On Faith and the Duggars…

I have to admit that I have strangely mixed emotions after seeing Megyn Kelly’s interview.

I confess, there was a time when I watched 19 Kids and Counting pretty faithfully, pardon the pun.  In fact, as a younger teen, I first saw the family in a special (I forget the name) about them building their house.  I think they had 17 kids at the time, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, I remember being completely fascinated.  I’m sort of someone who watches home improvement shows and watching a family build their own house was amazing; the size of the family and Michelle and Jim Bob’s parenting style was also oddly interesting.  I wasn’t offended by their Faith, as it mirrored ideals I pretty much grew up around, if taken to a bit of an extreme, and they seemed genuinely interested in just making a well thought out home for their very organized family.

Over the years, I caught various other Duggar specials and watched episodes of their TV show when they happened to be on.  At one point, I ended up watching a TLC chain reaction (that’s a throwback term to old SciFi channel days) of 19 Kids and Counting.  It covered the period of their lives when their daughter, Josie, was born.  It was very heart wrenching and I felt deeply for their family and their suffering.  I started watching TLC and followed the show pretty much up to Josh Duggar’s wedding.  It was at that point that I came across an article talking about Josh Duggar’s views on homosexuality and his commitment to actually enforcing his own beliefs on others.  To say that I was disappointed is an understatement.

In a very real sense, watching the Duggar clan document their lives, heavily edited as it was, struck me as brave and their commitment to God gave me pause to consider my own understanding of Faith.  Watching the show, I often found myself in fundamental agreement with the family’s core values; but the extreme to which they practiced what, to my mind, is human created mythology, just put me off.  My own Faith in God is directly linked to Jesus Christ and his expressed ministries and practices.  I feel the Old Testament to be a very human attempt to understand the origin of the Universe.  Until a physicists proves otherwise, I believe that the Big Bang was basically God snapping His fingers.  I just feel His presence in the very core of my being and I know He’s there.  I also believe that He somehow, and I have no idea how and I don’t especially worry about it, made real His choice to experience life as a human being; He did this through Jesus Christ.  I also believe that to the very center of my being.  I just do.

There, for me, the connection to classical Christianity ends.  That we can exist, in this modern day, according to what is CLEARLY a set of allegorical instructions, so insanely literally is mind blowing.  While I absolutely believe the parts of the Bible quoting God and Jesus, I do so only because I also believe that the old farts doing the translations were too afraid to mess with “direct” quotes.  The reality is that the Bible has been written and rewritten many times throughout our history and the most common, King James’ version, is one of the most blatant.  I am also highly skeptical of the Bible’s construction, meaning the exclusion of some very seriously thoughtful apocrypha.  It makes absolutely no sense to govern our interactions based on mythology; it has it’s place in the ritual of religion, however it has no place in execution of law or application to societal “norms”.  I find the very idea just ludicrous.

All of that being said, it’s not something I just go around saying.  Faith is a very personal thing and discussing it, to my mind, is really only productive in certain settings or situations.  I also find it less than productive to consistently challenge, or become arrogant in the company of, those who fundamentally share my beliefs.  Since I don’t have any concrete answers, myself, I don’t see the need in poking fun at others over something so subjective, so completely dependent on individual interpretation, as Faith.  It just makes no sense.

I’m sure it’s not hard, now, to see why I would find the Duggar family so fascinating.  Until I realized that they practice an aggressive aspect of Christianity, I thought they were truly decent people who just wanted to express their understanding of God through their daily example.  That’s a serious difference, to me.  Knowing they support radical “family” groups who actively attack American families just sickens me.  Condemning people for a biological property and making slanderous robo-calls to create transgender hysteria is subhuman.  It flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus Christ and I find it insanely offensive.  No, finding out the Duggar’s political side put me off and put them in my “meh” mental folder.

When the news broke of Josh Duggar’s past, I was both shocked and somehow sadly unsurprised.  Truthfully, it was sort of a matter of statistics.  Also statistically speaking, I would be very surprised if at least one of the kids were not in the closet; it’s a thought I find rather depressing.  Anyway, the one thing the news did do was instantly put Josh Duggar in to the scumbag category for me.  It’s amplified by the fact that the man took on a position of moral leadership in the community.  To stand up and condemn other people for the exact type of behaviour he, himself, committed strikes every single nerve I have.  He, and his parents, have made a serious living on lecturing about what’s right and wrong and doing their best to interfere with how other people live.  All the while, they preach and lecture on living by example and how honest they are about who they are and their testaments.  All the while, having gone through the reality that most child molestation is committed by heterosexual males known to the victim and/or the victim’s family, they preached that homosexuals and transgender people are the ones to watch and the threats to our children.

Josh Duggar exhibited classic signs of a serial sexual predator.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not stupid and I’m hardly a prude.  I get that kids are curious and they experiment.  But Josh, as his parents told Megyn Kelly, knew that what he did was wrong and confessed.  And then he did it again.  That’s a disturbing pattern and it’s sadly seen all the damn time.

I’m not saying that Josh Duggar is a pedophile.  I don’t believe that, at all.  What I do say is that he is a hypocrite and a complete failure as any type of moral example.  Instead of using his knowledge of how child molestation can happen in a family and applying it to his thinking, he just chalked it up to “kids playing ugly” or some other euphemism and then consciously stepped in to the spot light and use that spotlight to spread false beliefs and hateful misinterpretations of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Again, I find that offensive in the extreme.

Seeing the Megyn Kelly interview reinforced my belief that the Duggar’s are not, exactly, bad people.  I find them completely misguided in their Faith and selfish in bringing so many children in to an overpopulated world, but it’s really none of my business.  What is my business is when these people attempt to exert any influence in the real world which is made up of other people.  If the people of Arkansas want people like Josh and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to represent their ideals, then they can keep them.  Just don’t even begin to think that I want anything to do with them or their beliefs and I won’t allow them to try to represent the true teachings of Jesus Christ.  As a fellow believer, I feel that it is not just my place but also my duty to challenge anyone who misuses God, Jesus and Biblical mythology to spread the ideas of hate, intolerance or bigotry.  The only reason these people get away with such behaviour is that we allow it and I’m sick of allowing it.

The one thing that Megyn Kelly nailed is the idea that none of this really should be going on in the press.  It was seriously unethical for the police report to be released when the people involved were minors.  I’m also a little curious as to the timing of the “leak” which just happened to pop up as a former Speaker of the House was getting press on lying to the FBI about payments to someone from his past.  Yeah, that story sort of faded out against the news about Josh Duggar and the continuing madness in Baltimore.  There should definitely be in investigation as to exactly how the records got released and if someone is caught doing wrong then they pay for it.  Fair enough.

Still, done is done.

Sound advice for all, I suppose.  When it comes down to it, the victims and Josh Duggar have come to resolution and that should be the end of it.  The problem is that, years ago, Jim Bob and Michelle made the very conscious choice to invite America, and the world, into their lives and the lives of their family.  It’s a choice that they have reaffirmed year after year, as have each of their adult children.  This is the flip side of that fame.  This is what happens when you make so public your life, so public your opinions and so public your prejudices.

Karma has a very nasty bite; especially when you personally sharpen the teeth.

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