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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar/Wikipedia photo

Our Disappointment with the Duggars

By Liv Larson Andrews

Our disappointment with the Duggars is grief over our own hypocrisy.

 

A confession: I do not watch the show “19 Kids and Counting,” nor any other so-called reality show. I’m not trying to sound snotty about it. It’s just not my cup of tea as a genre.

 

Recently, reports have come to light (or rather, more light, as some have traced public knowledge of this issue all the way back to 2005) that Josh Duggar, child of Jim Bob and Michelle and featured on the show, had molested several young women while in his teenage years, including his own sisters. The network airing the show has cancelled it.

 

A concern: sexual abuse happens. It happens conservative families and liberal families. It happens in families of all racial backgrounds. It happens in religious families and those families who regard no religion. It happens amid wealth and poverty alike. Here is the hard truth: it happens. And we do not like talking about it honestly.

 

A conviction: children are the most vulnerable people on the planet. I believe that being a part of the body of Christ means advocating protection for the most vulnerable among us, and ensuring that we ourselves are not conducting or permitting their harm. Our theology ought to help us with the task of telling the truth and protecting the weak.

 

Finally, here is my worry: fundamentalist Christian theology and ethics, while not the cause of sexual abuse, has within it elements that promote secrecy, punish most expressions of sexuality (anything except procreation), and weights family, church, and civic authority to males. This seems to be a recipe for a tacit acceptance of sexual abuse.

 

I want to firmly say that any smugness on the part of those of us outside fundamentalist Christian circles is inappropriate. This is not a situation in which any camp of people can throw stones without having to speak their own confessions. And, after we all do the work of taking hard looks in our own faith communities and families about sexual abuse, we need to also think theologically about this. We need to interrogate any belief system that permits harm toward the vulnerable.

About Liv Larson Andrews

Liv Larson Andrews believes in the sensus lusus, or playful spirit. Liturgy, worship and faithful practice are at their best when accompanied with a wink, she says.

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91 comments

  1. So conservatives are suspect as greater likelihood as child abusers. Wow, can’t wait to read the comments on this article.

    • I’m sure a lot of people will agree with her, Eric. No sources, nothing to back up her claims, but that doesn’t matter these days.

      • Is the sentence beginning “fundamentalist Christian theology and ethics, while not the cause of sexual abuse…” the claim you’re talking about? I’m not challenging you on that, I just want to make sure I understand you.

        • That’s only one part. The whole piece is based on a flawed premise and an obvious hatred of those with whom she disagrees.

          Plus, there’s nothing to back any of it up. She just vomited this stuff out with no sources.

    • With all respect, Eric, I’m reading the comments right now, and I see two conservative Christians trying to turn a very modest and sincere expression of the author’s worry into some kind of witch hunt against conservatives. I genuinely don’t understand what it is about this article that you and Joe take so personally.

      • Charlie if a conservative wrote an article here with the same charges but made it about Gay Parents, what do you think the response would be?

        • Very good point, Eric. We all know what would happen, don’t we?

        • ‘Our disappointment with gay parents is grief over our own hypocrisy’. ‘I want to firmly say that any smugness on the part of those of us outside gay circles is inappropriate.’
          I get that you guys are reading this in the context of a bigger bashing you see against your faith, but I’d challenge you to re-read it with an open mind, and make sure the elements you’re upset by are actually present in the article. I think Liv is being fairer that you’re giving her credit for.

          • Charlie, I like Liv but such conversations feel similar to when someone says: “I have a lot of gay friends…but….” Such approaches to things like gay rights or in this case child molestation are problematic set ups to the point being made.

          • Yeah, I guess I can see that. So, maybe the real question is about how to open the conversation to say “I’m concerned that our theology is part of the problem”?

          • Absolutely an important endeavor, I welcome the opportunity! But to roll out a premise that already seems to level a guilt verdict at the start is going to be difficult.

            An argument that many…(see I didn’t use a label Jan)….would reject if we set up the convo with an indictment against Muslims because of Islamic followers who are at the extremes, or if we judge african americans by the criminal element or if we used the hyper-promiscuous-in-your-face-militant gay paraders as some sort of premise to judge the others. I just don’t get that you can’t see that such examples enflame the convo more than set the tone for dialogue or debate.

            I would contend that Liv is right in poking at the roots of fruits. I too feel that the hyper-fundamentalist theology of conservatives and progressives create a host of problems in sexuality, family, power and community.

            Both religious bents demand conformity, berate their opponents, distort or dismiss scripture to support their bias or personal lifestyle choices.

            Children are at the mercy of indoctrination of the political and personal ideologies of parents and their chosen circle of community.

            I think it could be dangerous for children being around a bunch of repressed, legalistic, sexually angry far-right policy puppets doped up on porn or…being around laissez faire, morally ambiguous, sex saturated, politically far-left, free wheelers, who burn bras, bibles and barbies.

          • We’re in agreement there. We’ve both seen what a minefield sex and theology can be, here, but maybe this is a better way to enter the discussion: how do you teach children what rights they have in their own bodies, with reference to scripture? (And I realizepeople who actually *do* this stuff have worked with that question forever, but it’s new-ish to me.)

          • What rights they have in their own bodies? Expand your meaning for me.

          • I mean the right to the physical safety of their own bodies. The right not to be subjected to bodily violence or exploitation.

          • Liv Larson Andrews

            Thank you for your respectful response, Eric. Discussing the theological roots of sexual abuse is indeed what I hoped for, not personal insult or hate.
            Maybe the use of the term “fundamentalist” is inaccurate for the Duggars, but it is fitting for the long thread of people I have counseled who have survived abuse. How else should I, in a short blog post, open discussion about this?

          • How about it’s inaccurate, period. Sexual abuse is not only a violation of the law, it’s a sin. Doesn’t matter if one is a “fundamentalist,” Catholic, Lutheran, or worships eggplants. You were the one who made it about “fundamentalists.”

          • Liv Larson Andrews

            Yes, I did, because that is the theological world I want to discuss. For the record, there are many things I think are gifts in that world: high value of biblical study, joy in worship, dedication to communities. What I hoped to talk about were the elements in that world that seem to me, as an outsider and as one who has spoken to a series of survivors, to perpetuate the silencing of sexual abuse victims.
            Our small Lutheran church benefitted greatly from open, hard discussion about a trend of abusive leadership that they weathered in their past. Now they have shed some of the theological components that helped the abuse be kept silent. I hope all of us have the courage to speak openly about this topic.
            Does this help?

          • Look, Liv, I’ve already forgiven you for trying to tie Duggar’s sexual misdeeds to “fundamentalist” Christians. Maybe you ought to take to heart the old saw about digging holes. It’s time to stop. You’ve made it clear how you feel about those who hold to the brand of Christianity I do. Fine. Drop it. Walk away. Please.

          • Liv Larson Andrews

            I’m curious about the appeal to feelings here, Joe. I don’t have many feelings about denominations, yours or others. I have concerns born from my experiences as a pastor. To walk away from those concerns is to be dishonest to myself and my calling.
            Please hear and trust my above affirmations of fundamentalist Christians. I mean them sincerely; no irony. Yet I am also sincere in my conviction that sexual abuse plagues most every corner of human life. This is a grievous thing, and I want all of us who claim the name of Christ to have the bravery of naming that. Why does that code as hate?

            If our ability to have a conversation has in fact ended (or never begun) then I respectfully sign off from conversing with you, Joe. Be well.

          • I’ve never been in a church where abuse hadn’t been addressed and I’ve been in a wide range of churches that fall into denomination and nondenominational. Every hint of crime has been referred to law, every power abuse has been confronted to the often detriment of peace abd relationships. I’ve not witnessed this corrupting conservative cancer that is a safe haven for perverts or predators. If anything Ive seem a hospital for the abused but locked doors on the abusers. Sinners of certain types are allowed to claim the cross but sinners of other types are shamed or outcasts.

          • I’m glad that’s been your experience in the church, Eric, but it’s, unfortunately, not universal. I’ve been in churches where abuse is NOT addressed, IS covered up, and the abused person is the one treated as an outcast.

            Continuing conversations about abuse need to happen, and all voices need to be heard.

          • As ive said in these comments multiple times Megan. I’m addressing the charge against conservative theology that Liv made.

          • Wow! I think that’s great! I, on the other hand, have seen sins as “small” as lying to abuse as large as concealed weapons and threats of immediate violence (as in, “I’m going to kill you and your family!) hidden by pastors, church councils, and all of it under the guise of “protecting God’s Church.”
            Sweeping sin under the rug is rampant in many churches, and when Liv wrote, “We need to interrogate any belief system that permits harm toward the vulnerable.” I think she meant ANY church, because ANY church has and does cover up sin.

          • I’ve already registered my concerns with you, Liv. You cited no sources, yet managed to impugn millions of Christians by implying they hold certain opinions.

            I have an idea. The next time you feel the urge to do something like this again, try a couple things first: Set your prejudices aside. Actually, you know, _TALK_ to someone and ask them how they feel about x, y or z. Who knows, you might learn something. I’m always available if need be.

            If you can’t do that, then I guess we have nothing left to discuss.

            Have a good day.

          • Joe, why can’t you hear the positive affirmations stated in the above comment? No single denomination or even “type” of Christianity, has all the answers. No one is perfect and each have something to offer the Body of Christ. This article, and this conversation, need not be a war between two “sides” of the Body; but you seem to be taking it there. Why can’t you see the good as well as the bad in all Christian groups?

          • I think it’s hard to address the issues you are trying to focus upon because of the way you laid out your charge. It’s like trying to talk about authentic feminism experiences by calling MOST men misogynists.

          • Careful Liv you can’t use labels around here because they are “ignorant” according to the above comment. That comment aside, I agree that human sexuality, sexual abuse and the role of religion is worth discussing. I’m not sure if it’s fair to draw the overarching assumptions you’ve charged based on the testimony of parishioners that probably claim progressive positions who attend a progressive Lutheran church as an unbiased pool of statistical analysis. I’m not saying their experiences are not real and valid but not a diverse enough pool to provide such a charge. I’m sure if I polled democrats about their experiences or opinions of republicans, I’d find similar answers. But is that a fair statistical pool to judge republicans from?

      • Plus I find it really hard to add such an indictment to the parents of such a terrible event. I can’t imagine sitting down with a family after the revelations of such a event and laying those charges on them.

      • Try reading it, Charlie. Besides being poorly constructed and full of grammatical errors, it doesn’t cite a _single_ source for any of the claims being made. It broadbushes all conservative Christians and then makes a number of patently false claims against an entire group of Christians she clearly doesn’t understand. Then she talks about “interrogations” for a whole belief group. If I did this to an individual on one of my articles at Examiner, I’d get sued for libel. This is an outrage, and needs to be treated as such.

        • I think you meant, ” If I did this to an individual IN one of my articles at Examiner…” Just saying…

  2. So, Liv, where’s your source for your claim? You wrote, “fundamentalist Christian theology and ethics, while not the cause of
    sexual abuse, has within it elements that promote secrecy, punish most
    expressions of sexuality (anything accept procreation), and weights
    family, church, and civic authority to males. This seems to be a recipe
    for a tacit acceptance of sexual abuse.”

    Do you have a source for this? And how does a fundamental belief in the God of the Bible and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ create a “recipe
    for a tacit acceptance of sexual abuse.” Talk about a broad brush. And what, exactly, are these “elements?” Name names, because as a journalist, I want to confront them.

    This sounds more like someone with a chip on her shoulder seeking to attack a form of Christianity she clearly doesn’t understand.

    Tell you what, Liv, why don’t you actually TALK to some fundamentalist Christians before you make these kind of scurrilous accusations?

  3. And what’s up with this: “We need to interrogate any belief system that permits harm toward the vulnerable.”

    Excuse me? Are you saying that evangelical Christians allow harm to “the vulnerable” because of this episode? What kind of “interrogations” would you like to see? Rubber hoses, maybe? Bamboo under the fingernails?

    How about we interrogate those accused of child abuse to get to the bottom of the crime?

    So much for “tolerance,” huh?

    • I’m trying to be a good neighbor, here, Joe, but that’s just silly. Liv isn’t calling for anyone to be tortured. I don’t think anyone could read that paragraph in good faith and come to that conclusion. You’re not making it easy for me to take your criticisms seriously.

      • “We need to interrogate any belief system that permits harm toward the vulnerable.”

        This was clearly poorly worded and is based on the false assumption — dare I say “lie” — that conservative Christians want to harm others.

        It’s sickening, Charlie, and Liv owes us all an apology for this.

        • If you’re going to bring up use of sources, then I’m going to challenge you to read the sentence directly preceding that one, because it’s important. The ‘any’ in ‘any belief system’ refers to the point she’s actually making: that none of us get to throw stones.

