Josh Duggar’s Very Bad Year

There seem to be about a billion articles online covering Josh Duggar’s hypocrisy,  and most say the same sorts of things. He had a problem, his parents didn’t give him the help he should have had, and the problem grew and grew until it because a huge part of his life – and that he’s a true hypocrite. Overwhelmingly, responses on the Internet have been negative, even from the people who supported him the first time round (the molestation). The tide has clearly changed. Yet it seems as if his family has not changed. Again, this is only based on Internet reports (which aren’t the most reliable of sources to say the least), but apparently, the family is holding onto its religion more tightly than ever.

I don’t understand this. As far as I can see, there is a clear divide between the fundamental ideas and values in Christianity (love, forgiveness, servanthood etc…) and the practices people follow in the name of that religion. I don’t understand why a family like the Duggars wouldn’t examine these two ideas, especially the idea that the forms they practice might be harmful. Perhaps they should take a long, hard look at HOW they practice their religion. Perhaps they should open their eyes and hearts and brains to other ways of practicing?

I’ve never, ever understood how they rationalize keeping their children so tightly “protected” and then somehow expect them to be able to cope once they leave home (and that means, for the girls at least, when they get married). They are to jump from being controlled in every aspect of their lives to being free (well, the males, anyway), and are expected to set up their families in the same way. This is nonsensical. Children need to be given ever-increasing freedoms (with appropriate support and guidance) until they are on their feet. Banning this, that, and the other thing is NOT a valid way to bring up a child. Sure, children should be protected from great harm, but banning everything until they get married does not teach them how to cope with life.

Josh made a “mistake” when he was 14 years old. That’s how his parents and siblings see it, and that’s how they treated it. They added locks to the girls’ bedroom (and I have wondered ever since I heard that if the locks were on the inside or the outside), stopped allowing little ones to sit on boys’ knees, stopped allowing bigger boys to change diapers (this one makes my head hurt…  is this no longer dangerous once they are married??), and wouldn’t let children go off alone (or with a partner… not entirely sure how that was supposed to work), yet they did NOT help Josh. He received NO counseling from a trained professional, and his conversion experience was assumed to overwrite his sexual proclivities. Nonsense! Utter nonsense!

This kid had NO outlets. Heck, he couldn’t even pass a woman on the street who might have 1/2 inch of cleavage showing without his family saying “Nike” and forcing him to look the other way. Because, you know, cleavage is sinful. Sex, and anything related to it, became the forbidden, hidden, fruit. Yet, his parents freely interacted with each other in a sexual way with no thought of who might be watching (I don’t mean to imply they had intercourse in front of their children, but certainly they kissed and touched, and JimBob was quite happy to mention making babies in front of the children). So, we have a curious child who has no overt way of satisfying his curiosity. A disaster waiting to happen. He goes underground… and his parents are surprised.

No, that family needs NOT to cling to their religion. By all means, they should cling to their faith, but clearly their religious practices are harmful. They need to take a good, hard look at those and make some changes before another one of their kids goes all Joshy.

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Religious Freedom

It’s interesting to me to hear people say that the Pilgrims (that is, the puritans who came to America on the Mayflower, as well as those who followed in other ships I assume) came to this country for religious freedom. As far as I can tell, that was absolutely not the case. The Pilgrims came to this country to establish their own religion, and proved to be as intolerant toward non-pilgrims as had been the British established church toward them. Bear in mind they had already left Britain and had set up their own “colony” in Holland some years earlier. They were not being persecuted in Holland, so I’m a little dubious about the claim that they were fleeing from persecution. At any rate, as soon as they landed on American soil, they set up their own rule of law and had no difficulty in forcing the non-pilgrims living among them to follow those laws.

Fast forward to Rowan County, Kentucky today. We have a clerk who feels her religious freedom is being violated. Why? Because she, as a county clerk, is required to issue marriage licenses to those who qualify. And guess who qualifies now? Right, gay people. SCOTUS has declared that gay people do, after all, have equal rights and that they can, therefore, marry. Clerk Kim Davis disagrees, and in spite of the Supreme Court ruling, and in spite of the oath of office that she took, is refusing to issue ANY marriage licenses to ANY couples in Rowan County.

