Most people have a person or thing they regard as a representative symbol of something they consider an ideal worth emulating, even if only in secret. For most Republicans Ronald Reagan is their paragon of choice, and for real Christians, Jesus Christ is the idol they most revere. However, since both Reagan and Jesus are long dead, America’s neo-Christians and Republicans consolidated a conservative demigod and evangelical icon into one ideal to worship and regard as “a family that is the epitome of conservative values” and something all evangelicals and Republicans can easily “connect with.” At least that is what Republican hero, ‘Quiverfull’ product, biblical spokesman, reality television star, and child molester Josh Duggar claimed in his role as executive director of the Family Research Council’s (FRC) political arm last year.
It is curious that so many Americans were surprised over the revelations that a religious conservative idol is guilty of molesting his sisters, or that Republicans embraced the FRC’s icon they must have at least suspected was a fraud. In fact, the close relationship between Republicans, the FRC, and Josh Duggar was a match made in heaven. The idea of being a rank hypocrite guilty of heinous acts and yet free of guilt due to the ‘saving grace of Jesus Christ‘ informs what it means to be a socially conservative neo-Christian Republican. One of the reasons Republicans can cheat on their wives and disappear while governor, launder money as House speaker, or pressure their wife and mistress to get an abortion and still be revered in conservative religious circles is because Christians are “blessed to have a Jesus who forgives and forgets.” Americans are expected to do the same and there is little doubt that Duggar will be back in the Republican spotlight sooner than most Americans would like to believe.
Republicans are silent now because Duggar’s value as an evangelical electoral asset has not been lost according to some seriously sick and revealing statements of support from the religious right that agree with Mike Huckabee that criticism of Duggar is unwarranted because Jesus forgave him. After all, evangelicals contend that “boys are just curious. This story shouldn’t even be in the news. Its (sic) not current. Its (sic) done, over, and has been forgiven. None of us have any need to say anything. It was reported, and its (sic) been handeled (sic). Its (sic) over.” And, “everyone makes mistakes but our God is a forgiving God. He died on the cross not only for sins of that time but for future sins as well.”
Sadly, many Americans embrace that whole biblical forgiveness concept and there is little doubt Josh Duggar, his Quiverfull mother, and criminally-complicit father will be embraced with open arms by an adoring public once the molestation furor dies down; and like it or not it will die down. Americans are loath to remember even the worst sins committed by Republicans because Jesus forgives all Republican transgressions. It is why Republican politicians, particularly those running for president, who embraced Josh Duggar are remaining silent because as they depended on his close relationship with the Family Research Council for electoral and legislative support before the molestation revelation, they will need his support again. In fact, except for Baptist preacher and perennial presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, only the Family Research Council has made a statement about Josh Duggar’s announcement he is stepping away from his job as FRC’s legislative advisor. An important advisor to Republican presidential candidates, Republicans in Congress, and Republicans in state legislatures who are opposed to women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and marriage equality.
Actually, although FRC commented on Duggar’s resignation, it did not issue a dedicated press release. Instead FRC chose to remark on Duggar’s “personal issue” on the front page of its website. It simply says, “Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years. Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.” The organization’s claim to fame, besides demonizing the LGBT community for what it claims are violations of biblical law, is allegedly as a devout and fierce protector of children and families. However, the ‘family values‘ organization never identified the “concerning events” leading to Duggar’s resignation. In fact, based on the claim that FRC’s primary motivation for all of its political and religious activism, its silence on Duggar’s actions is revealing as to its hypocritical inclinations; but then again the evangelical organization is praying for the Duggars and acknowledges that Jesus forgave him so obviously Jesus forgives FRC’s hypocrisy as well.
One of the ‘issues‘ that the Family Research Council harps on consistently, and is specifically belabored publicly by Josh Duggar is “the evil done to children in one of its worst forms;” something the forgiven molester knows well. Over the years FRC’s well-documented history of lies and deceit include demonizing the LGBT community as an existential threat to America’s children. In a document FRC released in 2002 about the time Duggar was dealing with his “personal issue” titled “Homosexuality and Child Abuse,” (still on FRC’s website) claims “The evidence indicates that homosexual men molest boys at rates grossly disproportionate to the rates at which heterosexual men molest girls.”
FRC knows that pedophilia is not motivated by sexual orientation, and if they had taken the time to ask their executive director Josh Duggar, his birth-machine mother Michelle Duggar, or his Quiverfull patriarch dad Jim Bob Duggar, they would have understood that sexuality in no way informs the particularly heinous behavior. In 2010, FRC leader Tony Perkins and Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg complained loudly that scientists refuse to accept the evangelical assertion that there is a “direct correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia,” a claim Perkins repeated again just a year ago. And something Josh Duggar claimed restricting the rights of LGBT Americans was crucial to “protecting the well-being of children in our cities.”
There is a movement afoot to pressure The Learning Channel (TLC) to cancel the Duggar’s reality show, and although Josh Duggar’s actions are unforgivable, and his Quiverfull parent’s concealing his “personal issue” are criminal, the Duggars still have millions and millions of ardent supporters. Likely included in those supporters are Republicans who depend on the evangelical vote like most humans depend on air to survive. Based on the outrage among evangelicals that decent Americans are appalled that the “family that is the epitome of conservative values” is under fire and faces being taken off the air, it is doubtful that Josh Duggar will be out of commission for long.
If evangelicals wonder why the Christian religion is losing favor among Americans, they should take a long hard look at how they easily forget truly despicable acts by their heroes in Republican ranks and religious activist movement just because their Jesus forgives them. What they fail to acknowledge is that most Americans are not Jesus and cannot forgive, much less forget, something as vile and twisted as an entire family covering up child molestation while preaching to Americans to hold them up as family values’ icons.