          Re: “one never knows”… I really have a problem with that. You can’t argue for careful use of evidence with one breath, then spin a stray word into this kind of fantasy with the next. It’s logically inconsistent, and it’s irresponsible. I’m really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you can’t have it both ways.

          • Sources, Charlie, means links to reputable individuals/groups/studies, etc., which back up the claim being made.

            Liv did none of that. She instead chose to paint a whole group of Christians with a very broad and hate-filled brush. You can twist and spin to your heart’s content, but it doesn’t change anything. She said what she said and I believe she owes a lot of an apology.

            As for the other, Charlie, climb down off your high horse. I have written numerous articles at Examiner about liberal hate against Christians/conservatives and I was being “tongue in cheek.”

            But if you want links, here you go:

            http://www.examiner.com/article/hollywood-kills-tea-partiers-christians-movie-god-bless-america

            http://www.examiner.com/article/killing-conservatives-central-theme-of-stage-production

            http://www.examiner.com/article/actor-steven-weber-says-conservatives-should-face-nuremberg-scale-trials

            http://www.examiner.com/article/actor-orlando-jones-to-liberals-kill-sarah-palin

            I have more, Charlie. Thousands, in fact. And they are all sourced, with links. How many do you want? 100? 1000? 2000? Careful what you wish for, Charlie, you may just get it.

          • I’m aware that you’ve written a lot of articles on this subject, and I’ve read many of them. Of course you’re allowed to be tongue-in-cheek, but what I’m trying to say is that if you want me to respect your conclusions, there has to be some standard of evidence – you can’t pretend she said something other than the actual words that are printed on this very page. The idea that Liv (or Clinton, or any of the movies or articles you write about) are persecuting your faith can’t be a joke one minute and your claim to an apology the next. You can make a reasoned argument for your point of view, or you can write far-flung entertainment for people who are already in on the joke. You can’t do both at the same time. If that’s a “high horse”, I’ll stay on it, thank you very much.

            I feel like I’m losing my temper, and I don’t like it. Let’s shake hands at the next Favs event and remember we’re in this together. I respect your integrity, I respect your faith, and I hope we can understand each other better someday.

          • Always feel free to shake hands. Promise, I don’t eat children and I don’t pick my teeth with the bones of those I’ve consumed, no matter how much some might want to demonize me and those like me.

            I’ve just decided I’m no longer standing silent about things like this.

        • Charlie is right, you are being silly. Or, you are belying your college education.

          The word interrogation means, and here I cite Merriam-Webster: “” interrogate”
          verb in·ter·ro·gate in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt, -ˈte-rə-
          : to ask (someone) questions in a thorough and often forceful way
          in·ter·ro·gat·edin·ter·ro·gat·ing

          transitive verb

          1 : to question formally and systematically

          Liv’s sentence, “”We need to interrogate any belief system that permits harm toward the vulnerable.” properly understood means, “we need to question formally and systematically any belief system…”

          And I’m only a college sophomore…just sayin’…

      • Plus, and I hate to say this, but these days, one never knows…

  4. Personally, I have never watched the show because I don’t like it when people create shows around religious extremes. Such shows create false narratives and then those caricatures somehow describe whole sections of Christians or groups. Why isn’t there shows that set minority groups up to extract their buffoonery or oddities like gays or muslims etc? Duck Dynasty, Duggars, Big Love or whatever those polygamist shows are, etc. are examples of types of tv thats more like the Freak Shows of the bygone era. Let’s come and see the Bearded Lady and the one armed, albino Midget…stare, gawk, shriek in horror and then we will say its all good because we are giving these folks jobs, desensitizing society to the margins and pat ourselves on the back as the dollars come rolling in. I think its a sham.

    • I don’t watch these shows because most of them are scripted and, in my view, stupid. Besides, I don’t have time for them.

    • Amen. I think our media/entertainment system does a lot to encourage us to dehumanize each other. It’s on us to pull in the other direction.

    • Actually, Big Love is fiction and a pretty magnificent exploration of faith, marriage, and family. Sister Wives is a reality show.

