I try to avoid articles, I use that word loosely, about "famous" families, like the Kardashians and the Duggars - personalities, who for better or worse, have taken their "talents" and used them to further themselves for financial gain. I'm sure that there are many people who would argue that the Duggars are doing so to promote the word of God, but we can agree to disagree on that point. I don't read these stories for a variety of reasons - why waste my energy on them and why feed into the frenzy that gives them any power. It's none of my business. But I did catch a glimpse of the news announcement today that the eldest Duggar son allegedly molested 5 minor girls when he was 15 ... some/most of them his sisters. I know that stories like these upset me to my core, but I read them anyway - sometimes out of fear and sometimes because if I know about the horror in the world, maybe nothing will happen to my own children. This evening the son has released a response statement in which he apologized for his actions in the past, so the molestation is obviously not alleged anymore.
When I was a little kid, my mother used to tell me that she would love me no matter what. She even used to say that if I was an ax murderer, she'd still love me, and she said she'd never turn me in. I can understand that intense love now, that desire to shield and protect my baby even if they did something wrong. But in the case of the Duggar son, we're not talking about stealing a pack of gum from the store and taking him back to have that hard conversation. He molested his sisters, and his parents covered up for him. His parents had him apologize to his sisters, and they prayed over it together. They didn't tell the police until they were forced to. They sent him off to a family friend for a couple months, and then they pretended like everything was a-ok. His sisters forgave him they said; everybody got counseling. Here's the Yahoo article, if you're interested:
I can only imagine how scared and nervous the parents were when one of the girls finally found the confidence to tell them ... and then I can't even imagine how those girls felt when their parents turned to the son and said, "You apologize now, Josh and promise never to do that again." I watched 10 minutes of that program many years ago, as my curiosity got the better of me. The girls are very clearly second class citizens in their cultural construct of Christianity. In that conservative belief system, woman is put on a pedestal and revered for her place in the family. In that regard, her strength and commitment to Christ is best played out in a subservient position to her husband. I am very familiar with that philosophy, as my early religious background was quite conservative. I failed to see then how that thought process would help my relationship with God or my family, and I continue to fail to see. Before today's news I thought, live and let live - their family, their life, their choices, not mine. But now, I'm just angry.
I'm angry that their daughters were betrayed by the very people who were supposed to protect them. I'm angry at the parents for so many reasons. I'm angry that the son got away with it. Whether he was sorry then or not, I can't help but feel that he's probably more sorry that it's all come to light. I'm sorry for his wife and children. Can a child molester be redeemed and changed - even if he was a teenager? Can he pray the urges away? You will rarely hear me draw so emphatic a line in the sand, but my sincerest belief is no. You might look changed on the outside. You might walk the good walk and go to church every week, but on the inside, you are broken. It's only a matter of time. Would it matter to you if he was 15 when he committed the crime ... 25 ... how about 35? Is it easier for you to believe that he could "get better" since he was 15. Molestation is a crime of power over someone weaker than you. This wasn't curiosity. It was a crime. And his parents are as complicit, as him.