Or, how the response to the latest Josh Duggar scandal reveals an even deeper level of hypocrisy on the part of many conservative pundits.
Over the past several days, reality star and conservative advocate Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” has suffered yet another blow to his public image when the public exposure of the Adultery Aid website AshleyMadison.com revealed that Duggar had used the service to cheat on his wife, Anna. Duggar then came out to admit that not only had he engaged in numerous affairs with women who were not his wife, but he also had an internet porn addiction.
The ousting of AshleyMadison users has brought its fair share of truly awful results. For instance, the hack didn’t just reveal a bunch of horndog American husbands who can’t stay loyal to their spouses, it also revealed the identities of several gay users who live in countries where non-straight activity is illegal.
And yet, one cannot help but understand the absolute glee with which the information about Josh Duggar was received. We are, after all, talking about a man who, along with his family, actively campaigned against LGBTQIA rights in the name of “protecting marriage and children.” Josh, his father Jim Bob, and his mother Michelle in particular have made some pretty egregious statements in the name of keeping marriage equality from becoming a reality, letting trans people go to the bathroom, and restricting access to much-needed healthcare for queer individuals and women all in the name of “family values”, “protecting children”, and “preserving marriage.”
Not only did they actively promote their conservative values on their hit TLC reality show, but they were politically connected. Jim Bob Duggar served in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where his main platforms involved restricting reproductive health and, you guessed it, LGBT rights. The Duggars were active and vocal supporters for Republican Presidential Candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, calling the latter, ““a defender of traditional marriage, protecting the core of our families.”
Michelle Duggar recorded a phone message for the people of Arkansas protesting a law that would repeal discriminatory policies toward trans individuals, because apparently: “We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child.”
The family went so far as to launch a nationwide tour called “Faith, Freedom, Family” in which they actively campaigned for candidates who opposed socially progressive policies regarding rights for women and LGBTQIA individuals.
Josh personally once served as the Executive Director of the lobbying arm for the conservative group the Family Research Council, often tweeting about how he was proud to “March for Marriage” [really, against marriage, but same-sex marriage], give speeches decrying the advance of LGBTQIA rights, and campaign to keep discriminatory laws in play. The Family Research Council, by the way, is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Josh also spoke at rallies in support of noted anti-gay candidate Rick Santorum, who has made statements like, “But what I can say is that the state is not doing a service to the child and to society by not putting that child in a home where there is a mother and a father.”
With the new revelations about his two AshleyMadison accounts, Josh Duggar is shown to be, in his own words, “The Biggest Hypocrite.”
Here’s the thing though: Josh Duggar molested five little girls, four of them his little sisters. This was revealed about four months ago. He admitted it. His family trotted out two of the daughters he molested to make excuses for him to Megyn Kelly. Josh at the time of the news breaking, resigned from the Family Research Council, spoke of “mistakes” he’d made as a young man, and asked people to pray for him.
And at the time, there were people rushing to his defense. Most notably, Mike Huckabee came out with this statement:
“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. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst…”
It goes on with typical moralizing and then plenty of Jesus talk about how the media is just out to get good Christians. As was revealed later on, the family did not cooperate with the authorities at all—- they waited for the statute of limitations to run out, were purposely uncooperative with the CPS by refusing to let them interview Josh, and were only brought in once someone leaked the information to the authorities. Years later. They consulted one friend— who was later sentenced to fifty years in prison on charges of owning child pornography.
This lengthy statement from Huckabee (of which the above quote is only a portion) came out nearly immediately after the new hit. Yet since the Ashley Madison scandal, Huckabee has been decidedly mum on the subject of the “friend” he “stands by”.
Meanwhile, over at the Family Research Council…
Well, when the news about Josh Duggar molesting his sisters broke and he voluntarily resigned, their statement was:
““Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years. Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.”
By that point, he’d resigned. He’s been gone from their organization for months now. But on Thursday, FRC President Tony Perkins had this to say about the latest revelations:
“Last night we learned from online reports about allegations concerning Josh Duggar and then read his confession today. We are grieved by Josh’s conduct and the devastating impact of his pornography addiction and marital unfaithfulness. Our hearts hurt for his family, and all those affected by Josh’s actions. His deceitful behavior harms his family, his friends, his former coworkers, and the cause he has publicly espoused. Those of us who advocate for family values in the public square are held to a higher standard, and Josh’s failures serve as a painful reminder of the destructive effects of not living with integrity. We are praying for the family.”
In the statement over the child molestation, the FRC wouldn’t even say what he did. They were just “events” that “occurred within his teenage years” that “make it difficult for him to be effective” at work. Like molesting your sisters is the equivalent of a bad cold.
Now news comes that he’s cheated on his wife, and it’s “deceitful behavior”, “failures”, and “harms everyone.” When it came to child molestation, they “prayed for everyone involved”. Now they’re just praying for the family.
Indeed, Josh’s own statements echo this sort of rhetoric. When the molestation charges broke, he spoke of “wrongdoing” and “mistakes” that were in the past. Now he’s “the biggest hypocrite ever.”
One thing you have to hand to Mr. Duggar, his latest statement does perfectly target all the maddening, sick irony that comes with a “family values” proponent turning out to have two subscriptions to an infidelity service.
“The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failures. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”
Which is… totally blunt and apt for the public statement for someone who is, indeed, a paragon of hypocrisy in terms of caring about the sanctity of marriage.
Except when, you know, you bring up the point about this guy also being a confessed child molester.
When the child molestation came up, all the pundits and supporters came out speaking about the media “sensationalizing” “mistakes” and “events that occurred” during Duggar’s teenage years. We had Fox News frame it as the evil liberal media trying to persecute a kid who made some mistakes in order to further their political agenda. Oh, sure, Duggar molested five girls, but that was when he was fourteen and he feels bad and told Jesus he was sorry, so pray for him. These are just “events” that “occurred” during his teenage years.
But he cheats on his wife and it’s all “deceitful actions”, “failures”, “immorality” and the heights of hypocrisy.
By the way, what did Jesus have to say about hypocrisy again?
Well, according to Matthew 23, Jesus basically thought hypocrites were the literal worst. So Josh Duggar, admitted Jesus Freak, is saying that by his own standards, he’s the worst of the worst. “The Worst hypocrite ever”. Worse than the Pharisees. As in the guys who literally called for Jesus to be crucified.
But here’s what gets me: Josh is not the only worst of the worst. His former supporters, the one who have just now thrown him under the bus when they learned he cheated on his wife, are right there along with him.
They were willing to downplay and excuse and defend him when he came out as a child molester. Even after that of all things came out, they all tried to cover for him.
Indeed, his parents knew what he’d done for years. They kept their son, who molested four of their daughters, in the same house as his victims. Apparently “locking the door” and making him do construction work for a couple of months was enough.
So let me get this straight, it’s evil to allow trans people (who have never hurt any children) to go to the bathroom, because we must protect the children. But allowing a confessed child molester in the same house as his victims is a-ok because he said sorry to Jesus.
But here’s the thing, at least Jim Bob and Michelle, despite citing their “heartbreak”, aren’t throwing Josh under the bus. But now that word has gotten out about Josh cheating on his wife, Mike Huckabee has no wordy supportive facebook posts to offer him and the Family Research Council has decided he’s a deceitful failure.
Because of the infidelity and not, you know, the child molesting.
Let’s make this clear: infidelity is an utter betrayal of trust, a dagger in the heart of someone who has given themselves to you. It’s a terrible, awful, foul thing to do. It can not only be an emotional/psychological betrayal, but it can also be downright dangerous in an age where STIs are so common.
But you know what’s even worse than being a cheating piece of shit?
Being a child molester!
When the story broke about Josh and “the events that occurred during his teenage years” last May, Gawker posted some shocking home school materials from the Advanced Training Institute (which is not very advanced at all), the schooling materials created by the ministry of Bill Gothard, which the Duggars used.
The material on sexual abuse had a section on IF the victim is not at fault. And it told people to make the victim and abuser reconcile, then gave accounts about how abusers are “tempted” into this behavior by diaper changes and five year old girls in dresses “not behaving properly in them.”
Putting that into the context of a bunch of people who are eager to downplay child molestation, but utterly throw the molester under the bus for infidelity… Well, it’s interesting, isn’t it?
Josh Duggar’s [former] supporters have proven one thing in all of this: “protecting the safety and innocence of children” is only a priority when it comes to making sure it’s still legal to evict gay people from their homes for being gay. But when it comes to “good Christians” like Josh Duggar, sneaking into the bedrooms of little girls and groping their genitals while they sleep isn’t nearly as bad as having two Ashley Madison accounts.
THIS was the breaking point for Josh’s former supporters. I’m sorry, but the breaking point should have come three months ago, with the child molestation charges. It did not. As long as they could make excuses for it — “Oh! It was so long ago! He’s atoned and living a moral life now! You liberals are just using this to further your own agenda!— even groping eight year old girls was fine. Just an adolescent mistake. Cheating on your wife now and making the pundits look stupid, well, now you’re a deceitful failure.
And it’s true, Josh Duggar is a hypocrite and a deceitful failure who has irreparably harmed the lives of his family. He’s vile. He’s vile for his infidelity, his hypocrisy, his bigotry, and his child molesting. He was vile before he ever got an Ashley Madison account. Or two.
But it was the Ashley Madison accounts that made it impossible to justify their defense on the grounds that “he truly repented and is now a good Christian man who lives a moral life!” rhetoric. Josh has now become an inconvenient child molester. So they’re going to be a bit harsher on him this time.
His supporters— the FRC, his parents, Huckabee, and others— they are hypocrites too. They are hypocrites for never really caring about the safety of children at all. While decrying all people of differing orientations as threats to children to justify discriminatory policies, they also protected, defended, and downplayed genuine predatory behavior towards children. And, as their own favorite homeschooling materials reveal, they are all too ready to blame children for their own abuse.
Mike Huckabee said about the first Josh scandal: “In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”
Where is that support now, Huckabee? Also, where was all your “we must stop these threats to CHILDREN!” rhetoric last May?
None of these people are thinking of the children. They have been doing what they accused the people who took Josh to task for his predatory behavior of doing. They used the abuse of young girls to try and spin it into, “Look at what good Christians will do to smear this repentant man who just made some mistakes!” And when they couldn’t do that anymore, they’re ready to actually admit that yeah, maybe the child molester they’d been defending committed vile acts against his family. These are the same people that trotted out two of Josh’s victims to defend their molester, revealing their names and putting them in the public eye to be interviewed on a top-rated national News program, all while talking about how we were insensitive to the victims.
After years of covering for a child molester and teaching that the victim of abuse is usually at fault and that five year old girls should not “tempt” their brothers.
There is no consistency in the supposed “higher standards” these people espouse except to push their own agenda. An agenda that is actually guilty of endangering kids. At least nineteen kids and counting.
Image courtesy of TLC
I’m a freelance writer and graduate student who loves all things nerdy!