Duggar Supporters: Denfend Josh Duggar’s Wedding

duggar wedding

Let’s pretend I am on board. For argument’s sake, let’s assume every word spoken in defense of Josh Duggar and his parents resonates with me. That the actions he took as a minor were no more than “mistakes.” That addressing those “mistakes” within the home and church provided for Josh and his victims adequate healing and rehabilitation. That the matter was private. I already agree in earnest that every family, like every person, can and will do something regrettable. I already agree in earnest that God is loving enough to forgive us, to empower us to forgive others, and to help us move beyond the unthinkable. Given that, your job here should be easy. Defend Josh Duggar’s wedding.

Josh was married on cable television, and I watched the broadcast. This was back when his family’s show was “16 Kids and Counting.” Or maybe it was “17 Kids.” I don’t know. I wasn’t counting. This was never a show I watched with regularity, but on a random morning off from work, I sometimes watched the Duggars have a yard sale, get an ultrasound or shop for 10-pound bags of tater tots while I folded towels. That episode when Josh Duggar got married – that was one I caught.

A link to the ceremony is here, but if you’re not inclined to watch it, a synopsis:

1) Josh marries a young woman named Anna in a traditional church ceremony.
2) The army that is his siblings participate in the ceremony as bridesmaids and groomsmen.
3) The couple exchange vows.
4) Josh breaks into song like a Disney prince.
5) His father picks up a microphone and announces to wedding goers and t.v. viewers alike that Josh and Anna have waited until exchanging their vows to share their first kiss. It is essentially a public pat on the back. He is praising Josh for his purity and self-control.
6) Following the ceremony, directly to the camera, Josh explains that his decision to wait until marriage to kiss is a “testimony” to the younger kids watching.

Josh, his struggles, the ambivalence of his parents – that seems real. Heartbreaking in general, and for the victims in particular. This wedding, though. It doesn’t fit.

If Jim Bob Duggar was privy to Josh’s sexual acting out, why would he stand up on television and praise him for his purity? Why wouldn’t he just lay low? And if Josh was truly contrite, if he really felt remorseful for what he had done to his victims, how could he smugly look into the camera and declare that his decision to refrain from kissing another consenting adult was somehow a testimony to the very sisters he’d abused? It seems like a regretful man would keep his mouth shut, humbly get married and move on with his life. Why invite the entire world into a discussion about your sex life?

I don’t know. It isn’t typically my blogging style to criticize television personalities. I try to respect the private lives of others (my family notwithstanding), but I feel like Josh Duggar invited us all to talk about his sex life when he chose to brag about his chastity on television in exchange for pay.

This story really got under my skin. I read about Josh Duggar’s scandal the same day that I read some statistics in The Week about the declining percentage of Americans who define themselves as Christians. I guess to me the stories have become linked. I think the voices of moderate, based-in-reality Christians is being drown out by radical Christian fundamentalists, and this leaves me feeling quite discouraged.

If you are one of the people who find the Duggar’s actions defendable, please weigh in on the wedding. I am interested to hear your thoughts.

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26 Comments on “Duggar Supporters: Denfend Josh Duggar’s Wedding

  1. Excellent, excellent point. I can’t say I have followed the Duggars really at all, nor have I given much attention to the story of his sexual abuse, other than what is plastered everywhere and hard to miss. And like you, I try to refrain from commenting on others’ lives. But it seems hard not to have an opinion on this one. It makes me sad that this is the Christianity put on display. Then again, REAL Christianity doesn’t seek the limelight.

  2. Way to cut through the bullshit, my friend. I love all your posts, and this is such a testimony to keeping it real. Bravo. As a Christian, I often don’t like to label myself as one because I am not sure it really sums me up, depending on what lens of Christianity is being used to process the label. Thanks for another great post.

    • I was anxious about this post, worried that it didn’t convey what I intended, but then I read your comment and felt better. Thank you for processing me through the “correct lens.”

  3. For the record, I’m not a Dugger supporter. However, you made the challenge, so I’m accepting.

    There’s 2 sides to the “defensibility” of this wedding…

    1. Morally – This is purely subjective depending on one’s religion, state of mind, and mood at the time. I will not venture down this road. No two people have the exact same belief structure (even within the same religion). I will say that they might want to have their moral compasses inspected for damage.

    2. Legally – This is very easily defend. They are 2 consenting adults who have decided to join lives in wedlock. They have also agreed to allow people that follow a moral compass in a questionable state of disrepair to speak at their wedding. To my knowledge, there are no laws that prevent any of these activities (there are times, like these, when I question if we should implement “protect the stupid from themselves” laws, but that’s a discussion for a different time).

    So there you go. I defended the wedding.

    Next, I’d like to start taking wagers on how long this marriage is going to last.

  4. I really enjoy your cute stories and postings. Yes, I agree that maybe “inviting”the whole world to know about his “purity” was probably done out of the mindset “who is going to know what I’ve done?”
    However, I think this point of view is really not the big picture though. because he is human and according to the world then, which wasn’t too long after these things had been done but were still unknown, he was being human. He was puffed up in declaring his purity; plus his purity with his bride was true. Or wasn’t it? Who cares. That’s not the point of the show. It isn’t “Josh Duggar’s Sexual Life”
    If our sins were exposed on a national and maybe even international level, I think we’d all have immense shame. Wouldn’t we? I think so. None of us are good. The wedding was sweet. It was frugal, it was just another episode of this family’s real life. Let’s focus on the sickness of bringing out extremely old laundry out to the open and how low people went, to try to mock God. Because this is exactly what this is. A mockery because they know it will make Christians and Christ look horrible.
    I defend them because I am a victim of sexual abuse and have been able to forgive my assaulter and without any therapy, because God is the great healer.

    • Very well said nothingbutfreelance! I expected for unbelievers to jump on this as justification for their unbelief but I did not expect to see so many Christians turn up their self righteous noses as though they had no sin to hide. Is Josh not worthy of the same grace that we all receive when God says we are forgiven?
      And in response to the original post, I do want to point out that this was not just swept under the rug. It was taken to the police and Josh was enrolled in a program of some type because the paper trail was what was discovered by Oprah’s crew.
      I do not support the actions, but I do support the fact that God can change lives and heal hurts. We are supposed to love people, not cast stones.

      • I agree that nothingbutfreelance stated her point of view quite well. My original post never said anything about the incident being swept under the rug, and in my first paragraph I very clearly stated that I thought all of us did unthinkable things and were loved and forgiven by God. We totally agree on that. The point of my post was not to cast stones at the things done in private that were long-ago worked through, but to question how Josh chose to present himself at his own televised wedding given what obviously transpired. We are suppose to love people. I don’t think loving people means that you never, ever question or criticize actions. Some of the most growing I have done as a person and as a Christian has been in response to others that pushed me to question the thought processes behind my actions – to call me out, so to speak. Anyway, thanks for weighing in, Karli, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

      • Karli, after I sent my last response to you, I think I figured something out – the “they didn’t sweep it under the rug” part. I mentioned something in my post about the dad remaining quiet, and I think you misread. I wasn’t accusing the dad of remaining quiet about the situation with the girls. I was asking why he DIDN’t remain quiet during the ceremony, but rather bragged on Josh’s purity at the wedding. Does that make sense? Why did he get up and say “Josh and Anna waiting until saying their vows to have a first kiss” (or whatever it was he said) I have NEVER been to a wedding where the father of the groom picked up a microphone and talked about the couple’s chastity out loud to the congregation. Why did he? Regardless of the past. Who does that at a wedding? It is on the video link if you are curious. I am just saying it is a strange thing to announce into a microphone during a wedding ceremony. Thoughts?

      • Yes! I agree with you….that was really weird and seemed to maybe be overkill for the secrets lying underneath! And I do need to say, my response was not directed at your post….until now, I hadn’t seen the wedding episode. I agree with your post! My rant is to the Christian community who seems to be on a constant witch-hunt. I think you mentioned something about a poll showing that less and less people are claiming to be Christians…I kinda get this. I don’t want to be a part of a group of haters, lol, and some old school Christians love looking for specks!! 🙂 Great post Ginger!

    • Nothingbutfreelance,

      Thank you for your openness and for weighing in (and for being a good, forgiving person in a broken world). You are correct that I was not writing about the bigger picture. There is enough of that out there, I think. Instead, and since this is a personal blog, I was just sort of writing about a piece of the story with which I was wrestling. And yeah, we all have done things in our past that would emotionally and socially destroy us if brought to light. I guess that is why I was focusing in my post not on what was done in secret shame, but on television. And there is no question that the ugliness was exhumed for greed and publicity. Much has already been written on that side of the story as well. Reality tv thrives on raising people up to publicly tear them down. Thanks for your feedback and God bless.

  5. I do call myself a Christian. Why? Because it means follower of Christ. Not Perfect. Not Glorious. They didn’t seek limelight. It was the works of their haters. Recognize. What is amazing is that he is taking accountability now. The present. People. Open your eyes. You are not righteous. Be kind.

    • I’m confused. Surely you don’t mean that the Duggars didn’t seek the limelight. You can’t possible be saying that their “haters” somehow forced them, against their wills, to take part in an ongoing reality show. Who are these “hater all and why were the Duggars unable to resist them?

      To the rest of the world, it seems obvious that the Duggar parents did in fact seek the limelight. Please explain if you have evidence to prove otherwise.

      • I’m for damn for not going to put my family on television for public scrutiny, and not just because it would be a very dull show.

  6. I’ve never seen the show and have only become aware of this family in the past year because they seemed to be everywhere all of a sudden. Maybe all the wedding stuff was something about his “renewed” chastity? It is possible that he did change his ways and never hurt anyone that way again. I don’t know, that’s all I’ve got…

    I do know, knowing how deeply I tend to stuff down and bury painful junk, that I’d hate to be the girl in this situation that felt like she had to go merrily along with everything, feeling like she’s not allowed to be angry or admit that it still hurts or that she can’t yet forgive. Healing may well have taken place fully for some, but sexual abuse tends to heal in layers — not usually a one-shot deal. This public spectacle could really trigger some [stuff] for some of these girls. I suppose I understand exposing him, but putting them in the glare of this was too much. Just wish they could have been protected this time somehow.

    • And that may very well be. For all we know, producers could have goaded the guy into talking about his purity during the wedding with the full knowledge that this story would eventually come out.

  7. A true believer and repentant would not need to advertise. Even as a non-believer I know he should make his repentance known to his victims and God, not to the world at large. Having never heard of him before this, he has become famous in my mind for abusing his sisters.

    Obviously, he can’t be doing this for them as, understandably, they might not want everybody to know about the abuse they suffered. In effect he is compounding the crime by turning himself into the heroic victim. Eventually, he will turn things round so much that his sisters will appear as the perpetrators of abuse.

  8. I don’t know who this is, I guess because we don’t watch much TV and a few years ago, I swore off ‘reality’ shows…..sounds like I made a good choice? 😊

  9. The whole episode is disheartening. It also begs the question: Could this ultra strict rule about not dating/ touching/ kissing force a totally normal, hormonal teenaged boy to “go underground?” Not making excuses for anyone..but if he had gotten a little frisky with a 14 yr old girl down the street, (consensually of course)..no one (but his parents) would have cared.

    • Cindy, I am glad you brought that up. I said the same thing to a friend, but it didn’t fit with the original thesis of this post.

      The family was so hyper-vigilant about sexual arousal, even to the point of having the boys turn their heads when provocatively-dressed women passed by in public. Sexuality is a natural part of being human and a teenager (though it is uncomfortable to admit as a parent and presents with it some heavy consequences). I agree that “going underground” the way most do at 14 is a healthy, normal way to relate to same aged peers in a consensual way. We (Christians) have to get a grip on how to talk to our kids about sex and to reexamine our expectations, and I don’t mean to down play the role of the Bible, but in most of scripture, women were their husband’s property, people married as teens, and they died at 40. We need to teach some standards that work with our present state in terms of gender equality, average age of marriage, etc. Maybe we can focus more on what Christ taught us about taking care of ourselves, about loving each other, and let the pieces fall where they may. Thanks so much for weighing in.

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