Josh Duggar’s Treatment Center’s Troubling Connections to Child, Sexual Abuse Cover-Ups

Image of convicted child molestor Jack Schaap, whose sermons Reformers Unanimous recommends to its students (including Josh Duggar).

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on August 20, 2015.

Earlier this week Josh Duggar checked into Reformers Unanimous (RU), a Christian residential addiction treatment program in Rockford, Illinois, run by North Love Baptist Church and co-founded by the church’s authoritarian Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) pastor, Paul Kingsbury. Over the past twenty-four-hours, I have spoken with a number of individuals involved with or affected by either North Love or Kingsbury. Of primary importance are allegations that Kingsbury is actively supporting an accused sex offender, Richard DeVall, who is serving as a missionary in Bolivia and is sponsored by North Love Baptist Church. If true, this would seem to disqualify Kingsbury from running a recovery program for individuals suffering from porn addiction and sex addiction*, but Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches seem to run by their own rules.

There are some striking similarities here. After Josh Duggar molested his younger sisters as a teenager, he was sent to one of Bill Gothard’s training centers to take part in a construction program while receiving Christian mentoring. A decade later, Bill Gothard resigned after several dozen women leveled accusations of sexual abuse against him. This time Josh has been sent to Reformers Unanimous, a program founded by a church that has a history of involvement in Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles and which focuses on physical labor and Bible study. Paul Kingsbury, co-founder and chair of Reformers Unanimous, is alleged to be providing financial support through his church to an accused sex offender who has refused to return to the country to face charges. In other words, the Duggars appear to have sent Josh for round two of the same failed treatment.

In this article, I will lay out the case against Kingsbury in four sections. First I will examine Kingsbury’s relationship with Jack Schaap, who was convicted in 2013 of violating the Mann Act by transporting a minor across state lines for sex. Next I will look at Kingsbury’s alleged role in preventing accused sex offender Richard DeVall from coming to justice. Third, I will examine Kingsbury’s alleged history of failing to notify parishioners and others when a known sex offender is in their midst. Finally, I will look at the strict authoritarian manner in which Kingsbury allegedly runs North Love Baptist Church. I will finish by turning back to the Duggars and tying together some of the overarching themes running through this story.

Kingsbury’s Relationship with Convicted Abuser Jack Schaap

According to his bio on the North Love website, Kingsbury “surrendered to serve Christ with his life under the preaching ministry of Dr. Jack Hyles of Hammond, Indiana” and went on to graduate from Hyles-Anderson College. Jack Hyles spent the last decade of his life embroiled in controversy over a child sexual abuse coverup in his church. His son-in-law, Jack Schaap, who succeeded him as pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond after his death in 2001, is currently serving a twelve year prison sentence for violating the Mann Act in connection with a sexual relationship with 16- and 17-year-old parishioner. During the trial, it came to light that Schaap had groomed the minor during counseling sessions and had sex with her in his office.

Kingsbury’s relationship with First Baptist Church of Hamnond and Hyles-Anderson is longstanding. Dan Parsons, who attended a Christian school run by North Love in the late 1970s and taught at the same school in the late 1980s, told me that students from the school were taken annually to youth conferences at Hyles-Anderson. Indeed, Kingsbury appears to maintain a relationship with First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyles-Anderson to this day—he spoke at a Bible conference at First Baptist Church of Hammond only months after Schaap was sentenced.

Further, First Baptist Church of Hammond operates a chapter of Reformers Unanimous. This program was first brought to the church by now-imprisoned Jack Schaap. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that a sermon by Jack Schaap remains on a list of sermons Reformers Unanimous “recommends heartily” to RU students. According to Chicago magazine, Schaap was “part of what some call a deeply embedded culture of misogyny and sexual and physical abuse.” I was unable to find Kingsbury’s response to Schaap’s conviction, but I did find comments by one of his parishioners condemning those who would condemn Schaap and invoking Kingsbury as her authority for doing so. Kingsbury’s relationship with Schaap—and Schaap’s relationship with Reformer’s Unanimous—raises concerning questions about the culture of Reformers Unanimous.