I think Davis is conflating the religious sacrament of marriage with the legal definition of marriage. Further, I think the issue is clouded by the fact that the state of legal marriage offers legal rights and responsibilities. To try and explain, think of the rite of baptism. This is something most churches practice, and you certainly don’t have to get a license from a county clerk to receive the right. Neither do you enjoy tax benefits, next-of-kin privileges etc… as a result. Why? Because baptism is a sacrament, and it is simply religious. The same can be said of confirmation, bar mitzvahs, and many other religious rites. Not so with marriage. Marriage is a human condition, if you will. Humans have a desire to become close to someone, maybe to have and rear children, but certainly to support one another. I don’t know if marriage exists in every single culture, but I would guess it probably occurs in the vast majority. And it confers upon the partakers certain legal rights. THAT is why SCOTUS opined that gay couples should be able to marry.

Now SCOTUS has not demanded that churches solemnize gay marriage, just as they have not demanded that they conduct weddings for anyone who is legally entitled to become married. There is no forcing here. However, Davis, not “believing in” gay marriage, wishes to force that belief on her constituents (who pay her not-too-shabby salary), thus depriving them of their legal rights. No-one is asking her to conduct the weddings. No-one is asking her to think any differently from the way she does now (probably just as well; I’m not sure it would work). ALL that is being asked of her is to give marriage licenses to those who qualify. Heck, once a couple gets the license, they still have to get a celebrant to conduct the wedding, otherwise the license expires.

So, Mrs. Davis, instead of fasting and praying, how about reading that bible of yours and examining what it says about religion and society, fairness, and doing the job which you have been given to do.

And, Mr Bunning (the judge), please just remove the stay and place the woman in contempt of court. By not doing so, you are de facto approving of what she’s doing.

Things I’m learning from AFR (American Family Radio)

So, I drive a lot and have to find ways to entertain myself in the process. I listen to books and podcasts, tune into NPR, and sometimes, just to feel my jaw drop, to AFR. I’ve learning a lot about being a Christian from this station, and I’m going to list some of those things.

  1. Christians should have intense patriotism, especially (well, I guess, only) American Christians. After all, America is God’s country (Israel comes in at number 2)
  2. If you are a Christian, you must be a Republican. It’s possible that there may be Christian Democrats, but they are deluded.
  3. The most important issues in terms of presidential elections are abortion and gay rights. Any politician advocating either of these is anathema.
  4. Any president or presidential candidate who focuses on healthcare for all, housing for the poor and homeless, improving race relations, and gun control is obviously a communist and should be preached against.
  5. Gun ownership and the right to use such weapons is godly. Anyone who mentions gun control is anti-Christian.
  6. The WORST sin in the world is to be gay.
  7. Women who find themselves pregnant and who are single, poor, or sick should suck it up and have the baby at all costs. AFTER they have the baby, they should not be entitled to any form of welfare (welfare is bad).
  8. Right-to-life, or “pro-life” only pertains to babies. A convicted criminal should forfeit his/her life.
  9. America was formed as a Christian country. All the founding fathers were godly, Christian men. The original laws were all Christian and should stay that way.
  10. It is very important that you invest your wealth in “good” companies. Your stocks etc… should never be invested in companies that are involved in “bad” things.
  11. God wants us to grow our wealth and be careful with our portfolios.
  12. The only good translation of the bible is the King James Version (we all understand Shakespearean English, right?)
  13. There are only two genders: male and female. Christians must not even ponder the idea of XXY, and XXX persons, intersexed persons, girls with XY genes or boys with XX ones. All that is sin. Also in the sin department are those whose physical bodies don’t match their mental states (transgenders). Such people are pedophiles and are only angling to get into bathrooms to ogle children. And gay and lesbian people? Well, they are the sinniest of sinners and need to be cured.
  14. Men are to be the breadwinners and caretakers of the family. Women should stay at home and bring up the children. Any other order (e.g. stay-at-home fathers) will result in your family not being blessed by God.
  15. The press is liberal, universities are liberal, and society persecutes the Christians.

I’m sure there’s a lot more, but that will do for now. One thing that pervades the station is the idea that religious freedom should apply to Christians but not to others. No, I’ve never heard anyone come out and say it like that, but many of them rail against Muslims (who are violent and determined to destroy Christianity, btw) being “allowed” to do things just like them. In other words, what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander.

So, if you have low blood pressure and need to get it spiked up a bit, I recommend SHORT bursts of listening to this station. I promise, you will be amazed at the things you’ll hear.