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. [Read more…]

As if the light in the room was slowly being extinguished

Teresa MacBain is finding the reporting on Josh Duggar harrowing; it resonates with her experience as a pastor.

I couldn’t shake the deep sorrow that I felt (and feel) for his victims, and the outrage at the way some Christians are ignoring the victims and excusing Duggar’s behavior. Five precious children fell victim to abuse, yet very few are speaking up for them. This is why I can’t remain silent.

It’s really quite astonishing how thoroughly the victims are being ignored and indeed negated by the Christian fans of the Duggars.

Teresa has one pastoral experience burned into her memory: [Read more…]

Guest post: Everyone apparently thinks it’s cute and quaint and wholesome

Originally a comment by Anna Y on The good Christian family aura.

That last quote is so mind-bogglingly blind I just can’t find the words…

Yes, Josh Duggar abused his sisters (and, according to other sources, also other girl(s) he wasn’t related to). This came to light just now and all of internet is in an uproar. The fact that the entire 19-and-counting show is basically a documentary about the non-stop, 24-7 abuse of every one of those 19 kids apparently doesn’t seem to penetrate anyone’s consciousness. No, I’m not implying that all 19 kids are/were being diddled — there are other kinds of abuse. Being stuck in a panopticon (as a bonus, this particular one is even televised) and raised to conform with a warped standard of Godliness(tm) that is completely unrelated (and mostly contrary) to what’s known about how a young individual of species Homo Sapiens grows and develops (both physically and mentally) is abuse.

I’m not going to pull a Dawkins and rank which abuse is worse here, but I’m willing to bet this kind is pretty horrific too. I guess some people are naturally creeped out by how chipper and perky the Duggar kids are, but apparently no one (or not enough people, not vocally enough) is asking what’s being done to them to make them act this way — after all, that’s not how normal kids normally act.

From infancy they are being put into a virtual pressure-cooker where they are “trained” not only to do as they are told but to do it with a smile and their compliance is evaluated through constant surveillance from both parents and siblings. This family’s response to any “sinful” thoughts and actions as well as a recipe for keeping those at bay is hard work and ignorance and prayer (and all manner of Christian ideological indoctrination that doesn’t quite fit under the label of prayer). It’s basically a police state in miniature.

If some scientists decided to take some babies and experiment on them to see if they could create a “successful” 1984 scenario, they would be branded as monsters. But when it’s parents who are birthing themselves some babies to turn into their idea of model Christians everyone apparently thinks it’s cute and quaint and wholesome and there’s even a TV show about it. Wow.

Whited sepulcher

More stupid shit from someone whose thinking has been completely warped and emptied-out by years upon decades of Christian fanaticism. This someone is called Michael Brown (yes there’s an irony) and he shares his stupid shit with us via the Christian Post.

I have no desire to pile on with more comments about Josh Duggar, who appears to be a very serious and committed Christian who has made no excuses for the sins of his youth and who deeply desires to make a positive impact for the Lord in the years ahead. I simply want to share some redemptive thoughts, supplementing some of the excellent statements made by others, including former governor Mike Huckabee and Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore.

It’s not about “sins.” That’s warped. It warps the conversation and the thinking away from the harm done to human beings to focus instead on putative crimes against God. Notice that Brown doesn’t even mention harm done to human beings in that opening. He doesn’t get to it after that, either – he goes right on ignoring it to talk about other things: things that are less important or illusory or both. His thinking is warped and impoverished by his religious fanaticism. That’s one of the hallmarks of religious fanaticism: it focuses on completely irrelevant and imaginary issues at the expense of real issues that affect real humans. [Read more…]

“If abused was not at fault”

A year ago Recovering Grace took an extensive look at the kind of “teaching” the Duggar children had about sexual abuse of children within a family. It’s enough to make your hair stand on end so hard it dances. “There is no victim,” the title states dryly.

Today, Recovering Grace looks at past Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) materials that address the topics of sexual abuse, child molestation within a nuclear family, and domestic violence. This is not presented as an exhaustive survey, but is the full range of printed Institute material on these topics thatRecovering Grace is aware of and has in our current library. We desire to present an accurate representation of Institute materials on these topics, so please share with us any materials we may have missed.

This is a year ago, so it wasn’t about Josh Duggar in particular. I recommend reading and studying the whole thing; it’s horrific.


The husband in that scenario is doing his wife a favor by being hostile to her. The more horrible you are to people, the more of a favor you’re doing them.

[Read more…]

The good Christian family aura

From Libby Anne’s first post on the Duggar mess: some important points.

8. The good Christian family aura can hide underlying problems. If I had a dollar for every time someone has praised the Duggars for being a perfect example of a good Christian family, I’d be rich. Sweet smiles and matching clothes can cover up a lot and make people assume that things are more perfect than they are. I know what it’s like to force a smile for family pictures people later ooo and ahh over, even as I’m crying inside. We need to remember that.

I’ve experienced that deception the few times I’ve taken a brief look at that show. On the one hand they make my flesh crawl, but on the other hand I keep thinking: “They do look very cheerful and happy and perky.” The sweet smiles are annoyingly effective. [Read more…]

Playing doctor

I heard about this on Facebook this morning via Vyckie; now RawStory is reporting on it.

Responding to criticism of the Christian “Quiverfull” movement, the wife of a Texas pastor who promotes the “be fruitful, and multiply” philosophy, took to Facebook to explain that admitted child-molester Josh Duggar was “playing doctor” as a teen and should be “left alone to live a good life.”

The conservative fundamentalist Quiverfull movement sees children as a blessing from God and promotes constant procreation, eschewing all forms of birth control.

In her rant on Facebook, Carrie Hurd, wife of Heritage Covenant Church Pastor Patrick Hurd, blasted Quiverfull critic Vyckie Garrison for being critical of Duggar, and Christians in general.

[Read more…]

An example of something that’s wholesome and wonderful

Mike Huckabee on Josh Duggar and the Duggar family:

Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one’s judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility. [Read more…]

The Family Research Council

The SPLC has a dossier on the Family Research Council, former employers of Josh Duggar.

The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

The SPLC provides a selection of quotations.

“[H]omosexual activists vehemently reject the evidence which suggests that homosexual men … are … relative to their numbers, more likely to engage in such actions [childhood sexual abuse] than are heterosexual men.”
– Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at FRC, on why the Boy Scouts should not allow LGBT Scouts or leaders, FRC blog, February 1, 2013. [Read more…]