Duggar controversy and the battle over who has “morals” and can judge “morality”
With the revelation that Josh Duggar had molested some girls years ago, when he was 14, the internet has erupted in back and forth debate. The secular world claims it’s hypocrisy, of course, and and quickly throws up his preaching against the LGBT community, especially in his position in the Family Research Council (which he then resigned from. The Duggar’s show was then canceled from TV), and figure he should have been marred for life.
Even my wife (who’s not as active on the internet as I am) says how she sees all these horrible attacks posted on social media, even condemning the parents for having so many children. She had watched them from the beginning, and saw the kids born and grow up, one by one, right on TV.
The Christians say it was a “mistake” that he has since repented of, and “brought the family closer to God” (https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873?fref=nf&pnref=story i.e. the whole “He uses bad things for ultimate good” concept). My wife relayed the account that the family reported him to the police. The other side alleges that it was covered up, and then I hear this was really a friend of the family (who would later be busted on child pornography), and the only punishment was the “hard labor” of him doing construction work for another friend of the family. (see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2015/05/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-josh-duggar-police-report.html)
One article even suggests “It was not a sin, it was a crime” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2015/05/22/the-duggars-dangerous-cult-of-purity/ The premise was that “sin” was some sort of socially neutral category, that makes it wrong “according to your beliefs” [i.e. to “God”] but OK in society.
I would say it was both, and there is no need for any “either/or”.
Christian defenders note how “all of a sudden”, the liberals, homosexual advocates, etc. have “discovered sexual morality” in judging right wingers, yet throw out judging when their behavior or civil desires are on the hot seat [based on the notion that one “perversion” is no better than another], and possibly don’t really care about the poor victims of the whole ordeal, but are only using them for their agendas. (see http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-duggars-arent-hypocrites-progressives-are)
After my wife commented on how “the world expects Christians to be perfect”; my initial comment on this was:
Christians defending brethren caught in sin often complain “the world” expects them to be “perfect”, but when you’ve labeled them as “separate” (i.e. the “world”) because of their “sin” (and lack of “repentance” from it), then you are essentially judging them by The Law, which commands “Be ye perfect”.
They know this, and thus, turn it back onto Christians; a lot of times, unfairly [like not allowing the possibility that he truly repented of it], but then we’re often unfair to them in harping on their behavior (including discriminating against them, as in the case of the LGBT community, and let’s not forget all the often hateful condemnation, usually evoking God) in the first place.
What I had found in debating legalists from many different religious groups (many of them quite ardent, and making post after post about God’s standards and how everyone else is just ignoring them), is that when it’s turned back on them, and the true extent of the demands of God’s Law (and their impossibility) are presented, they end up resorting to this “it’s not about perfection” claim, basically premised on “as long as we’re trying“; (never put that way, but i.e. “not sinning willfully“), then we show we have “repented”. So now, with their imperfections covered, they have a ‘clean slate’ to go after everyone else (“the world” and “the church” alike, often), who aren’t “trying” hard enough (if, at all).
(Problem is, we do still sin “willfully”).
The real issue
Here is the real “hypocrisy” people are pointing out (even moreso than just the fact that he did it in the first place):
Yet these are the same people who, Bible in hand, condemn gay Christians as “a disgusting abomination and a threat to teens.”
Particularly when religious conservatives want to talk about it, they want to point a finger at non-family. They want to point a finger at people that they define as the enemies of families or not from or having families of their own — LGBT people, particularly trans people increasingly with these anti-trans bathroom bills. That is what the Duggars have dug in on; is attacking trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.
When you say all of that stuff, it is fair for others (especially those you are saying it to) to expect a lot from you. To fall yourself, and then say “oops; it was just a mistake; I know we’re imperfect; don’t you go and judge [me/them], now…” people will not receive the way you think they should. It’s essentially “loading a heavy burden [you your]selves can not even lift with one of [your] fingers” (Matt.23:4).
Christians will claim at that point “the Devil” is attacking them, and he is, but we are warned to ourselves “give him no occasion” (Eph.4:27). In this case, he is correctly identified as an “accuser” (Rev.12:10). This is really his primary function, not some “pleasure-time pal” who leads people into “fun” just for thrills, as we assume when judging “the world” or even “disobedient Christians”.
So when we make these hefty accusations of others, we are playing his game, and he already got us in his trap. So of course, he will turn on us when we fail ourselves! That’s how it works. We make ourselves big “targets”! We are relying on our own efforts too much, and thus not really on Christ’s covering!
