Saturday, May 23, 2015

On The Duggar Ideology: Multiply At Any Cost.

Many have written about the recently revealed child molestation accusations against Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, the Quiverfull parents of nineteen children whose lives are depicted in a now (temporarily?) withdrawn reality show 19 Kids and Counting.

The basic ideology of the Quiverfull movement is well summarized by the description of Kathryn Joyce's book* about the Christian patriarchy cult:

Kathryn Joyce's fascinating introduction to the world of the patriarchy movement and Quiverfull families examines the twenty-first-century women and men who proclaim self-sacrifice and submission as model virtues of womanhood—and as modes of warfare on behalf of Christ. Here, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship, and live by the Quiverfull philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible so as to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means.
Hence the attempt to maximize family size, even if that might lead to the impossibility of adequately feeding, caring for, or supervising all those children.  They are arrows in the war against the infidels, and the manufacture of the maximum number of such arrows requires the women's submission and compliance.

This is the proper background for interpreting what happened after Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar found that their fourteen-year-old son had fondled the breasts and genitals of minor girls, many of them apparently his own sisters, while they were supposedly asleep.  The son was sent to therapy or perhaps just away for a while, a police officer (later sentenced for child pornography) gave him a stern speech and the girls who were fondled presumably forgave him.

The Duggars apologized for those events:
Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God.   We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us — even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey — the good times and the difficult times — cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.

Let me see what's included there:  God's forgiveness?  Check.  What the family gained from the events?  Check.  Josh's "bad mistakes?  Sort of check.

What the daughters went through?


And that's the fundamental problem with the Quiverfull ideology and those right-wing Christian beliefs which suggest that victims of abuse should bear responsibility for it happening, that God may have allowed it because of something the victim did or failed to do.

I stress this ideology, because it is what all the choices** of Duggars are based on and it is ultimately what their reality show is disseminating as a good conservative way of life.

*I strongly recommend that book, by the way.  Kathryn's work is always painstaking and objective.
**Read that.  It's funny.  Then send me money.