As you’re probably aware, the Duggards have been in the news as of late, given the recent allegations of innapropriate sexual conduct one of the members has commited against another memeber of the family. With their TLC show, they have become a name in the choir of voices singing for a stronger sense of morality from America. They denounce homosexuality and transgendered people as unrepentent sinners, yet have the audacity to ask for forgivness in the face of the allegations charged against them. Adding to this, they are part of a religious bubble that only reinforces out of date social behaviours and flawed methodology in their faith and sends a dangerous message to their children that “We are above their rules, but they are not above ours.”
As Christians, we are called to serve the people at large. Yet, all we see from them is serving people in the form of morality authorities and proponents of a potentially harmful way of home schooling which will only serve to indoctrinate their kids, rather than inform them. This form of Homeschooling, from the Advanced Training Institute seems to insist that, when handling allegations of sexual misconduct, the matter should be kept inside the home and that if the man is a perpetrator, it was only because the women of the house created an environment with their behaviours and appearance that encouraged him to act the way he did, to which they advocate repentence and prayer. To them, that its the way to solve the issue, to society at large, those in the know would say that this is simply a promotion of rape culture within a group of people everyone has the right to feel safe with, their own families.
In addition, we’re all bound by the same laws in this country, religous beliefs not withstanding. Sexual molestation is still molestation, no matter if the person is a devout christian or not. God has even mentioned that we are to follow the laws of the land we’re in. This brings up the issue of the law enforcement official, who originally answered the call to the case, but let it be after “a stern lecture” with the boy. Later, he was convicted of possessing Child Pornography and is now serving a 56 year sentence. In this case, I can’t make the argument that this was the “old boy network” at it again, but what if it was, like in many other cases similar to this? The mere dismissal of the boys actions against these girls only sends the message to the girls that no one can help them and that they are not valued as members of society. They go on in life acknowledging this attitude and think that it really is “us vs. them” and act appropriately in their daily lives.
This “us vs them” mentality isn’t new to the church. Time and time again, christians are considered people “set apart” and “not of this world”. A lot of Christians I know (myself included) are among those who would attribute to an old adage often (Mistakenly?) attributed by Thomas Jefferson
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock
There’s also the Christianity, that is sometimes almost borderline not Christianity, where the members are locked up in some compound far from civilization, afraid of contamination from the world at large. I would say that the Duggards are somewhere between these two, probably edging towards the latter. This seems in conflict with the message of spreading the gospel of Christ, which you can’t do very well if you’re trying to yell from behind a wall. The times you do emerge from the compound, it’s almost certainly on the offensive, launching a crusade against what abnormality you wish to abolish, which in turn makes you appear aloof and unable to connect with the world around you. Being unable to connect with the world also makes empathy non existent and only reinforces the norms that where in at the time the door to the outside world was sealed.
Long story short, the bubble i mentioned earlier did a great job of preserving the morals and spiritual integrity of the group, but nothing more. It sure didnt protect the young girls from involuntary molestation (to be fair, the outside world isnt much better, however, when these things do happen, they tend not to be played out the way they are being played out now). Christians are not called to be walled inside, but out there on the front lines, doing what they were instructed to be doing in the first place.
What do you think? Share with me in the comments below.