  5. Liv Larson Andrews

    Good morning, everyone.
    Let me clarify a few issues these comments have raised.
    First, the lack of sources. It’s a blog post, not an article. I am posting personal opinions, not researched positions.
    Second, please read the first sentence of this post. Our profound disappointment (and sadness or disgust), which I hope we all feel when we learn of child abuse, belongs to all of us. We are all indicted in this. Our media makes stars out of strange families, and makes spectacles of children. We are all guilty.
    Thirdly, I wanted to name fundamentalist Christianity as the theological world of the Duggars. If that’s incorrect, than correct me. Not evangelicalism, not conservatism. Those are different in my book.
    Lastly, by “interrogate” I mean take a hard, examining look at ideas. We Lutherans must do this constantly with much of what Luther offered or our tradition embraced: anti-semitism, anti-Catholicism, etc. There’s a lot in our background that isn’t the gospel. That’s what I mean we all need to do with our theology.
    Once again about sources: Joe, the sources of my information about what is taught in fundamentalist Christian circles about sex, the body and family are people who sit across from me in my office and pour out their broken, battered hearts about it. So I’m not going to list them here. Again, if there is a more clear description for the belief world of the Duggars than “fundamentalist,” please offer it and I’d like to learn.
    Thanks, everyone.

    • Your premise is flawed and faulty. The fact that you had to come here to explain your blog post is a clear indication of that.

      Yes, it’s a blog post, but should be based on fact. Yours, sadly, isn’t. It’s clearly based on your woefully uninformed opinion of fundamentalist Christianity. And to be honest, I, speaking as one such Christian, am getting tired of people like you making false assumptions about things you obviously know nothing about.

      Do you deny the restorative power of the Gospel? Or do you think that only certain “perfect” people are worthy of God’s promises?

      Yeah, what Duggar did was horrific.

      What you are doing, by painting all fundamentalist Christians with your hateful broad brush, is equally horrific. Even more so, given your position as a minister.

      • Liv Larson Andrews

        I’ll not apologize, Joe. Here is what I wrote above:

        “I worry that…fundamentalist Christian theology and ethics, while not the cause of sexual abuse, has within it elements…etc.”

        Elements within a whole. That’s not a broad brush. That’s an attempt at naming a trend I hear and see from personal testimony: The woman who was told as a child not to tell authorities about her father’s extreme discipline tactics because “they wouldn’t understand.” The woman who was shamed at church camp because she wore a swimsuit. The young man who was sexually abused by his Sunday school teacher and sworn to secrecy. All in fundamentalist Christian contexts. However, I also clearly say above that no tradition has more or less sexual abuse within it. I’m expressing a fear that some theological systems tacitly condone it.

        To say that my giving a negative opinion about a theological perspective is “as horrific” as touching a child inappropriately betrays your own unwillingness to look at your tradition with open eyes. You seem much more reactively protective of that theological tradition rather than the children harmed.

        And my calling as a pastor is what necessitates speaking up. At some point, I have to wonder about the world from which so many young women and men have come who land in my office nearly broken to pieces and filled to the brim with shame. If there are *elements* within that world that lead to such harm, I need to say so.

        Speaking up is not hateful. It is, or can be, the beginning of restoration.

        • Please. No matter how you try to spin it, your intent was clear — you set out to marginalize and demonize millions of Christians with whom you disagree, just like the secular Christophobes at MSNBC (I’d better put in a link for Charlie: http://www.examiner.com/article/msnbc-still-network-of-insane-liberal-hate )

          Now you’re trying to spin your way out of it. You say you want “restoration” — whatever that happens to be, but refuse to apologize for slamming millions of innocent Christians.

          Your post is full of innuendo that clearly targets a large segment of Christianity and you very well know it. Now, you’re upset because someone comes along and says “enough is enough.”

          Give it up, Liv. You can’t have it both ways. So fine. We obviously have nothing more to discuss, although I do forgive you for your false assumptions.

          • Liv Larson Andrews

            I continue to be amazed that my statement beginning with “I worry that…” constitutes slamming and smearing and demonizing millions of people. You grant my writing a tremendous amount of power. Um, thanks?
            (sigh)
            The peace of Christ be with you.

          • That’s exactly what you did. And I’ve decided that I’m not taking it anymore. From here on, I will take a stand whenever I see articles that make false claims about fundamentalist/evangelical/”right-wing” wanting/believing things when they are patently false. I will no longer remain silent and let these type of false claims stand.

