Yes, I posted at least two links yesterday to stories about Josh Duggar, one of the sons of the ultra-rightwing family that are the “stars” of TLC’s 19 and Counting and his admission to the charges of molesting younger children when he was a teenager. Please note that most of my ire is at his parents, who covered it up for at least a year. And I say at least because they eventually asked a friend who was a state trooper to talk to Josh about his problem, and said friend didn’t do anything official with the news. The fact that the same trooper is now currently serving prison time for child molesting himself is a weird twist I may come back to.
The closest they came to not covering it up is three years later, when Josh was still a teen, and allegations from the victim that wasn’t one of his sisters came to light. By then, the statute of limitations had run out, and while authorities looked into the matter, there was nothing they could do. At that time, the family claimed that they had earlier sent Josh off to some kind of rehab. More recently, they have admitted that all they did was send him to live with a family friend for three months. There was no counseling or therapy involved. So, the parents and at least one state patrol officer knew about the problem, but didn’t report it. When other people learned about the problem, the parents lied about what steps they had taken to handle it.
Then there is the fact that grown-up Josh has been working for the Family Research Council where his official duties boiled down to saying awful, untrue things about gay and trans people, campaigning to take away our civil rights, and raising money to continue to keep us as second class citizens. So some people are experiencing a little bit of schadenfreude: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged, Josh Duggar!
Alvin McEwen over at Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters cautions us not to rejoice about this comeuppance, and he’s right to do so. Just as Mark Joseph Stern is right when he says, Of Course We Should Condemn Josh Duggar. We Should Also Pity Him.
I want to point out that I’m not rejoicing.
What I am doing is saying “I told you so.” Not that I predicted that Josh was a serial child molester, but I have said many times that the kind of counter-factual, sex-negative fanaticism practiced at least a little bit by most conservative “christians” (and is practiced in spades by the Duggar Cult) makes this sort of thing inevitable. The human sex drive is not an insignificant force, and you can’t dismiss it. If you refuse to teach children how to handle it when their hormones start flowing, foster an atmosphere where they are afraid to ask questions about it when they start feeling it, and otherwise teach them falsehoods about how it all works you wind up creating situations like that of Josh and his victims.
In other words, it isn’t ironic that this has happened, it is inevitable.
Having been raised in an evangelical fundamentalist church myself, I understand how powerful redemptive narratives are in that subculture. That’s why you get people in that community excusing it in ways that sound sociopathic to the rest of us: ‘Boys are curious’: Meet the Duggar defenders using religion to excuse fondling your sleeping sisters.
And then there is the disturbing lack of any mention about the harm to the victims. Josh was sent off to live with a family friend (did I mention that this family friend, like the state trooper, is also now in prison for molesting minors?), was covered up for, and prayed for. But were his victims offered counseling? Or were they told to praise the lord that it wasn’t worse? The Problem With the Duggar Sexual Assault Cover-Up Nobody’s Talking About.
And in case you don’t know why some people are feeling at least a bit amused by this comeuppance: Here are 6 of the most horrifying examples of the Duggars’ homophobia.
But that’s enough about sad, depressing news about hateful people. Can we talk about love? Can we talk about the nation of Ireland, which has not only approved Marriage Equality in a popular vote, but a approved it by more than 60% saying “Yes” to equality? Ireland Votes To Legalize Gay Marriage, Leaders On Both Sides Of Referendum Say. And Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly To Approve Same-Sex Marriage.
I can’t stop tearing up.