Kingsbury’s Alleged Support for an Accused Sex Offender

Several years ago, Bob Jones University invited GRACE, an organization run by Billy Graham’s grandson and Liberty University professor Boz Tchividijian, to conduct an investigation of their handling of rape and sexual assault on campus. The final report released by GRACE detailed a situation in the early 1990s where BJU expelled and then readmitted a man accused of sexual assault. According to the GRACE report, “the alleged perpetrator minimized the extent of his crime, but he admitted to touching her inappropriately without her consent while he believed she was sleeping.” The perpetrator was readmitted to BJU after claiming that he had reconciled with his victim, but this was later revealed to be a lie.

This man, identified as Richard DeVall, is currently serving as a missionary in Bolivia. According to the GRACE report, his victim finally went to the authorities in 2012. Shortly after this she received a letter of apology from DeVall. Not satisfied, she contacted DuVall’s missionary agency, Baptist Pioneer Mission (BPM), asking them to remove him from the field “due to potential risks he could pose to others.” They refused, telling her that DeVall “had been repentant to the mission board by confessing his offense and writing a letter of apology.” When she asked whether BPM would encourage DeVall to return to the United States to face charges for his crime, the board responded that they would “use any legal means to protect” DeVall. In spite of claiming in his apology letter that he would “cooperate and work with all those who are involved in the issue,” DeVall insisted that the matter must be handled “in a Biblical way” and, according to GRACE, has refused to return to the United States to face criminal charges.

BMP’s listing of policies and procedures states that “To be eligible for appointment with BPM, the missionary applicant must be a member of and commissioned by his or her New Testament church.” According to my sources, North Love Baptist Church is DeVall’s sending church. Kingsbury, as pastor of North Love, promoted DeVall’s mission work on his blog in February 2012. The month before, in January 2012, DeVall gave a sermon at North Love. BJUGrace, a Facebook group dedicated to seeking “grace and truth, righteousness and peace in the abuse allegations at Bob Jones University,” recently posted regarding the connections between Kingsbury and DeVall as well. According to BPM’s website, “BPM will only serve individuals who are recognized and commissioned by their local church to engage in missionary work (church planting).” While BPM is DeVall’s sending agency, North Love plays a crucial role as his sending church, and as senior pastor, much of the responsibility for this falls on Kingsbury.

One would think that accusations of sexual assault leveled against a missionary would lead a church to have second thoughts about sending them into the field, but it appears that this has not occurred in DeVall’s case in spite of the fact that both my sources and BJUGrace allege that Kingsbury was notified some time ago of the details of DeVall’s crime. Kingsbury may believe DeVall has repented of his past sin and reformed his ways. This would be in keeping with IFB theology and Gothard’s teachings, but it flies in the face of DeVall’s unwillingness to return to the U.S. where he faces the possibility of criminal charges. If it is true that North Love is continuing to sponsor DeVall even with Kingsbury’s knowledge of the allegations against him, and that they have sent him into the field and are keeping him there out of fear that he will face criminal charges if he returns to the U.S., these are serious charges indeed. What impact might such unwillingness to take sexual abuse seriously and such inattention to systems of accountability have on the culture and teachings of Reformers Unanimous?

Kingsbury’s Alleged Failure To Warn Parishioners against Sex Offenders

Working alongside Kingsbury, Pastor Ray Borah served as the Academic Dean of North Love Baptist Collegepastor at North Love Baptist Church, and counselor at Reformers Unanimous. Before coming to North Love, Borah was employed as a youth pastor at a church in Florida. While serving as youth pastor, Borah, who had been married for well over a decade, allegedly sexually assaulted a teenage girl and became sexually involved with two other teenagers in his youth group. It is not clear whether Kingsbury knew of these allegations when Borah joined North Love, though the recent GRACE investigation revealed that the allegations had been reported to Bob Jones University some time before Borah joined Kingsbury’s pastoral staff, but were not investigated.

About three years ago, Borah committed another sexual offense, this one at North Love itself. What happened is unclear and has been subject to much rumor. While there is little definitive information, we do know that at this time Borah parted ways with North Love. According to sources I have spoken with, neither Kingsbury nor anyone else at North Love warned either parishioners or others who came in contact with Borah after he left North Love about Borah’s offense. This put additional individuals at risk.

