By now, unless your name is Rip Van Winkle and you have just awoken, everyone is aware of the Duggar scandal. Josh Duggar, the bright shining star of the anti-gay right, and a focal point of one of America’s premier reality TV families, was found to have (allegedly) indulged in sexual and incestuous molestation. The story implies cover up and manipulation by the Duggars including an intervention by an authority figure who he himself was later convicted on a child pornography charge.
To be honest, as a commentator, I have tried to stay out of the fray. I never watched their show. Since many of the victims are part of the family being scrutinized, I also would not want to stir up conversation that would create even more guilt, harm or shame.
Yet, there was still something missing in all that has been talked about. The Duggars were not just a benign family in which a horrific situation unfolded. They were advocates and proponents, not just of their own “lifestyle”, but in attacking various personas within the LGBT community umbrella, my family being one such target.
There is more to be said to them, and so I have decided to articulate it in this open letter to their matriarch, and one of the most homophobic voices in the family, Michelle Duggar.
Dear Mrs. Duggar,
I truly cannot imagine how you must be feeling right now, and the challenges you have gone through of late. I also realize that I am the last type of person you would welcome hearing from right now. I am member of the community you have made great efforts to reject and malign.
I am a gay dad, who with my male spouse, adopted two baby boys, and have raised them to become the upstanding 12 year olds they are today.
You were eager to defeat a proposed ordinance that would have protected families such as mine from discrimination. Your recording blasted out to thousands misrepresented it as a male predators in female bathrooms issue. You attacked transgender women and implied they were child molesters. You eagerly boarded a bus and traveled seven states to try to prevent families like mine from achieving legal and societal equality and protections. You and your family members have been vocal in declaring my family inadequate and intentionally withholding because we have not provided our kids with parents who are biologically different.
People have been calling you out for “hypocrisy” due to your current family situation, but that is not accurate. Hypocrisy is when you call people out for doing something that you are also doing. That is not what has happened. You have called out people who are innocent and have not done what has been done, and covered up in your family. That’s worse.
Through your current experiences, I am deeply hoping that you are able to have the humility to sit back and re-evaluate your stance, rhetoric and philosophy in terms of the real fabric of family and the unifying love required to keep it healthy.
Truly, you and I have little in common as parents. While you hold me in disdain for being a male who mothers his children, I have to admit, I have similar misgivings about your choices. The fact that you have given birth to nineteen children is heralded as wonderful thing, and something that many would like to see emulated. I don’t relate to that concept at all.
I have little argument against the idea that you have love for all nineteen. I highly doubt however, that you have enough bandwidth for the attention each really needs, and to use your word… deserves. I have only two kids. They are the center of my universe, and even with only two, I cherish all the time we are able to be together, and regret that I cannot increase its volume tenfold. I am eager to delve into who they are, their thoughts , insights, desires and experiences. To do that , I need to be with them, watch them, communicate with them as well as their teachers and helpers. I know that the time and focus I give them would not be possible to multiply out over seventeen additional children, especially if I were in a constant state of pregnancy.
I don’t doubt you have not done super human things, but to do what I am suggesting would require a metaphysical metamorphosis greatly expanding the idea of being in many places at once concept.
This ability to keep closer tabs on my kids makes me feel that should someone do something inappropriate to them, that I would have a greater chance to have a sense of it immediately. I raise my boys with a strong standard of morality, however, I watch to make sure it is not oppressive and stifling. I know that extremes can produce the opposite result to what I intend. I also sense that the shaming of sexual feelings and the suppression of those feelings may inspire the acting out through molestation. I would think there was a connection between what your family has experienced and the Catholic Church scandal over the last decades.
In short, I know as well as you that diving into parenthood in whatever way is a crap shoot. There is no easy path to what is the exact right methodology, because all kids are different and truly need different things. We as parents, develop our ideals and standards and hope to God that we are right about them. The truth is, sometimes we will be and others we won’t.
When we are wrong, we need to admit it. When our kids stumble, it is too easy to just surmise that they developed a flaw from some outside unrelated source. No, chances are, it was us, acting through an ideal we thought necessary but that in fact brought about an unforeseen consequence.
I am sure I will be admitting some of those when my kids become adults. I am equally sure that none of those will be because of my physical features, just as none of your physical attributes led Josh to do what he did.
I think it is time for you to do a similar reassessment now. There is deep healing needed within your family, and that will not be achieved until more accurate aspects of family life are acknowledged and addressed. You have stated that you are “not a perfect family.” None of us are, and that admission is not enough.
