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.

“Christian Dress”modes

I’m rather behind on some of the news, so it was only a few days ago that I caught up with the whole Josh Duggar thing. I admit, I was surprised, but not for the reasons you might think. Several years ago, I was zooming around the internet and came across some sites where people were openly talking about Josh touching girls (including his sisters), so I have to wonder why it took so long for it to become news. And now, what news it has become! Here’s a guy who used to be a director of Family Research Council (if you don’t know what this group is, it’s been listed in the U.S. as a hate group), and spoke out about what he perceived to be “family” matters. For some reason, one that I cannot understand in spite of trying, this group believes that granting homosexuals the right to marry, and allowing transsexuals the right to identify with the “other” gender (i.e. the gender for which they may not have all the relevant “parts”) will somehow threaten heterosexual couples and women. I can’t quite get my head around that. Does FRC think that if gay marriage is allowed, heterosexual couples will suddenly all divorce? I mean, no-one is talking about banning, or curtailing the rights of heterosexual couples – are they?

Anyway, in the midst of this scandal, and as a result of reading about this family (who, for the record, I believe should be taken off the airwaves), I took a side path into the world of fundamentalist colleges and began reading some of the student handbooks. Some of what I read began to trigger my post-Bible-college PTSD because there were many similarities between them and the Bible College I attended many years ago. Take the dress code, for example (and I should say two things here. First, I have only looked at Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones University, and second, my college was not in the US); it always seems so much stricter for girls than for boys – and far more expensive. PCC, which is in Florida, demands that girls wear, of all things, pantyhose almost every day. This rule could only have been made by men! I’d like them to try wearing pantyhose day in day out in a hot climate. Funny, in my time at bible college, I never once read a verse that indicated women should wear such things! Pantyhose are uncomfortable and unhealthy in hot climates, particularly hot humid weather. Further, they ladder and get caught on things so need to be replaced regularly. That is costly!

The thought of having to wear pantyhose was not, of course, the only thing that made my blood start to heat up. Oh no, there was more: Girls’ clothing cannot show even a hint of cleavage, and must not be “tight” (read: must not indicate that there is a woman’s body beneath). Girls may not have male hairstyles (whatever those are), or wear clothes that are masculine (oh yes, that includes pants). Skirts (which, as we know, are the only godly apparel) must be no higher than the top of the knee – standing OR sitting. Tops must have sleeves because shoulders are incredibly sexy and will cause (yes, I said cause) men to have lustful thoughts leading to rape. Poor men! Completely captive to whatever women wear! One glimpse of a shoulder and they lose their freewill. Rape is inevitable, and of course, you harlot with the bare shoulder, it will be YOUR fault.

Now, before you say “Well, would you rather women ran around naked?”, I’d like to point out that this is not a true/false, yes/no, black/white dichotomy. There are an infinite number of choices we can make regarding our clothing. We aren’t forced to choose between a burka and nakedness! Further, I think that forcing women to wear certain types of clothing because men can’t control themselves is patronizing to both sexes. Why do “Christian” schools focus so much on these kinds of rules and regulations? Are they competing with the Pharisees?

Legalism isn’t dead. I’m pretty sure Jesus would be pretty upset at today’s Christian Pharisees as they “strain at gnats” and ignore the camels.