Duggar Supporters: Denfend Josh Duggar’s 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.