What is the significance of the link between Josh Duggar’s teenaged crimes and his political activism? Why are his selfies with potential presidential candidates part of the conversation? Is it really about his politics, or do people just want to attack him because he’s a conservative Christian? If the things he’s campaigning for are morally correct, then what does his past have to do with anything?
These are some of the questions firing around the internet, news analytical shows, and of course, the interview with the Duggar girls. The answer is complex — people react to news of Josh’s crimes for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: their own experiences of being forced to share a home and “forgive” their molester, as the Duggar girls were, their feelings about sexual predators, their feelings about gay rights, their feelings about the purity movement, their feelings about the Duggar family in general.
But what weight should Josh’s crimes, and the Duggar parents’ behavior in covering them up, carry in politics?
First of all, let’s be clear: The primary problem with what Josh and his parents did, for me, has zero to do with their politics or religion. There was a crime and a cover-up. That would be enough in itself.
However, as the connection to politics goes, Josh Duggar is part of a trend. He’s one in a line of politicians who are using the American government to promote their extreme conservative religious beliefs, beliefs that are anti-sex, anti-gay, and anti-woman — and getting caught in sexual misconduct of his own.
In America, individuals have the right to believe that it’s a sin to be gay. Josh Duggar has that right. However, American politics are currently overflowing with people who trumpet a certain standard of sexual morality and attempt to pass laws based on that standard — despite themselves defying current actual laws regarding sexual morality, or simply getting caught defying their own purported standards.
Josh Duggar didn’t just have a political opinion — he (and the registered hate group that he is a part of) fights to prevent rights of an entire demographic, based on claims of sexual morality — when he has a past as a child molester.
Mike Huckabee didn’t just defend a teenage mistake. He promotes laws that limit the rights of women and LGBTQ Americans, based on claims of sexual morality — and in the next breath, laughs about how much he’d’ve loved the opportunity to peek at naked girls by lying to a gym teacher.
It isn’t just the pair of them, either. There’s the senator who promoted anti-gay legislation, and got caught sending pictures of his genitals to other men. There’s the South Carolina governor who, according to the Daily Kos, said he voted to have Bill Clinton impeached for adultery… and later got caught sneaking his secret girlfriend to Argentina behind his wife’s back.
I’m not picking out rare, isolated cases — Ranker has a list of 16 anti-gay politicians and activists, who got “caught” defying their own so-called “moral” standards — and that isn’t even counting cases like Josh Duggar, who molested females — it only lists anti-gay politicians who specifically got caught in same-sex compromising positions.
When a search for “anti-gay politician” returns numerous results that include “caught in sexual scandal (or worse, crime),” it’s only reasonable to see a connection and to conclude that anyone promoting laws based on this brand of sexual “morality” has no business preaching sexual morality to anyone — much less imposing their own idea of sexual morality on others via law.
Why do so many who promote laws based on a presumption of sexual morality seem to get caught showing a lack (either by conventional definitions, legal definitions, or their own purported definitions) of it themselves? Whatever the reason, it doesn’t exactly bode well for electing people who want to police other people’s bedrooms.
[Image via Family Research Council Screengrab]