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An essay donated by Alton C. Thompson

"Digging" the Duggars

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The Duggar family, until lately starring in the television program “19 Kids and Counting,” which has just been “pulled” because of discretions committed by Joshua Duggar, is a (self-proclaimed) “Christian” family. The following information was given in the police report associated with the discretion:

Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses—including forcible fondling—against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob [the family’s patriarch] and Michelle Duggar [his wife] were interviewed by the Springdale [Arkansas] Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James [i.e., “Jim Bob”] told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh—who turned 14-years-old that month—had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.

I have two questions relative to the Duggars; pictures of family members give one the impression that they are happy, “good” people, but:

  1. Was it “Christian” of Joshua Duggar to engage in the molestation of five girls?

  1. Was it “Christian” of patriarch “Jim Bob” to “not alert the authorities” of his son’s indiscretions?—even though one of the girls who had been molested had informed him of this “evil” action.

I deliberately added “evil” to the previous sentence to indicate that Joshua’s actions were not only illegal, but offensive morally. Does Jim Bob believe—and then teach—that to be a “Christian” is to be above conventional morality? Does he believe that one can engage in evil actions, but—being a “Christian,” after all—be “forgiven” for whatever one does by a “loving God”? Does he not realize that in the secular world, if one engages in actions that are illegal, and are then apprehended, one is not simply “forgiven” for one’s crimes; a penalty is imposed on one?

Surely Jim Bob recognizes the fact that he and his family live in a society within which there is “freedom of religion,” but that everyone living in the society is subject to federal, state, and local laws. Just because one may believe that one is governed by “God’s laws”—as Jim Bob seemingly does—does not excuse you, and your family members, from discarding the secular laws that exist.

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The values by which the Duggars (supposedly) live they label as “family,” “traditional,” or “conservative.” What this means in fact is that they (as Josh has himself stated) is that:

  1. Homosexuality is not only wrong, but if homosexual couples are allowed to raise children, the children themselves will be at risk.

  1. Marriage equality is wrong. That is, marriage is to be restricted to one woman and one man.

  1. Islam is an evil religion because it allows the mistreatment of women.

  1. A value in having, and then raising, children is that it helps one “look beyond oneself” (except in the case of gay parents!).

Evidently the above “principles” are among those that govern the life of a “Christian”—as the Duggars perceive “Christian,” at any rate.

I must have misread the gospels in my Bible, for I have been assuming all along that one of the primary values propounded in them was to “look beyond oneself,” true, but to not restrict oneself, in that “looking beyond,” to one’s immediate family. When one thinks of the “neighbor” in the “love thy neighbor” command, the tacit assumption is that that person(s) is not a member of one’s family—a point that becomes “crystal clear” in the famous Good Samaritan parable.

In addition, even if one does (unlike the Duggars?) recognize an obligation to love the neighbor, does that mean that one must restrict one’s attention to the here-and-now? The Duggars obviously limit their perspective to the here-and-now, and thereby give no attention to the command to care for “creation.” Their focus seems to be so thoroughly on the here-and-now that they are either unable, or unwilling, to recognize that they are contributing to the “population problem”—the fact that a growing world population, combined with a high per-capita use (directly and indirectly) of fossil fuels is putting our continued existence as a species at risk.

Last year the net worth of Jim Bob and his wife was estimated to be $3.5 million! Now if I had that level of (monetary) worth, I would be helping a wheelchair-bound friend—who is an amputee with neuropathy, and diabetes—receive the best care possible, would do all I could for the homeless in my urban area, etc. Doing such things is what I perceive as “Christian”—a point of view that the Duggars evidently do not share. My title may suggest otherwise, but I, for one, do not “dig” the Duggars! It appears, though, that they may have dug a grave for themselves!

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Originally posted: 2015-MAY-24
Last updated 2015-MAY-24
Alton C. Thompson
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