Wingnut Week In Review: Duggar Family Values Edition

Terrance Heath

This week, two right-winger who portrayed themselves as exemplars of virtue, and regularly lectured Americans on “family values,” proved to be far from “pure” themselves.

Until this week, Josh Duggar was a celebrity in more ways than one. Not only was the 27-year-old married father of four a reality television star of TLC’s “19 Kids And Counting,” which made his parents Jim and Michelle Duggar famous for their fecundity, but he was also the executive director of the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm, FRC Action. Duggar moved to Washington, D.C., for the job in 2013, and for two years used his celebrity to champion conservative causes and candidates.

Duggar’s fame turned to infamy this week, when InTouch Magazine reported that in 2005 Jim Bob Duggar reported his then 15-year-old son to police for sexually molesting several female children. The article includes a 33-page police report, which revealed that Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses (including forcible fondling) against five female children — including one or more of his own sisters. Some of the offenses investigated were felonies.

  • In March 2002, a female minor reported that Duggar — who was 14-years-old at the time — had fondled her breasts and genitals on multiple occasions while she slept.
  • In July 2002, Duggar admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept.
  • There was another “incident” in March 2003, when another female minor accused Duggar of fondling her breasts and genitals.
  • Several female minors accused Duggar of fondling their breasts and genitals while they slept, but also when they were awake.

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According to child experts, it’s a normal part of psychosexual development for children to examine one another’s genitals. However, children usually grow out of that stage by age 6. It becomes a problem when a child continues to “inspect, grope and molest” his siblings as a teenager.

Parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar waited more than a year after their son’s confession to contact police. Instead, they took the matter to their church elders. Instead of contacting law enforcement, they decided to send Duggar to “a program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling,” for two months. The Duggars said it was a “Christian” program.

Michelle Duggar later admitted that their son did not receive counseling. The “Christian” program turned out to be a family friend who was apparently in the construction business, and needed some help remodeling a building. However, the Duggars claimed that their son had “apologized” to the female minors, who had “forgiven” him. They also took him to an Arkansas state trooper, who gave him “a stern talk” but took no further action.

When police launched an investigation in 2006, the Duggars refused to make their son available to be interviewed. Instead, the family lawyered up.

The whole affair would be little more than an unfortunate family drama, except that the Duggars have built their fame and their “brand” on being a living example of the kind of “family values” conservatives love to tout. They’ve lent the weight of their celebrity to a number of right-wing causes and candidates.

Great to see Gov. Rick Perry tonight! #TX

A photo posted by Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) on

#standwithrand

A photo posted by Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) on

Honored to meet Louisiana Governor @bobbyjindal tonight in New Orleans #LA

A photo posted by Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) on

The hypocrisy gets even worse. The Duggars have in the past claimed that LGBT people were a threat to children. Michelle Duggar recorded robocalls claiming the Fayetteville nondiscrimination ordinance would cause “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”

In an interview with FRC Radio, Josh Duggar claimed that the Fayetteville ordinance jeopardized the safety of children.

That LGBT people are a threat to children is perhaps the biggest anti-gay myth of all, and the most thoroughly debunked. The American Psychological Association says that gay men are “not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, reviewed a series of studies, and found no evidence that gay men are more likely to molest children than heterosexual men are.

The Duggar family’s story proves once again that children are mostly likely to be abused by people close to them, like neighbors, babysitters, family friends, and family members. When confronted with abuse in their own family, the Duggars protected the abuser and shielded him from justice.

Duggar resigned from his position with FRC, and apologized for his “inexcusable” behavior. His behavior wasn’t just “inexcusable.” It was criminal, and he essentially got away with little more than a couple of months “hard labor.” In his resignation, Duggar asked for prayers for himself, but not his victims. That pretty much says it all. Doesn’t it?

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

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