The revelation that the Duggar family covered up a very serious molestation and incest scandal should not have come as a surprise. Religious fundamentalism suppresses basic human nature, and denying growing adolescents the chance to explore their sexuality is a recipe for disaster. We see this play out in the Catholic Church over and over again, yet fundamentalists refuse to address these systemic problems by looking at the root cause.
While one should not play armchair psychologist with ’19 Kids and Counting’ perpetrator Josh Duggar, it doesn’t take much to imagine what could have led to his outbursts of sexual deviancy. Gawker has been compiling stories from readers who have had contact with the Duggar family, some of which shed fascinating light onto the bizarre world of the Jesus loving fundamentalism that may or may not have led to Josh Duggar molesting young girls and his own sisters. One Gawker reader writes:
My cousins husband used to work at the Duggar production as well. He has many, many, stories about this family, but one that particularly strikes me as terrible is when one of the older Duggar Boys was caught playing with himself. He said that one of his brothers had told on him for being in the bathroom for a few hours one night, worried that he was sick. Well to see if he really was, Jim Bob walked in. He caught him doing it, and on one of the day’s the cameras were filming. Jim bobs screams made the crew run to where they were filming. Immediately they asked him what was wrong. All Jim Could reply was “idle hands are the devils playthings.” Apparently, the whole next day he was supposed to do chores around the house. But, Jim Bob had tied his hands together so that doing anything was nearly impossible.
Masturbation is of course perfectly natural and perfectly healthy – particularly for teenage boys who are a cauldron of rampaging testosterone and hormones. If this story is true (and it has not been corroborated as of yet), then Josh Duggar’s deviancy can be understood a little better. Growing up in a household where you are taught that sex is bad and masturbation evil is bound to create a ticking time bomb of sexual confusion and frustration.
Of course the Duggars believe Josh ‘sinned’ against God and treated him with more repressive Christian claptrap, sweeping the real problem further and further under the carpet. Josh Duggar may be ‘cured’ in the religious sense of the word, but in the real world, he’s probably still pretty messed up.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.