Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, whose slogan is “From hope to higher ground – Huckabee 2016”, shared his support for the Duggar family Friday morning on Facebook saying that Josh Duggar molesting his sisters was not unforgivable and blaming the “blood-thirsty media” who are “sensationalizing” the story by reporting it :
Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one’s judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims. Janet and I love Jim Bob and Michelle and their entire family. They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection. It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness. We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.
Huckabee tells you that “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things” and yet, as I pointed out last night on Twitter, Republicans are the first to point the finger at minorities, especially black people, and call them thugs for no reason.
15-yr-old Josh Duggar made youthful "mistake", but 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was "thug" who deserved to be killed becuz hoodie. ~~ #tcot
— Sarah Reese Jones (@srjones66) May 22, 2015
This is problematic because it is white privilege in action. We are to assume that Josh Duggar made a “mistake” (many “mistakes” since this happened many times), but a minority wearing a hoodie in a white neighborhood is justification for killing according to many Republicans. In fact, Huckabee scolds us, “It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness.” Insert white youth, because according to Republicans this same forgiveness does not automatically apply to black youths.
Huckabee shows that he isn’t even thinking about the victims with this paltry justification.
Josh Duggar’s parents turned to a man later put in prison for child pornography when they went to “police”. Predictably, that man and the Duggars agreed that Josh should not have any formal punishment. Rather, Josh Duggar was sent to work on a construction site in order to “get help”.
Many teenagers do things that cause irreparable harm. Molestation is one of them. It often is a life sentence for the victim, who is four times more likely to contemplate suicide, so while it’s great that Josh got to go on to a happy adulthood, his victims may not all be enjoying theirs as much. RAINN explains, “Survivors of sexual abuse and assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, and six times more likely to suffer from PTSD.”
Huckabee claims that Josh has gone on to live a responsible life, but of course, Huckabee can’t know this. And it isn’t really the point.
The point is that Josh Duggar’s parents knew that their son had molested several of his sisters – some in their sleep – and they did not protect those girls. They let Josh live in the home where his sisters slept. No one has mentioned getting the girls any help. Why is that?
Oh, because, Mike Huckabee tells us, the victims wanted it to be kept silent. So all of this victim silencing and protecting of the abuser was done for the victims’ sake.
And it is now the media’s fault that the girls are hurt, according to Mike Huckabee. Our “bloodthirst” is apparently much worse and more unforgivable than molesting a child.
The final Huckabee scolding comes with the guilt trip that his family are running to the Duggars to support them, when everyone else is running away, as if to claim some Christ-like superiority for forgiveness.
Of course, that might sound legitimate if we buy Huckabee’s attempt to equate forgiveness with continuing to put victims at risk and a failure to hold the abuser legally accountable for his criminal behavior.
Is this Huckabee’s version of “higher ground”? Higher ground for whom? Why is Josh Duggar above the law? Why did the Duggar family leave these girls in the home with their abuser? There is no excuse for this, and that is why I urge you to sign our petition to demand that TLC take the Duggars off of the air.
Molestation is wrong no matter who does it. Mike Huckabee is defending a child molester and chastising the media for shining some light on his criminal deeds.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.