When we make the hefty accusations of others’ behavior that we do, we are playing the Accuser’s game, and “giving him occasion”, when we ourselves fall
I recently began communicating with someone who says her family and church were terrible to her when she came out, even fearing she would begin to molest little girls or something like that! (This was one of the stories that helped lead me recently to a final full realization that most of these people are going through tremendous struggle, and not just “jaded” from overindulgence in pleasure or some other “sinful choice”, as assumed).
Being “attracted” to females has nothing to do with necessarily wanting to have sex with under-age ones (or really, anyone other than someone you are in a consensual adult relationship with); else, every single heterosexual male then is unsafe to have around little girls! (Christians and other wise people may be vigilant about men around their daughters, but then to specifically suspect LGBT people like that is not warranted).
People just react, viscerally, and do not think these things out at all. Yet many are themselves fighting some deep “shadow” stuff that they keep suppressing, and instead “box” in others, who otherwise should not be bothering them, in their personal business.
People worry about Christians coming under “persecution” for refusing to marry gays, or even bake them wedding cakes, but while the nonChristians and liberals can become hypocritical as well, some of this is reaction to all the invective Christians spew at them. Hence, they apply the much dreaded label “hater”, and treat you as such, even though you’re at that point only speaking and not actually doing anything. But that’s because you’ve lost the power. They have heard what Christians would do if they did have the power. They can look just at history. Then, many Christians over the years have loudly bemoaned this loss of power, and have vied to “take it back” in one way or another. What would they do with the gays then? So as some memes say [to paraphrase], “You’re not being persecuted just because you’re not allowed to persecute others”.
The article even points out:
Those who like to throw the Bible around might want to know that teaching right and wrong instead of teaching Jesus is eating off the tree of knowledge [of good and evil], which Genesis 2:17 declares forbidden.
A point from the old Christian music debate
In conjunction with all of this, just to give a sense of how deep the double standard of moral projection can run, this article: http://theochlophobist.blogspot.com/2015/05/arkansans-oh-my-poor-people.html says the Duggar’s home was “close to Bill Gothard. Gothard had to resign from his ministry because he fondled at least 32 girls.”
None of this I knew.
What I knew about Gothard was that he was a “darling” of the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptists) anti-CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) sentiment, with his citing of “scientific studies” on the “negative effects of rock music”, that were totally misinterpreted. (This movement is still insisting all “rock music”, including even Christian rock, and other 20th century forms, such as “jazz”; all, having black influence; mind you, is evil!) He also put out the “ten strikes” against “the fruits of the rock beat”. (see http://www.erictb.info/ccm.html) and has even been criticized for a “a mechanistic, cause-and-effect approach to life” (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-1952); “ten steps for this and five steps for that, yet eight steps for another”, which “accords neither with the variations in people or with the dynamics of Scripture.” and yet presented “as though they were the direct teaching of the Bible.” That is the approach people see as “safeguarding” against “sin”.
The entire premise of this whole “music philosophy” is how the “rock beat” is “sensual”, and ultimately leads to “sin”. (It’s even in part blamed for the “demise” of America).
This obviously is pure, unadulterated SHADOW! HE has a problem with “sensuality” (and a very SERIOUS one, at that, apparently)*, so then COMPENSATES for his problem by projecting it onto others (me sitting and tapping my feet to a song’s backbeat or rhythm, perhaps? or maybe others doing a more suggestive dance), and then urges being EXTRA “vigilant”; follow all the “rules” and “steps”, in rooting out every possible association of a beat or other sound with evil (his second point, basically; the complete argument even ultimately boils down to meticulous details like “beat accents”, “syncopation” and “harmony vs melody”), and there; the entire modern church is “disobedient” to God, and “compromising” with the devil and “sin”, —while he goes on molesting girls!
*[Edit: Now I’m seeing on his own statement: http://billgothard.com/content/statement-bill-gothard he denies ever “kiss[ing] a girl, nor I touch[ing] a girl immorally or with sexual intent”, and that there was only “holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies”. If this is true, then it shows critics being unfair and misleading, in continuing to beef it up to full “fondling”; but, it would still be a great “double standard” (as he admits), especially given the extreme vigilance in his expression of Christianity, where it is generally taught that a man should not even counsel a woman alone, nor ever be near their bedroom, and “holding hands” is frowned upon for a dating couple (i.e., quote, below) etc. in addition to the scrutiny of music for “sensuality” (and all dancing is definitely out as well, despite its use in scripture); all to avoid the “appearance of evil” (1 Thess.5:22; a frequently cited verse by this circle in both of these issues).
