For 15 seasons, fans of the TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, have watched a large family grow, because, well, apparently, there’s a fascination with seeing large families on television. In all fairness, I realize there’s probably more to that fascination than simply witnessing an unrealistic determination of a southern family continuing their efforts of growing in modern society; I have never seen even one episode. My sister has and it was our topic of choice over dinner. For her, the creep factor inched up during one of the first seasons, so she too abandoned the notion of finding anything wholesome or even realistic that served as a foundation for the family. Now, her creep factor makes sense.
Our conversation then moved on to Mike Huckabee, mega conservative candidate for the Republican presidential ticket. He’s another one who annoys me, even when I can quite define that annoying feature. But at least he’s standing up for what he believes with this whole molestation scandal surrounding the Duggar family. Got to appreciate that, right? God love him, he’s had a history of shoving his judgmental foot down his own throat.
Here’s the thing: this molestation brouhaha isn’t adding up. There are too many denials, redacted documents, timing issues (including destroying all of the records the moment an Arkansas law enforcement agency received a FOIA request from the media) and a disgusting number of “hiding behind God” comments from the family, which they believe, no doubt, should put the entire scandal to rest. “We rely on God. He’s saved us, so we really don’t need anything else” types of comments are leaving a bad taste in even their most avid supporters’ mouths.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m vehemently faithful, but religious? Not so much. This family is the epitome of the self-righteousness that has overtaken American churches. This family’s religion is what they believe elevates them higher than homosexuals, unwed mothers and the rest of the sinners. Now, though, child molesters are OK because, well, one of their family members is indeed a child molester. And Huckabee supports that. Perfect.
But let’s get back to the heart of the matter: the molestation admission. Everyone has closed ranks around this family’s eldest son, Josh Duggar. Now we learn that at least a few of his victims include his sisters. The operative word is sisterS – as in plural. While Mom and Dad are building their walls around him and themselves, there are real victims who are witnessing this and a few who are now behind that proverbial wall. I’m not suggesting this family made their daughters second class citizens, but what I am saying is that they have no idea what this looks like to these girls – whether they’re relatives or family friends.
Not only must they live with the betrayal, but in a way, they’re being victimized again. Their story’s out there, whether they want it to be or not. I’ve heard nothing – and I mean nothing – about the repercussions for them. We’ve read the statements, but really, what do you think is happening this very minute? Is there someone dismissing their feelings and saying, “God will handle it”? “God forgives”? While it’s true that God forgives, for most victims, it takes them awhile to get to the forgiveness stage. I don’t think God becomes angry at us when we try to tell someone how hurt we are or how angry we are or how betrayed we are and that we don’t want to hear how God will fix it for us.
Sometimes, the answer is, “Yes, I know you’re hurt. We’ll get through it. I don’t know how yet, but we will.” Other times, the answer is, “Let it out. Tell me. Throw something. Get mad! Just get it out. I’m right here to help you.” The thought of someone whose go-to answer is, “There, there. God will handle it,” is infuriating, patronizing and dismissive, especially when the criminal is also hearing the very same nugget of wisdom from the same people. Essentially, the victims’ parents are protecting the molester who forever changed their life trajectories.
Because of this abuse, these girls (whether they’re his sisters or family friends) are now at a higher risk of those “sins” Huckabee is determined to eradicate, including addiction, unplanned pregnancy and a lifetime of poor self-esteem. They say the higher the pedestal, the harder the fall. Mike Huckabee is about to learn that lesson, courtesy of his support for almost everyone in the Duggar family. It must feel like a kick in the teeth for the victims.
So, with Huckabee closing ranks with the Duggar family, he’s in essence saying he supports this criminal behavior. He’s forgiving of child molesters, but really, is anyone surprised? He did, after all, play a pivotal role in having a rapist released from prison, only to have that criminal rape again, though this time, Wayne Dumond killed the woman he raped. Read that story (and a copy of the letter Huckabee sent Dumond in prison) here. He also happened to agree with the vulgar statement made by Todd Akin, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
I think we’re seeing a pattern with Huckabee and it doesn’t look good for women.