So, it seems (as I write this on Saturday evening) that TLC is having a hard time deciding whether to take the Duggars’ wretched show off the air, or continue right on, just quietly shuffling Josh off to the side. When they found out one of their stars was a serial child molester who’d not only victimized young girls, but his own sisters, that show should’ve come down so fast it left a sucking void in the programming. Instead, they let a whole marathon run before reluctantly pulling episodes off the air, without even cancelling the damned show.
Judging from TLC’s recent shows – things like Sister Wives, and that submissive wife shit, and the asinine and exploitative My Husband’s Not Gay, they’ve either got people up top who love to parade religious fanatics around for the S & Gs, or they’ve got people at the top who are rabid Christians hoping their programming will program viewers into proper little godbots. I don’t care what the reason is. It just needs to stop. And the first thing they need to end is the program that features a serial child molester, the victims who were forced to forgive him, and the parents who did everything they could to bury it.
Since TLC is having a difficult time deciding to do the right thing, I’d like to invite advertisers to follow General Mills’s lead and pull their advertising completely. Money is the kind of talk they’ll listen to, probably, since common decency isn’t getting through.
But maybe a few people there still have a shred of decency tucked away. Maybe a few people there can push to do the right thing.
Whether they’re moneygrubbers or possibly decent people, all of the execs at TLC should read these links, preferrably after cancelling 19 Kids forever, but at the very least immediately afterward.
The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person: Josh Duggar says he’s sorry. So what?
Josh, and Jim Bob and Michelle alongside him, have shifted the burden onto the victims, painting Josh as a child who made mistakes, apologized and should be forgiven. They’ve tried to shift the narrative so that it’s just a short hop to viewing Josh as the victim.
This isn’t penitence, it’s not repentance, it’s what child molesters do. Rewrite the narrative so that in the end the audience feels sorry for them and forgets about their victims.
Dani Kelley: Comment on Josh Duggar says he’s sorry. So what?
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar released a statement saying, “When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes . . .”
1 – He was 15, which is definitely old enough to realize that molesting 5 younger girls is wrong (including 4 younger siblings).
2 – Sexually victimizing younger victims is not a mistake – calling it a mistake is a clear attempt to minimize his actions, which minimizes the victims. In fact, according to the police report, some of his actions were felonies.
3 – Some are crediting the Duggars for being forthcoming about this situation. They deserve no credit. Although they disclosed the victimization to church elders one full year after they learned about it, they never reported it to legal authorities, child protective services, or any law enforcement agency…
(Originally a Facebook post by Sherri Munger-Tyler, reposted in full at Love, Joy, Feminism. Please do read the entire thing, especially if you’re tempted to handwave Josh’s “mistakes” away.)
Rhymes with Religion: A grand deception: The successful response of sex offenders.
Sexual offenders have perfected a grand deception that sadly seems to work all too well inside faith communities. This deception twists truth, minimizes abuse, and exploits guilt in order to create a fictional narrative that paints the offender as the victim and those who accuse and confront as perpetrators of injustice. Unfortunately, too many fail to realize that this deceptive narrative is fiction.
Vision Forum, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the Duggar family are arguably the three most influential groups promoting the “Christian patriarchy” movement, which promotes homeschooling, wifely submission, extreme pre-marital chastity (no hand-hugging or kissing), no contraception, and the idea that women’s only real role in life is as wives and mothers. Having all your major leadership eaten up by sex abuse scandals is no small thing. Even before the Duggar revelations, the head of Patrick Henry College, itself an extreme religious-right organization, was distancing himself from the Christian patriarchy movement. When even big-time fundamentalists are jumping ship, maybe it’s time for TLC to consider cutting the Duggars loose.
Shakesville: On Josh Duggar.
It’s certainly very curious to me that a letter was sent to the Oprah show ahead of a single appearance, but supposedly none was sent to TLC during the years of broadcast of the Duggars’ reality show. Frankly, I find that incredibly unlikely. I would be amazed if TLC had never been similarly alerted, and simply chose to ignore it to avoid embarrassment and losing the profits from their massively popular show about a Good Christian Family.
