The Duggars

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar at the time of their marriage, ages 17 and 19 respectively.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar at the time of their marriage, ages 17 and 19 respectively.

One year ago, the Duggar family’s oldest son Josh had his coming out party as a perv. News broke of his serial molestation of five young girls. Four were his sisters. Despite some local politics with the newspaper, Springdale police, and Arkansas Department of Human Services, most of the story finally gained a full airing. Shortly thereafter, 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 church elders had experienced this in other families. (Who are these people?) 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 begging the porn and sex addiction demons to leave him alone.

Most knowledgeable observers will tell you these kinds of programs are worthless. Like ‘gay conversion’ therapy. If you’re gay, you’re gay. If you’re a horn-dog, no amount of manual labor or prayer will suppress that drive. What might work is real therapy where the individual learns that control issues and other emotional and psychological 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’ for the Family Research Council for which, we guess, his credentials centered on name recognition. The sad fact is that for him and the rest of this Duggar overpopulation of ignorance, he doesn’t know how to do anything and, as one wag puts it, “none are well enough educated to get a fast food job.”

Now that his name recognition is a liability, the truth about the Duggar clan rises to the surface. Josh doesn’t have any job training. Like the rest of his siblings, he grew up learning to disrespect education. Anything beyond high school might have been a threat to this carefully cultivated climate of willful ignorance.  Some of this home-schooled bunch never bothered to get their GED.

Most recently, Bill Gothard, the Duggar’s former minister and founding father of their home-schooling curriculum, has been sued by five women who claim he oversaw decades of systematic sexual abuse.   This is who Josh’s parents brought in to counsel him when his 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.

Compare that to 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…”

Rape cases in the strictly Islamic nation of Saudi Arabia in 1988 stood at 2.19 rapes per 100,000 population. Under Sharia law, generally enforced by 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. So maybe there’s a bit of under-reporting going on…

Both Christian and Islamic extremist religionists 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.

Recently stories emerged about the Quiverfull movement’s founder Vaughn Ohlman who believes that girls should be married off as soon as they’re “physically mature enough to handle” childbirth “without damage.” Ohlman was organizing a ‘convention’ in Kansas this summer “designed to help parents find suitable arranged marriage partners for girls in their teens so that they can start producing offspring.” Word got out and the campground rescinded its welcome. No doubt they’ll gather somewhere else to practice their unique form of white slavery.

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.

The fallout for the Duggars is that like Josh, the daughters who are married along with their husbands depend on patriarch Jim Bob for support. One report alleges that “Jill and her lazy unemployed husband Derrick scammed for donations for a fake missionary trip and had to give donations back.” Another states that “Jessa lives rent free in her grandmother’s home. Her husband Ben is not employed outside [but does] odd jobs like mowing lawns for her dad.”

Jim Bob has worked hard trying to regain airtime—or any time in the public eye—that might produce an income. The result has been the recent TLC “Counting On” series starring Jill and Jessa, their spouses, and their children. According to one person close to the situation, the show was “supposed to be about what is going on with the girls, yet Jim Bob and Michelle found their way on tv in the very first episode.”

Further, Josh Duggar has recruited his wife Anna to “reach out to people like Dr. Phil and Megyn Kelly so he can have his mea culpa moment. If that goes well and people are sympathetic towards him, he is sure he can convince TLC to give him and Anna a spin-off – something to do with healing their marriage within the Christian faith.”

Thankfully for the rest of us, that might not happen. Sponsor rejections came fast and furious once the “Counting On” series began. “After the first episode of Counting On aired, seven advertisers publicly distanced themselves from the program after their advertisements were run during the episode. Those companies included Pure Michigan, Verizon Wireless, Mattress Firm, Cici’s Pizza, Choice Hotels, The UPS Store and Whitewave foods…It got worse during the second week.” Additional companies retreating from the Duggar family include RCN Corporation, Credit Karma, Gazelle, Ring.com, candy and gum giant Wrigley, and Combe Inc. Chattem, Inc. saw ads aired for its ACT Kids Batman Rinse and more during the program and are now stating those commercials aired “in error.”

(Such ad placements occur when companies buy air time and allow the network to place the ads where they want them. Questions about TLC’s programming decisions have put Nancy Daniels, general manager, on the hot seat.)

A depressing timelime of the Duggar family proliferation can be found here.

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 Dynasts, and other cultural deviants as entertainment. They make good money playing these folks to the rest of us. What the network people don’t understand is that by the mere presence of extremists on television, they encourage and inspire others to take up the same beliefs and behaviors.

At the least, TLC and advertisers for such programs should post a large disclaimer with each episode stating this is what NOT to do.

