Hey, Christian friends?
Yeah, you. The people I’ve known since I was a teenager. The ones who introduced me to Jesus at those Catholic youth group meetings every Sunday night. The ones who showed me that it’s okay interact with God without the presence of a priest. The ones who entreated me to seek the righteous path, who inspired me to reach out in love to my fellow man, who taught me to embrace the gift of emotional healing available to those who lay themselves at the feet of the Lord.
We need to talk.
Right now, there is a bunch of girls, aged 5-12, who grew up in a home where their bodies were violated repeatedly by someone they were supposed to trust, someone they were supposed to look up to and admire. This guy has now admitted to having touched his sisters — it’s unclear how many, but he has lots to choose from — on their breasts and genitals while they were sleeping, sometimes when they were awake.
Think about that for just a second: he has admitted to molesting his sisters while they slept.
Not just once, guys. Multiple times! Over several years!
I’ve been watching carefully for your response, because I’ve seen you vocally supporting this family, the now infamous Duggar nineteen, which has risen to fame because of their devotion to many of the same fundamentalist principles you promote; the man is the head of the household, follow God’s plan for you in all things, be a symbol of God’s love in this evil world.
They will know you are Christians by your love.
Except what I see now, in the light of the revelations about these young girls whose peace of mind and sense of right and wrong and innocence and healthy self-esteem has been irreparably damaged by their BROTHER…what I see now is either silence or a fervent insistence that we should all forgive Brother Duggar because God has forgiven him.
(How exactly do you know what God has done? Never mind. That’s a question for another time.)
The hand-wringing about how people will perceive Christians in the wake of Duggar’s revelations is making my blood boil. Really? THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT?
Why haven’t ANY of you expressed even a hint of concern about those GIRLS? Where are the heart-wrenching photos and links to websites devoted to caring for young girls who have been molested and raped by their relatives? Why do the victims of this crime get less of your Christian compassion than the PERPETRATOR?
I know for a fact some of you know women who were molested in their childhood homes. I know because we once traveled in the same circles, and knew the same women, and heard the same stories: their nightmares, their attempted suicides, their spirals into depression, their inability to form healthy relationships with ANYONE, their fear of becoming a mother and being unable to protect their children from the same abuse they suffered. I KNOW you know the long-term damage inflicted by child sexual abuse.
And yet you want us to just “forgive” Duggar for what he’s done. Love the sinner, hate the sin. You call for an end to the “opportunistic vilification” of his “youthful indiscretions.” You claim that because he apologized for what he’s done, that’s the end of the story.
I can’t even describe how sick that makes me.
And what’s worse — or at least equally bad — is that the parents of all of these kids knew about the abuse and did nothing to help those girls. They took measures to get their pedophile son “help” — although I have serious doubts about the nature of the “help”. But for the girls? Nothing. Not even an acknowledgement that they needed help. The girls are treated as mere objects in this twisted drama about one young man’s “youthful indiscretions”, as if he’d been exposed as a shoplifter instead of a child molester.
And guess what? Most molesters were once molested themselves. I have a strong feeling we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
In that same Duggar family, the ones you held up as examples of good, faithful Christians, the ones you lauded as wholesome, there are girls whose lives are now forever changed because this guy decided he had a right to do whatever he wanted to their bodies. Their suffering has just begun; they’re in the middle of a media frenzy, thanks to their parents’ decision to thrust the whole family into the public eye. They get to publicly process this shit sandwich they’ve been force fed.
The show started in 2008: the father first acknowledged the allegations in 2006. He made the decision to put this family on TV long after he knew about the abuse.
I wouldn’t be saying anything right now if the Christians I know hadn’t placed the Duggars on a pedestal, if you hadn’t pronounced your admiration for this family. After all, evil comes in all shapes and sizes.
But the Duggars have been shoved in our faces largely by fellow Christians who want the world to see how wonderfully God works in the lives of people who follow Him. Many of you held up this family as an example.
And now you want to run from them.
Now you want to deny and deflect, because the reality is too sickening for you to contemplate.
But here’s the deal: that’s the WHOLE STORY of humanity. People do bad things. Other people are victimized by people doing bad things. The Bible is FULL of stories of pain and sickness and healing and redemption. Not just for the people who perpetrated evil, but also for the victims of that evil.