    • Sorry to hear about those who sat across from you. Having said that, Liv, as a writer, you should know that anecdotal “evidence” does not make your case. Considering the claims you have made, you have a responsibility to provide something other than your “feelings.”

      I’d love to offer you an insight into what I believe, Liv. Sadly, I don’t think it would matter and would only fall on deaf ears.

    • Liv, you said: “It’s a blog post, not an article. I am posting personal opinions, not researched positions.”

      To a point, you’re right. But when you make the kinds of statements you made in your obvious attempt to demonize fundamentalist Christians, you have a responsibility to provide proof.

      Just because it’s a blog post doesn’t give you license to smear a whole group of people, and that’s what you did.

      You owe us all an apology, Liv.

    • Liv,

      Just wanted to stop by and apologize for my overly harsh criticism. Eric says I took the gloves off a bit, and at the time I said there’s a time for the gloves to come off.

      I still think there’s a time for that, but the Lord has since laid it on my heart that this was not the time or place for that.

      Please understand, I still disagree with your post, but I have given it a lot of thought and prayer and I realize my responses were over the top.

      It wasn’t that long ago that someone on this site called me “little Hitler” for supporting religious freedom. Tracy graciously took the comment down, but something like that tends to stick in your craw. Not an excuse, I know, I just want you to understand my frame of mind at the time.

      So I hope you’ll accept my apology. I reacted out of anger and I shouldn’t have. Maybe someday you’ll let me buy you a cup of coffee and we can discuss our differences and walk away friends. I work in downtown Spokane, so Starbucks at lunch is always doable.

      God bless, and please accept this apology in the spirit it was given.

      • Thanks for this Joe, I appreciate your thoughtful apology. I think we call can learn from the ongoing challenge and opportunities this difficult work presents. We all can let the fire get out of the fireplace at times.

      • Joe, I really appreciate you writing this. These are such tough conversations to have, and I am so glad that we are able to have them. I respect your ability to both stand up for your beliefs and to remain in relationship too.

      • Liv Larson Andrews

        Thanks Joe. I accept.

  6. Jocelyn Paluch

    I watched “19 Kids and Counting.” It was one of my favorite shows (I’m even a facebook friend of the show). Evidently the molestations took place in 2002 and 2003 when Josh was 14. The parents (Jim Bob and Michelle) took him to their church elders about a year after they found out. I believe members of the clergy are mandatory reporters. Do “elders” have the same responsibility?

    The Duggars said that they sent their son to a treatment center and he did hard physical labor and received counseling. Later they admitted that they sent him to a friend who flips houses – not a treatment center and there was no counseling. The Duggars also took Josh to “a family friend,” Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens. He gave Josh a stern talking to. He would definitely be a mandatory reporter. But, he didn’t report it. This man is currently serving a 56 YEAR prison sentence for child pornography convictions!!!

    A police report wasn’t filed until 2006. The statute of limitations (according to the media) is 3 years. That would mean that they didn’t get the police involved until Josh could no longer be prosecuted. If Josh was “cured,” why did they file a police report?

    The show began in 2008. A wonderful, wholesome, family with lots of cute kids. They talk openly about their faith. The girls all wear dresses that are modest. The boys wear long pants (never shorts) and always have on a shirt. They only give “side hugs.” Boys have to ask permission to date, court, and marry. Chaperones are sent with couples so that they are never alone. In most episodes Jim Bob talks about their family’s beliefs about purity – which were arrived at after reading scripture and praying. Couples don’t kiss until they are married! Josh talked about how he and Anna saved their first kiss for their wedding!!

    Josh was the Executive Director for the Family Research Council. A conservative anti LGBT organization.

    So . . . I feel sucker punched! It would be easy to blame this mess on religion. But, it’s the people who made mistakes and covered them up. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a national story if the Duggars didn’t have a TV series and hadn’t spoken of their religion in every episode. It’s just sad. But, it did start a conversation that needs to talked about openly.

    • “Was” is the operative word. He’s since resigned, which is a good thing. And don’t forget, the FRC was the target of a gunman who wanted to murder Christians because of their views on homosexuality. In case you didn’t know, he was inspired by the SPLC’s “hate map.” I hope you’re not condoning that…

      • Jocelyn Paluch

        Ouch – I feel like I’m being attacked. I don’t know anything about the SPLC or their hate map. I’m definitely not condoning meaness or hate or evil of any kind from anyone. Josh WAS the with the FRC until he resigned THURSDAY – because of the molestation scandals.