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, once you’ve replicated your gene pool three or four times, ADOPTION is the only decent route.

There are already too many under- and un-educated 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 is about females having the same rights as males to be educated, hold gainful employment, refuse sex she doesn’t want, and otherwise be in control of her own body and life. Propagating any other viewpoint is criminal.

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 because…predators. We have intellects, undeveloped as they may be in some cases, and have subdued our natural predators.

That leaves us duty bound as humans to think about what we’re doing.

 

 

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Thoughts on Women (Candidates)

Marina-Bychkova-20

Popular dolls created by Russian-Canadian artist Marina Bychkova feature a female with pubescent breasts and childlike eyes and body. While Bychkova intends to reflect her thoughts on “numerous social issues and aspects of our humanity” with her dolls, they instead portray the intensely conflicted self-identity of the modern woman.

In the current political situation where we find ourselves confronted with a viable female candidate for the presidency, questions about women’s real status in the United States have bubbled to the surface. On first glance, criticisms about Hillary Clinton seem substantial. The beleaguered emails, for example. That she doesn’t verbalize her ‘message’ as well as Bernie. But while conservatives and Bernie fans alike point to this and other purported deficiencies, there’s little comparable discussion of male candidates’ shortcomings.

Despite the advances in women’s rights, the fact remains that many take a dim view of women who dare to step out of their traditional roles as supplicants, mothers, and helpmates. If she speaks loudly, she’s shrill and aggressive. If she presents her life experience, she’s bragging or exaggerating. But my topic isn’t Hillary or the fact that she’s the most qualified candidate in the field and that she is, without doubt, experiencing a pernicious assault.

It’s my view that the impetus behind this assault is that she is a woman. My topic is the status of women in our culture today.

Women assume they want respect, equal pay, and an independent, self-confident lifestyle. But if you look around, you see women appearing in public as giddy waifs. Hairstyles blind them. Skirts hobble them. Shoes produce a helpless stagger. I’m not the first to weigh in on the regular absurdities of women’s fashion and I readily agree that not all women buy into the fashion parade. It’s largely younger women eager to emphasize sexual allure in competition for male attention. But it’s also largely younger women who despise Hillary Clinton for reasons they can’t fully explain.

For women not comfortable with themselves or with their confused role in our culture, Hillary is a threat. As women have invaded the workplace and other venues previously occupied by males, many are driven by a need to demonstrate submissiveness. Hillary isn’t submissive.

Uneasy with the gender dynamic, women dress in crippling shoes while peering through the hair in their eyes to say, “Okay, I’m working here beside you, but I’m a helpless little thing.” <giggle>

Recently I read an article arguing that we live in a pedophile culture. The author angrily postulated that the ongoing incidence of pedophilia is perpetuated by male demands that women look like little girls in order to be sexually attractive. In other words, men really want pubescent girls and reward females who fill those expectations. To meet the demand, women starve themselves and remove body hair in order to satisfy male expectation.[1]

This attitude is part of the problem. Men are not in control of what we wear or whether we shave our legs.

I’ll just quickly point out that until a hundred years ago, men were expected to marry much younger females because (a) until at least age thirty, men had not established enough of a livelihood or home base to support a wife and inevitable family, and (b) by age fifteen (onset of puberty), women were considered ripe for marriage and their parents were eager to marry them off.

This tradition of the much older man pairing with a much younger woman goes back at least to Greece and Rome where a fifteen to twenty year difference in age between the bride and groom was the norm. I could argue that this longstanding cultural pattern has created a behavior bias sublimated in countless subtle social clues and which contributes to the tendency for women to emphasize their youthful appearance and for men to desire women who appear young.

Underlying this long-established pattern is the assumption that the youthful female is a virgin, thus assuring the male that any offspring are unquestionably his.

Well, hello. We have birth control. We have genetic testing to determine paternity. The population of our ‘tribe’ isn’t suffering, so women are no longer valued as brood mares tasked with producing a team of farm workers or warriors. In theory, our increasingly sophisticated culture places more value on qualities of men and women besides their ability to produce offspring.

The author of that article mistakenly assumes that men’s desires determine how women present themselves. I disagree. Are men excited by women peering through locks of hair? Does a female staggering in four inch heels trigger male lust?  Can’t men become sexually aroused by women devoid of all the mascara, push-up bras, and pencil skirts?

Fashions are adopted and sustained by women. Yes, we might agree that men expect it. But I’d be willing to wager that men won’t stop wanting sex no matter how women look. After all, some men have sex with blow-up dolls, less-than-lovely prostitutes, and even the random sheep.

