Last week, just hours after molestation charges against Josh Duggar were publicly revealed, an Arkansas judge, Stacey Zimmerman, agreed to expunge the police report detailing their investigation into the crime. That is not how documents of this type are usually handled, but the Duggar's, of 19 Kids and Counting, apparently have enough "juice" to sway the justice system within their community. That only added to the layers of hypocrisy that surround this case. Beginning in 2002 and continuing through 2006, their son was accused of forcible fondling and molestation of five minor girls. While the Duggar's prefer to call his behavior inappropriate touching, that doesn't mitigate the fact that what he did was a felony, not a misdemeanor. It was a crime and despite their expressions of concern, it does nothing to address the trauma his victims faced and will carry throughout their lives. The family chose to handle the matter privately and while they did have a member of the local police department talk to their son, it wasn't until 2006, when staffers of Oprah Winfrey, doing background research for a show, unearthed the true extent of what had gone on. They immediately notified authorities in Arkansas. An investigation was begun, but no charges were filed because it proceeded so slowly the statue of limitations expired before it was concluded. Coincidence? A redacted version of the police report re-surfaced last week, proving yet again, "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." That was not, however, before presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, perhaps forgetting or choosing not to see what the ruckus was about, blamed liberals for the mess the Duggar's found themselves in.
Guilty, Mr. Huckabee. I'm a left leaning liberal who dislikes the Duggar's and everything they stand for. I watched one episode of their show and my eyes saw a family in which the older girls ran the house and were responsible for cooking, cleaning and childcare. They were being raised to be wives and baby makers and their minimal educations ensured thy would have few other choices. As a child, I lived in a community where large families were the norm. I can still hear my mother, responding to a complaint I had made about chores, "Be thankful Mary, you could be June." June was the first child and only girl in a family of nine. She entered a cloistered convent on the day she turned 18. At least June got to make that decision for herself. The Duggar girls' future is ordained by their father who in cult-like fashion picks their husbands. This has led to some of the strangest courting rituals ever caught on camera, and they are all done in the name of the purity that the Duggar's flaunt in such a judgmental and self-righteous way. It's all that stuff about purity that did me in, Mr Huckabee. Funny how that comes back to haunt you. In the end, the incongruity of what was said and what was done is what is causing this house to implode. Having said all that, sir, it's important for you to know I did nothing to encourage the behavior of their son, much less hide what he was doing. His Mama and Daddy did that. So did his handlers and the TV channel that could not have possibly missed the rumors that have surfaced over the years. The sin was terrible but the cover-up was worse.
It's the cover-up that really bothers me. We Americans, at least some of us, have a nasty habit of picking spiritual leaders who have feet of clay. I have a litany of names I could share with you, but that belies the point I want to make. The Duggars, the ministers and priest who fail so publicly do great harm to those still in the diaspora. Good men and women of the Word get caught in the flack of scandal and the taint of guilt impedes the work they strive to do. So, my hope is that they'll carry on and you'll tell them how much they are appreciated. If you have a mind to do so, drop TLC a line and let them know how you feel about Duggars. They obviously want to continue milking the cash cow 19 Kids and Counting has become, but with some encouragement they might be persuaded to do the right thing. You could also let Mr. Huckabee know that religion and politics don't mix. Never have. Never will.
Many of you are already familiar with the writing and work of the philosopher and cognitive scientist, Daniel Dennet. I found this excerpt in the Atlantic Monthly and I thought it fit in nicely with this post
When asked which current behavior will be most unthinkable 100 years hence he replied:
Unsupervised homeschooling. When we come to recognize that willfully misinforming a child—or keeping a child illiterate, innumerate, and uninformed—is as evil as sexual abuse, we will forbid parents to treat their children as possessions whom they may indoctrinate as they please. They may teach their children any religious creed they like, but only if they also teach the uncontroversial facts about the world’s religions so their children can make an informed choice when they grow up.
One Year Ago Today: Two Years Ago Today:Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits Cranberry Almon QRuick Bread
Three Years Ago Today: Four Years Ago Today:Strawberry White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Squares Spiked Pink Lemonade