For God’s sake, leave Him out of it! 

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. This is the message that we share, the message we live, and the message we want others to understand. So why do we make Him bear the burden of our proclivities so often? Somewhere along the lines we’ve lost sight of justice, humility, and righteous anger, and we picked up convenient one liners that we can print on wrist bands and disperse out of a Mary Poppins style bottomless bag of excuses. The person at the receiving end of said bag is the topic of my blog post; his name starts with “J” and ends with “osh Duggar.”

“This is wrong!”

“Judge not. I’m a horrible sinner, who am I to cast the first stone? *Insert various bible verses that have absolutely no relation to the issue at hand, but make the person sound super knowledgeable and more Jesus approved than the other commenters who will soon shower this particular commenter in glorious accolades*”

The point? Well, the victims of said “wrong” act have now been silenced, and if you speak to their victimhood, well, you’re probably not as Christian as the person that used a Bible verse. Your mansion is not going to be as big as their mansion; your crown will not have as many gems. Listen, folks, I’m that kid with the sarcasm that I’m sure makes Jesus shake His head a little in disapproval, I know that already, telling me to stop talking about the Duggars while touting an out-of-context verse is just going to make it worse.

Now, in case you have been hibernating under a very large rock, last week Josh Duggar and his family came clean, and Josh admitted to molesting 5 girls – including 4 of his sisters – when he was 14 & 15. The family reported the incidents immediately to the police, Josh willingly came clean and repented of his actions, his sisters found it within their hearts to forgive him, and he and his victims received counseling. He accepted responsibility, they all prayed, wrote touching statements about God’s mercy and love, about His healing and forgiveness, and then they all rolled up a rainbow and smoked it while singing hymns.

No really, that all happened, just ask many of the (other) Christian bloggers.

The real story: Josh Duggar came clean after one of his sisters mustered the courage to tell her parents. The Duggar family eventually went to the police – after his misdeeds were reported to CPS by a family friend who found out about the abuse – but it was after the statute of limitations had expired. Shucks *snaps fingers*. The girls forgave their brother after the family had a heart to heart (we’ll learn more about what that likely looked like in a bit). They sent Josh to “treatment,” which actually ended up being a couple of months with an unqualified family friend, “hard labor and mentorship,” psychology be damned. The family then went on to mass produce children and earn millions of dollars, then after the news was leaked they came forward and made statements that mirrored the beliefs of Bill Gothard.

After. After. After. After. Catching a pattern? Christians, the fact that you are attempting to frame this story is, well, for lack of a better word; gross. Ridiculous, pathetic, sad, absurd, contemptible, grotesque, unbelievable, preposterous, foolish, nonsensical, outrageous, ludicrous, hair-brained, farcical, bizarre, insane, cockamamie, irrational, shocking, monstrous… well, imagine that, I wasn’t lacking a better word after all.

So what would a family heart to heart look like? Let’s look no further than their homeschool curricula choice. (DISCLAIMER: I was a homeschooler; I support homeschooling, and will probably someday homeschool my children. So haters, don’t hate.) The Duggar family lists the Advanced Training Institute program on their website, and openly uses them in their curricula. They attended countless events for ATI, and have even sent their children away to study various ATI programs. ATI was founded by Bill Gothard, this name will come up later.

Sexual abuse in the family? ATI has you covered with various documents that aid in the healing process. Yes. I am saying this all in my head rather sardonically.

One form in particular: Counseling Sexual Abuse (CSA for short). The CSA asks the question “Why did God let it happen?” to which they provide ideas: Immodest dress? Indecent exposure? Being with evil friends? I honestly wish I was joking.

Girls, that skirt is too short and you should probably fix it, otherwise God might allow your brother to sneak into your bedroom and inappropriately touch you. Just imagine thinking of God as The Father, “Hey daughters, button up that shirt a little higher or I’ll allow Billy to take your innocence.”