It’s like he has to micro-order life, to try to tame the sinful tendencies he’s obviously aware of, but it doesn’t work, yet he pushes it on everyone else. That’s the problem people are opposing here!
Him having to resign makes me think there might still be more to it than he is letting on. Or, maybe it’s just the severity of the double standard, given the so high standards they preach. (Then, I find this: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/04/response-to-gothards-statement which makes this point, but then claims, among other things, that some of the girls testified to more than what he’s saying).
In any case, it does show show my point here, of no matter how strict you are, you’re still human and “sinful”, and piling on meticulous “rules” and “steps to victory”, and then judging others who don’t follow them, does not help, but is further suppressing sin into the unconscious aka “shadow”, where it will still come up and make you fall, all the more harder].
(And of course, they are conveniently against psychology as well, which often exposes stuff like this, such as calling out concepts such as “unconscious projection”. The rest of the IFB movement, takes a similar defensive view, when sex scandals erupt in their midst, arguing they will “damage our testimony”: see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-2989
Old-line fundamentalists are the biggest preachers of “all have sinned”, but seem to think that because they themselves went down to an altar and “said the sinner’s prayer” ⦅usually as a preteen or something⦆, that this affect has for all purposes been erased for them, hence being so hard on the rest of the “world” and even the church).
Meanwhile, as the Washington Post article, above, points out:
“When all sexuality is a sin, when even holding hands is off limits, there isn’t a clear line between permissible, healthy forms of exploration and acts that are impermissible to anyone, not just the particularly devout. This gospel of shame and purity has the potential to be incredibly harmful because it does away with important lines.”
This I had pointed out, with a little illustration, on the CCM page!
“If a line is reasonably drawn, it sets a clearly defined boundary.
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They bemoan “New evangelicals” going into all sort of styles and gimmicks (sometimes genuinely crossing lines of decency or good taste), but when you had told them beats by themselves were sinful (and then, ridiculous stuff, like even beards and mustaches), and they found no basis for that, then they questioned and challenged almost any restrictions. They weren’t given a solid foundation; they were given cultural-centered (and others-demonizing) traditions, which ultimately relativized everything, as much as the old conservatives condemned “relativism”.
Meanwhile, here is Gothard’s pamphet on dealing with sexual abuse:
Basically, aiming to possibly blame the victim. “Why did God let it happen?” even! (“immodest dress”, etc), and what “good” can come out if it, and the insinuation that the more important “damage” is what the victim might do to themselves through “bitterness”. (Also, the tossing around of the term “spiritual power”, like some sort of energy we “tap into” as this sort of philosophy has been criticized for). This based on the old dualistic (originally gnostic) split between “body” and “soul” (and “spirit”) I had noted, insisting the “soul”/”spirit” is more important than the “body”. Ignoring they are made into one whole, much like the Trinity, and what happens to one will affect the other). And citing scriptures (like 2 Cor 6:4-5:8) to support it!
No wonder they fall into these problems!
This is the “emotional health gospel” at its most raw! If anyone might think I was out on a limb for saying in my old essays (http://www.erictb.info/psychology.html http://www.erictb.info/abundant.html) that this anti-psychology crusade is about control, here it all comes out, right before you! I rhetorically asked in those projects “Should we tell children that have been molested (who generally have severe emotional damage, that many cannot recover from) that if God allowed this, then it must be good for them, regardless of what they feel?” and here we see them come very close to that!
When looking at this chart, just remember, they will condemn all psychology and therapy (and any Christian who so much as even uses a term “associated” with it) in favor of THIS!
So now, when we see these same sorts of people put down the supposed “culture of victimization” in modern society (see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-2995), we see what they’re getting at. People are never victims; they’re sinners; —the real perpetrators, basically, and thus the only truly “violated” party is God; (and perhaps also his preachers, when “the world” criticizes them for hypocrisy, and tries to take away their “freedoms” to control others, tax free at that), and people “deserve” a lot more pain than a little molestation (or other abuse, oppression, discrimination, poverty, etc.) in the temporal world. This is how they think!
The “human” factor
In learning about type, I’ve come to realize that the expression of Christianity I had come under, basically dehumanizes nonbelievers! (Though they will tend to try to soften this down in various ways, and different groups may more or less fit this).
And I fell into this, from my own shadow projections. Growing up with AS in a “secular” environment (nonreligious immediate family, and typical kids in the street and school, who weren’t showing any religion), I had a lot of problems with people, and my parents often seemed to “take everyone else’s side”, because they (the “world”) were “functioning” (or as the kids put it, “normal”), and I was the one falling out of step.
