I originally wasn’t going to write any more about the Duggars, but so much information has come out since yesterday, that I felt some more words needed to be said on this subject.
First of all, this is place where Josh Duggar supposed received his “counseling”:
As part of his “rehabilitation,” Josh did renovations here, but received no actual “counseling.” In the police record, this facility is referred to as “Old VA Hospital.” Also notice the connection between other religious right players; Hobby Lobby donated the facilitated to Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was part of Gothard’s “Cities of Character” initiative. I mentioned yesterday that Gothard himself is a sexual predator, so sending Josh to work for this man in the hopes of mending his ways is laughable in more ways than one:
Earlier today, TLC declared that the Duggars’ TV show, “19 Kids and Counting” was “on indefinite hiatus”:
Yesterday, Mama June of the late “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” threatened to sue TLC if they didn’t take “19 Kids and Counting” off the air, saying that it was unfair that her show was canceled when her sex offender boyfriend was never shown on air, while the Duggars concealed the fact that their eldest son had molested four of their daughters and an unrelated girl. Before the news that the show had been cancelled was made known, I had hoped that June would sue, not because I think she has any business getting up on her moral high horse, but because she’s right about the hypocrisy in how the two situations were handled and how they have been perceived by the media.
If you look at the comments section for the article on the Duggar scandal (which I wouldn’t recommend, by the way), you will see many, many comments defending the Duggars, saying that Josh was “just a kid” when the molestation occurred, that the “liberal media” is trying to get him, that the victims “got over” the abuse, etc. While I think most people are ready to wash their hands of this family, the Duggars do have a hardcore following among fellow fundamentalists who will defend anything they do, including incest and molestation. June didn’t receive any knee-jerk defenses during her scandal last year. Why the difference?
I think that it was easy for people to vilify Mama June because she’s fits the stereotype of “white trash”: obese, her kids all have different fathers, one daughter got pregnant at seventeen, thick Southern accent, a criminal record, used to live in a rickety trailer by the train tracks, etc. Of course “someone like that” would start dating a sex offender. But surely the wholesome Duggars would never hide sex abuse, right? They’re wholesome Christians who homeschool, don’t watch TV, dress modestly, and court. Surely Josh Duggar with his attractive young family and strong “Christian testimony” couldn’t have molested his sisters. Only “those kinds of people” do that. The problem is that, Josh is one of “those kinds of people.” He admitted it. A lot of Duggar defenders seem to be operating under the delusion that abuse only happens to the “wrong kind of people” when in reality it happens in every demographic group, including conservative homeschooling Christians. Honestly, I’m starting to think that if Mama June had played the “Jesus card” more aggressively, she could have gotten her show a reprieve.
Unlike the “Honey Boo Boo” scandal, TLC knew about Josh Duggar’s abuse investigation from the beginning, but decided to market the Duggars as a wholesome Christian family for more than a decade anyway. This, in and of itself, is a scandal and needs to be investigated. It also appears like the Arkansas “good old boys” network helped protect Josh from having to deal with the full repercussions of his actions (Mike Huckabee has publicly stated his support for Josh). Once again, the message is that “good white Christians” can be trusted to handle their affairs without police or state intervention, while everyone else gets the book thrown at them. This hypocrisy is particularly glaring, given how white evangelicals tend to be the demographic that favors the most punitive of punishments, from capital punishment to mandatory sentencing for low-level drug offenses, but the minute one of their own does something terrible, then they start bringing out the excuses and playing the “Jesus card” (so much for “personal responsibility”).
It’s worth mentioning that the Duggar family have been aggressive culture warriors, and have been very vocal about their belief that LGBT people are a menace to the community. For example, last year Michelle Duggar recorded transphobic robo-calls to defeat an anti-discrimination bill that would protect LGBT people in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and until his spectacular fall, Josh Duggar was campaigning against same-sex marriage. The Duggars would have us believe that LGBT people are threatening America’s families, while they ignored the moral rot in their own family. Instead of scaring us with fake stories about rapists pretending to be trans to get into women’s bathrooms, the Duggars need to get their own house in order, including getting some help for the real victims in this case: the Duggar daughters.