I came upon an excellently written post on Patheos by Libby Anne and thought it would be of interest to readers of Canadian Atheist. Her piece is called Anna Duggar and the Silencing Power of Forgiveness. If you are unfamiliar with the Duggar’s or their recent scandal with their eldest son, here is what you need to know: TLC ran a reality TV show called 19 Kids and Counting about an evangelical family homeschooling their 19 kids (it has been pulled recently because of the scandal). Many viewers saw the TV series as a wholesome show about family values (which is often short hand for Christian and god-fearing). Josh Duggar, the eldest son, married a Christian girl who had never gone on a date, was home schooled and never went to university and their courtship and wedding was all part of the show. Michelle Duggar, Josh’s mother, was recently criticized when she used her celebrity to demonize the LGBTQ community in a robocall (see this Change.org petition for more details); this is what she said in her robocall:
Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children.
The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use women’s and girl’s restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.
The hypocrisy of this robocall is enormous as Michelle Duggar had already worked with her husband and others to cover up her son’s sexual assault of children and she has the gall to accuse LGBTQ of being child predators?
Now that you have the background information, do read the post I linked to above as it makes important points about Christian forgiveness and how that forgiveness silences victims.
Thanks, Diana, Libby Anne’s post was eye-opening. As soon as she points out that fundies use forgiveness to silence critics/evade trouble it’s like, Duh, why didn’t I think of that?
Thanks Diana. This whole event is so horrifying – not just the original abuse by Duggar, but the way so many are reacting as if he and the cult he belongs to are the victims.
The way he describes his teenage temptations, it’s like he could do anything he liked as long as he confessed afterwards. He knew there would be no real consequences.
I’m not from a Christian background, so I’ve always found the way they talk… a little weird.
I’d never really given much thought to it before this incident hit the blogwaves, but it suddenly struck me that the way Christians talk about “sinning” is a lot like the way military people talk about murder and destruction. They use euphemisms. A military man might say something like “we used intelligence derived from an enhanced interrogation to perform a surgical strike, but there was some collateral damage”, which sounds a lot nicer than “we tortured someone then bombed a place, but killed some innocent bystanders”.
A Christian might say “I was tempted and suffered some spiritual failings, but with the guidance of my priest and my family, my faith pulled me through it”. But what that really means – as demonstrated by the example Libby Anne gives – could even apparently be something like “I molested some kids, and my priest and family helped cover it up”.
From now on I’m going to start thinking of Christian doublespeak the same way I think of military jargon: as euphemism to cover up something that might be truly horrific.