Why People Are Angry About Joshgate 2.0

Earlier today, I was on the Wartburg Watch site, reading the comments for a post on the fallout from Joshgate 2.0:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/08/19/another-duggar-disaster-josh-tantalized-by-forbidden-fruit/

The Wartburg Watch takes a critical look at the trends in evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism, particularly in the Southern Baptist world. Nonetheless, many of the commenters were complaining about how Josh Duggar was being unfairly demonized for having an Ashley Madison account, when there are liberals out there doing the same thing, without anyone complaining about it. While I’m sure there are people all across the political spectrum cheating on their significant others, there’s a very good reason why Josh Duggar in particular is being raked across the proverbial coals.

Before Josh Duggar’s first spectacular fall from grace back in April, he was the public face of the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group that is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for its defamatory speech against LGBT people:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council

Unsurprisingly, young Mr. Duggar was no slouch in the anti-gay rhetoric, calling gay marriage a “threat” to the institution of heterosexual marriage, “Christian values,” and freedom of speech. He also claimed that gay activists were planning to “imprison” Christians, if Christians weren’t allowed to discriminate against LGBT people:

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/5-times-ashley-madison-user-josh-duggar-attacked-gay-marriage-threat-families

Last year, Michelle Duggar earned the wrath of transgender activists when she recorded some robo-calls against a proposed anti-discrimination, in which she claimed that trans women were actually male rapists who wanted to claim trans status so they could have access to women’s rest rooms and changing rooms:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/18/michelle-duggar-anti-discrimination-proposal_n_5689840.html

Of course, we now know that all this time, Michelle Duggar had a real sexual predator in her own home, namely Josh Duggar, who molested four of his sisters, including a five year old, when he was a teenager. Odd that Mrs. Duggar would accuse other people of being rapists and pedophiles, when she wouldn’t even protect her own prepubescent daughters from being victimized in their own home.

While it would be tempting to just dismiss the Duggars as a bunch of washed up C-list celebrities, the fact is that, until Joshgate 1.0 broke, they were considered to be conservative celebrities. “Mainstream conservatives” like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, et. al were eager to take selfies with Josh Duggar. Many non-fundamentalist, “mainstream Christians” were willing to overlook the extreme ideology that the Duggars advocated, simply pleased to see “wholesome Christians” on television. For reasons that remain unclear to me, many conservatives continued to support the Duggars after the molestation scandal, but ran for the hill after the Ashley Madison revelations. This tells me that the Duggars’ odious beliefs about sex, gender, and sexuality are quite common and even welcomed among a large segment of the political establishment.

When people like the Duggar family make careers out of demonizing and de-humanizing LGBT people, their relationships, and their families as threats to the basis of civilization itself, it is completely justified to not just knock them off their pedestals but to expose their hypocrisy and misbehavior. There are real-world consequences when you employ homophobic rhetoric: LGBT youth being shunned or thrown out on the street, driving despairing LGBT individuals to suicide, discrimination on the basis of sexuality, “corrective rape,” physical abuse, etc. For the most part, the only people who are kicking LGBT kids out their homes or claiming that families headed by gay parents are illegitimate are religious conservatives and members of the religious right, so the ire on this particular issue wouldn’t be the same if some liberal figure had been discovered to have an Ashley Madison account. If someone like Josh Duggar, who has publicly claimed that LGBT people are responsible for all, if not most of society’s ills, is shown up to be a predator and a hypocrite of the highest order, not only should he be exposed, but ridiculed. At the end of the day, it’s the Josh Duggars of the world who are ruining society, not LGBT people and their allies and families.

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