Another question asks, “If you had to choose…” and it then lets you pick between “No physical abuse” or being “mighty in spirit.”

Are you going to pout about what your father did to you, 5 year old child? Because that means you don’t want spiritual advancement.

But my favorite, above all, is when the form tells you to “cleanse with rhemes.” Lovely choice of words. Victims of sexual abuse already feel dirty and useless, let’s use the word “cleanse” when telling them to read the bible. That’ll work. Stay classy, ATI, stay classy.

Not only does this form then go on to belittle sexual abuse, minimizing it into something similar to a questionnaire you might be given by a used car salesman, but it condemns the abused by saying that any damage to mind is allowed, not forced. Not only does it force you to wonder if the abuse was invited, but it compares the abused to Daniel in a way that hints at the idea that the abused should almost be thankful for their abuse, and it forces them to choose their sexual abuse as an acceptable option compared to giving up the spiritual progression they might obtain through the abuse. It’s, well, pick one of the various words I listed above. According to Gothard, Dinah and Tamar were pretty much asking for it. Basically, Gothard does a fabulous job of putting the brunt of the responsibility on the victim, then pushes the victim to be thankful. That’s more than likely the ideals that have been pounded into the heads of the Duggar girls for years. The way it was handled by the family serves as proof.

So here are a few lines from Christian bloggers that made me do a double take, triple take, crawl into the fetal position, throw something against the wall, and finally end my spiral into utter disappointment by wondering if I should become Amish just so that I can shun stupidity:

“Is there a point where we say, “You messed up. You were a stupid kid. But you corrected your behavior, turned your life around, and we forgive you. Let’s move on.”

I know all about that point. When my sister was little she cut the hair of her siblings in their sleep. It was like The Last of the Mohicans, they would go to sleep with a braid and when they woke up it would be lying beside them. Jealousy? Maybe. I don’t know, none of us knew, we just figured she was a little freak who didn’t like her sisters to have longer hair. Then she got older, everyone’s hair grew out, and forgiveness was granted. Everybody moved on. You know, because it was just hair.

Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression as adults, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide, 2 times more likely to attempt suicide, 13 times more likely to become alcoholics. They often suffer from PTSD, anxiety, struggle in relationships, etc. Roughly 30% of children that are sexually abused are abused by family members, and about 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by a trusted friend of the family. “Children” under the age of 18 are responsible for 23% of child sexual abuse cases, and if the victim is under 6 years of age, that percentage rises to 43%.

62,939 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012.

But you’re right. Let’s move on.

This same blogger went on to say that while other teenagers don’t molest their siblings, they are out getting pregnant, having abortions, and gallivanting away. This was in no way relevant to anything above, but in all fairness, it was never really relevant to the situation, nor to her article either.

Many have pointed out that while they’ve never molested a child, they too have made mistakes. Well, I’ve never cannibalized another human being, but I can say with confidence that Jeffrey Dahmer was wrong and deserving of harsh punishment. I can also say it without feeling guilty because I once flirted with a police officer to get out of a speeding ticket. Do murderers and I have the same offer granted to us by God? Yep. Are our sins comparable? Ummm…no.

I think the part to remember is that sins small and great, unpaid for, leave us in hell. All are offered the same out, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the “levels” of sin. Moses referred to “great sin”; John distinguishes sins; Ezekiel spoke of those more corrupt. Sin is separated as deliberate, premeditated, etc. and while we all have to shoulder the responsibility of our sins, we still have to call out a great harm, as was done in the bible. False modesty is often mistaken for humility. Humility is knowing that I desperately need Christ, no matter how big or little my sins are. I am just as helpless as ISIS, sexual predators, and the like when it comes to obtaining heaven. False modesty is acting like I believe I’m not above ISIS, sexual predators, and the like in my life, and refusing to speak against them. No one believes that, and if they say they do, it serves only as a Christian ego boost.

