This isn't just about Josh Duggar, it is about an entire Christian culture that turned purity into profit

Internet, stop gloating for one hot minute. Sure, we saw this coming. Sure, we TOLD YOU SO. Sure, we are not surprised. But reveling in someone else's tragedy? Is that the kind of person you are—the kind who gets pleasure out of other people's suffering? No? Ok, then knock it off. 

Have a little decency. Imagine what it's like to be Anna Duggar right now:

In the span of three months the world finds out your husband molested little girls—his sisters!—then you have a baby and then? THEN he's exposed as a cheater. Your husband confesses to being the "biggest hypocrite ever" and just like that you're having the worst day of your life. And PEOPLE ARE HAPPY ABOUT IT. Heck, they're practically gleeful.

Tabloids are screaming and everyone has an opinion. Everyone seems to know what is best for you. Thousands upon thousands of people are saying hateful things about this man you love. Thousands upon thousands of people are saying the most hateful things about this family you married into. On top of that, your heart is shattered. Did I mention you just found out your husband cheated on you? Did I mention you just had a baby? 

Here's what's up: leave Anna Duggar alone. She doesn't have to make a decision RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THE INTERNET SAYS RIGHT NOW. Anna gets to make her own decision. We don't have to like what she decides but we don't get to decide FOR her.

It's enough to know that the Duggar family is screwed up fifteen ways from Sunday. It's enough to know that Josh Duggar is one sick puppy. It's pretty clear Jim Bob and Michelle have no clue WHAT is happening or how to fix it.

It's pretty clear this problem is much  bigger than the Duggar family.

This isn't just about Josh Duggar. It's about an entire system of abuse (see also my article for TIME magazine).

This isn't just about one guy's sexual screw-ups. It's about American Christian culture as a WHOLE and OUR really messed up relationship with sexuality. 

This isn't just about the downfall of one family, it's about an ENTIRE Christian culture that is now reaping the bitter fruits of our misguided, ugly "culture wars." This is about an entire CULTURE of American Christianity that equates political victories with moral ones.

The biggest mistake we can make right now is to believe that what is happening in the Duggar family is an isolated incident and isn't indicative of the broader, American Christian culture.

This is about an American Christian culture that made insane promises like: "If you just wait until you're married to have sex, everything will be wonderful."

This is about an American Christian culture that turned purity into profit; using a 21-year old kid named Josh Harris to promote the fantasy that if you just "kiss dating goodbye," you'll end up with a faithful, godly, loving spouse for the rest of your life.

This is about an ENTIRE culture of American Christianity that has wreaked havoc in the physical, emotional and spiritual lives of millions. This is about an ENTIRE culture that has traded an authentic relationship with God for the trappings of "good Christian living."

This is about an entire culture of Christianity that became so obsessed with 'looking like a good Christian' that it created an impossible standard of "purity" and made it completely unsafe to be a real, broken human being. 

This is about a Christian culture that sets people up for failure. 

This isn't just about Josh Duggar, it's about our really sick, twisted relationship with sex, shame, self-loathing and perfectionism.

And if we can't see that, then NONE of us will get better.

Further reading:

"I Kissed My Humanity Goodbye: how evangelical purity culture dehumanizes women."


Elizabeth EstherComment