the alleged abuse had occurred for more than one year did they the approach law enforcement. A report was taken but no charges were filed and no investigations took place.The statute of limitations have passed on these alleged incidents and the Duggars have gone to the victims’ families and apologized at time it occurred. Much of the nauseated public must feel some sort of schadenfreude that this ‘perfect’ Christian family was caught in a scandal. The twitter-sphere and blogosphere has blown up with condemnation after condemnation. The Duggars are not only conservative Christians, but they actively lobby for politicians who share the same conservative values as they, and they include anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-women positions. Joshua Duggar until yesterday worked for Family Research Council, which is a lobbying group that seeks to ‘advance faith, family and freedom’ in government.
Many are focusing on the actions of Joshua Duggar, which are reprehensible, but the true responsibility lay at the with his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I lay the blame solely on his parents bedroom door. This was a family that has shunned traditional education. All of the children are homeschooled, they do not go to college (except one son who is in Bible college) they’ve no playmates outside of their own siblings or relatives and their ‘school friends’ consist of other children of Evangelical Christian families with similar beliefs.
Besides that, their beliefs about abstinence until marriage include no physical contact between the intended besides hand holding. Needless to say discussions about sex prior to marriage is not encouraged. This is not to debate sex education v. abstinence only education, or home schooling v. traditional schooling, regardless of what the choice is, parents have a duty to inform their children about the facts of life. Teenagers are sexually curious, that’s a normal development. It is up to parents, school teachers (sex education class) and health counselors to inform children of proper boundaries, what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t and most importantly, any and all contact (sexual or not) must be consensual. It is perfectly reasonable to discuss the birds and the bees even in a traditional Christian household that teaches abstinence only, just because they practice abstinence, it doesn’t mean the sexual curiosity and urges isn’t there, And praying about (the Duggar motto – they pray about everything) it won’t make it go away, just like praying won’t make the gay go away.
This isn’t judging the Duggar family about the choices for their family, about their beliefs and how they bring up their children. This is a basic parental failure on their part. Many people wonder just how they do it? Raise 19 children without any debt, where everyone’s needs are taken care of. Well, the short answer is they (Jim Bob & Michelle) didn’t really raise 19 children, Michelle Duggar gave birth to 19 children. The Duggars instituted a ‘buddy system’ which basically means an older child is responsible for one of the younger children and that includes waking them up, getting them dressed, brushing their teeth, do their school lessons with them, getting them to nap and making sure they eat their meals and getting them to bed…oh wait, that’s the parent’s job. They have farmed out their parenting duties to the older children and Michelle Duggar only takes cares of the infants until they can be handed off to an older child. I am not making this up, this is all documented on their show on TLC ’19 Kids and Counting…’They are very proud of their buddy system.
Besides their homeschooling lessons the only other studies that are allowed are Bible studies. They do not watch TV and their internet use is severely restricted. Even their phone calls, texts and FaceTime are strictly monitored. So, it’s clear that they do not want their children to be influenced by the ‘big bad world’ out there full of immorality, except they forgot one small detail. They clearly didn’t teach it to their children in a practical manner. It’s one thing to teach Bible morality, which is great, but they also need to teach them facts of life, as it applies today not in Biblical times. Children all have the same developmental milestones, even in devout Christian households. To not inform your children about basic facts of life and normal biological development is doing a disservice to them.
I don’t know if Joshua Duggar’s acts of molestation was his adolescent sexual curiosity that got out of hand or that he’s got a real problem which may persist to this day, the fact is that it happened and other girls were harmed and his parents first port of call was not a therapist or the authorities but church elders. And when they finally went to the authorities, the went to a state trooper who was a family friend and he himself is now in jail for sex offenses. It’s all around tragic, the victims are scarred possibly for life and Joshua Duggar and by extension the whole Duggar family’s name has been tainted. TLC has pulled their show from their programming lineup indefinetly, but they’ve not made a final decision on whether the show will be canceled. In my opinion it should, simply because Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar went to such great lengths to cover it up, it’s always the cover up that does someone in. The Duggars chose to be in the public eye and if they had skeletons this big in their closet they should have reconsidered. They cannot reasonably believe that people will not poke and pry into their private affairs under the false assumption that because their children do not have sex outside of marriage there is nothing to be found. Granted, no parent wants to expose the mistakes of their teenage son, possibly ruining his reputation for life before he’s even had a chance to grow up and reform himself, then they shouldn’t have put themselves on TV promoting themselves as this Christian family who live ‘pure’ lives (one of the favorite words of Jim Bob Duggar). The evidence is obviously to the contrary.