Now let’s talk about the ever popular one liner: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Many Christian’s say this as if they are ready to drop the mic, part the sea, end the war, etc… I truly do appreciate their intentions, and honestly can’t stand the overly judgmental attitudes towards those who are searching for answers. This, however, was a case fully befitting of judgement, and we have used these words dangerously.

Context, my friends.

Jewish law required that those who witnessed the crime of prostitution were the first to throw a stone, but they also had to be innocent. Now go back to how the entire debacle was set up in the first place: Jesus is teaching when along come the Pharisees trying to test Him. If He blatantly said, “Release her!” He would be violating the Law of Moses, and if He said, “Stone her until she stops flopping,” He would have been violating Roman Law. So, Jesus instead turned their game against them by saying a variation of the famous line. How do we know that they were just attempting to trick Jesus? Well, the Law of Moses commanded that both members of the love affair be punished, yet the man was missing. They were not interested in following the Law of Moses, nor the Roman Law, they were interested in a false indictment of Jesus, and thus were guilty of violating laws themselves. Hence, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” It was His way of making them eat their deeds, a way for Him to show them that He knew the game they were playing.

To the point, the passage represents a need for Christians and those who uphold the law to be consistent in order to judge, not perfect. So when you use that verse to justify why we shouldn’t bring a certain sin to the light and demand that it be acknowledged and dealt with, you are doing exactly what the Pharisees did by undermining the law. You are taking a sin and twisting the very words of Jesus to not only excuse, but applaud your dismissal of said sin. You are using the words of Jesus to receive accolades for approving of the disregarding of His abused children. Mull that over.

Regret, apologies, and repentance deliver the soul, not the body. We have no right to judge where his heart is with Christ, we do not have the right to condemn him to hell. We do, however, have the right to judge his actions.

What passages do relate to this issue? Well, look at the Samaritan woman. Jesus ignored the prejudices, the living and breathing ideal that women were no more than an item. He placed worth upon the Samaritan woman by simply being in her presence. In a world where talking to a woman brought about evil, according to rabbinic teaching, Jesus disregarded the expected treatment of women, and instead attributed worth and dignity. Throughout the Bible Jesus attributes worth and humanity to women, He uses them for great purposes, He allows them to follow his teachings, He encouraged them to be cultural misfits and to become more than the lowly beings their society had made them. You want to know the ideals that Jesus was fighting against? Look to the Middle East, look to the slave trade, and look to the bedrooms of little girls that do not rest in peace, but instead fear the physically stronger. Now tell that Jesus who you believe should be allowed to go unpunished, tell that Jesus we should stop talking about poor Josh Duggar, tell that Jesus that simply saying you’re sorry to His beloved creations whom you have defiled is enough. Tell that Jesus that women and abuse victims are not as worthy of the dignity, respect, and appreciation He bestowed upon them.

Josh Duggar did not steal a toy from his sisters, he did not trip them as they walked up the sidewalk, he did not leave his gum in the parking lot for innocent bystanders to step in. He molested 5 little girls. Then he didn’t admit what he had done, he waited for one of those terrified little girls to bring it up. Then their parents protected him, shielded him from the law. FINALLY when it was impossible to hide any longer, they admitted the crime after it was legally too late to be punished. They made him a hero to the Christian movement, put him in a leadership position, and allowed him to judge those who do not live by the Word of God…

“She is far more precious than jewels.”

If you believe that, then act like it.

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “For God’s sake, leave Him out of it! 

Add yours

  1. A few good points, but still missing the mark on accuracy. The parents told church leaders (that could/possibly should have reported it) and reported it to law enforcement inside of 1 year. Then law enforcement dropped the ball. They didn’t hide it. They didn’t drag their feet until it was too late. He was I minor so any “judging” is a moot point. There would/should have been more follow up at the time, but it would have been destroyed and have little/to no difference on his adult life.

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading, but I must correct. The police were notified in 2006, the abuse took place in 2002 & 2003, allegedly. If that changes I’ll recant, but that is what has been reported. Mr. Duggar admitted in the police report to knowing a year prior (to the best of my knowledge), which would have been within the statute. That, to me, is a clear sign of dragging feet.

      Like

      1. Here are the details.
        http://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/bombshell-duggar-police-report-jim-bob-duggar-didn-t-report-son-josh-s-alleged-sex-offenses-for-more-than-a-year-58906

        9 months was the delay. Not 3+ years. You mention homeschooling children in a future tense. I don’t know if you have any kids yet. As a young child, I have a story similar to the girls victimized here. I also worked with troubled teenage boys that were removed from their homes for various reasons and placed in the care of my husband and I. I also am a mother to boys and girls.

        Let me say again, had this tragedy been handled “correctly” 12 years ago, things would be no different today. The crying shame, really, is that this was all aired out for all man-kind making these girls victims again. A minor touching/fondling is a terrible thing that fills you with shame and confusion and an awful thing for those victims and a sin burden for the one who commits the crime so young. Since I am not the judge. I will believe that Josh has remained clean in this area. That he is forgive and made new. I know this is possible. He was forthright with his potential wife and her parents. He has made no excuses for his behavior.

        Like

      2. Hi Tara, Please see page 11 of the police report, which says 3 1/2 years prior to 2006 is when the (or some) of the abuse took place. In addition, it says that his parents knew immediately (pages 14 & 15), and they did nothing legally about it. Jim Bob finally went to a state trooper, but that state trooper is now giving a conflicting story. However, that state trooper is also in prison for child pornography. It’s clearly a very disturbing situation.

        Things may have been no different today (though we can’t know that), but we still do not ignore crime because “12 years from now things will settle down.” We don’t allow child abuse to go unpunished because of a heart to heart and a, “Well, it won’t be any different down the road anyway.”

        And yes, I am sure that his heart has been reconciled, but that means nothing to the law. In the end, his soul may be in good standing, but his parents hid sexual abuse, he hid sexual abuse, and they did not go to the authorities. And now sexual abuse victims are receiving the message that if their abuser were just a little less Christian, a little older, and a little more unpleasant, their abuse would matter more. That isn’t the message we can send. Between the atheist molester and the Christian molester, we don’t get to choose to go easy on one because he has a copy of the newest Hillsong CD, that’s not how it works. So that would be one thing that would be different, sexually abused children would be seeing today that even those in the church get punished, that they can come out about their abuse no matter who the abuser is, because the church won’t make excuses. So actually, yes, it would be different.

        Like

      3. Yes, That’s what I meant. The trooper was notified in 2003. I am fully aware that he is now In prison. I am certain the Duggars had no awareness of the officers personal struggles. Him “dropping the ball” is not a reflection on the Duggars themselves. I believe you would look at this differently if you were the parent. Or the victim. I am both. Age does matter. That is why there are protective laws. The only thing this nasty argument is doing, is bring further hurt to the ones who were hurt in the first place. They didn’t want this information leaked. In fact, it was un-lawfully leaked.

        Listen, I have seen very few of the TLC episodes. I am not a “fan”, though I don’t hate it either. I don’t really care if it stays on the air or not. I DO know the family personally. I WISH people would realize in trying to find their own personal soapbox that they are further damaging the victims who have moved on. Is that the goal? It is the outcome. Sins haunt us and the world doesn’t forgive like God. I don’t pitty him, though I do feel bad for the attention this brings his wife and kids. But you, nor anyone else, will bring Josh an earthly judgement. You are just hurting the victims more and more. I do pray that these girls can open up and be a public mouthpiece against sexual assault. Some choose this path if they were victims (which is how it should be), but some prefer to speak to only a small handful of people about their experience. I am most comfortable in the later group.