        All I said was that the Duggar mess should not be blamed on their faith.

    • Well, what an ugly mess and a tragic mishandling of justice. Glad they canceled the show, I am sure legal matters are not going to be overlooked if there’s any opportunities to pursue. Maybe Christians should take Jesus’s advice and spend most of their energy practicing private faith vs public.

      • Jocelyn Paluch

        As much as I enjoyed the show, I agree that cancelling it was the right thing to do.
        Unfortunately, a female judge ordered that the 33 page police report be destroy (and this was done immediately). As far as the law is concerned, there never was a police report. The redacted report that “In Touch” magazine has

  7. Dialogue is important folks, but remember to BE NICE!

  8. Scott Davidson

    Let’s start by dropping the ignorant labels being put on people. Fundamentalist Christian, Liberal Christian, Conservative Christian, Progressive Christian. Enough already.

  9. Liv I think it’s hard for conservatives to understand why Duggars awaken a cry out against the evils of sexual abuse but the wide spread outright unmistakable assault on women and children by muslim extremists barely gets a nod.

    “Zainab Bangura, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week withthe Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

    “They are institutionalizing sexual violence,” Bangura said of the Islamic State. “The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology.”

    • Good point again, Eric. Fact is, Christians, especially conservative ones, are “low-hanging fruit.” They can be smeared, tarnished and impugned with zero consequences and often are. Instead of standing and fighting back, they curl into a fetal position, hoping no one will see them.

    • In other words, it’s hard for conservatives to overlook the mote in their neighbor’s eye when asked to consider the beam in their own? Christianity–and indeed, authentic religion in general–is not about casting blame, for we are none of us blamemess. This is why conservatism (and probably most other political structures as well) is antithetical to faith; faith requires an openness born of trust, whereas conservatism requires a hostility born of fear and arrogance.

      Also, as a survivor of Evangelical Christianity who finally found my way to God through the lies I was force-fed as a child, I can attest to the structural elements Liv mentions. I’d imagine many can, though I suspect most have been driven away from God by those who twisted their faith.

      • Thank you. Good Lord. Joe, I’m sure we’d all be interested to see studies about sexual abuse fundamentalist Christianity. Until then, however, I don’t think the rational people among believe that Liv intended to or has demonized countless Christians or anyone else. Your comparison of her post to child abuse is the mic drop of outrageousness that I think should have ushered us all back to our crossword puzzles, or, in my case, off to sleep.

        • Neal, At no point did I compare her post to child abuse. Poorly constructed and free of any sources, yes. It was a clear slam against those with whom she disagrees.

          • Yes, you literally did. Not only did you compare it, you went so far as to call it even MORE horrific than the abuse that sparked this conversation.

  10. Neal Schindler

    “Yeah, what Duggar did was horrific. What you are doing, by painting all fundamentalist Christians with your hateful broad brush, is equally horrific. Even more so, given your position as a minister.”

  11. Love your take on this and the call to question power structures/laissez-faire figures that are perpetuating these actions.

  12. Family is a hot topic right now. Moody Radio would tell you it’s so because the marriage equality movement is gaining ground and rewriting what family means. But conservative, and yes, often Christian resistance to marriage equality is also contributing to making this a controversial issue. Everything isn’t being done TO conservatives. It’s a two-way street when it comes to people feeling oppressed, etc.

    It is hard for liberals like me not to feel upset when a family like the Duggars expresses strongly anti-LGBT views and allows itself to represent wholesome “traditional” family values on national TV and then turns out to have conspired, to some degree, to shield an abuser from treatment and/or justice.

    Judaism has had scandals: forced marriage scandals, circumcision scandals, sex-related scandals, and kashrut scandals. No faith group is safe from scandal. This one has some culture-war aspects and implications that are hard for me to ignore. And yes, for Pete’s sake, fundamentalism can contribute to conditions that make abuse and/or subsequent hiding thereof easier.

  13. Also: Eric, are most American liberals really ignoring ISIS? Or is it simply that most Americans have a hard time giving much of a damn about things that occur beyond our shores? I kind of feel like the folks who think a lot about ISIS are one of those highly vocal but surprisingly small minorities. If that minority skews conservative, maybe that’s because worrying about things like creeping Sharia isn’t high on liberals’ agenda. Whereas human rights is. And that struggle is broad and applies nearly everywhere. It’s not just an ISIS problem.

