As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have a hard time consuming news about Josh Duggar, the reality television star whose family rose to fame because people find the lives of fanatically religious anti-abortion bigots deeply entertaining, so long as there are a lot of them living under one roof.
Duggar has openly admitted to sexually abusing his siblings and a babysitter when he was a teenager, and his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, have openly admitted to knowing about the abuse, covering up the abuse, and apparently helping their son avoid criminal penalties for the abuse by briefly sending him away for religious counseling with a family friend.
So like I said, I don’t spend a lot of time learning about the nuances of the Duggar case, but those are the broad facts, which I understand to be undisputed.
And if you asked me, Hey Andrea, why aren’t you picking up what the Duggars are putting down these days? My answer would be roughly along the lines of “Because Josh Duggar is a confessed sexual abuser and because his parents actively cultivated the obfuscation of that abuse before publicly minimizing and excusing it in the service of trying to salvage their television careers.”
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I might even say, for example, that I dislike the Duggars because they are opportunistic fame-seekers who allowed the sexual abuse of their own children to continue in the service of their own roles as ecclesiastical clowns performing in the worst kind of patriarchal farce. I might say something very much like that indeed.
What I wouldn’t say, however, is that I dislike the Duggars because they have “standards.”
This would be news to my hometown’s Texas state representative, Bill Zedler (R-Arlington), who tweeted this on Wednesday evening:
The Left hates the Duggars because they have standards – even if they fall short – they have standards. The Left will not tolerate that
— Bill Zedler (@Bill_Zedler) June 4, 2015
Falling short of “standards” seems like a strange way to describe child molestation and the deliberate cover-up thereof, but I guess if you have literally no “standards” whatsoever, then sexually abusing kids would… “fall short,” in that case.
Zedler’s own standards are themselves rather enigmatic. In 2010, he defended two of his big-money donors, both doctors, against what he described as a “corrupt” Texas Medical Board that had the gall to sanction said doctor-donors for injecting natural gas and jet fuel into their patients.
I guess if you go out of your way to defend men who, according to the state medical board’s findings, shoot jet fuel into people, it’s not that much of a stretch to defend people who abuse kids. I mean, it’s abhorrent and nasty and disgusting, but it does have a gross kind of logic to it.
I’ve spent all day trying to parse Zedler’s creepy tweet. Is he saying that “the Left” is somehow uniquely poised to beef with the Duggars over their “standards,” by which he means their particularly fundamentalist version of Christianity? Does Zedler believe “the Right” (I guess) has the only legitimate claim to the practice of Christianity in this country, and that that claim has something to do with not getting all unreasonably upset when a teenage boy molests children, specifically his sisters? Sorry, Bill, they must have left that part out of the Bible I was raised reading.
You don’t have to be a Christian—or a member of the left or the right—to condemn what Josh Duggar did, and what his parents did to cover it up. Because if by “standards,” Zedler means “the sexual abuse of children,” I am comfortable saying that he is totally correct: I won’t “tolerate that.” But my non-existent tolerance for the sexual abuse of kids has nothing to do with my leftist political views, and everything to do with the fact that I am not an actual living monster.
Although if I was, it’s nice to know that Bill Zedler would have my back.