Religion I associated with older people, like one of my grandmothers, a godmother, and other “church ladies” of that generation, who weren’t exactly the most intellectual minds around. Then, the televangelists; not the watered down version of today, that has shifted to a purely “prosperity” message or “outreach”, but the ones of 30 years ago and more, who were trying to “save America” by preaching against everyone’s sin, and condemning all the “changes” of post-50’s culture, such as the sexual revolution, evolutionism, and leftist influence (but not the racism, capitalistic greed and other problems of before that time, which was held up as a golden age of righteousness).
I at first couldn’t stand them, because evolution made more sense to my introverted Thinking (sense of what’s logically “true/false” based on what I’ve learned individually or through nature) than the notion of a God patting together (with human hands, in most portrayals) the first man from a mound of dirt, literally, and only 6,000 years ago. And with adolescent hormones raging away, I didn’t want to follow their loudly insisted upon mores of having sex only in marriage (requiring a wait of several years or more). This was accompanied by this insulting insistence that there was no morality outside of people believing in God.
I right away tried to square that away with all the horrors done in the name of religion (which I heard a lot from my father, but liberals in the mainstream did not seem to be as loud as they are now, so I rarely heard any other response to conservatives besides my father).
But when I myself had no luck with girls or social situations, because of my problems with people, and it seemed so unfair and unjust, but my parents kept saying “that’s life” (on top of all the hypocrisy and corruption I was seeing in politics and even religion), then the religious message of the “sinfulness” of man began to click. When I ran across a historico-futurist reading of Daniel and Revelation, that was the final piece of the puzzle that led me to finally adopt parts of the message.
So, now I could fire back (at my father’s proclamation that “the world is what it is, and you have to take care of yourself in it; no one will care about you; etc. and you have to ‘play the game’ to get ahead, not be taken advantage of, win girls…” etc. —all incredibly hard for someone with AS), that this world was evil and had no moral values, and God was going to soon come and destroy it.
So I went for years believing this. I knew I and all other Christians were “imperfect”, but we still at least “tried” to turn and “submit” to God and keep our sin under control, unlike the hellbound “sinners” of the world (especially the homosexuals), who just “let it all hang out”.
I really believed the world had no basis of morality; that they could not be trusted! I just think of all the fighting people do, the drinking, stealing, killing, acting “bad”, and of course the sexual sins, etc. Their “philosophy” teaches them that all of this is “OK”!
I knew there were Christians who were “phonies”, but at least, I figured, the average ones were “less likely” to do the things people in “the world” would do to you.
And I felt compelled to have to “witness” to everyone, first by proving it absolutely (after all, God has “shown” the “truth” to everyone, hence, “no excuse”, and thus such an extreme penalty for “rejecting” it, and not “giving” God back what He’s “due”, as I argued) —even though I often didn’t know how (having so many issues of doubt myself).
In one IFB-related church, going along with the common belief that the world’s minds had been captured by godless science and “humanism”, we tried handing out these wordy [attempted to be] “intellectual” tracts reasoning against these things in favor of the Bible, to average people on the street, to whom we might as well have been handing out blank pieces of paper.
Meanwhile, life just went on as usual, and people were just people. The whole thing seemed like beating my head against a wall.
A decade ago, I learn about the preterist system of eschatology (in at first fighting it, strongly), and when I find out about the “Fulfilled View” variation, it finally makes sense of the Gospel. At the same time, I’m finding out about temperament, and then typology, where you have something like a “Feeling” function that forms the basis of our “moral” judgments. The introverted variant is even called by some theorists, the “Conscience”. Everyone has this, somewhere in their psyche.
When we are known for preaching God’s Law at the world, the world knows that Law commands “be ye PERFECT”, and thus, they expect the same from those who preach it. What’s missing is GRACE
And so, the splitting up of mankind was finally erased; and I see all people are essentially the same. Made in God’s image, marred by “sin” behaviorally (from “knowledge of good and evil”), but this sin “not counted against them” (2 Cor. 5:19), by the pure grace of God, acting on the Cross. (Not man’s “goodness”, or “sin being OK”, etc.) Some may have different motivations, including religion, to behave better, but everyone has a conscience, and a sense of right and wrong.
I had always commented on the apparent irony that while heterosexuals had all but abandoned monogamy in favor of “fornication” (including “shacking up”, at least before marriage, and of course, readily divorcing), the homosexuals were now seemingly the only ones advocating for marriage. When seeing heterosexuals get married, especially Hollywood couples, I wondered why, since they had had so many partners before, and knowing it was probably going to break up soon anyway.
