I got online this afternoon to distract myself from my pain by connecting with the world outside my approximately 700 square feet. When I opened my WordPress reader some Time Magazine article headlines shocked me. They were about the Duggar family of TLC’s reality TV show ‘19 Kids and Counting’. I’ve watched a few episodes of this family’s odd life – at least what I consider odd. As the title says, the Duggars are a family of 19 children. They are devout Independent Baptists, which means they “believe in strict separation from the world” and interpret Biblical Scripture literally. Additionally, they are adherents of the far-right Christian Patriarchy movement also known as Quiverfull who homeschool their children; believe “God has granted men authority over their families” (i.e. the emphasis is on the headship of the father or patriarch); “preferably, men should be in charge in the workplace”; and that “women’s sphere of influence is the home”.
As I learned this afternoon, this conservative Christian family that I’ve seen project an air of righteousness and morality has a pretty big skeleton in a closet in their large family home. The eldest son of the Duggar family, Josh, admitted that 12 years he “molested underage girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager.” The Time Magazine articles went on to say that after Josh confessed, his father, Jim Bob Duggar, “waited more than a year before contacting police”. Then instead of being charged and punished by the justice system for this crime that he characterized as just inexcusable behaviour, Josh Duggar’s family arranged for him “and those affected by [his] actions to receive counseling”. From what I read on social media that counselling might not have occurred. You can read one article here: TLC Pulls 19 Kids and Counting After Josh Duggar Molestation Claims.
I was so stunned when I read his statement and Time Magazine’s repeated use of the term “past indiscretions” that I had to find more information about this horrific situation. I found so much information on online it was like a bloody train wreck from which I couldn’t look away. Instead of doing my daily reading and looking for ideas to further my creative interests I got sucked into the escalating fray of people calling for TLC to cancel ‘19 Kids and Counting’. The general argument being that “what TLC has been putting on the air since 2008 with the Duggar family is, simply, a moral fraud”.
I have to agree with that judgement. From where I sit, the parents of Josh Duggar hid information about his criminal acts to gain a platform to promote their beliefs and interests which include, but are not limited to: anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, absolute submission of women to men, and creationism. More importantly, they hid this for financial gain. They chose fame and fortune at the expense of their daughters and the other children that their son molested – who by all accounts received little support. They did this at the expense of their son who most likely did not get the psychological help he needed at a critical age and stage of development to understand and control the disorder that is pedophilia. Their actions are not only immoral they are also criminal. And TLC needs to send a strong message that these societal ills cannot be tolerated and cancel this show.
From what I saw on social media today there are droves of people who do not agree with my position. They feel that Josh Duggar made a “mistake” and he should be forgiven. But my increased pain level and blood pressure at the thought of the long-lasting harm he – and his parents – caused those little girls makes me disagree.
Queen – Under Pressure