It’s the competition among females that creates this false world of absurd fashion. Tighter skirts and higher heels allow a woman to say “Look at me, not that homely bitch over there.”

It’s a pedophile culture if women make it that way. If they identify with images like the Enchanted Dolls created by Bychkova or even with the more developed waif doll Barbie.

One would think that as the female has gained the right to vote, own property, become educated, participate in the business world, and yes, run for president, she has also realized that hooking up with a man doesn’t have to be her only role in life. But there are two big stumbling blocks to that realization. One is that many women have no ambition but to have babies and be a housewife. I’ll go out on a limb here and postulate that this particular point of view is shared by more than half the female population. Maybe they’re hewing to the course embraced by their mothers and grandmothers. Maybe they see great importance in creating family.

Maybe they’re selectively evolved to do little but breed.

The other stumbling block to women’s real independence is that men have become less empowered. It’s as if without women in subjugation, men don’t quite know how to act. Women who exhibit the logical end stages of independence (i.e. Hillary) create too much cognitive dissonance for large segments of the population. Rushing into the void is an onslaught of scandals, ‘lies,’ and mistrust to help explain an otherwise illogical revulsion.

Confusion incited by these shifts in surface gender norms leads to interesting activities. Not only are women unwittingly compromising their independence through restrictive fashions, they are fantasizing about the good old days. For example, consider the wildly popular “Fifty Shades of Gray” in which a simpering virgin claims a perverse billionaire’s heart by accepting his need to dominate her. That he eventually backs off the whips and chains to a lesser degree of domination undercuts the point. He’s the power figure. Their relationship works because she accepts his need for control and because he loves her so much he’s willing to give up something he enjoys. Kind of.

Probably aside from the author’s intent, the story serves as a metaphor for the conflicted state of male-female relations in our modern age. Is it the Darwinian fate of the sexes that women will always crave the powerful male who slams her against the wall and has his way with her? Are women hardwired to look for warrior males because at one time such men were her only protection?

If the lucrative romance literature market serves as any measure of what women want, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

Beneath that thriving fictional world, however, is the reality that women today often share with their male partner the responsibility for child care, house care, and earning income. They may initiate sex or take a dominant role in sex play. Those pesky surface gender norms require they be partners in a complex relationship that is both rewarding and exhausting.

What a relief then to pick up a novel that wipes away all the modern obligations and allows her to cavort, however fantastically, in a highly charged romance where all responsibility has been removed, where the perfect male anticipates her every need and forces her to accept what is best for her. Where she is perpetually a teary-eyed, childishly innocent creature in need of male support.

It’s worth remembering that marriage is still considered the greatest accomplishment in a woman’s life.

These undercurrents that drive women to take on submissive appearance and to flock to entertainment that enshrines submission may in fact tell us something about the unliberated psyche of today’s women. It bears consideration that many women may remain hardwired to a primal pattern of submission that doesn’t go away just because of birth control pills and the right to vote.

The behaviors exhibited by a powerful woman like Hillary strike many of us as foreign and even unnatural. Women who are able to move beyond instinctive gender roles and compete with men for the most powerful positions of business and politics trigger suspicion and dislike. In the hearts and minds of many who have yet to recognize their own inner biases, she is not to be trusted.

 

[1] http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/09/28/youve-heard-of-rape-culture-but-have-you-heard-of-pedophile-culture/

The Threat of Willful Ignorance

willful ig

There’s an ignored bigger picture behind the by-now worn out topic of the Duggar family’s hidden sex abuse scandal. In case you missed it, the vaunted head of that household stated last week that when he found out about his son’s incestuous molestation of several sisters, he spoke about it with his peers at church. “Most of them told me their sons had done the same thing to their daughters so we didn’t think it unusual or cause for great concern.”

That’s right. He said that.

For someone not of similar mindset, it’s difficult if not impossible to understand how anyone could be that stupid. In what world, religious cult or not, is it acceptable for a teenage brother to molest his younger sisters? Duggar clarified by adding “This wasn’t rape or anything like that.”

Pardon me while I quietly lose my breakfast. Yes, Jim Bob, it was precisely ‘anything’ like that.

[This space left blank for lengthy rant.]

[One of several excellent commentaries about the victimization and objectification of women within extreme-right religions can be found here.]

Moving on to the less obvious point: Is this radical subculture of the religious community simply less intelligent than the rest of us?

Actually, yes, Virginia, there is a correlation between low intelligence, prejudice, and conservative beliefs.[1] Lower capacity for analytical thinking increases the perceived risk of complicated situations. More than one study has found that “strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.” This is especially true for those raised with the sets of rules inherent in legalistic or evangelic fundamentalist faiths.

In these circles, the only ‘information’ that matters is the Bible. “The Bible says” typically precedes angry proclamations about the sin of homosexuality, abortion, or same-sex marriage. The Bible says God created the world in six days, so evolution can’t be true. The Bible says women are made to serve men, so that means women belong to men. With the Book of Revelations detailing how God will end the world, why should anyone listen to that gobbledygook about global warming?

There is no argument that can penetrate beyond that stubborn wall of self-ordained righteousness. It doesn’t matter if the stated belief is not exactly what the Bible says, or if the Bible also says other things that mitigate or even conflict. It doesn’t matter if the Bible could, shockingly, not be the actual Word of God but instead a collection of folk tales borrowed from older cultures and passed down through narration before finally being written down by men who had their own ideas about what it all meant and didn’t hesitate to edit in order to ‘clarify’ or emphasize a specific meaning. All well intentioned of course, as were the nuances inserted in later translations and transcriptions over the intervening two thousand years.

That the Bible is not the literal Word of God simply does not compute. La la la, I can’t hear you. That God might not be a male patriarch with a flowing white beard or in fact an actual physical presence at all is similarly incomprehensible. These beliefs are seared into the hearts and souls of religious extremists. Losing those beliefs would be a form of death more threatening than physical death because the beliefs promise the eternal existence of ‘self’ if only the Word is obeyed.

Along with facing the challenges of rational analysis and increasingly complicated social constructs, people raised in conservative religions are taught that learning isn’t necessarily a Godly pursuit. After all, wasn’t Original Sin about knowing too much? God guides each person’s life to the challenges that will increase his or her faith, and there’s a risk that too much learning would cause one not to listen to God’s will. This has been the reasoning behind Michelle Duggar’s production of nineteen children following a miscarriage which signaled, in her mind, God’s anger for her use of birth control.

This is not to say that spiritual beliefs and intelligence are mutually exclusive. Many learned men and women past and present embrace and benefit from faith traditions. Yet history shows us that in societies ruled by religious extremists, people were tortured to death for speaking openly in contradiction to the then-known ‘facts’—for example, that the world was flat, or that the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth.

Climate change, men on the moon, a woman’s right to decide what happens inside her own body? These are complicated topics which require a grasp of basic scientific and/or legal principles. Not only are extremist children underserved by (preferred) home schooling, they are (apparently) products of a gene pool less likely to possess the intellectual capacity for learning and utilizing advanced reasoning skills. They are actively trained not to develop such skills in the risk of angering God.

Observers might surmise that behind such intellectual laziness is not only a blind trust in God’s ability to steer seven billion lives through minute-by-minute monitoring down to whether Michelle used birth control but also—more importantly—the urgent and secret desire not to be responsible. Inborn or learned, inadequate reasoning ability fosters an insecurity that predisposes its victims toward herd behavior. The world is simply too much to understand. Who can know enough to decide what to do?

The solution is to put all faith in God and don’t worry about it. Read the Bible again. Come the Rapture, they’ll get their reward and rest of us heathens will burn in hell.

If it stopped there, if these folks simply led quiet lives holy by their own definition, there would be little cause for alarm. But that’s not the case.

They want to take over the country.

They won’t be happy until homosexuals are ‘cured’ and women submit to male authority. We’re left to wonder, if they did manage to achieve their heartfelt goal, which of the disciplines would be banned first: Geology with its flagrant rejection of Biblical chronology claiming the earth is only 6000 years old? Physics with its insistence on the Big Bang theory? Psychology with its exploration of human motivations and denials?

Can we muster any sympathy for the intentionally benighted who don’t understand how climate change can be real when it snowed six inches just last night?

The Duggar sex scandal made big news because for nearly a decade, the family has presented itself to the American public as the model of Christian piety. For those who reacted to the show with disbelief and disgust, it’s been a moment of breathless irony. For their sympathetic fans, the reaction to their fall from grace has been an angry spate of straw-man arguments—the publicity re-victimizes the sisters, the release of information was illegal (not), the poor young man already said he was sorry. A clear-eyed view of the hypocrisy, criminality, and deception involved is simply not possible for those wallowing in their own ignorance.

For the rest of us, the Duggar debacle shines a light on the cesspit of rightwing politics. The family’s celebrity rewarded them with money they’ve used to support extremist political candidates. With his GED in hand, Josh achieved placement among the ranks of the nation’s top extremist political lobbying organization, the Family Research Council. All of them—the Duggars, the rightwing legislators, the Family Research Council—seem oblivious to the elephant in their highly moral living room—that is, the incessant proof of their own immorality.