        Like

      4. Tara, you are trying to silence me by adding your experience as a qualifier, when you have no idea what my history is, nor is it relevant. We can look at the facts before us and see that it was handled wrong, and if that is how you would handle sexual abuse, it would be wrong. I know how it works, I know the ins and outs, and while it is a living hell on the family, there is a wrong and a right way to handle sexual abuse. The Duggars were dead wrong. Period.

        I’ve spoken with multiple victims advocates since I was young, as well as many victims, some who underwent horrific sexual abuse at the hands of another “child” under the age of 18. The general consensus is that silence hurts the victims more, and that issues like this fester in society because we don’t make it a big enough deal to change the narrative for other victims. They can be mad that it got out, or they can attribute guilt where it is due: Josh. As well as a family that signed themselves, and their children, up to be nationalized role models AFTER they knew about the abuse, knowing that their lives would be scrutinized. Should they have to come out by name? Absolutely not. No one would expect that. We don’t need to know the details, we have enough information to know that it was handled horribly, and the church has a responsibility to stand by victims, whether they want it or not, because other victims are watching to see where the church stands.

        Like

      5. Tara, you’re gross. The trooper didn’t have “personal struggles,” he was using child pornography, which is a crime. A personal struggle is like trying to eat healthy or to curb the use of swearing. He committed a heinous crime against children.

        Second, stop trying to use diminutive language, a personal narrative, or “Jesus Saves” to soften what Josh Duggar did. He perpetrated sexual abuse on minor children. Let me repeat: Josh Duggar is a sexual predator who touched the genitals and breasts of five different minor girls. I’m a parent, and I’m also an advocate who works with sex abuse survivors, and I know that it doesn’t take either of these qualifications to understand that Duggar’s victims deserve respect, dignity, and honor instead of shame, secrecy, and forced forgiveness.

        People like you are victimizing these girls all over again by not bearing witness to their trauma. If I hear one more purported Christian say “Yeah, but…” I’m going to have to stop the planet and let them off.

        Like

  2. As a believer in Christ and for a general term, I am a Christian, this story absolutely shocks me! Not because this Duggar boy molested several females including his sisters, but that these people thought this curriculum of Bill Gothard’s was an acceptable model to teach their children from. Are these people serious?! There was never a time in my Christian upbringing that that was acceptable! I went to Christian school, had church Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday and my parents modeled a Christian life in our home. Not ONCE was that ever okay! What is happening to Christians? There’s an element of common sense that comes along with being a Christian where you understand right from wrong. SEXUAL ABUSE IS WRONG! There’s never a time where it is okay for anyone to sexually abuse anyone! UHG! I can’t take it! People are getting dumber by the minute. I honestly sometimes feel like I shouldn’t tell people I am a believer for fear they will think of me as someone like the Duggars. You write well! Great article! Check out my blog if you like: http://www.1000leaguesbetween.com

    Like

      1. Except no one asked you how closely they follow any of Gothard’s teaching. Because you don’t know them personally. None of the girls in their responses, or otherwise, indicates that any of ithe abuse was ok. The girls all know what is/is not safe touching. In their responses, they don’t take the blame themeself. And back to point #1, you are only adding MORE hurt to the victims when you assume things you don’t really know and plaster it on the web for all to read.

        Like

      2. Tara, I am perfectly within my blogging right to voice what I think just like you do. I don’t know the Duggars personally but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s super questionable if they used Bill Gothard’s Sexual Abuse guide or whatever. Jeez, I can’t even say it without cringing. I have to agree with CollisionofChurchandstate; we’re supposed to believe that they follow all of his teachings or
        Ideals except for that one? And now their sons indiscretions have come out and we’re not supposed to think that there’s a correlation there? I’m not trying to come off as unChristian. I do however have another question: If the Duggars did NOT use that specific portion of Bill Gothard’s curriculum, why would they even use any of it at all? You would think that they wouldn’t want anything to do with him or his teachings because of how he felt on that one subject, Because it would then bring into question if his other curriculums were appropriate. It’s just a question and absolutely how I would think.