This is not the first time Kingsbury has been involved in a failure to notify parishioners or other relevant parties that they have a sex offender in their midst. According to Parsons, in the late 1970s, when Kingsbury was a youth pastor at North Love, the English teacher and basketball coach at the school attached to the church was “caught peeping into the girls’ locker room.” The man was forced to confess, but the confession was kept extremely vague—”I got away from the Lord”—and no one was notified what he had done. “That was all hush hush,” Parsons told me. “Nobody who knew was permitted to talk about it.” This man was let go from the school, but was not blacklisted in any fashion. As a result, he simply traveled to another state and found a job at a Christian school there.

While Kingsbury was not senior pastor during the situation involving the school’s English teacher and basketball coach, as youth pastor he presumably participated in keeping the matter quiet and learned by example how affairs of this sort should be handled. Indeed, Kingsbury, who became senior pastor in 1982, only a few years after this incident, describes the senior pastor at the time as his “mentor.” In allegedly failing to notify others when they have a sex offender in their midst, Kingsbury has put others at risk and has shown himself to be either unaware of or uncaring about best practices for handling sexual abuse. This does not bode well for the practices of Reformers Unanimous, which Kingsbury co-founded and which continues to operate under his direction as chairman.

“The Authority To Do Whatever He Wanted”

In perhaps the most startling part of our conversation, Parsons described an alternative Halloween activity that Kingsbury put on during the late 1970s as an example of Kingsbury’s abusive and manipulative tactics. As Parsons explained, after the various activities at the alternative Halloween event had drawn to a close, the youth gathered in the gym, expecting to hear a short sermon. Instead, Kingsbury had the church deacons and other leaders enter the room and “stage a mass shooting with guns that shot blanks.” According to Parsons, the men “came in and scared everyone and shot into the crowd” in an effort to “scare all the kids into making a decision to accept Christ.” The experience clearly made a big impression on Parsons. “They’re very big on that fear, that kind of persuasion,” he told me.

Parsons also told me that Kingsbury rules North Love with an iron fist. Speaking of his experience at North Love in the 1970s and 1980s and his discussions with church members in the decades since, Parsons told me that Kingsbury teaches his congregation that the King James Version of the Bible is the only acceptable translation and relies heavily on “The Trail of Blood,” a 1931 pamphlet that purports to reveal that the Baptists are the true heirs of the early church. “That gave him the authority to do whatever he wanted,” Parsons said. “‘If you’re not listening to me, you’re not following the New Testament, period.’” Individual Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches frequently function as their own cults of personality, lacking an authority structure that provides accountability. The senior pastor at an IFB church—a position Kingsbury has held since 1982—often wields a great deal of authority over his parishioners, and in Kingsbury’s case, Parsons told me, that power extended to what church members wore and what Bible edition they used.

Parsons also described North Love as a Gothard church. During the 1970s and 1980s, he told me, teachers at North Love’s Christian school were required to attend Bill Gothard’s seminars annually. These conferences typically took place on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and were held in nearby Chicago. According to Parsons, the school would shut down on Friday so that the teachers could attend. After Gothard introduced his homeschool curriculum in the 1980s, some families took their children out of North Love’s Christian school to enroll them in Gothard’s program, with the support of the church. Kingsbury echoed Gothard’s teachings about women and gender, barring women from wearing pants (the school’s cheerleaders were required to sign a pledge that they wouldn’t wear pants even at home) and preaching against birth control. “Pastor Kingsbury preached from the pulpit that women were baby machines,” Parsons told me. Gothard resigned from his ministry last year as an increasing number of women accused him of sexually molesting them while they were working for him. While Parsons no longer has close friends at North Love, he told me that his friends who have retained the beliefs they were taught at North Love tend to defend Gothard. “They say that he didn’t do anything wrong,” Parsons noted.

