Why Mocking the Duggar Children Should Be Off-Limits

Image from the Duggar Family Blog, links to source.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on December 23, 2014.

I’ve said it before on social media and I’ll say it again here. The mocking of Duggar children is not something I can get behind. Criticize the Duggar parents for what they’re doing to their children, criticize Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh for their anti-LGBT activism, that’s fair game. Mocking the kids isn’t.

Kids like the Duggars, who aren’t being given a real education (you don’t get a real education from ATI Wisdom Booklets), who aren’t allowed college, and who aren’t even allowed a single private conversation with someone of the opposite sex until they’re married, are the ones I’m trying to help.

TLC may put a pretty face on it, but make no mistake, the Duggars are part of a high-control, authoritarian cult. ATI creates an alternate reality, complete with their own version of history and science, and a theology that seems, on the surface, to be orthodox Christianity but is anything but. ATI even redefines language, Scientology-stype.

This is but one small example of the way that ATI indoctrinates its members, but check out their definitions of the character qualities that Bill Gothard decided were important. I’ve included a few of those character qualities below. Notice how most of those definitions are nothing like the dictionary definitions of those words?

When I was a kid some ATI friends gave us the “Character Clues” game, which was supposed to teach you those traits by having you match traits to definitions. Apart from being the world’s most boring game, we gave up on it quickly because the whole thing was redefining words. We could give up on the game because learning Gothard-approved definitions of words was dull, but for people who are part of the ATI cult, learning an entirely new vocabulary is a step in the cult indoctrination process. A process the kids have no say in.

The Duggar kids’ entire version of reality, down to the meaning of the words they use, is the one created by being raised in the cult. Unlike Jim Bob and Michelle, who lived lives outside of the cult before joining, the Duggar kids have nothing to compare anything to. Their entire reality is shaped by the cult and everything they see in the rest of the world they’re seeing through the lens of the cult. TLC gives them a broader set of experiences than most ATI kids have, but they’re still experiencing it through the filter Bill Gothard created. That’s all they know.

Mocking the kids for doing the only things they’ve ever known isn’t doing anything other than entertaining yourself at the expense of kids being raised in an extremely controlling, if not outright abusive, home. That’s cruel. It needs to stop.

Hey Franklin Graham, Speak Out Against The Abuse In The Church.

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published in March 2014.

Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation.

He doesn’t.

Franklin Graham is busy pretending he cares about child exploitation and that’s why he doesn’t want to let gay people adopt. He thinks gay people recruit children. Aside from pointing out the utter absurdity of this idea, I have one thing to say to Franklin Graham.

Speak out against the abuse in the church.

If you really care about children being harmed, then use your voice and your famous name to do something about the abuse and exploitation of children in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and institutions.

Speak out against the way churches protect child molesters while shaming their victims. Speak up for the children. Condemn the Bill Gothards, the Doug Phillipses, the Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Christian colleges that refuse to do anything about sexual harassment and assault and punish the victims. Speak against the system that enables the abuse and looks the other way when it happens.

Speak out.

Speak against the child abuse. Against the Pearls, the Ezzos, the parenting “experts” who tell parents that the way to create godly children is to beat them into submission. Speak out against the forces in the homeschool world who are fighting tooth and nail against any efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect.

Franklin Graham, you need to get your house in order. Instead of cozying up to the human rights-abusing quasi-dictator that is Vladimir Putin, just because he hates gay people as much as you do, take some of that effort and do something about the very serious and very real abuse problem in the church.

And as for me?

I’m too busy trying to do what you won’t do, working hard to keep any more children from being beaten or starved to death by “good Christian” parents to “recruit” anybody.