Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dan Savage on What Constitutes Abuse of Duggar Children: "All the Duggar Kids Are Being Abused"

Dan Savage yesterday on the latest Duggar revelation (In Touch has published another article indicating that Arkansas DHS is investigating the Duggars, who are refusing to cooperate with the investigation), and on precisely how the Duggar children have, in his view, been abused:

DHS records can't be released, In Touch notes (and they shouldn't be released, Dan notes), so there's no way of knowing what was going on—which kid DHS wanted to check on, what they thought had been done to that kid, how or whether the case has been resolved. But it's possible that there's another Duggar kid being abused on Jim Bob and Michelle's watch. No, strike that. All the Duggar kids are being abused. Religious indoctrination, sexist dogma, being isolated and lied to every day of your life—Jim Bob and Michelle's approach to parenting is inherently abusive. 

And then he offers the following excerpt from an essay by Mark Joseph Stern commenting on the Duggar saga: 

Although TLC goes to great lengths to mask this fact, the Duggar family is a cult. They forbid their children from exploring outside ideas and expression, carefully monitoring every word and image they are exposed to. They forbid them from wearing shorts. They homeschool them in order to indoctrinate them with backward beliefs. They refuse to let their adult daughters kiss or hold hands before marriage and demand to read every text between their daughters and their suitors. They adhere to a fringe Christian movement called the "Christian patriarchy," which commands total female submission to men and limited education for women. The Duggars do everything they can to control their children’s minds, then brainwash them with misogynistic dogma. 
Josh Duggar grew up in this sexist milieu. He was told that women exist to serve men—to show them "submission," "obedience," and "reverence." He was barred from seeking out any differing views about men and women. His mind was warped from childhood. Is it any surprise that, by the time he reached adolescence, he believed girls' bodies were his to touch however he pleased? 
The story of Josh Duggar—of the whole Duggar family, really—is a tragedy.

As Stephanie Marcus has pointed out, the refusal of the Duggars right now to cooperate with a DHS investigation is par for the course. A 2006 police report shows Jim Bob Duggar refusing a police directive to bring his son Josh to the police for questioning. And in 2007 Josh hired an attorney and sued DHS, though the records of that lawsuit are under a seal.

The Duggars clearly believe that they answer only to God and His emissary Rev. Huckabee. They want a nation — and the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision moves strongly in this direction — in which certain privileged people can claim "religious freedom" exemptions from laws binding on all the rest of us. Because God. To whom they answer instead of answering to human law.

The question we the American people should be asking ourselves is why we've allowed this dangerous cultic group to posture for so long as an example of the model Christian family to which all good Christian families ought to aspire. The question we should be asking is what political interest groups funded by whose deep pockets have been allowed to dangle this travesty of a model family in front of us for so long, and to stamp it as "the" Christian family, when a whole lot of people evidently knew the behind-the-scenes story of the Duggars as they preened on stage all these years.

I find the graphic at a number of websites, including this Gawker article by Sara Abramovitch, but it's not clear to me where the graphic originates.

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