My four kids were all homeschooled, but I have felt totally inadequate compared to TV’s Duggar family, the bunch with 19 kids whose names all begin with “J.” I said that I “have” felt totally inadequate, but with recent news of the “Josh Duggar Scandal” filling the airwaves of the various cable news shows that I see at the gym, I’m not feeling so bad. I will confess that my knowledge of this topic of profound importance to our world is quite limited since I have only seen images and read a few closed captions.
It seems that when one of the family’s sons, Josh, now 27, was something like 14 years old, he did what many 14-year-old boys would do if given the opportunity. He groped a teenage girl. For this, the left-wing lynch mob has assembled, sharpened their pitchforks and lighted their torches, demanding that network TLC cancel the Duggars’ reality show, because, you know, Josh was accused of fondling girls more than a decade ago.
To be clear, especially as the father of three daughters, I do not take lightly any sort of sexual assault, regardless of its nature. However, Josh was a minor, no charges were filed, and it was a very long time ago.
But there’s a message in all of this that the lynch mob is too myopic to notice. The Duggars are right. They are right when they attempt to carefully chaperone their kids. (I’m not sure what happened to allow Josh’s hands their opportunity, but that’s another matter.) The Duggar parents understand that young people, especially young men, have a lot of hormones in action and not a great deal of restraint in the brains. Because of that, these parents attempt to carefully control their kids to keep them out of the sort of stupid actions that Josh apparently didn’t avoid.
My college has campus sexual assault posters plastered all over the halls. Why? Because we as a culture have abdicated our responsibilities to young people and thrown them into coed dorms, booze-addled parties, and a general hook-up culture. It’s no wonder that we have an epidemic of sexual assault and of sexually transmitted diseases.
According to one study, 1 in 4 college students has an STD. That’s 25%, but the Duggars’ TV show is an affront to our national morality? Coincidentally, I hope, 1 in 4 female college students can expect to face a sexual assault during her academic career. That’s horrific, but the real danger here is a TV show that features a guy who, 13 years ago, put his hands where they didn’t belong.
I find it sad that when a family attempts to raise their children according to some standards of decency, they are mercilessly attacked when one of their number is found to have stumbled in the past. Did these parents ever claim to have perfect children? Do the critics believe that they should have performed some sort of ritual honor killing when they learned of their son’s behavior?
The Duggars are right about human nature, about human sexuality, about parenting, and about the nature of sin. In the end, I think, it is this awareness of sin, this willingness to call it what it is, that most rankles the lynch mob. That mob never wants to think that any sexual behavior can be condemned as sin. Unless, of course, it is some groping done by a randy adolescent more than a decade ago.