No Longer Quivering: TLC Dishoners Victims of Sexual Abuse With All Josh Duggar Marathon.
It is perfectly clear that TLC has double standards in how they approach serious subjects like child molestation. Back in 2014 they quickly canceled a show with higher ratings than the Duggars once it became apparent that the mother of Alana, June Shannon, was involved with a convicted child molester. TLC shelved unaired episodes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”, pulled all reruns and canceled the show, as well they should have done. Continuing to support that family while a convicted sexual predator, convicted of sexually molesting another of June Shannon’s daughters, was involved would be like TLC putting their seal of approval on child molestation.
So far even with Josh’s open confession of what he did, police reports and the outrage of the public TLC decided that the best response to the sad and tragic news was to not cancel the show immediately but to run that marathon.
Ace of Clades: Josh Duggar Redeemed?
In my experience, with molestation in the church, there is something creepy about the person to begin with. They don’t get redeemed by their god, and sin no more. Pedophilia isn’t a casual mistake. Predators look for opportunities, and make choices based on a victim’s vulnerability. Children who are insecure and/or unprotected for whatever reason are singled out. Invoking god afterwards, has always been a way to get trust they didn’t earn. I can’t be as quick to forgive and trust as they imagine their god is.
Love, Joy, Feminism: Anna Duggar and the Silencing Power of Forgiveness.
I’ve seen defenders argue that we shouldn’t be airing the family’s private affairs publicly, and that this is over and done with and water under the bridge, and so forth. The problem with these statements is that they ignore the role specific beliefs and doctrines played in the mishandling of Josh Duggar’s abuse. As I pointed out yesterday in my blog post exploring the sort of counseling Josh and his victims likely received, the story here is about problems with the Duggar’s worldview and subculture—a worldview and subculture many Duggar fans have praised as wholesome or quaint for years now, without understanding the deep underlying problems inherent to it (problems I have addressed previously here and here).
For those who think Christian Patriarchal crap has nothing to do with Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse of young girls, AAAtheist points out:
Funny how that “slant” keeps happening over and over and over and over again in the fundamentalist Christian quiverfull homeschooling subcultures where boys/men are raised to ignore and disregard consent.
****Here’s a really important one for all of those Christians frothing at the mouth about forgiveness and all that:***
Moore to the Point: What Should the Duggar Scandal Teach the Church?
The church’s role is not to replace the police power of the state, but to deal with the spiritual issues involved. Excommunication is no replacement for incarceration. The sins and crimes here involve two different spheres, and both should be engaged in stopping such. If an offender is a member of a congregation, the church must investigate the situation and follow through with biblical discipline but this does not replace the responsibility to alert the civil authorities. The church can speak to the soul of the offender and to the outside world about how seriously the church takes the horrific evil of sexual abuse, but the church cannot restrain evil through coercive power; only the civil realm can do that. If the church does not cooperate with the law, and with the police power of the law, in protecting the vulnerable, the church is in defiance against the ordinances of God himself.
*****Anyone tempted to take the Duggars’ apologia at face value should immediately read Joe’s deconstructions:*****
Incongruous Circumspection: Fuck You, Faceless Victims. God Forgave Us: The Josh Duggar Saga & Part Deux.
And here are many, many other links of interest:
The New Civil Rights Movement: Here’s Josh Duggar Hanging With Half The GOP Presidential Candidate Field.
Butterflies and Wheels: Arkansas police have destroyed the record.
Roll to Disbelieve: Christian News Sites’ Reactions to Josh Duggar’s Molestation Confession.
Hey, Duggar fans and Slymepitters! Welcome to ETEV. Please click all the links and read all the articles and posts. And please don’t bother to try slipping your abuse apologetics and gotchas past my comment filters. I’m sure your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it writing ill-conceived screeds that will end up laughed at and tossed in my spam bin. Have a nice day somewhere else!