By Denele Campbell

One year ago, the Duggar family’s oldest son Josh had his coming out party as a pervert.

News broke of his serial molestation of five young girls. Four were his sisters. Despite some local politics involving the newspaper, Springdale police, and Arkansas Department of Human Services, most of the story finally gained a full airing. Subsequently, TLC yanked the Duggar reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting” from the airwaves.

Thank you Jesus.

Attempts by Josh’s parents to smooth things over resulted in the revelation that other church elders had experienced this in other families. Soon news broke about Josh’s pornography addiction and his two accounts at the cheating website, “Ashley Madison”, because…one wasn’t enough? He entered a faith-based rehab facility at Rockford, Illinois, where he spent seven months asking the porn and sex addiction demons to leave him alone.

Most knowledgeable observers will tell you these programs are worthless, just like ‘gay conversion’ therapy. If you’re gay, you’re gay. If you’re a horn-dog, no amount of manual labor or prayer is going to suppress that drive. What might work would be real therapy where the individual learns that control issues and other motivators propel some people into compulsive behavior. But that’s science based, not faith based, and about as far from the Duggar lexicon as you can get.

Josh has returned to live near his parents at Tontitown, Arkansas, where he spends his days at the family home or the place of his father’s original business, a used car lot. Reportedly, he’s trying to sell off vehicles he collected while rolling in money from his share from the TV show and later from his ‘job’ at the Family Research Council for which, we might guess, his credentials centered on name recognition.

Most recently, Bill Gothard, the Duggar’s former minister and founding father of their home-schooling curriculum has allegedly been sued by women who claim he oversaw decades of systematic sexual abuse.  This is the person that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar brought in to counsel Josh when sisters first ratted him out. Gothard’s standard teaching on sexual matters is that a victim of sexual abuse is partly responsible for that abuse. In other words, those young girls made him feel them up.

There’s little difference between that and extremist Islam which blames the female if she’s raped.

“The laws of Islam came to protect women’s honor and modesty. Islam forbids women to wear clothes that are not modest and to travel without a mahram; it forbids a woman to shake hands with a non-mahram man. Islam encourages young men and women to marry early, and many other rulings which close the door to rape. Hence it comes as no surprise when we hear or read that most of these crimes occur in permissive societies…”

Under Sharia law, a law generally enforced by the Islamic states, punishment imposed by the court punishes the rape victim if she first entered the rapist’s company in violation of purdah. (Purdah takes two forms: physical segregation of the sexes and the requirement that women cover their bodies so as to hide their skin and conceal their form.) In those cases, the victim can be sentenced to even harsher punishment than the assailant.

Both Christian and Islamic extremists adhere to the idea that the female is responsible for tempting the male, as much or more than the male is responsible for keeping it in his pants. Just like Eve was responsible for the downfall of humanity, evidently some of Josh’s sin was the result of too much exposure to his sisters. Hence their duty to forgive their molester.

In an effort to prevent the “spoiling” of young girls by uncontrolled sexual desires, extremist church fathers advocate early marriage. In Islam, if they give consent, girls who have begun their periods are fair game, pretty much identical to the beliefs of the Duggars and others in the Quiverfull movement. It goes without saying that the more girls on the market, the fewer men will have to suffer restraint.

Evidently nothing of the Duggar family’s public humiliation has caused them to rethink their beliefs. They have not repudiated their close ties to the Quiverfull movement or Bill Gothard. They continue to homeschool their children. They continue to adhere to a belief system that sets up young females to be abused and controlled by their fathers, brothers, pastors, and any other male authority figure.

Jim Bob and other family members are working hard trying to regain airtime, or any time in the public eye that might generate income. The result has been the “Counting On” series starring Jill and Jessa, their spouses, and their children. Although many of the Duggars are hoping to jump back into the limelight, that might not happen. Sponsor rejections came fast and furious once the “Counting On” series began. Reportedly, after the first episode of Counting On aired, several advertisers publicly distanced themselves from the program after their advertisements were run during the episode.

The greater issue concerning anyone even dimly cognizant of these goings-on is the failure of TLC or any religious organization to stand up and disavow not only the Duggars but everything they stand for. Unbelievably, the Duggars still enjoy a cult following.

In their isolated East/West Coast lives, media mavens may see the Duggars, Honey Boo-Boo, Duck Dynasty, and other cultural deviants as entertainment. They make good money presenting these folks to the rest of us. What the network people don’t understand is that by the mere presence of extremists on television, these glorified lifestyles encourage and inspire others to adopt the same beliefs.

It is irresponsible, selfish, and arrogant to produce nineteen children in a world where too many children already live in desperate conditions. It is morally wrong to add to world suffering. If someone wants to have a houseful of kids, adoption is the only legitimate route.

There are already too many under and uneducated people struggling to find ways to make ends meet. Education should be the top priority of any responsible parent.

Too many women suffer abuse, abduction, assault, rape, marrying too young and/or yielding all autonomy to a male. Equal rights are about females having the same rights as males to be educated, hold gainful employment, refuse unwanted sex, and otherwise be in control of her own body and lives.

For all their pious beliefs, reproduction as practiced by the Duggars is animal behavior. Only animals blindly try to fertilize every egg that rolls down the tube. We have intellects, undeveloped as they may be. We have a duty as humans to think about what we’re doing.


denele campbellDenele Campbell, Arkansas native, tracks her family’s roots in the state back to the early 1800s and credits this history for her love of homegrown tomatoes and hoot owls late at night. After college and a few years on the West Coast, Campbell and her then-husband settled on a tick-infested Ozark hilltop to raise three children amid organic gardening, milking goats, and preparing for the apocalypse. By 1980, Campbell had begun a career of piano tuning and repair. An inveterate activist, through the ‘80s and ‘90s she took a leadership role in the Arkansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, ran for school board and formed a parent-teacher group at her children’s school, joined with other concerned citizens to stop a trash-burning incinerator, and founded an environmental action/education committee. In 1999, she began efforts to bring legalized medical marijuana to Arkansas, an effort which continues today under different leadership. In 2005, she retired from her piano career with retirement in mind. Alas, her dream of opening a tea room had her by the throat, and so from late 2008 through December 2011, she made that dream a reality with Trailside Café and Tea Room in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Finally sanity prevailed. She has now blown up the road between her rural home and town in order to devote herself to writing. She is the author of Rex Perkins: A Biography. Follow her at her blog and on Facebook.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Peter Schaller