Leaders in the movement have made their objective clear. Kathryn Joyce, author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, cited the movement’s strategy that “…if just eight million American Christians began supplying more ‘arrows for the war’ by having six children or more, they propose that the Christian Right ranks could rise to 550 million within a century.”  A stated objective of such an effort is to increase the number of conservatives in Washington.[2]

Extreme religionists cannot fathom the connection between their political choices and the troubled state of their own communities. The largely white, low income, less educated ranks of the religious right are the same populations that rank highest in need of government handouts: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. They have the highest rates of divorce, child hunger, child abuse, and alcoholism/drug addiction. They have the highest use of Internet pornography. They have more reproductive services restrictions and more teen pregnancy, more high school dropouts and lower levels of education which go hand in hand with lower average incomes. More of these populations are in poor health, obese, and—inanely—resent the Affordable Care Act for providing health insurance.

These facts simply do not compute for the willfully ignorant. Any suffering by the extremists and their neighbors surely means that God is testing them. It might even anger God if they did anything to remove this suffering. That’s why government programs meant to provide assistance to those in need are high on the fundamentalist hate list.

The extremists do not understand that their myth of a Christian nation is contrary to the Founding Fathers’ intent. The concept of separation of church and state eludes them. Don’t bother them with facts or quotes from the U. S. Constitution. They lack the capacity to imagine how they would feel if a religion other than Christianity took control of the nation.

The urgent desire to “get back America” among religious extremists may stem from the creeping realization (despite heroic efforts at denial) that their beliefs somehow fail to inoculate them from sinning. They still molest boys in their care (Hastert). They still commit adultery (Gingrich and too many to name). They still participate in homosexual behavior (CA State Sen. Roy Ashburn, among the many).

In a perfect world by their definition, government would help Christians adhere to the straight and narrow by enforcing God’s law through the power of the state. Efforts to warn of the tragedy inherent in theocracies fall on deaf ears. Don’t they see what’s going on in the Middle East?

drink copyPerhaps a form of transference drives the fundamentalists’ need to force everyone else to the extremist way of life in the largely unconscious assumption that it’s the homosexuals and transgenders who somehow infect the good people with sin. Such a concept is discernible in the upwelling of “religious freedom” laws, as if baking a cake for a same-sex wedding somehow rubs the sin of gayness off on the baker.

Did Jesus refuse to touch the leper or prostitute? Evidently these folks don’t read their own literature.

But then, what can be expected of those who are uncomfortable with or incapable of approaching any topic on a logical basis? Sin is a result of demons who come to sit on our shoulders, and we must pray to cast them out. There is no personal responsibility. God wills it or Satan is in control.

Legislators placed in office by zealots do not understand, refuse to acknowledge, and/or refuse to participate in the basic principles of informed debate or negotiated compromise, foundations of a democratic representative government. This enormous beam in the rightwing’s eye results in treasonous acts such as newly-elected zealot Senator Tom Cotton’s direct communication with Iran intended to disrupt the multi-nation negotiation on nuclear energy.

The rest of us have failed to fully recognize or effectively counter the threat. There’s been an underlying hesitancy to criticize those who proclaim themselves avid Christians, especially among more moderate Christians. “19 Kids and Counting” has been one of several exposures of this lifestyle to the public view which has brought little to no public censure. Rather, the program resulted in a bemused sense of wonder that anyone could have that many kids. Why worry? These are the good people, aren’t they?

Do we really think these extremists will stop at some point, fold up their tents, and let the rest of us live our lives as we see fit? Come to their senses? Actually comprehend Christ’s teachings about loving their neighbors and not judging?

10000 copyCan we accept the Christian nation these fearful, ignorant extremists envision? What’s the distance between the current effort to “take back America” and armed conflict? The instinctive reaction of people who see themselves as cornered and fighting for a ‘holy’ cause is to stockpile weapons. It’s no coincidence that those most vehement about guns and open carry are also eager to rant about secession or claim there are “10,000 pastors” ready to die for the cause.[3]

We may think the Duggars benign, an isolated amusement that crops up on our television screen. Peculiar, out of sync, quaint—doing their best to be good in a difficult world. It’s past time to sit up and realize they and their kind are about as benign as misdiagnosed cancer.


[1] Pappas, Stephanie. “Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice,” Live Science. January 26, 2012 http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html

[2] Blumberg, Antonia. “What You Need To Know About The ‘Quiverfull’ Movement,” The Huffington Post 5/26/2015.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/26/quiverfull-movement-facts_n_7444604.html