Over the past few years, fundamentalist churches have suffered one sex abuse scandal after another. Fundamentalist colleges and missions agencies have taken a hit as wellSpeaking in 2013, Boz Tchividjian shocked many when he stated that evangelicals are “worse” on sexual abuse than Catholics. Tchividjian argued that evangelicals’ individualism makes them wary of transparency and accountability, causing abuse to go unseen, ignored, or unreported. In addition, Tchividjian noted that evangelical pastors and missionaries who are ousted over abuse allegations often simply switch churches or missions agencies, leaving their sordid pasts behind them. Without an overarching hierarchy, a church may never be told of a new pastor or missionary’s past misdeeds. When churches promote strict modesty standards and portray women as temptresses, victim blaming becomes all too common, contributing to the collapse of any attempt at best practices. The cult of personality that frequently develops at IFB churches only exacerbates these problems. When one man holds all the power, that power is easy to abuse.

Conclusion

Kingsbury founded Reformers Unanimous as a ministry of North Love in 1996. Parsons described the early material used by RU as “pretty much just mindless filling in the blanks.” When I asked Parsons whether it would be accurate to say that RU seeks to cure sexual deviance in the church not by addressing the sexual ethics and power structures that so often contribute to it but rather by terming it an addiction and throwing the Bible at it, he laughed and agreed with my analysis. As others have reported already, Reformers Unanimous does not appear to have any licensed counselors on staff, and its residential program appears to be made up entirely of physical labor and Bible study. This is a path Josh Duggar has been down before, but it is the only path his parents seem able to envision. Questioning the beliefs and dynamics that lead to abuse is difficult; solving problems with a larger dose of Bible reading is the familiar default.

The Duggars have made a career out of bottling up their children’s sexual energies, keeping them set on zero until marriage and then unleashing them, but most of what they teach is common in fundamentalist churches. Women are expected to dress modestly so as not to give men the wrong idea, and sexual assault victims are asked what they did to lead their abuser on or cause their assault. When married men have affairs, their wives are blamed for not being sexually available enough to keep them at home. On top of all of this, wives are expected to submit to and obey their husbands (and children are expected to submit to and obey their parents). When taken together, these teachings can be a recipe for disaster. And there’s more, too. Once a man confesses and repents of his sexual offense, his victim must either forgive him or face charges of bitterness. A parent who is loathe to leave her children alone with a man who has molested children in the past may be accused of not believing in God’s capacity to change lives. None of this is conducive to a healthy sexual ethic, healing for abuse survivors, or safety for the community at large.

As of this week, Josh is at Reformers Unanimous, whose chairman and cofounder, Paul Kingsbury, had a longterm working relationship with convicted sexual predator Jack Schaap, is allegedly protecting an accused sex offender from justice, and allegedly has a habit of failing to notify people when a known sexual predator is in their midst. How an individual alleged to have such a troubled relationship with both legal accountability for sex offenses and established best practices for handling cases of sexual abuse can be expected to run an affective and above-board rehab program for individuals who come to him seeking help for addictions to porn or sex is perhaps question of the week.

* There is some disagreement over what porn addiction and sex addiction look like and whether they are properly labeled addictions. However, regardless of where one falls on the question, Reformers Unanimous is out of step with professional opinion in how it understands and approaches both conditions. This is transparently obvious in the simple fact that the RU website states that 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography. RU appears to see “looks at pornography” as synonymous with “addicted to pornography,” which also calls into question the program’s ability to treat those individuals it admits.

Don’t Shame Those Bringing Darkness to Light: Elliott Grace Harvey’s Thoughts

CC image courtesy of Flickr, See-Ming Lee.

Some of the comments I come across regarding human rights issues blow my mind. I’m talking about the things that become a major source of dissension in social media and personal conversations.

A movie about kinky sex.

Discrimination towards the queer community.

Gender inequality. Rape culture and its many representations.

“No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise… I will gag you.”

An overwhelming theme I see emerging is an attitude of annoyance. Frustration that we’re talking about any of this. That whatever the topic is, will go away and we should stop discussing it because “controversy” is what makes this an issue.

“I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.”

Here’s the thing about promoting silence as a solution.

When you believe that talking about something is the problem, and that to stop talking about it takes away the problem, you don’t understand it at all.

You’re speaking from a place of privilege. A place where things like abuse only affect you in your news feed, rather than your daily life. The people affected by abusive situations will still wake up to them tomorrow, and you can’t stand to hear about it.

“All this intense need to shout from the rooftops that this is abuse is crazy.”

Feeling isolated and unheard paralyzes people in unhealthy situations. Say it out loud,You’re not alone, and you’re not at fault.”

“The more we talk about it the more publicity it gets. I’m personally tired of hearing about it.”

Words are powerful things. You can make a difference with your words for the better.

“It’s a movie. It doesn’t promote a widespread message about anything. Find something else to worry about.”

Education changes lives. Speak about respect and human rights, again and again and again.

“It’s CONTROVERSIAL. Controversy and drama. When people get tired of discussing how evil/wonderful it is it will fade into oblivion.”

Take whatever the current media battle is. Yes, the hype will go away eventually. Yes, the uproar is fed the more people talk about it. Yes, people should use common sense. However, misinformation is damaging, and silencing those who are speaking up against wrong does no one any favors.

I’m glad you’re not personally affected by discrimination or abuse or any of these issues people are dealing with. I plead with you, don’t shame those that are bringing it to light.

Silence is on the side of the abuser.

Bill Gothard Explains Road Safety (aka How Not to Get Raped)

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Mik Scheper.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on August 17, 2015

Do you remember when that Saudi historian said that western women drive because they don’t mind getting raped? He used the danger that occurs when a woman’s car breaks down, leaving her open to sexual assault by any passerby, as a rationale for maintaining the Saudi ban on women driving. Well. Watch as this road safety module produced by Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (a program for fundamentalist homeschoolers) takes a weird turn.

(I was sent this module via Wende Benner of Homeschoolers Anonymous. You can read her story here. She filled out this module herself while attending Gothard’s EXCEL training program for girls.)

ATI Road Safety 01

The module is titled “Road Safety: Survival Road Skills And Wise Responses to Danger.” Since the responses to danger bit falls under the road safety heading, we can assume it’s about things like changing a tire safely, or knowing how to drive around a car that isn’t signaling or staying in its lane, yes?

ATI Road Safety 02

I actually would have found this page very helpful when I was a teen. If I’d read the bit about warning lights and overheating, I might not have totaled my mom’s car as a teen by melting her engine. (Seriously, this is one memory I’d really like to forget!) On the other hand, filling out a sheet like this does exactly squat to tell you where to put the brake fluid, or where the best jack points are, etc. So there’s that.

ATI Road Safety 03

Hang on, are these meant to be the warning lights? Because if so, my experience suggests that different cars have different warning lights. In fact, we recently got a new (to us) car, and I’ve found that the manual is my friend because when the warning lights come on I have absolutely no idea what they mean, because they look totally different from my other car.

ATI Road Safety 04

That last chart bit would be more helpful on a small notepad in the glove compartment, because I’m pretty sure most people aren’t going to be stuffing this entire module in there. But maybe it’s just meant to give the student experience with how these numbers should be written down?

ATI Road Safety 05

This is actually fairly comprehensive. Most people probably don’t pray before a trip, but mine always did, so it doesn’t seem weird to me. And the list of things to bring (and do before leaving) is quite thorough.

ATI Road Safety 06

While not getting to close to the car in front of you is important, one car length per 10 miles per hour isn’t going to serve you well when driving in congested cities. People will keep pulling into your lane in front of you, and then you’ll have to slow down to increase the distance. Also, the “what to do if there’s an accident” section says not to leave until an officer dismisses you, but it doesn’t say to call the police in the first place, which makes it feel slightly disjointed.

Of course, I’m just nit-picking here. We’re six pages into the module, and it’s mostly pretty standard stuff. Remember that these modules are designed for homeschooled students, many of whom (myself included) will never take driver’s ed, so it’s good that they’ll get any information at all, although obviously this module would be best accompanied with some hands-on training.

But let’s look at what comes next.

ATI Road Safety 07

Yes, we’re still in the same “Road Safety” module! All we did was turn a page, and hey, would you look at that? Suddenly it’s all about responding to attackers . . . because it’s totes common for women to be assaulted while driving.

What “provokes” an attack, according to Gothard? How you dress and the sort of friends you chose. Lovely. Just lovely. Hello, slut shaming and victim blaming! And what should you do if you are attacked? Well, resist, of course, but also present the gospel and pray for your attacker. Because converting a man who is trying to rape you while fending him off to protect your virginity is pretty much the epitome of godliness.

This goes on for six full pages. Yes, you read that right—a full half of Gothard’s “Road Safety” module deals with what to do if you are attacked or assaulted while driving somewhere, because if you are a woman, leaving your father’s house is dangerous dangerous dangerous!

ATI Road Safety 08

Yes, you read those first sentences correctly: “God has established some very strict guidelines of responsibility for a woman who is attacked. She is to cry out for help. The victim who fails to do this is equally guilty with the attacker.” Yes, really. A victim of sexual assault who does not cry out—who remains silent for whatever reason—is equally guilty with her attacker.

Think for a moment about the Duggar girls. They did not cry out for help when they were sexually assaulted by their older brother. How might studying from a module like this (and remember that the family centered their curriculum and Bible study on Gothard materials) affect one of them, or anyone else who has ever been sexually assaulted but kept silent? Remember that it is very common for a victim of child sexual abuse not to cry out, because they are first groomed to ensure that they won’t.
ATI Road Safety 09

Okay, first of all, let’s be clear that “morally attack” means sexual assault. And second, let’s be clear that in the story presented on this page, the “I hope I got here in time” and “Sir, you did, you just barely did” exchange means the girl’s virginity was still intact, which is of course what really matters to Gothard. But the thing is, she was still sexually assaulted. She is still going to have to work through the trauma of that. And I actually get the feeling that Gothard isn’t aware of that. It’s like the fact that her hymen is still intact means no harm was done. Except that that’s not how it works.

But you know what I really want to know? How the blazes Gothard thinks this one example is evidence that it’s always safer for a woman to cry out when being assaulted than it is for her to remain silent. Look, this is going to vary! In some situations, screaming may alert someone that you need help or scare away the attacker. In other cases, screaming may just make the attacker become more violent. In some situations, a woman may be so shocked by what is happening (especially when the perpetrator is a friend or significant other) that she is stunned into silence. There is no one correct way to respond to being sexually assaulted, and saying there is will only lead victims to blame themselves more than they already do.

Of course, what really matters to Gothard is that if a victim of sexual assault does not scream for help, she violates scripture. It’s not really about what’s most affective, it’s about what the Bible says. But of course, now that he has said the Bible mandates it, he is going to explain that it is in fact effective by offering five more anecdotes (none of which involve rape or sexual assault, I might add).

ATI Road Safety 10

Here are two anecdotes in which crying out to Jesus caused attackers to reconsider! Clearly this means it always works! If you try it and it doesn’t work, you must not have enough faith! /sarcasm

Actually, wait a minute. That second example might not even have been an attack. Perhaps the “strange man” who approached the woman was just going to ask for directions, and when she began shouting to God to save her from him, he backed up with raised eyebrows like anyone else would do in that situation.

ATI Road Safety 11

Here are two more examples of cases where witnessing to an attacker caused the attacker to repent and apologize. Ignore the fact that neither of these cases involved sexual assault, because that totally doesn’t matter. If you have enough faith, witnessing to your rapist while he’s raping you will totally make him stop. /sarcasm

That bit about having enough faith that I keep repeating? That’s not in the text, but it’s sure as hell implied. If you’re “godly” enough, God will save you from being raped . . . and thus it follows that if you’re not saved from being raped you must not be godly enough. This is not a good message to be giving teenage girls, especially homeschooled teenage girls who almost certainly will not receive more accurate information elsewhere!

ATI Road Safety 12

And then we’ll add one more anecdote for good measure. In case you haven’t noticed, Gothard is really big on anecdotes. His textbooks are absolutely chock full of them, from cover to cover.

I do want to note that none of these last five examples actually deals with rape. Only the first example—the girl in the alleyway—had to do with sexual assault. Granted, getting robbed or mugged or held at gunpoint is pretty bad, but encouraging teenage girls (the main target of this workbook) who are sexually assaulted to witness to their attacker somehow seems worse than encouraging them to witness to an attacker who is asking them to hand over whatever cash they have on them.

So, let’s see. Out of twelve pages of Gothard’s “Road Safety” module, six are about car maintenance and contingencies and six are about what to do if you’re sexually assaulted while out driving.

You can probably see, now, why I drew a connection between this and the Saudi historian’s opposition to women driving, because their car might break down and they might be raped at the side of the road. Gothard is positioning driving as something that is fundamentally dangerous for a woman. While it is true that women face a greater risk of sexual assault than men, women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know than by a stranger at the side of the road. Portraying driving as fundamentally dangerous for a woman may discourage girls who take this module from achieving the independence that comes with the mobility driving offers.

How I Survived Homeschooling in Gothard’s Cult: Part Four

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Norbert Posselt.

HA Note: The following is reprinted with permission from Alexa Meyer’s blog Life of Grace and Peace. It was originally published on June 26, 2015 and has been slightly modified for HA.

*****

In this seriesPart One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Conclusion

*****

Part Four

After the trip to Russia I was excited to finally go home. My first sister was soon to be born, and Thanksgiving was almost upon us. Once home I thought my HQ days were behind me. I told my parents and a few ATI parents we knew about some of my experiences (good and bad). When asked by these parents if I thought it a good idea for their daughters to go to HQ, I emphatically said NO. Between the silly rules and legalism, which have nothing to do with a relationship with Jesus, and the strange, uncomfortable manner of Bill, I thought it unsafe and not worth it. I again expressed my wonder at people following a man who had never left home, married or had children. As a parent now, I can see where my comments would seem arrogant and offensive, so it’s probably no wonder no one really listened to me. At the time I truly, genuinely wanted to know what all these parents saw in the program – I didn’t get it. My parents didn’t have much to say to all this, at least in front of me. I’ve often wondered what they said to these parents when I wasn’t around, since I saw no action or talk against Bill or the organization. I do know that the children (mostly around my age) of these parents started to treat me a little bit coldly after this.

Life seemed to move forward and settle back into what was normal for me – the almost daily “family time”, soul searching/self-analysis, guarding my heart and mind as well as my body from my dad.

In December of 1991 two important events happened for me. The first was meeting my future husband, Chris, who was in medical school and occasionally helping in the youth group at the time. When I first saw him across the church parking lot, my spirit leapt inside of me, literally stopping me in my tracks. My mind thought it strange but let it go for a while. The second event was my sister being born – what an adjustment for us all! But wonderful all the same. She was the first of six more living siblings over the next ten or so years. I think having a large family is wonderful when the parents are doing so because they just want and love to have a passel of kids. I think it sad and unnecessarily stressful on the parents when they do so because they think that God requires it of them. Any rule or law is now unnecessary because Jesus fulfilled the law and brought Grace and Peace to all men.

Fast forward to early March of 1992. I had spent a small amount of time with Chris when the youth group got together (and I was allowed to go), but he never paid any special attention to me or anyone else. He basically helped out when we had events and he could get off from his studies. I liked what I knew and saw of him but knew to keep it to myself. Evidently I was giving off signals since the youth pastor’s wife called me one day to tell me that Chris was engaged to marry someone, that she didn’t want me to get hurt. I thanked her for her warning, but I determined that I would ask him myself. So I called him to ask if it was true. (I had his number because I had recently injured my wrist working with my dad, and asked his help with it.) He said it was true, but that he was having doubts about it. We talked some more of it and other things, then we hung up. As soon as the phone hit the cradle, I heard an audible voice tell me that I was going to marry him. I looked around and saw that no one else was in the room – my mom and sister were taking a nap. “Well,” I said to God, “You’ll have to work it out, and I’ll have to be patient.” Later I told my mom, who took the news calmly. Then I did a stupid thing and told my dad. I guess I was too excited to keep quiet about it. My dad flipped out and forbade me to ever see, talk or have anything to do with Chris. He talked about Chris being untrustworthy, like a snake in the grass, stealing me away. I thought he was way over-reacting and treating me like I had been caught doing a bad thing, like sneaking out to see him and whatever else his imagination came up with. I had only ever seen Chris at church functions or with my family.

