Once again it seems I find myself spinning in a vortex of sorts. A whirlwind Christian onslaught of defense for yet another child predator. This time the abuser is a public figure, someone who has convinced a large majority of the religious population that he is holy and righteous because he plays that on TV. Josh Duggar, it has recently been revealed, is a child molester.
I can almost hear the collective gasps from conservative Christians now. A molester! How can you say such a thing? Well, it just so happens that he – brace yourselves now – molested five young girls. For years. And generally speaking, an abuser of this nature who has methodically abused for several years will most-likely have other victims that are afraid or unwilling to come forward, so sadly I must point out that five is the minimum confirmed number of Josh’s victims.
What has compelled me to write another blog on child sexual abuse is the points of justification that I keep seeing repeated in social media and I want to address them. The comments I will show as examples came from a post from Ray Comfort, a Christian evangelist whom I used to admire. Ray recently posted that he was boycotting the TLC channel because they removed the show, 19 Kids and Counting, and said he wouldn’t watch again until they returned the show to the air. I was shocked. This is Ray Comfort, the man who leads people to Christ, who follows God’s word and preaches it unapologetically. Surely he isn’t supporting a child molester; I must have read it wrong. But I didn’t. He left no doubt on Twitter.
I have perused several other sites, including Josh and Anna’s Facebook page, the 19 Kids Facebook page, Twitter, etc. The following are the most repeated lines of defense that I found:
- “This happened before he was saved.” –
Even in the tweet above from Ray Comfort, you see that he said this was in Josh’s “BC” days, meaning, of course, before Christ. This is not only untrue, it has no bearing on the crime itself. Josh and Anna’s website http://ja20.com/ourstory/ clearly state that Josh Duggar accepted Jesus as his savior at the age of seven.While I understand that seven is very young and I really don’t care to go into all the arguments people will have about whether or not he was truly saved; the point is, he claimed on his website the he was saved at the age of seven and the abuse was documented when Josh was fifteen years old.I just wanted to get that out of the way because it’s merely a deflection tactic anyway. Saved or not, what happened was a crime. You don’t go to court and tell the judge, “Your Honor, when I got arrested for drunk driving last week, it was still during my BC time. I accepted Christ this morning so can I go home now? The charges are dropped, right?” A judge would probably laugh you right back into your cell if you tried that approach. It doesn’t work for drunk driving, it doesn’t work for murder, it doesn’t work for shoplifting or any sin that also happens to be a crime. You can be forgiven, but you must still pay retribution to the extent of the law.
- It was a childhood mistake. He didn’t understand what he was doing. –
Josh Duggar is 27 years old now and by his account this happened 12 years ago. That would make him 15 at the time. A 15 year-old can get a driver’s permit. This means the government thinks that at 15 years old is old enough to understand the traffic laws, should know that red light means stop, that green means go, that you can turn right on red, that pedestrians have the right of way, all the things that if not understood and obeyed could cause serious harm to themselves or someone else. If a 15 year-old can know right from wrong when driving a car, shouldn’t he also know right from wrong when it comes to putting his fingers where they don’t belong? The boy that molested my girls was 15 years-old and he was convicted of two counts of indecency with a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He knew what he was doing just as Josh knew what he was doing. It was no mistake. A mistake is when you go to work with one blue shoe and one black shoe. A mistake is when you pour two cups of sugar in the cake batter when the recipe called for one. A mistake is not when you tiptoe through the house, sneak into your sister’s room, tell her you brought her a blanket and make her be quiet while you fondle her breasts and stick your fingers in her vagina. That’s sexual assault.
- Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We are all sinners and have no right to judge what Josh did. –
This one I’m sick of the most. I can’t stand for Christians to toss around Bible verses out of context. This verse comes from John 8:6. The Pharisees were trying their best to trick Jesus so that they could accuse him, so they brought him an adulterous woman. The law in those days commanded that the person be stoned to death, so knowing Jesus would not do this they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.” Their hope was that he would refuse and they could then bring charges against him, but instead he said to them in return, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” By this statement, the Pharisees could not possibly say that Jesus rejected the law and that was his point. He was not making a statement that because we are all sinners there should be no more consequences. Without consequences, the world would be chaos.
Another point I’d like to make about this stance is that those of us who feel that Josh Duggar should be held accountable are not judging; we are simply stating facts. He molested at least five children. Websters defines molesting as: to bother, interfere with, or annoy; to make indecent sexual advances to; to assault sexually. By this definition, fondling someone’s breasts or putting your fingers in their vagina without their consent is molesting. No judgement necessary.This verse works much better anyway:
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42
- But he said he was sorry. He’s repented. –
Okay, and? Lots of criminals say they’re sorry once they’ve been caught. Why is that enough that he should then sidestep legal consequences? Let’s try that same logic with our drunk driver. How would this sound to you: “I’m sorry that I drank so much then got in my car. I didn’t mean to kill your husband when I crashed into him, but I said sorry, remember? I’m a Christian, so that’s all I have to do.” Would you be okay with that? Heck no! If a judge allowed this person to go simply because he said he was sorry, you’d hire a lawyer faster than you could blink. You might still forgive this person, but you’d demand that justice be served and that he pay for his crime.And based on Josh’s recent statement, it doesn’t sound to me that he is truly remorseful. That’s just my opinion, but look for yourself:
Two things stand out to me here. First of all, Josh uses the phrase “continue down the wrong road.” This clearly indicates that he was abusing for a while. We already know this to be true based on the police reports, but I find it interesting that he says at fifteen he knew he was traveling down the wrong road. He knew it was wrong, though many have said he was too young to understand this. Get the point? Secondly, notice whose life he says could be ruined. Not his sisters. His. It was his life only that he was worried about ruining, so he hid his crime.
- The family did the right thing and got treatment for Josh. –
No, the family absolutely did not do the right thing. It was an entire year before Jim Bob (Josh’s dad) reported this, and failure to report is a crime. I actually don’t even believe you can say he reported it. What he did was talk to his friend, who happened to be a police officer, and asked him to give Josh a “stern talk.” Obviously the abuse was still going on a year later if Josh needed to be talked to. The problem is, this police officer never filed a report or opened an investigation. I suppose the fact that he, himself, was a pedophile could have influenced him to help hide this secret because that same police officer is now serving time in prison for child pornography. There was no real counseling either; Josh was simply shipped off to a friends house for a few months with the hopes that swinging a hammer around would cure him of his sinful ways.
This is not the way we deal with sexual abuse. Pedophilia is an illness that needs to be treated by a professional, preferably from a jail cell.
- This is a private matter, bringing it up like this is only harming the victims. –
This ceased to be a private matter ten years ago when, knowing their son was an abuser, the Duggars signed a contract to willingly have every aspect of their lives broadcast to the world. Money was more important than getting help for their daughters and their son. And I don’t believe for a minute that remaining silent about about child sexual abuse helps victims. In fact, silence is what these perpetrators want. Silence allows them to continue abusing. The children need you to speak up. It’s your moral and legal obligation to speak up, not to sweep it under the rug or say it’s not our business. Any time a child is abused it’s YOUR business, so butt in already! Children deserve our protection.
God forgives, I have no doubt about that. God loves Josh Duggar and wants him to live a Godly life, that I am also sure of. But he committed a horrid, awful, painful crime against five children and hid it until the statute of limitation expired. We can’t be okay with that because in doing so you are setting a precedent for future abusers. It’s shameful that Arkansas only allows three years to report. Shameful. There should be NO statute of limitation when it comes to crimes against children because Josh Duggar has proven that it can be hidden for much longer and I’m definitely not okay with that.