Two fast points right off the top:
- This is going to be long.
- This post was originally going to be about something else.
The whole thing started with Bruce Jenner. He had just done his interview with Diane Sawyer in which he discussed his transition from male to female. I didn’t watch the interview, for no other reason than I wasn’t particularly interested, but from what I understand, Bruce is happy now, after denying who he was for a long time. I’m a big champion of people following their own path, and being their own authentic selves, whoever that may be. So I say… Go Bruce.
Shortly after the interview aired, Matt Walsh posted an article in which he was being, well… Matt Walsh… calling Jenner “a sick and delusional man.”
Partially in response to Walsh, Jarrid Wilson then wrote a really lovely and grace-filled blog post, reminding us that as Christians, our job was really nothing more than to extend love and compassion to Bruce Jenner, like we would to anyone else. It always amazes me when people want to refute a call to love, but refute it they did, complete with admonitions that we have the responsibility to call people like Bruce Jenner out on their sin, and that we need to “speak the truth in love” (which, by the way, is one of the most awful things I think Christians say… right up there with “love the sinner, hate the sin.”)
So – at least in conservative Christian circles – Walsh was praised and Wilson was condemned.
Bruce Jenner IS WRONG! It’s disgusting! It’s A SIN! We need to tell him! We need to tell EVERYONE! Let’s shout it from the rooftops! The world is going to hell!
And sure, they’ll recite their “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric, but make no mistake… nothing about the anti-LGBT crusade is loving. Its whole entire reason for being is to hurt and condemn: the adult equivalent of the old grade-school tactic of putting someone else down to raise yourself up.
Of course, it’s not like this is anything new. This has been going on forever. I’ve been writing about this forever. But there’s just been SO MUCH of it lately. Just a couple of days ago, I received a several-paragraphs-long email outlining in great detail how unkind and unloving I am to advocate for being more loving towards LGBT folks. (??) I’m damning them to a life in hell, she tells me, because by not calling them out on their sin, I’m taking away their opportunity for a chance of redemption, which is the most hateful thing I could possibly do.
It’s not the first time I’ve received a message of that sort – apparently writing about issues of faith seems to invite people to try to judge me/save me/throw Bible-verses-as-weapons at me – but given the current societal climate it irked me.
I’m frustrated. I’m exhausted. I’m angry. I am so indescribably tired of this unfair and hateful treatment, thinly veiled in “biblical values”, towards this one specific segment of society.
So that’s what I was going to write about. How it needed to stop. How people needed to take a step back, gain some perspective, and focus on their own sin. Think it’s a sin to be in a homosexual relationship? Don’t be in one. Think it’s a sin to have gender reassignment surgery? Don’t get it. But this constant persecution is damaging and hurtful and pretty much the opposite of anything that Jesus ever espoused.
Then something happened. And now I’m more disgusted with the culture of mainstream Christianity than I think I’ve ever, ever been.
The details are still surfacing, but it’s come to light that Josh Duggar (of the infamous 19 Kids and Counting Duggars) molested 5 young girls, four of them his siblings, over the course of 3 years when he was a teenager. His parents, though aware of the abuse, did nothing about it for over a year. When they did finally deal with it, they did so by keeping it “in house.” He was disciplined by his father. He got a “talking-to” by a police officer friend who never pressed charges (an officer who is currently serving jail time for child pornography). He met with his pastor who helped arrange some sort of supposed rehabilitation in the form of living with yet another family friend for a few months and helping him perform physical labor.
This seems as good a time as any to point out that sexual assault is a serious crime, and should be treated as such … not merely “dealt with” at home.
There are so very many things wrong with this scenario, and how it was handled, that I don’t even know where to start.
But oh how Christians are defending the Duggars!!!
Josh Duggar shouldn’t be vilified. He was just a kid.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
He made a mistake, and he said he was sorry. Who hasn’t made mistakes as a teen?
He was just young and curious.
They dealt with it in their family, and it’s not our place to judge them.
People are being way too harsh and judgmental.
Judge not lest you be judged.
People in glass houses….
They were an inspiration before, and they’re still an inspiration now.
I’m ……. Seriously? Are you kidding me?
So, same-sex attraction is such a vile thing, such a pertinent issue to address, that people feel compelled to write to me (some random heterosexual internet stranger who just happens to believe that people have the right to love who they want to love), to warn me of its dangers….. but molestation of young children, a teenaged boy fondling the genitals of his baby sisters, is shrugged off as a teenaged “mistake”… it’s not our place to judge… how dare we cast stones at this upstanding Christian family!….. And after all he did say he was sorry……
My level of disgust is matched only by my confusion. How do you defend a child molester? How do you justify freely throwing your proverbial stones at someone because of their sexual orientation, yet demure because of a sudden sense of self-righteousness when it comes to a beloved Christian family that happens to includes a son who sexually violated children?
And don’t misunderstand. I’m not advocating for the stoning of anyone. My point is not to publicly flog the Duggars. Actually what I think should happen now that this has been made public is that the whole family should be investigated, and that someone should ensure that the children are currently safe, and that they have received, and are currently receiving, the needed support. Based on the teachings of some of the people the Duggars follow, I don’t think it’s unlikely that there is lot more going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Such deviant behavior generally doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and if Josh Duggar was indeed a victim as well, he too should be receiving appropriate counseling that will address it.
What we SHOULD NOT DO is continue to sweep his crimes under the rug and excuse them as mere childhood curiosity. We should not defend this “good, Christian family” as if they’re somehow people we should emulate. We should not stand sweetly behind a philosophy of “Oh it’s not my place to judge” when it comes to something as vile and heinous as child molestation and incest.
HE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED CHILDREN. His parents knew it was happening. I’m going to judge.
Is he genuinely sorry? I don’t know. Has he been forgiven by his victims? I don’t know. Has he been forgiven by God? That’s between him and God. But I’m not going to sit here – as a Christian, as a human, as a parent of both boys and a little girl – and excuse what he did.
And the fact that the very same people who are doing the excusing are the people who have no problem standing on a soapbox in judgement of the man who works hard all day and just wants to come home and kick back with a beer and a TV show with Adam instead of Eve…. is a hypocrisy of the most disgusting kind.
You’re essentially saying:
Homosexuality = bad
Child Molestation = eh, everyone makes mistakes.
I have never been as disillusioned and disappointed with the current state of the institution of Christianity as I am right now. I love God. I Love God. I am an all-in, whole-hearted, unabashed follower of Christ (even if I never share those stupid Facebook posts that start by attempting to shame you with “99% of you won’t pass this on”……) I will always be a follower of Christ. But this? Defending the actions of a child molester, while railing out the other side of your mouth about “sick and delusional men” just because you can’t personally relate to their path? That’s something I’ll never be a part of. If I had any remaining sliver of hope that there was a place for me in the whole of American Christianity, that hope is gone.
God, save me from your followers.