On Josh Duggar and Sexual Abuse: The Church needs to do more

Why does abuse prolong in Christian Churches and environments?

Why is sexual scandal so prevalent?

And whats worse….Why do some defend the Abuser, rather than the Victim?

Recently, Josh Duggar, now an adult, was exposed through many articles and news agencies for molesting several young girls (Including some of his sisters) when he was himself a minor.  His parents found out and sent Josh to counselling away from home for punishment. It took a few days for the articles to actually start giving some details about what happened, but almost immediately, Christians started defending Josh saying that he had repented, that his family handled it, and that he had changed.  This same rallying would more than likely not be done for someone of another faith, or an atheist if they committed the same; in fact, the rallying in these instances could be negative – all coming from the same group of people.

But Josh Duggar is not the only example of this.  From the world-known sexual abuse cases done by Catholic priests, to the instances of Protestant pastors and Youth Pastors doing the same, this issue is an issue, and Christians should NEVER by any means make light of it, or take the side of the accused, if found guilty.

Saying “what he did was terrible, but he is a changed man” is not enough.  As Christians, we understand that the power and forgiveness of Jesus is powerful, but we also know that sin is crippling, addictive, and harmful to us, and those around us.

In the case of Josh Duggar, it is too late to take legal action. But as an article on usatoday indicated, the Duggar family lied to the police officer they told, and even though they had lied, what they told the officer should have been followed up with an investigation. The family, and the police officer were at fault for not taking proper legal action.  After some counseling, the Abuser and the Victims still had to share a house together.

Christians should be disgusted, let down, and mournful over the Sin…not JUST supportive of Josh. The main focus should be on making sure the victims receive proper care and counseling, to make sure the law is upheld, and to see where it failed.

To make myself clear:  If Josh Duggar truly repented, I affirm his forgiveness in the name of Jesus, and I do not condemn him.  Though my main point thus far is this:  In his example, the sin is very grave, and effects of that sin are real, and we need to do a better job at addressing the issue instead of just defending a Christian celebrity.

Do we need more examples of how sexual abuse, and rape culture take place within the church?

  • A Youth Pastor who sexually abused several boys, and clear signs were shown that should have stopped him.  Read Here
  • A girls story of being sexually abused by her brother in a Christian home, and not being taken seriously… Read Here
  • An excellent article on one woman’s experience with Rape Culture (Warning: Graphic Language)…Read Here

The question, “what could have been done better” is an example of what Christians should be asking, in addition to “What are the signs”, and “What can we do now”.

Oftentimes, these sexual abusers are those who people trust, those that no one would suspect anything from, and they could also be a family member.  In these issues, when comments, concerns, or questions are spoken…we cannot view the accused through Rose-Colored glasses…we have to view them, and the situation through a very critical lens.

But we live in a sub-culture that has a tendency to esteem Men over Women, to put leaders of the church on pedestals, and to not question authority or speak up.

We live in a culture that governs what women are to wear and that lets the men wear whatever they want.  We focus on what the women can do for the men to “Keep them from stumbling”, while saying “Boys will be boys” instead of teaching our boys self-control and respect, and being men and women that respect and care for all people.

We need to be a people known for the safety of Children, not the molestation of them.  We need to have boundary training, set procedures to follow, have open door policies, and we need to encourage anyone to speak up if they suspect anything.

We can no longer be silent.  We can no longer turn a blind eye. We can no longer blindly support a person because of their status or religion, while diminishing their wrongful actions.

We need to be a people that is at the forefront of advocacy against rape culture, sexual abuse, and all other forms of abuse.  Imagine if the people in our church knew that EVERY Man or Woman in the church would stand up for them and with them in these instances? Imagine if our little girls and boys were protected by men and women who would protect them, and guard them against any pretitors because they were educated on what to look out for.

Jesus calls us to more.

The Church is called to more.

Stop being a part of the problem, and stand against abuse wherever it is found!  If you see or hear of anything that could be suspicious: Speak UP!

In the comments, let me know how your church protects both Children and Itself from these instances.

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11 thoughts on “On Josh Duggar and Sexual Abuse: The Church needs to do more

  1. I’m reading a book for a graduate class on domestic violence and abuse called “A Cry For Justice” by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood, and it’s all about how and why abuse thrives in the Church as well as the mentality and tactics of abusers. I’d recommend getting a paperback copy as the Kindle version is poorly formatted.

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    • Thank you for the comment Lyn! I appreciate that the article has seemed to be well received so far. I see a lot of articles in blind support of the Duggars in my newsfeed on facebook, and it really bothered me…

      Your link didn’t work properly for some reason, but I know how to google 🙂 Here is the proper link for my readers:
      http://www.alternet.org/how-christian-purity-culture-enabled-my-stepfather-sexually-abuse-me

      ^Regarding the article — Super Upsetting! Thankfully, I was raised in a Mennonite church, so I avoided a lot of the common odd things that come out of conservative Evangelicalism (Obsessing over purity, militarism, patriotism, “Us vs. Them” mentality, etc.), and I am now a Youth and Young Adult Minister at a United Church of Christ Church.

      I’ve not heard of Purity Balls before, so I had to see what those were in the article. For my readers: its basically a formal event with dads and daughters held with the Church to basically have the daughters promise to keep their virginity, and their dad’s pledge to protect it. The event would also spurn on daddy-daughter dates to teach the girls what they should expect from a real man when they are to start dating (usually at the father’s discretion).

      My personal opinion is that the church, specifically evangelicalism (I went to an evangelical bible college), puts too much emphasis on the women maintaining purity, even teaching men that a woman who has had sex before meeting them is almost tainted in a way by that – which contrasts their admitted belief in the forgiveness and Grace of Christ…but I digress.

      Some churches will make the girls wear big T-Shirts or Ugly One-piece bathing suits, while not having any conditions for what the men wear. Some churches will make the women where long skirts at all meetings, and men can wear slacks, jeans, or even shorts. Its uneven, and it propitiates the idea that men cannot and should not be expected to control themselves – which contributes to Rape Culture.

      While I maintain the belief in with-staining from pre-marital sex, for me, it is more about following what God desires for us, rather than trying to save that “gift” for our future husbands or wives. I do not think that overly-focusing on purity is a good thing because it obsesses over not doing something, as opposed to focusing on following God in all areas of life. I think that daddy daughter outings can be an awesome thing, but it should always be clear that they are for dads and daughters, and not the dad taking that time to show off the young woman he is with. Coming from a family of all sons and no daughters, I do not have any experience with this – but I always loved spending time with my mom.

      Thanks for your comment again; its awesome that this message is accepted by others, and I feel honored that you took the time to read the article and comment. You are always welcome to comment again! Follow me if you want!

      -Jon Bauman – Lamb Theology

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  2. Dear Brother, Its clear that all men and women sin and are prone to sin in some way. God looks after us and chastises us. Dugger is being chastised and humbled I have no doubt and God loves him. Should we also not love him. Do we need to beat him up or try and fix him? You have a beautiful wife, thank God. You could find your self in a much different circumstance some day, then you will be tested. If you are confident in how you will respond to severe testing I suggest you don’t know till you find out and you will need Gods grace daily. Will you be willing to post your failures then? You should be free to as you are still loved by God. James says to do this: 5: 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

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    • Hey Mike, thank you for your comment, and for your advice on always being alert.

      In my posts about Josh, I recognized that if he repented, then he is Truly forgiven, and I do not condemn him. The main point of my posts about him is targeted on the sin, and the overall Christian response to these two examples regarding Josh Duggar, and I used this first post about Josh Duggar to kind of springboard into how the church handles sexual abuse and rape culture as a whole. To me, especially in regards to celebrities (as seen in my lated post on Josh), the loudest Christian voice is saying “He did wrong, he repented, lets move on…” , When it really should be, “Wow…he did wrong, He is forgiven by God if he repented, What can we do to address this issue in our own lives, church, community?”. We are so quick to defend someone simply because they are a Christian that we forget the very real effects of their sin, and how to address it. Does that make more sense?

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    • Though because of your comment, I saw that the grace that was communicated in my latest post was not as clearly communicated in this first one on Josh Duggar. Thank you for that! I will edit it to reflect what I want to communicate.

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  3. It does make more sense. These big stars of the christian community serve as warnings to us all by there sins. I know I said to myself I am sure glad I didn’t sign up for an account there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That they do. I am thankful as well for not signing up for anything like that. Thankfully in college we had a group that met weekly to go through the Bible, pray, and confess to one another about our walk and our failings. It is important to be affirmed in our identity in Christ, his forgiveness of us, but also to be given godly advice and wisdom from your brothers in Christ. Thank you for commenting – I really did need to soften this post up a little, and I always like to engage in meaningful discussion.

      Please feel free to go through my blog site and read some of my other posts.

      God Bless you,

      -Jon

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