CN Child Molestation
I didn’t want to weigh in too quickly on the molestation confession by Josh Duggar of TLC’s “19 and Counting”, but now the police report is available. Libby Anne of Love, Joy , Feminism has a good list of things that are not quite right about the way the Duggar family handled the problem. The response of course was to lean heavily on their god.
Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives,” Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, said in a joint statement. “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.
I don’t buy that Josh made “mistakes” molesting girls. He chose to molest girls. To be fair the Duggars did take some real world actions after waiting a year such as turn him in to a family state trooper friend. The result however was just a stern lecture, but no charges. The Duggars actions whether intentional or not kept Josh out of jail. In Arkansas, there is a three year statute of limitations on prosecuting this type of crime.
But Jesus has redeemed him, so he is off the hook right?
I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” says Josh. “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church where youth leaders who were good people but happened to be women were dismissed, but male youth leaders were forgiven and “redeemed” by god. A lot of people buy this rationale that their god can forgive and redeem male leaders, but women they have to maintain their purity or earn scorn. One of my preteen friends was molested during a house cleaning fundraiser by the middle aged youth pastor. The blame was placed on the victim that she seduced him. He continued as youth pastor and married one of my other teenage friends from the group.
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.
Please note: molestation is not the same as childhood exploration that went too far. Those things are not uninvited like molestation is.