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On Josh and Anna Duggar and the Fundamentalist Christian Culture of Forgiving Molesters and Abusers

May 22, 2015 1 comment

I don’t often write non book reviews anymore, but something has come into the news that hits close to my heart and my own personal experience, and I felt it necessary to put my perspective out there.

Probably most people by now have heard that Josh Duggar of the famous Quiverfull family the Duggars has admitted that he molested young girls when he was a teenager (source).  Perhaps what may be more shocking to most people is the knowledge that his wife, Anna, knew about this before they were married and married him anyway and is having children with him.  (They currently have three young children, with a fourth on the way).

If you read Anna’s and Josh’s official statements, you will notice a theme among them.

Anna says, “He continued to do what he was taught. [I know] who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended.  Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right.” source, bold emphasis added by me.

Josh says, “I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions.  I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.source, bold emphasis added by me.

In the fundamentalist Christian community, there is this idea that only those who were not truly saved are capable of abuse or molestation.  I know this, because I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian community and heard this rhetoric over and over again.  If Christianity was a ladder with fundamentalism at the top and the most liberal church you can think of at the bottom, my church growing up was one rung below the Quiverfulls.  (If you are not familiar with what Quiverfull is, I highly recommend reading this expose on it).

Even in my slightly less fundamentalist fundamentalist Christian community growing up this idea existed.  If someone has molested or abused people, they are clearly not saved, because no one with Jesus living in their heart would be capable of such heinous acts.  Thus, if a person who has committed these acts “comes to Jesus” aka gets saved aka simply states that they now have faith in Jesus, the community believes that they are now incapable of molesting or abusing anyone.  What this means is that all a molester or abuser has to do when caught is state how truly sorry they are, that they have seen their wrongs, that they have asked Christ to come into their lives and save them, that they have now repented and are turning 180 degrees from what they were.

You can see this same rhetoric in what Anna and Josh say above.  While I seriously doubt that Josh is actually the changed person he claims to be (once a molester, always a molester, in my opinion), I do believe that his wife, Anna, truly believes that it’s ok to have children with him, because Josh is different now. He’s got Jesus. He didn’t have Jesus before, and that was bad, but he does now, so it’s ok.  You can see how these ideas would lead to the harboring of abusers and molesters within the community.  The molester and/or abuser knows exactly what rhetoric to say to get out of it.  EVEN IF they had previously claimed they were saved, they can simply state that they thought they had been saved, but they must not have truly been one with Jesus or Satan wouldn’t have been able to entice them to commit these heinous acts.  It’s irrelevant if the molester actually believes this or not, they simply know the rhetoric to say to get a clean slate in the community.  While forgiveness is admirable, there are just situations and circumstances where that forgiveness should not go hand-in-hand with trusting the person to be around vulnerable people or with not punishing them at all or holding them accountable at all.

I personally know of at least two scenarios in my own community I grew up in where similar abusers and/or molesters have been given a free pass to be around children because they have “repented and come to Jesus now” so they “couldn’t possibly be capable of it anymore.”  This culture fundamentalist Christianity has of sweeping these situations under the rug and protecting the abusers and molesters simply because they have come to Jesus is inexcusable.  Yet it is so deeply ingrained in the culture, that I doubt it will ever change.  So why am I bothering to write this?  I want anyone who comes into contact with people from that community to be aware of the fact that just because they claim someone is a man of God or an upstanding citizen or a woman after God’s own heart that that does NOT mean that they have done nothing heinous in their past.  They may have, and the community may even know of it and still speak of them that way.  If you are in contact with children from this community please listen to what they say closely.  If they say something like “so-and-so used to be very bad but then they came to Jesus so it’s ok now,” that is most likely a situation that warrants closer attention.  These children need us to pay attention and try to protect them because God knows their own community will not.

Review of the Boston Ballet’s Performance of Bella Figura (2011)

While on my staycation, I decided to take in some of the cultural sights/events around my fair city that it’s normally difficult to find the time to do.  One of these was the Boston Ballet.  I just went with whatever show happened to be playing the weekend of my vacation, and this happened to be Bella Figura–a modern ballet.

Since we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the Boston Opera House at all, we’re just going to hope that my words will suffice in explaining the complete unexpectedness of the ballet.

My friend and I were uncertain as to what, exactly, the ballet was supposed to be about, so naturally we consulted our programs.  The most clear line in the entire description was, “Standing in the darkness and staring into a sharp light with eyes closed.”  There is so much wrong with that sentence.  If you are standing in the darkness, there is no sharp light.  If your eyes are closed, you aren’t staring into anything…..

In any case, the first act opened on a blue background with stools in the back.  The word “the” on a plaque was on the floor at the front of the stage.  This, combined with the dancers’ blue and white traditional attire, conspired to give the appearance of a typical dance studio.  The music was electrical and came from the speakers, not the orchestra pit.  The dancing was firm, vibrant, and called to mind the gang dance scenes from West Side Story.  Simultaneously crazy and choreographed, it elicited pure joy in myself at the playfulness of the whole thing.  I honestly wasn’t entirely sure what the message was, but to me, it was that craziness can be fun.  It ended with one of the male dancers firmly kicking over the plaque.  To me, this symbolized defeating the norm.

The second act consisted of three scenes of pairs of dancers obviously supposed to be emulating romantic relationships.  This was the only act that the orchestra made an appearance for.  All three dances were clearly about romantic relationships, yet each relationship was unique and exquisite.  Of particular note was the second romantic pairing which had a gorgeous moon background, dry ice fog, and the most sensual ballet dancing I personally have ever seen.  It brought tears to my eyes and my friend and I commented to each other that the dances beautifully represented the push and pull, good and bad of all romantic relationships.  It was touching in the pure universality of such relationships.

The third act, however, was quite simply, baffling.  It opened with a set of flashing blue tubes rising from the floor, giving the illusion that the dancers had set up a bomb or something.  The dancers then started dancing in time with the music, which was again pre-recorded, but not with each other.  The lead female dancer then came out in a tribal red skirt and topless.  The men were dancing in, essentially, boxer-briefs, which in and of itself was enjoyable, but evidently the outfit choice was to allow for the men to punctuate their dance moves by slapping themselves on the thigh.  The female lead then danced in front of a curtain with someone else behind the curtain who periodically groped her through the curtain, alternately hiding her breasts and showing them to the audience.  The toplessness came and went throughout the act with approximately six dancers (three male and three female) periodically appearing topless.  The other portions were taken up by dancers who, while clothed, essentially seemed to be doing a more graceful version of the robot.  Frequently during this portion there were three dancers on stage.  The only message I got from this act was that “threesomes can be really fun.”

Overall, I entirely enjoyed my visit to the ballet.  It was not at all the stuffy visit I was expecting.  Our usher was truly an awesome lady who just wanted us to enjoy our afternoons.  Our section was full of other 20-somethings who were capable of both strong emotions and simultaneously didn’t take anything too seriously.  Seeing such disciplined bodies in action was inspiring, and the first act spoke to my preference for alternative music and dance styles.  However, it must be said, what touched me the most at my core was the most traditional portion of the show–the second act.  Seeing relationships played out exquisitely in dance hearkens back to the origins of dance.  It is the second act that would make me go to the Boston Ballet again.

Review: Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2010

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Every year I mark the start of the holiday season with the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  The lights!  The music!  The lingerie!  The half-clad back-up dancers!  The holiday-themed VS commercials played during the Fashion Show that is essentially one long commercial.

Anyway, this year’s was a bit disappointing compared to what I refer to as The Year of the Tartan Themed Line, but.  It was still the VS Fashion Show.  So, let’s take a look at it, shall we?

The night started off with a bang with the Tough Love line.  This line is supposed to appeal to women who like to be feminine and tough.  Yes, please, thank you.

Hot stuff.

Also, notice the gold glitter runway?  I’m not sure how they did that.  The glitter didn’t seem to move around, but it’s way cool.

The next line, however, was one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a while from VS.  They call it the Country Girl line.  I call it the Grandma I’d Like to Fuck line.  GILF for short.  This line featured tons of lace (barf) and, I shit you not, quilts.  Quilts covering the model’s asses. Wtf, VS. Wtf.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Now the next line, Game On, was fun for multiple reasons.  First, the shirtless back-up dancers doing various upper-body strength moves.  Which I cannot find a picture of, because clearly the internet does not have its priorities in order.  This line was clearly about the designers showing off their artistic skills far more than designing many things a woman would actually wear in the bedroom.  The outfits were still all cool to look at though.  Well, and there was one outfit that was totally wearable.

Would I wear this? Hells yes.

They followed this up with a very stereotypical jungle/wild animals/bla bla bla oh ladies, don’t you feel like a wild thing?  The best part of this line, by far, were the shirtless male back-up dancers doing tribal dances.  Now this whole jungle thing isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I get some women like it, so whatever.  Unfortunately, something possessed one of the designers, and they thought it would be brilliant to design a bra and panty set that are attached to each other.

Yes, VS. Because clearly I want my lingerie to look like I made some very bad decisions in the swimsuit aisle.

Yeah, I have no idea what they were thinking.  There was also a line that I think was supposed to be angels.  There were a lot of wings and Akon rambling, er *cough*, singing on about how women are angels.

There were a lot of really boring outfits like this one and Akon looking like he was having a seizure in the background.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Naturally that just left the Pink collection, which I always find fun and amusing.  There was one year where they were all toy soldiers or something like that, anyone remember that?  That was fun.  Well this year appeared to be the year of putting the pride rainbow into all of the outfits.  This was awesome.  I love that VS did this, and it also led to one of my favorite angel wing outfits that I’ve seen in the fashion shows so far.

Thigh highs? Yes. Clear plastic pride flag wings? Hells yes.

Yeah, um, I kind of want that outfit, and I’m not even gay.  So pretty!

That pretty much wrapped up the evening.  The models came out and did their prancing/bowing to the camera thing.

Random Thoughts:

  • Yes, I know Katy Perry “sang.” Twice. Her new album is nowhere near as good as her first one, and she looked like she was going into labor every time she came anywhere near a high C.
  • I know that the straight guys (and possibly the lesbians) watching the show probably enjoy the interviews with the models, but is it really necessary to try to convince us that their job is hard?  We know it’s not.  Stop messing with us, VS.
  • Quote of the evening: “I fantasize more about wings than I ever would about my wedding.”  Clearly this model has her priorities in order.  Also, I can never imagine my life goal being to wear VS wings, but….whatever floats your boat?  Also, anyone have any idea what she’ll do now that she’s achieved her highest dream in her early 20s?
  • Dear cameraman: You could be a *bit* more subtle at the zoom in on the boobs shots.  Just saying.

Upcoming Review: CSN Stores Product

July 30, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been seeing reviews of products from CSN Stores on many blogs, and I’ve been pretty damn impressed with them.  They offer multiple stores such as their kitchen supply one, le creuset.  Their prices are quite reasonable, and I’ve been browsing their website using the convenient left panel search feature periodically since I’ve discovered them.  I was therefore quite pleased to be contacted by them offering a product for review.

I knew exactly what I needed–more storage space for my tiny Boston apartment-sized kitchen.  In just a few minutes of browsing, I found the perfect shelving unit.  I’ll be reviewing it, complete with pictures, when it comes, so be on the look-out for that!  In the meantime, check out their site for yourselves!

Note to my Canadian readers, CSN Stores also ships to Canada!

Please Help the Gulf Animals

My lovely readers, I’m sure no matter where in the world you come to my blog from, you’ve heard about the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t like to get into politics/big business/whatever, but I am a staunch advocate for animals.  These innocent creatures never use oil in their day to day lives.  They don’t go around creating genocides.  They are less evolved than us and deserve our protection and admiration as the beautiful creatures they are.

This is what the oil spill has done to them:

A devastatingly oil-covered bird in the Gulf of Mexico.

AP Photographer Charlie Riedel's photo of an oil-covered bird as found on

The National Wildlife Federation is working tirelessly to save these innocent beings, or at least to alleviate their suffering.  It’s a huge, unexpected responsibility, and they need all the help they can get.

I beseech you to please go to the National Wildlife Federation’s oil spill donation website and donate today.  Any amount helps.

We caused this–human beings–and my heart weeps for them.  Even if you normally wouldn’t donate to animal or environmental causes, please consider doing so today, particularly if you find my blog a helpful or enjoyable part of your week.  You could give me no nicer gift.

Thank you.

Movie Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The Fox family and opossum sitting on a couch.Summary:
Mr. Fox promised his mate when she got pregnant to stop raiding the local farms and settle down to a safe journalism job, but when they move to a tree close to three farms, he finds night raids irresistible.  Soon the woodland critters and the farmers are in an all-out battle of wits.


First, it is done in delicious stop-motion animation.  The whole film is truly a piece of art.  My particular favorite is when they do cut-aways of the animals’ homes and tunnels below-ground.  It looks so incredibly real.  It reminds me of my well-loved books growing up that would cut-away animal homes like beaver houses and show you their house inside, complete with beds and stoves.  Swoon.

Second, there’s the storyline.  I’ve always loved the crafty animals out-witting the farmers from basically the first day I could read.  This may have been an indication of my future vegetarianism.

Third, there’s the characters.  The three farmers each have their own personalities.  The animals have more well-rounded characterization than I’ve seen for people in most tv shows.  For instances, Mr. Fox’s nephew, Kristofferson, is a naturally calm soul who knows karate and meditates every day contrasted with Mr. Fox’s son, Ash, who just wants to be a bandit and is pretty much perpetually angry.

Fourth, there’s the soundtrack.  There’s a wonderful folk tune about halfway through the movie that is very reminiscent of the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? another one of my all-time favorite movies.

Finally, there’s the fact that Dahl dealt with adult language in a kids’ film by replacing any swear word with the word “cuss.”  This results in the adult animals saying wonderful things like “What the cuss?!”  Brilliant.

I probably should also mention the fact that Mr. Fox is voiced by George Clooney who is always swoon-worthy.

I honestly can’t think of anyone who would dislike this movie.  I suppose if you hate animals and have no soul you might not like it.  All others need to go watch it immediately.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Zune on Xbox

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