John I 3:16 THROUGH 20 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Job 2:11-13 ‘Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him. When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.’
You want to show the world the mercy and power of God’s love?
Help those girls.
Make a show of it.
Plaster it all over your websites, elevate them in prayer at your church services, put them front and center in your prayer requests on Facebook and Twitter, because I know you have those. I see them every day.
You want us to set aside what Duggar has done? You want to avoid the stain of his sin on the entire Christian community?
Wash it clean by being Jesus on earth for those girls, and for other victims of sexual assault.
Reach out in love and mercy to the hurt and sick.
It’s not *our* focus on Duggar’s sins that’s making Christians look bad.
I haven’t processed a response as fast as you, but I thank you for helping me to formulate a direction. While I have never watched the Duggars and developed a personal attachement to them (I gave up idolizing Christian families becasue I’ve seen too much of the junk in all our closets), I am in your target audience as I grew up imploring others to have Christian family values and grow in the healing love of God while walking out the effects of child incest. It all hots pretty close to home. And I can only read one commentary at a go and then I need a whole day to try to forget about it becasue I am horrified that it is all about HIM! Both from the secular and the sancitmonious side. I greive the errors, in teaching, that come from Bill Gothard through the Institute of Basic Youth families becasue I’ve seen behind that curtain too. I know EXACTLY how he counsols child sexual abuse because we also followed his ‘method’ in my childhood years.and it misses the Biblical mark. It runs to the freedom of grace at the cross without addressing the consequence of sin. Grace and forgivness trump living with painful consequences, (i.e, you are moved out of your home with sisters, permenently, and you have a job that pays for their ongoing counsoling for the next ten years, even if it disrupts your educational and career plans.) Bill Gothard short circuits consequences. He teaches that we go straight for grace, without assuring healing for the one who was harmed. It skips the repayment of Zacchaeus, the taxcollector, who, after meeting Jesus, amended his robbing ways and repaid his debts, of over charging the citizens by four-fold. Moved by Zacchaeus’ desire to deal fairly and honestly with the citizens within his jurisdiction, Jesus declares that “today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9), suggesting that Zacchaeus’ repentance and transformation is shown by his desire to make right his past wrongs. When we do not teach restitution, we teach an incomplete gospel. We place the consequence on the victim. If they do not forgive, they can not be expected to recieve forgivness and forgivness means fogetting the wrong. Putting it as far as the East is from the West. Like God does with our sin when he sees us restored through his perfect son. But, the Bible does not actually teach this f”orgive=forget” principle. That is an error of Gothard and others in Christiandom. Because, sin has consequences here on earth. For victims of child abuse, the consequneces are hardwired into their perceptions of life. Their pshychie is formed around the abuse. It, as you so rightly assert, should be the place where christians choose to lavish thier love and support. The one we want to be the face of Jesus for, is the one who had a piece of herself die. We want to be the outstretched hand that says, “Talitha Koum” and brings her back to life. We want to acnowledge that the death did, in fact, occur, and invite her to a place of resurrection.
I skipped church this morning, Meg, I don’t really care to hear this addressed from the pulpit for fear it will lean too far to upholding the perpetrator. It may be an empty fear, I’m in a pretty solid place of teaching right now, but it is a risk too big for me to take. I need more righteous indignation like yours. I need more flipping of the tables in the tabernacle where we have made a mockery of God’s holiness. I need more outrage that the church and the state (they DID file a police report that ammounted to nothing) have still not figured this problem out in a way that holds out a hand to the victims. My prayer today is that God will find enough willing hearts to pour love into those girls who were affected and give them an assurance that, though they have been, repeatedly, failed by those closest to them, God is not the author of the sins against them and he weeps too because mankind did not value his daughters. The princess heirs to his throne were violated, and he sees the consequences everytime they lower their eyes in retreat or shame.
I’m not a Christian and I don’t play one on TV.
We never do exist in these situations, it seems. All part of the social order of “less than” that permeates class and clan structures.
“their nightmares, their attempted suicides, their spirals into depression, their inability to form healthy relationships with ANYONE, their fear of becoming a mother and being unable to protect their children from the same abuse they suffered. I KNOW you know the long-term damage inflicted by child sexual abuse.”