You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. I first came across you and your family about a decade ago, back when there were “just” 14 kids. I read a magazine article about your family. There was a photo of all of you lined up, like stair steps. The girls all wore prairie-style dresses, the boys tucked-in shirts. Maybe, in retrospect, it was a little frumpy, but at the time it was just refreshing. Take off, Madonna — look at this wholesome family!
I loved your family’s Christian witness. I even emailed the magazine, thanking them for writing an article about all of you.
Then, your family was on a TV special. I was fascinated. I wondered how your parents raised so many kids who seemed so well-behaved. Next came the TV series. Seventeen kids and counting, eighteen kids, nineteen kids … it just didn’t stop.
Until it did. Earlier this summer, when the news came out that you had molested 5 girls years ago, I was shocked. I’ll admit I was a bit disillusioned with you and your family. Sure, Jesus could forgive you. Your family seemed to have forgiven you as well. But what gave me the most pause was realizing that your family decided to go forward with a life in reality TV knowing that this had happened. Had they not watched Jon & Kate Plus Eight and seen the media attention they attracted?
I know, I know. You all had no way of knowing you’d become a huge media sensation. Perhaps you’ve spent anxious nights over these past several years, worrying as your popularity grew that the skeletons might make their way out of your closets.
Apparently you weren’t all that worried, though. I heard the news earlier this week that you had set up an account — an account you paid almost $1000 into — at a site called Ashley Madison. Sounds kind of trashy, and it is. It’s a site for people who want to cheat on their spouses. In fact, the tagline on the homepage boasts, “Life is short. Have an affair.” I had no idea such a site even existed, but obviously you did. You’re not the only one. I’m hearing that over 30 million people have accounts there. This is unbelievable to me. Isn’t the entire population of the United States like 300 million?
Not only did you buy a basic membership, but you bought a $250 “guaranteed affair.” Why, Josh, WHY? Your wife, Anna Duggar, has always seemed so sweet. She is shown on TV cooking, cleaning, and lugging your 3 (now 4 with the recent birth of Meredith Grace Duggar) children all over town doing errands. She kisses you approximately every 5 seconds. She nods like a bobblehead and gazes at you like you’re the second coming every time you speak. Really, you had all this and still you felt the need to have an affair? I am truly mystified.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.“
– Luke 8:17
But the worst thing about all this is the black eye you’ve given Christianity and the Jesus you claim to serve. Your parents have always said that they view their show as a ministry. With these revelations, many Christians may forgive you. Many more may write off your family in disgust. But what bothers me most is that many non-Christians will observe all this and think, “Wow. Josh Duggar worked for a Christian organization (Family Research Council). He was on a TV show featuring his Christian family. But he’s no better than anybody else. He cheats on his wife.” And they kind of have a point.
Others are saying, “The Duggars speak out against gays, but look at how they live.” How can Christians answer to these accusations? Sure, we Christians know that everyone sins — even those forgiven by Christ. But for the non-believing world, it is a huge hurdle to belief each time a prominent Christian like you is exposed in such a sin. You issued an apology. That is good. But were you sorry for your behavior three months ago, or just now that it has been made public?
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
– James 3:1
Josh, you were a teacher. With your show, you and your family “taught” the world at large what it looked like to live as a Christian. Now is the time for you to fade into an anonymous, quiet life, rediscovering what it means to walk humbly with your God.
A one-time fan
You may also enjoy: