By now you've heard about all of this, but I'll have a little background to start. Do any of you know what a "Quiver" is? It's a little pouch you wear over your opposite shoulder from your bow hand to carry all your arrows. (See: Legolas).
It also lends its name to a peculiar Christian movement called "Quiverfull"
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5
In a nutshell, it's everything we expect fundamentalism to be - female subservience to the male head of the family, home-schooling, narrow doctrines, and of course a lack of any responsible childbearing. (See also, "Be fruitful and multiply")
The movement isn't large, as the wikipedia entry categorizes the followers as "several thousand" (out of about a billion Christians worldwide), but of course thanks to reality TV, more people know about this than probably should.
I'm not here today to discuss the abuse, or even to enumerate it other than to acknowledge what has come out in the media. What I'm about today is the family's response to it all. There have been a series of interviews on Fox News with both the parents
and some of the victims
The common thread among all of this is the multitude of excuses being made. 'He was a curious teenager', 'It was over clothing', 'They were asleep', as if none of these things were rape or child molestation. Any one of those things would meet the definition in a court of law, but of course the Duggars answer to a higher authority.
Let's talk about that authority. It's the whole concept of Christ as a Saviour that they are actually hiding behind. Jesus himself has said, "None shall come to the Father except through me", but I have increasingly seen that as a crutch. The teachings of Christ in the Bible are in line with other Abrahamic and world religions, that of non-violence, compassion, caring for others, and the like...but Christ himself had little to say about morality and personal responsibility. Most of that in the Bible comes from the interpretations of the Apostles, most notoriously Paul.
So let's follow another prophet for a minute - it doesn't matter which, as both Moses and Mohammed make many of the same arguments. The other two Abrahamic religions also teach everything Christ did, but there's a caveat. Followers of Mohammed in particular are responsible for their own actions and deeds. It's in the Qur'an over and over; nothing you do is hidden from Allah, and you shall be judged on the last day for ALL your acts and deeds. Seems pretty straightforward. Live an upright life, take care of others, and maybe you can enter the gates of paradise. The responsibility is your own.
But back to Jesus and his followers, and this is one of the major disconnects that I now have with the whole thing. You can live a complete life of debauchery and crime, but on your deathbed you can confess all your sins to a representative of God and/or Jesus, and everything is magically forgiven. This alone, in my opinion, is what is wrong with the Duggars, Evangelicals, or anyone else that screams about morality going against Jesus and "biblical teachings".
None of these leaders is calling for personal responsibility, or 'living a better life' or indeed even following the teachings of Jesus. Talk to a fundie; they never say anything about these things while they're evangelizing you. It's all about "accepting Jesus into your life" and "being forgiven for your sins".
That abdicates any responsibility on my behalf, doesn't it?
This is what the Duggars follow - and this is what allows them to excuse the behaviour of a child molester in their own family. They don't have to turn him over to any authorities for whatever consequences he has to face in a civil society; they have already decided to excuse his behavior behind the forgiveness of Christ...and of course ol' Josh himself has probably confessed his sins and in their warped beliefs now has a clear conscience.
I'll leave you with one final thought, and just ponder this....of all the prophets of the world, most of them were just messengers and teachers. Only one is worshiped as a God himself. Kinda makes you wonder what his adherents are following?