        Like

      3. I’m going on the *fact* that the Duggars have participated in speaking events, retreats, programs, etc. with the Gothard ministries. I mean, Josh met his bride at an ATI conference. In addition, their website directs you to ATI material. So, I’m pretty confident in my overview.

        I mean come on, they preach against the appearance of evil. SO, by their own practice, it is logical for me to assume that they are devout followers of the various Gothard ministries. As the old saying goes, if it looks like a duck…

        Like

    1. The problem here…is that you don’t actually KNOW the Duggars. Do you?

      See, as a parent, I read parenting books that I might agree with 80%. Which honestly, is high. Since every family operates differently, rarely does a family agree wholeheartedly with any specific book. As a homeschool parent myself, I will say this is also true of curriculum. Just because I am using the same curriculum as someone else, that does not mean we will teach the same or do all the same projects.

      I read all the Harry Potter books, but I have never dressed up like a character. I read the Divergent series….that doesn’t mean I agree with certain topics that present in the last book. I have personally recommend the series “The Selection” and loved it! I do not, however, agree with the thought that women are only valued for their appearance or connections.

      Acting like you know how the girls were counseled simply because they follow much of ATI is no better than assuming that all homeschooled families…..(follow ATI, use no birth control, start college at 12….and on it goes). If you don’t KNOW the family, if you don’t KNOW how they were counseled. Then you just don’t know. It is detailed in the report that in 2003 one of the girl ran to her mom after being touched while being read to. Michelle calls dad to come home & Josh is removed within hours. That sounds like parents taking care of their daughters. Not blaming them.

      Like

      1. I don’t know the Duggars, but I do know that their son committed a crime (Class A felony if we want to get specific) and they did nothing legally about it. That’s kind of all I need to know about that part.

        As for ATI, you’re going to tell me that they follow the teachings of Bill Gothard in every aspect of their lives, except this one? And yet the result of this mess is what I would expect from the ATI ideals…Including down to the statements they made. Okay, sure, go with that. That’s nothing compared to pretending that all homeschoolers act the same, it’s not even in the same ballpark. I could assume that most individuals that sit in Southern Baptists churches their entire life believe in perseverance of the saints, and statistically I’d be pretty well on target. However, it would be rather silly for me to assume that all Christian denominations support polyamorous relationships since, obviously, each denomination has their own set of beliefs. Apples and oranges. There’s educated assumptions and grasping into thin air. Assuming that the teachings of Bill Gothard played a role in their “healing” is an educated assumption.

        Like

  3. This was a very well written perspective. It’s one of the few Blogs, from a Christian perspective, that calls out this horrible crime and progression of events. Going to a family friend who happens to be a law enforcement official is not the same as reporting. Fourteen and 15 years old is old enough to understand what you are doing. Silencing the voices of those 5 children is wrong. Sexual abuse is a horrible violation that continues to rear its ugly head even after counseling, love and reliance on faith. All this to say, I’ve been deeply disappointed by some around me and their justification of events.

    Like

  4. I just wanted to say I completely agree with this. Its not about judging the heart; only God has the right, power, and insight to do so. Its about judging the actions. If the parents had done the right thing years ago, by contacting the authorities and getting all the children involved PROFESSIONAL help/counseling, then we wouldn’t even be talking about it. It wouldn’t be an issue we have to think about. But I don’t think the whole point of this is to say how badly Josh Duggar screwed up. We also, as humans, feel the need to discuss events, and bounce ideas off other people. Totally understandable. But if you don’t want people to talk about a certain person or topic, then get off of a blog that is discussing it. And you can’t keep saying that the other person is continuing to put victims through hell by talking about it if you’re still talking too. The people who are putting the victims through hell are the ones who victimized them, the ones who didn’t protect them, who put them on national TV AFTER knowing the crime had been committed, and then whoever divulged the information later. I pray for all those involved and hope they can all get the help/counseling, and understanding they need to get through this terrible hour of their lives.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: