They were America’s most wholesome Christian families.
But now we have finally glimpsed the real Duggar family: Hypocritical and blinded by greed while little girls were unsafe in their own home.
This week, it was revealed that Josh Duggar, 27 and the oldest of the children who appear on the reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting had sexually molested five under-age girls when he was a teenager. Police reports indicate that at least some of Duggar’s victims were his sisters.
Since 2008, the Duggars – parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children – have been pin-ups for a devout and wholesome Christian lifestyle. That all ended this morning, when TLC, the network that broadcasts the show in the US, pulled their reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, from its schedule (the Australian arm of TLC is yet to follow suit).
Over the past ten seasons, 19 Kids and Counting introduced the world to the 19 Duggar children who are, without fail, polite, modest and well-behaved. They are home-schooled and adhere to strict codes of dress (no shorts or singlets and the girls don’t wear skirts above the knee). The girls don’t cut their hair short or go to the beach, so as not to attract any unwanted attention. According to mother Michelle, the Duggars feel that exposure of the thighs amounts to “nakedness and shame,” and runs the risk of “defrauding” others by encouraging lustful thoughts. The Duggars don’t date – they practice chaperoned courtship that is facilitated by their parents. Kissing before marriage is off the table, as is anything but incidental touching. The girls have even written a relationship guide about the benefits of this arrangement.
This is the Duggar family that the world knows: Strict, but lovingly so. All-American but undamaged by the perversions of modern life. On every tv in America, but seemingly unaffected by fame. Quirky but harmless. To the world, they were the anti-Kardashians, a family built on little more than love and Christian values.
But this week has shown us the real Duggar family: image-obsessed parents who were unwilling to act to protect little girls in their own home.
When In Touch magazine broke the story this week, the Duggars begged their fans to read their response before making any judgement. You can read their statements here.
But it’s these responses that reveal who the Duggars really are.
In a public statement, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar say that “when Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.”
The fact that they couch these criminal offences as “mistakes” is revealing.