But it shows both heterosexual and homosexual people have the same human desire for the ideals of love and committed companionship as Christians, even if the nonChristians are slower to commit and quicker to leave.
All people have a moral sense, but don’t live up to it
And so, many non-Christians, liberals, and LGBT’s, can see these actions of professing Christians (or anyone else) as morally offensive. (And even if they don’t share in Biblical moral values). 1 Corinthians 5:1 is the clear perennial example of Christians falling into sexual sins that are [legitimately] offensive to the “pagans” (Of course, Paul is using a bit of hyperbole, and these things do occur in the unchurched as well, naturally ⦅”not even named” probably conveys the sense of “unspeakable” rather than “never done”, and we can see child molestation is an “unspeakable” offense to them⦆, but the Church ends up more likely to try to cover it up, using God and fear, which will allow it to go on and fester!)
Christians often argue the [divine] Law, (with its associated fear of condemnation) is “necessary” to control sin, and “preserve society”, which becomes the basis of the assumption that nonChristians don’t have any moral values. (Even Romans 2 shows that they do, but many Christians only take that as “proof” of their interpretation of chapter 1, that there is “no excuse” for unbelief, which was really aimed at a specific people who saw a form of special revelation from God but “held it in unrighteousness”). So this is their response to any notion that we shouldn’t “judge”, (as well as any doctrine that removes the condemnation in any way).
Proof that this doesn’t work, is not only nonChristians have values, but also, the people who supposedly have the fear of God, and had “repented” of sin, still fall into it themselves. (Then, they will appeal to being “forgiven”, and their “sins” not held against them, but only because they had [officially] “repented” ⦅apart of “believing” or “faith”⦆, which included trying to be “obedient” and live a good life).
This is why “the world” keeps jumping on Christians’ sins! (The way some of them preach, they should be “perfect”!)
It is totally not fair to place such burdens on others when you cannot hold to them, (or at best, have to [often admittedly] struggle to maintain them), yourself!
Also more recently got a sense of a non-Christian-specific basis for moral values when reading a book on “integrity” (used for https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/solar-vs-lunar-in-gender-dynamics-and-individuation), by a gay SF-based Jungian analyst, who would from those descriptions be the epitome of pagan “godlessness” to many Christians. The definition of “integrity” (“untouched”) in this case is “care” and “justice”, and “care” breaks down into “amiability” (interest in pleasing others) and “constancy” (continuity of an identity of caring). The only thing lacking in this is “your lack of these qualities (or lack of ‘repenting’ of your falling short of them) is going to be punished by an eternity in the torments of Hell fire”.
This latter motivation, it has been shown yet again to not be able to stop sin. (If God were judging by Law and even “repentance”, a lot of supposedly “born again”/“saved” people would still find themselves disqualified!)
What is the purpose of having this “integrity”, then? This theory is about “wholeness”, and while wholeness would naturally eliminate a lot of problems in people’s interactions (and ultimately, society), it is not something to be coerced through fear, or used to hit others over the head with, if they haven’t attained your maturity level (which would really not be necessary if you’ve really found wholeness).
A pattern we’ve seen over and over, is of one side focusing on sexual morality, yet all sorts of other evils go ignored. The other side focuses on stuff like “equality”, which is largely ignored or even sometimes put down by the first side, and yet has a more open position on what the other side calls “morality”.
What happens, is since the first side generally links up with religion more, it more loudly claims the very name of “morality”, and what happens, is that it’s focus of sexual morality becomes the definition of “true” morality, and thus, they can claim the other side has no morals (and are thus the true “hypocrites” when they try to preach their own “morality”), and what it tries to say is moral (equality, etc) can be dismissed.
It ts true that liberals and non Christians do judge [often harshly] as well, as is being complained about in this issue. Often on different standards (I found “the world” of urban kids I grew up with far more “judgmental” on stuff like fitting in, sports skills, etc. than Christians), but they too think it’s so absolutely “truth”, or that what they are fighting against threatens their liberty, that judging and controlling others becomes justified, in a “defensive” pretext.
It’s a “Shadow” dynamic on both sides. One side has a persona of moral strictness, covering a suppressed shadow of lust and lawlessness, and the other advocates sexual (and other) freedom, but will manifest a shadow of authoritarianism and dictatorship (including censorship, ostracization, government control, etc.) when they feel threatened.
All of this shows, that “all have sinned”, and what’s needed is grace, not judgment. (Meaning divine, including those who purport to “relay” the divine word to others. Of course, we still need to confront abuse and injustice, and protect people, especially children, in order to live on this earth together).
(For the part of the debate on judging”, see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-3073)
Here’s an article on this: