It is the story that just will not go away. The story of Josh Duggars teenage actions keeps spinning off more and more new stories. Much like they kept on having more children, it has us asking, ‘When will it all stop’?
Maybe we are fascinated with them because of their TV series or maybe their standards resonate with some aspects of our upbringing. But there is no denying that the legend of the Duggars keeps growing.
Now the story of the Duggars is hitting mainstream media in Australia. As is usually the case with the media – which is increasingly becoming tabloid quality – stories are crafted for ‘click-bait’ reasons. Yet, we often fall for the bait, by sharing a story, collecting comments and passing judgement, all in a matter of hours. The online world tends to operate as judge, jury and executioner all before any due process has been followed.
So, when it comes to the Duggars, sane reaction is increasing becoming hard to find. Most reaction falls into one of two extremes.
1. On the one hand there are those who will blindly defend them and their actions because they believe they could not have possibly done something wrong. People who hold this view often fear that if the Duggars’ fall from grace, then their ‘sacred cows (standards or theology) are at risk. This reaction has not found much airtime online, but is more likely to be found in personal conversation in a church environment. To be honest some of the media’s spin has fanned these fears such as trying to link everyone who is pro-life to the Duggars.
2. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who assume the worst about them – to the point of even saying that the victims own testimony is fake or a lie. Sadly, it is this second reaction that is common online due to its viral nature. Introduced as concern for standing up for the victims, some of it has now morphed into slandering everyone and anyone remotely related to them or who shared a common belief or standard. I have come to expect this reaction from the world, but sadly, I am also seeing this reaction on ‘Christian’s profiles and blogs’.
As Christians we are called to a higher standard than the world and we must consider if this standard has been met. Once we start labelling everyone who hold stricter standards than us as ‘abusive’, then we really have jumped the shark. I’ve no doubt that everyone has a different experience and many people have suffered abuse within their family environments. But we don’t do our own experience justice by casting aspersions on to other families whom we personally do not know.
By all means, let’s stand up for abused victims. But let’s not re-abuse the victims by portraying online as them as liars. Satan loves to feed on Christians via false accusations. Contributing to an online lynch mob is not justice. I grew up in a world when their was the presumption of innocence while due diligence was conducted. Why has that gone out the window? Researching the facts is not an old fashioned principle, it is a Biblical principle.
Proverbs 18:13 “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” (NLT)
Two of the Duggar girls will speak on Friday (Saturday our time). Let’s hear them before we judge the situation. Let’s live like Christians online and let’s lift our game.