    • Neal so distance is the determining factor regarding compassion and justice to you? If so I’d say that’s sad in light of the respondsbilty

      • Neal Schindler

        I don’t wring my hands about creeping sharia or Islam. Issues that are closest to my heart may very well not be especially close to yours. I think it takes a rare person to take a meaningful, active interest in ALL the issues. Social justice activism is a tapestry. Everyone does something so no one has to do everything.

        • Neal Schindler

          I also think hand-wringing over Islam can rapidly descend into generalization and Islamophobia.

          • Christians, Jews and homosexuals don’t share that view in Iraq. The incoming refugees from Syria and Iraq and Sudan probably would have a lot to say about the realities of the world they are fleeing. I just find it troubling that stories in the news feed about little girls being packed naked into railway cars, and trafficked to other radical fuddled doesn’t get your ire up but this does.

          • Neal Schindler

            Dunno what to tell you. I do think I’ve addressed this before re: compassion fatigue. People choose what to expose themselves to so they can remain functional and serve those around them. And I beg of you, please stop using “homosexual” as a noun or adjective. But definitely as a noun.

            Little girls being packed into railway cars is obviously horrible. What can we do?

    • So distance is the determining factor for compassion and justice to liberals?

      • Neal Schindler

        My question is whether the majority of liberals really believe ISIS is no big deal. Where does that assumption come from?

        I do think it’s common for things that are more local to feel like they matter more, for better or worse.

      • Neal Schindler

        Also, no way I speak for all liberals.

  14. Joe, you say anecdotal evidence doesn’t make Liv’s case. As a liberal, i see liv’s case as the following: it’s important to examine institutions’ systemic and power-related structures to ensure that abuse and coverups aren’t being unintentionally aided. (See: Catholic Church.) Systems are made of people and people are flawed. Liberal systems too. Re-evaluation Counseling, which I see as a neo-Marxist/revolutionary movement, has had its share of scandals. And guess what? They were related to power structure problems like: criticizing people in leadership roles was discouraged and/or redirected in RC culture. Which means lots of women coming forward and claiming abuse were told that something must be wrong with THEM. Not the leader figure, who would never do such a thing. It’s not just fundamentalist Christianity. Or Catholicism. Or Judaism. Or Islam.

  15. Neal Schindler

    From a Gawker article:

    “An attack on Josh Duggar is not an attack on all of Christianity: it’s an attack on the fundamentalist sects that continue to condone or even help to create this behavior in the first place.”

  16. Liv I want you to know I love you and hope the way some comments went to 10, did not hurt you too much. I felt some of your conclusions were wrong but I only felt an emotional 5/6, but I can only speak for myself. Joe is accountable for his own comments and speaks from his own perspectives. I just want you to know that though we may disagree I don’t want be too disagreeable. You’re are my friend and friends don’t always agree but they can still be friends. So even though Joe and I may agree on more points on this post, please know that I don’t think you are hateful. I get the overall points you are seeking to address or poke at and I think that hyper-fudementalsim is a haven for abuse and extremism as evidence by the events all around the world reveal. We cannot call for reform in one group without being self-discerning in our own, I can own up to that need, I hope all here can too.

  17. I just read this article on Cosmo, about the homeschool program the Duggars not only used, they also promoted it heavily on their website and their TV show. Here’s the link:http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/news/a40980/duggars-homeschool-program-blamed-victims-of-sexual-assault/

    Here’s the most troubling of the information I found in that article. This page from the homeschool program’s manual, on how to counsel sexual abuse: http://cos.h-cdn.co/assets/15/22/1432656548-1265028366677961832.jpg
    I think we can all see how the first step is to blame the victim, see Step #6, “IF the abused was not at fault.” When is the abused EVER at fault?! Clearly, the program advocates a backward and harmful approach to “counseling” in sexual abuse situations.
    Any organization, in this day and age, which is still using this program should be discontinued. If the Duggars continue, after all that has been brought to light, to use or promote this homeschool program, then, in my opinion, the blame can be clearly placed on their shoulders.

  18. Neal Schindler

    As my wife says: “Calling out toxic, twisted versions of faith does not constitute persecution of a faith.”

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