Guest post: The tribal apologetics

Guest post by Bruce Gorton.

There are relatively few things which anger me more than child abuse.

When I read about Josh Duggar’s abuse of his own sisters, my blood ran cold.

When I read Christians defending it, by saying he was “playing doctor” with his sisters, my blood ran colder.

When I read Christians commenting about how atheists are full of hate, and have nothing but spite for Christians in response to it, my blood stopped running.

It had turned to ice.

Let me be clear here, I am not disgusted because Josh Duggar is a Christian; I am disgusted because he molested his own sisters.

And fourteen is old enough to know better.

I am disgusted because of the tribal apologetics trying to defend his actions at the expense of his sisters.

And they are tribal apologetics, had Josh been named Mohammed there would be no such talk of playing “doctor.”

There is a deep double standard there, wherein it suddenly becomes something other than child abuse the second it becomes your tribe.

That is the thing I most despise about conservatives in general – the idea that the evils of others are harmless in ourselves.

That is why I cannot side with people who try to minimise sexual harassment within atheism, why I cannot side with the US on torture, why I could not side with Richard Dawkins’ statements on pedophilia, why I consider myself neither multi nor mono-cultural.

I am anti-culture, because I do not believe that tribal allegiance matters one whit, what matters is not my culture or even my ideas, but our humanity.

There are some things we should hate, and Christians who would sacrifice their own children to their cultural identity are squarely in that bracket.

And I do not say this because I am an atheist; I say this because I was abused by one of my siblings growing up.

It was not sexual abuse, it is true, it was a sustained campaign of violence and intimidation.

But it was abuse, and I will not excuse those who look the other way because they want to feel forgiving of the pains inflicted on others.


  1. kellym says

    Yes, I’m just as disgusted by the Christians defending child molester, Josh Duggar, and his parents who covered up his crimes and blamed the victims, as I am by atheists who defend Richard Dawkins’ statements on “mild pedophilia”, or by Atheist Ireland’s Michael Nugent, who has indicated that protecting the reputation of a likely rapist is more important than protecting potential rape victims.

  2. Onamission5 says


    And I have seen whiffs of similar Dawk/Nuge apologetics from drive-by commenters on LJF, hinting that maybe, just maybe the victims here are more culpable than they are letting on, and can’t we entertain that thought exercise for just a minute, please, what if, what if, what if it was consensual, what if it’s not that big of a deal to the victims after all. It’s fucking disgusting no matter what camp it comes from. Agreed.

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    It’s interesting that, in all the discussion and coverage (and apologetics) surrounding Josh Duggar’s admitted molestation of his younger sisters, we hear *nothing whatsoever* about the effects of the molestation on his victims. It’s as if the statement that “They forgave him” means no one needs to give them a second thought. They aren’t even referred to as “victims”! (Except for here, of course)

    They had no choice but to “forgive” him – they had all been taught early (and violently) that obedience without question was their only priority. So when their brutal parents ordered them to “forgive” their sick gropey brother, they did. Publicly. With a plastic smile. Because that’s what they’d been trained to do. They had no choice but to endure their beloved brother’s groping; once it came out, they had no choice but to forgive him. They fully understood they had no right to expect any justice at all – that was the province of “god”, after all – so they had no voice with which to demand anything. It was their duty to forgive him just as it was their duty to silently endure his abuse. If they’d spoken up, THEY would’ve been punished. For all we know, they DID tell their parents and were punished into silence – that’s unfortunately too common within families, especially too-big families where the children are raising their younger siblings because their narcissistic parents are too selfish to be bothered, especially screamingly dysfunctional cult-religion families.

    And keep in mind – someone(s) groomed Josh by molesting him. That’s another reason to squash this unfortunate little revelation and hush it up/lock it down as quickly and completely as possible. There are other adults involved, perhaps within the family, almost certainly within their inbred little isolated church, definitely local.

  4. laekvk says

    Yeah the fact that that mindless shitstain only talked about how these events affected him means that entire culture should be wiped out for its evil worthlessness. They simply are too narcissistic to understand that feeeeeeeemales are in fact, human.

  5. brucegorton says

    Blanche Quizno

    That is another thing that bugs me – how abuse can become accepted as “normal” to the point that people don’t even think to complain about it.

    It is not simply a matter of being intimidated into silence, or punished but brought up to almost expect and accept it.

  6. says

    Those are knee jerk reactions from jerks who live on their knees, gainsaying by losers. Those people will say anything no matter how contradictory because they know those who agree with them will never questions or fact check them. And this is why they insist in raising kids in ignorance, to ensure an ever increasing number of ignorant, unquestioning rubes.

    They truly are the boko haram and ISIS of the US. They oppose enlightment, they advocate violence against those who oppose them, and they rationalize rape and forced marriage.

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