Outward attacks on others, my family included, need to be examined and retracted. There are things that we all can learn from others in diverse family situations that differ from our own. I can take notes from you on family schedule structure and organization, and I think there are things you could learn from me as a parent.
When you campaigned against us, created falsehoods and demonized our genders and our families, you weren’t listening.
If you were able to take this moment to grow deeper insight and take this horror as a time to reflect, I believe it would lead you to say the words that have not been articulated in this discussion. They are the words the people you have held yourself superior to, that you have lectured and that you have tried to oppress, need to hear. The words you need to say are these:
Rob Watson discusses this article on The Last Word here:
Please like the evoL= Facebook page here.
Follow us on Twitter @JandJDad
Pingback: A Gay Dad's Open Letter to Michelle Duggar -
Rob Watson on The Last Word
This appeared over at joemygod today.
“Josh Duggar confessed to his father Jim Bob Duggar on THREE separate occasions to multiple acts of sexual molestation against his sisters and a family friend, according to a new police report obtained exclusively by In Touch magazine. The document also makes clear that Josh was 15 years old when he molested his 5-year-old sister and committed at least SEVEN acts of sexual molestation. The new report is from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and was obtained by In Touch using the Freedom of Information Act. In Touch broke the story about Josh’s dark past and previously obtained and published a Springdale Police Department report about the molestations, also by using FOIA.
With fewer redactions than the first report, the Washington County Sheriff’s document makes it clear that despite Josh’s chilling confessions the Duggars waited at least 16 months before contacting authorities about the molestations, even though the behavior was continuing and growing worse.”
One of the Electors of Dresden was named August the strong. He admitted to having 12 mistresses, but was known to have some 300 of them. I commented when I learned of this: “A man who admits to 12 mistresses probably had a lot more than 12.”
And how does this apply to the Duggars? I’ve long thought that this was only the tip of the iceberg, as I believe the same to be true about so many of these Good Christians (TM) being caught with their hands down the cookie jar’s pants.
I read your letter to the vermin known as Michelle Duggar. Your letter was so eloquent and well stated. You definitely are a better person than I am. I was a bit more–well, here’s what I wrote and I hope you like it. http://atypical60.com/2015/05/30/josh-duggars-final-judgement-from-atypical60s-point-of-view/
It’s from my blog..and I truly hope that my hipster/hippie Jesus sends Josh far, far away! Best to you and I look forward to being a regular reader of yours!
What a fantastic, well-written piece. I also blog but have stayed away from the subject. You are right on the money, and I’d love to see a new TLC logo (albeit not ‘real’) be created so we can circulate it as “Touching Little Children.” I saw their trip to NY, but I also so their trip overseas at one point, where they were having difficulty acclimating to customs and food and were so obnoxious and rude they should have been deported. Reading your piece, and remembering back on the show, I had to wonder if that’s why they put the girls in “modest” clothes to begin with, because they were a “temptation” to their brother!
Thanks for submitting this post to Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day!
Reblogged this on The Music in My Life and commented:
Excellent. I doubt, of course, that she will bother to read it. They should be taken off the airwaves.
Pingback: Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day 2015: Master List of Posts - Mombian
Reblogged this on Ana Delgado's blog.
When I first heard about them (and watched the show) I think there were 14 or 15 kids … I was “intrigued,” and when something catches my interest, I watch and research. I started researching the Quiverful movement, then the Duggars’ homeschool curriculum, then other aspects of their life. Personally, I lost interest when I realized the reason they live “debt free” is because they (and others in the movement) claim their huge families as “churches,” to avoid income taxes; they are also shielded from many laws, due to their “religious status.” Add to the fact that Jim Bob is/was a politician in Arkansas (right there is an oxymoron) … and watching the way the family operates, started to get creepier and creepier. I stopped watching after Mom refused to stop having babies after the miscarriage … or had the baby with problems (I forget which order they came). I became concerned when I realized they had built a sports/park arena on their property to keep their children from having to “socialize” with others. They are a cult. The “I’m sorry” needs to be spread among a whole lot of people, and they need to start making PSA announcements to Celebrate Diversity and “Keep Your Kids Safe Against Their Siblings.”
i know which 2 babies you are talking about and josie is the one with health issues and the baby who passed away was right before josie
jubilee was the baby that passed away
Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
A parent’s take on this controversy…
Mr. and Mrs. Duggar has tried to speak for God. They discriminate, condemn and promote cricifixion against a group of people born different from themselves. A group created, and blessed by God! And on top of that, they get paid for it! They too will have LGBT children, grand children and great grand children. That is when, their “real lesson” will begin. This Josh stuff is just the tip of the iceburg for them. Praise God for the universal law: What one sows, so shall they reap.
It’s easy to criticize someone else’s mishaps (especially if that person shares a different viewpoint than yours) until it hits close to home.
I don’t agree w/ everything that the Duggars believe nor am I an avid viewer of their show. (I’ve maybe watched 1 or 2 episodes in my entire life) Anywho, I don’t think it’s fair to punish the Duggars for what their son did (who was 14 or 15 yrs old at the time) or criticize how the family chose to deal w/ such a sensitive and difficult ordeal that was in the best interest for both their teenage son AND the victims. Rather than sweep it under the rug, the parents reported the incident to both their church elders and the authorities, and sought counseling for their son and daughters. No one let Josh Duggar off the hook. No one favored him over the victims. As far as I know, everyone in the Duggar family (including Josh) agrees to this day that what he did was wrong. Period. Josh is indeed culpable for his actions and whatever consequences may follow him down the road. But there comes a point where the family has to move on, and those of us who are outside of the situation need them to continue to do so.
In this case, Josh Duggar turned his life around, and the people who took responsibility for him saw no need for further intervention. (i.e. prison if the molestation continued) If he has changed, then why the uproar? If the family dealt w/ the situation to the best of their ability (the daughters especially), then why is their Christian faith (that carried them through it all) being called into question? This family’s shortcomings doesn’t necessarily mean that their family dynamic and values are bad. It just means that people screw up royally regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. The Bible gives countless examples of people who were messed up, so no one can boast or claim to be better than the other.
I think rather than fixating on a person’s mistakes, why not focus on what that person does with their mistake?
No one got counselling, no disinterested officer of the law got a look into this situation, nothing was done except to say essentially “shit happens but we are better for it”.
We have no proof his behaviors stopped. It’s an outrage that he had zero consequences for such actions – even at 14!
This type of situation is at an “uproar” because a family like the Duggers is just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone has skeletons in their closet, nobody is perfect. However this type of family has proclaimed that our/my LGBT community is a threat and as the old testament states we are an “abomination”.
Where was Your voice when the Duggers were voicing their homophobic views Willow? Why state your opinion now?
I too have not seen their shows for that same reason. We have battled our way to get where we are. family’s like this need to take what comes there way only because they are vocal about there opinions through popular media.
“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”
First you really shouldn’t be defending Josh or his parents. Yes he was 14 or 15 but if you check the birthdates of his sisters you’ll realize that one of his sisters couldn’t have been more than 6 at the time. (And if you read the Arkansas criminal code his actions actually meet the legal definition of rape.). In addition, by not reporting child sex abuse as required by law both his parents and the church were also guilty of a crime.
Neither Josh or the girls have received any counselling from a qualified professional – instead Josh was sent to work for a family friend’s construction company. [And, if you’ve seen the home schooling program the Duggars follow the section on sexual assault blames the victim naming, among other things, immodest dress (how a child sleeping in her own room can be guilty of that is another question.] The claim is that the girls have “forgiven” him – given their family situation and the culture that they’ve been raised in what do you expect them to say?
When Jim Bob finally did report it (conveniently after the stature of limitations had expired and after someone else had exposed things via an email to a television show) he went to a police officer that was a family friend – that officer simply gave Josh a firm “talking to”. BTW, that individual has also gone on record as saying that he was told that it had happened once and the touching was outside of clothing. If he had been told the truth he would have taken action [of course that officer is now serving 56 years on child porn charges so he may simply be trying to come across as reformed.]
The person I really feel sorry for here is Josh’s wife Anna. She comes from a pretty much identical background, home schooled, no college, never had a boyfriend, father the absolute master of the house, no skills whatsoever …. The only escape for someone like her is marriage – unfortunately the only type of man she would be allowed to marry, or even associate with is a clone of her father. [As an observation, at her wedding Anna’s father said, in so many words that until then he (the father) had been Anna’s master but now that role was being handed over to Josh.] So now she has three kids and a fourth on the way so she’s even more trapped than before.
Teach your children:
accountability not forgiveness
impulse control not the fear of god
tolerance not judgement
love not fear
quality not quantity
respect not hate
One question I always had was if you’re doing nothing but giving birth, when do you mother any of the children.
Unfortunately I do t think she really does. It seems like all.of the older kids are the ones responsible for taking care of the younger ones.
Found something on a forum from 2007:
May 22nd, 2007 at 7:03 pm
Let me tell you something about the precious Duggars that you don’t know. First, Michelle hasn’t bathed her younger children in years. It is all left up to the older children. They have children that have never seen the inside of a grocery store. Everything that you have seen on TV is staged. Big Time.
Michelle hasn’t cooked a meal in years. Hasn’t cleaned house in years. All she does is try to look norman for the TV camera’s. Get real. This couple is out for the fame and money that they can get. They receive “Love Offering” from all over the country. They have church services in their home when it is to their advantage. They get paid for that.
He and his mother “Mary” has this all figured out. She is fame hungry and she couldn’t manage this for herself and now she is helping out Jim Bob and Michelle. She calls different TV shows and exploits her grandchildren. This is the Duggar’s way of making a living and providing for the huge family. Fame and Fortune In January, the whole family went to Chicago and taped Oprah Winfrey show. Oprah wined and dined them for one week. You know that had to cost some pretty pennies. As you may have noticed, that show never aired and it never will. Oprah was informed that Josh, the oldest son, had been molesting his sisters. Yes, this is the truth. Oprah turned them over to the Arkansas State Police Child Protection Agency and the Washington County Child Protection Agency. They have been investigated to some length. Jim Bob Duggar told the producers of the show that he built a small church out back for his followers. HIS FOLLOWERS. GET REAL. THE MAN IS A FRAUD. In April, they were in court with their story. They have to report to Arkansas Department of Human Services every six months.. They have lied and lied about their son to protect him at their daughters expense. For some unknown reason the boy is still in the home with the girls. God only know if this is still going on. In my eyes he is a CHILD MOLESTOR. HE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE HOME. What kind of parents cover up for one child and hurt the others. I do not believe that this is what God has in mind for them. Frauding the American people and taking their money and living off of it.
They did not build their home by themselves. They hired it done. The
Discovery Health Channel and the TLC channel wrote them a check for over $200,000. for the to build the house. Everything inside the house was given to them except the kitchen. They did buy that themselves. The rest is all free. Mary and Josh was on the phone day and night asking for donations from soup to Computers. They also received a Baby Grand Piano from Campbell Soup Co. The trip to California was also provided by the TV Stations. It was mapped out. Mile for Mile. They did not spend a penny of their money. All the groceries and gas and lodging and clothing was paid for in advance. For someone who wants to be famous, why lie about the facts. Seems funny to me. They are professional liers, both of them.. They twist their words to make them look good and and look like devoted parents and a great big happy family. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you don’t believe me, contact the Arkansas State Police Child Protection Agency in Bentonville, Ar. and the Washington County Child Protection Agency in Fayetteville. It will be worth the time and effort to read all about it. There is a lot more that I could go into but I simply do not have that much time. I think that is time the the Duggar’s are stopped. They are pimping out their family for material things to keep them fed and clothed. If they cannot feed and clothe their children, don’t have them.
What a perfectly written letter. I feel it will fall on blind eyes though.
Reblogged this on Blissfully Single and commented:
This was a most heart-felt letter….however, Michelle Duggar feels and believes what she’s told to feel and believe….by her husband, and by all male leaders of her church/faith cult. That is how they work. She’s been conditioned and brainwashed so badly over the years…thus the emptyness in her eyes as she stares adoringly at her husband and hangs on his every word. She’s become totally incapable of independent thought. She spouts publicly…that which she’s told to say. The right-wing Christians are fighting tooth and nail to keep them “celebrities”, so they can continue to recruit for their cause…because more recruits, means more money for them. They are afraid…afraid because so many have left their faith for ones with less restrictions and less evilness. Time after time, corruption has been revealed in their so-called perfect group. They rave with racist and bigotry in political circles…and never pay a cent in taxes, yet try their best to control our government. I’m sorry you’re so ridiculed by people that have no room to point fingers and lash out when that’s pointed out to them, but don’t rely on Michelle to have an iota of remorse…because she’d have to check with Jim Bob first…and I’m certain what HIS answer would be for her to do.
I said some of the same things you wrote. My opinion is that the Duggars have no life experiences to know that gays and transgenders are not after our children..they are not the pedophiles (I am Catholic and some of those would be priests or other so called “men/women of God” who use their power to intimidate and molest children or in this case it was their own son). I am not judging the Duggars; but, I am appalled that they have openly accused groups of people of being pedophiles because they do not fit the “Duggar” family mold (which is warped) while their own son was the predator of his sisters and another young girl.
Children deserve to be safe and loved whether it is by a single parent, a mother and a father, or same sex parents. Having 19 children and then assigning the care of the younger ones to the older siblings is just wrong. I, for one, do not wish to hear “I’m sorry” from the Duggars. The damage is done. They need to disappear from the public eye and undergo professional therapy for the entire family. The girls should know it was NOT their fault. We should not be a part of the recovery nor do I think it should be public. They should not profit from this. Josh, in particular, needs to discover why he did what he did. He knew it was wrong, told his dad, then did it again and told his dad again. He asked for help. I wondered if something had happened to Josh?! Epic fail on the part of the parents but Josh is a man now with his own family. It’s time to take REAL responsibility for his actions.
I am not perfect and I have made mistakes raising my children. I, like you, had 2 and they are grown now. My husband and I had our hands full and they were always supervised. I could not imagine keeping up with 19.
Thank you for your wonderful letter! Rant over 🙂
Perfect! Thank you!
The sad thing is that I suspect they do fit the Duggar family mold. and for a lot of the reasons you list. I also suspect that we are going to hear a lot more about the pathology of this holy hetero family.
But that’s just me.
These kids are going to be left with the weight of the world on their shoulders, the guilt bores holes deeper in your mind and soul in ways that I can’t describe.. and when it’s family you throw love, commitment, emotional ties and more confusion into the mix. And that’s not the whole of it. It’s never ending.
Well. if they can cover up and hide this, I’d be surprised if anyone gets an apology… and if they did, I’m guessing it would be due to all the public media/attention, not out of sincerity.
And when there’s no sincerity; (In my opinion). An apology is nothing more than empty words.
Well said rob .Now let’s hope the duggars are no sent of TV
allegedly? whats alleged about it- he admitted he did it and his parents covered it up until the limitation statue was up…..they should be charged with hiding a sex crime, at the least
This. It’s not alleged if everyone admits to it.
I am disgusted by the Duggars, but there’s something I haven’t seen discussed. The statutory rape limits. He should still pay.
dear rob, i liked what you had to say and here is a thought from dan savage about the molestation side of things you might not have thought of. i hadn’t until dan said it and then i had to agree with dan. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/24/dan-savage-duggar_n_7429464.html
I truly love your gift of words. To be able to contain the hateful speech, and make your point so eloquently speaks volumes about your character. Your sons are lucky young men to have you (and your spouse, too) as parents! They will grow up well-adjusted, and able to tell the wheat from the chaff.
Wonderful letter, Rob. Far more eloquent than anything I have to say to Mrs. Duggar.
Every time I go into a restroom, I check out my surroundings to make sure I’m safe. Because of Mrs. Duggar and others whose hateful and ignorant tirades have made me out to be some kind of a monster.
Finding out that she is merely projecting, is enough to fill me with righteous rage. You are correct she’s not so much a hypocrite as a slanderer, a spreader of lies and hatred.
And I agree; the only thing I ever want to hear from any of the self-righteous Duggars again is “I’m Sorry” and “That Was Wrong.” Any other statement is unacceptable and I will simply tune it out.
Thank you for your great letter, Rob. As usually, you articulated this very well.
There are at least three major problems I have with this whole Duggar farce.
1) Their absolute hypocrisy on the subject, which you noted. They accused innocent gay and trans people of being threats to children, knowing that their perfectly heterosexual son was not only a threat to children, but a THREAT TO THEIR OWN CHILDREN, which they were more than willing to cover up.
2) they are the type of people who, no matter what the transgression, are perfectly willing to say: “Well, hey, I prayed to god about it, and he has forgiven me for my sins. can we please talk about something else?” The passive-aggression of it, the smug, self satisfied smarminess of it stick in my craw big time.
3) and the worst of it is: well, we prayed about it while little Josh preyed about it, and we just are not going to be all that concerned about our daughters and how they might feel about it.
there is so much here that is so disgusting.
Thanks so much Ben, for your comments as always. ( Ironic typo: “little Josh preyed about it” )
Thanks for the compliment, Rob. But you mistake me. It wasn’t an ironic misspelling, it was intentional. :o)
Rob, excellent and kind letter, yet after reading about what has happened I cannot see just saying
They have said it, arrogantly as if it is through and done with, whereas others that have done the same are incarcerated where they should also be. There is no Humility with Overly Righteous people as the Duggars. Ours is not to judge as that will be done by God and others Hopefully in this life. Only if they truly Own their misgivings, will they understand.
Well said! Amen!
Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.