By Michael Nam
Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the 19 Kids and Counting family, admitted to sexually abusing several minor-aged girls (most likely his sisters), exposing the anti-LGBT activist family and their allies’ views as hypocritical on the issue of “protecting” women and children.
In Touch magazine first reported the allegations in stunning detail, including a police report. Duggar admitted to the charges in a statement to PEOPLE magazine and resigned from his work with the Family Research Council (FRC), a known hate group opposed to women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality and LGBT rights.
His parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, and his wife released statements defending Josh, and despite the unusual manner in which the Duggars shielded their son and said nothing of their daughters, apologists for the popular TV family complained that the uproar surrounding the family has been unjust.
“No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story,” said presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The sentiment was not shared by his Facebook followers, however, who took the candidate to task for underplaying the cover-up of child sex abuse.
Curiously, Huckabee, who once employed Duggar on his presidential campaign, also has links to a judge who ordered the police report now made public to be destroyed. Judge Stacy Zimmerman served two appointments under the ex-governor of Arkansas.
“Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed — not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims,” Huckabee posted on Facebook.
Unfortunately, that past never prevented the Duggar clan from involving themselves in politics to demonize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as family-destroying, child predators.
ThinkProgress grouped together a number of Josh Duggar’s own statements, including one in which he exclaims that marriage equality would be the death knell of the American family: “What’s really at stake here is the American family. Marriage is essential to the American family and every single child deserves a mother and a father.”
Regardless of the mountains of data showing no difference (and sometimes a net positive difference) in the outcomes of children raised by same-gender parents, social conservatives like the Duggars and the FRC routinely trot out the falsehood that parentage requires a married, heterosexual couple.
Josh Duggar also spent time campaigning against an anti-discrimination measure in his hometown of Fayetteville, Ark., alleging that he was protecting “the rights of privacy and protecting the well-being of women and children in our cities.” His mother, Michelle, went further and recorded a robocall to thwart the legislation:
I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want 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. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child.
Yet her teenage son assaulted her own daughters on five separate occasions, all of which the family was aware of after each incident occurred.
While the Duggars, the FRC and other social conservatives can preach endlessly about the non-existent threat that LGBT people pose to children, Sarah Jones of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State notes how the family expresses nothing on behalf of their abused daughters, something that is unsurprising in light of them following the extreme fundamentalist teachings of disgraced preacher, Bill Gothard:
Their dedication to Gothard’s teachings provide important context to their statements. According to Gothard, victims bear some responsibility for their own abuse. The children stepped outside the umbrella of protection; they must have, somehow. They weren’t modest enough. They didn’t obey.
The TLC channel previously canceled another popular reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, because the show’s matriarch was dating a convicted child molester. However, despite knowledge of the In Touch report, TLC initially began airing their 19 Kids and Counting marathon before finally bowing to pressure and removing the show from their schedule. As of the publication of this story, TLC has yet to make a decision on canceling the show.