I later realized that my dad thinks everyone else thinks and reacts like he does. I understood early in life that doing things or being different from my parents was bad, almost akin to evil. Which was why I usually kept quiet and told my parents what they wanted to hear.

At sixteen and a half my facade/charade was beginning to crack – I was speaking out more often.

I was tired of being oppressed and treated like a sinful slave.

Unbeknownst to me, my dad quickly contacted Gothard about me. Next thing I know we’re heading up to HQ for a job interview. We were there for a couple of days, and I don’t remember much of it, only the last few hours before we left for home. Bill, my parents and I were all in his office. Bill looked at me very gravely and began to quietly berate me for breaking my vow to my parents in regards to courtship. I felt sick and confused, plus very betrayed by my parents. Bill proceeded to say untruths about a man he’d never met – Chris was wrong to have met with me in private (which never happened), to encourage a young girl to disobey her parents (which also never happened), he was a danger to me, etc. In conclusion, I was commanded to renounce Chris, renew my vow to courtship and commit myself to following my dad’s authority. My parents watched all this in approval – they never said a word – as I was made to prostrate myself by getting on my knees at the Couch and repeating all that blasphemy. I was left hurt, shaken, shattered, betrayed in my trust, love, respect, anything towards my father, and I could only wonder at the lies they had spread about Chris and me. My last shred of attachment to my dad broke that morning in Gothard’s office. And my dad wondered why I wouldn’t talk or look at him the rest of that long 12 hour day. But I was the dutiful daughter that they seemed to want.

At home my parents asked me what I thought about moving to HQ, so I told them one last time, “No, it didn’t seem right.”

I never understood why they ever bothered to ask me anything since they never heard a word I said.

They certainly never took the time to get to know me as myself and after I was married claimed that Chris had changed me. They have always failed to understand that Chris gave me the love and freedom to be myself.

Sex Abuse Victim Allegedly Filing Lawsuit Against Josh Duggar

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

By now, nearly everyone with access to the Internet has likely heard of the Duggar family tragedy. At least five young girls were allegedly molested by Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. The family waited several years to report the crimes. When they finally did so, they only told a police officer who was a family friend, who himself was later convicted of child pornography.

A new report today by InTouch Weekly reveals that one of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims is preparing to file a lawsuit against him. The report says,

A non-Duggar family molestation victim is preparing to file a civil suit against Josh Duggar, sources tell In Touch magazine exclusively in the new issue on newsstands today.

The shocking development means that Josh and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle could be forced to give depositions and testify about Josh’s molestation scandal. The Duggars likely will have to answer every question as they will not be able to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because the criminal statute of limitations has expired.

While I would not normally feel comfortable citing from a gossip magazine, InTouch Weekly has led the investigative journalism charge on the Duggar tragedy. The information they have uncovered on this issue has thus far been credible.

For further reading:

How I Survived Homeschooling in Bill Gothard’s Cult: Part One

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Norbert Posselt.

HA Note: The following is reprinted with permission from Alexa Meyer’s blog Life of Grace and Peace. It was originally published on June 26, 2015 and has been slightly modified for HA.

****

In this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Conclusion

****

Part One

With much encouragement from my husband I’m sharing my experiences with Bill Gothard and the ugly influence of Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and Advanced Training Institute (ATI – his homeschool program) teachings on my life. After reading many of the experiences of others, I felt that my story would just be redundant since we all seem to share similarities. My husband assures me that what I learned and how I dealt with Gothard would help someone – and so I hope.

The beginnings of what I think of as my personal “Dark Ages” started in my 13th year (Aug. 1988), a year after being pulled out of public school to home educate. There’s nothing like being told the day 7th grade started, and after taking all the trouble to get ready that morning – clothes on, check; hair done, check; makeup, check; pep talk, check – to “never mind going to school, you’ll be doing that at home from now on.” With my foot out the door and my bag over my shoulder, I thought it was a joke. When I realized they were serious and asked why, I was told that I was “out of control and rebellious, so to bring you into line you’re being taught at home.” That inspires cooperation!

From what I could tell, being rebellious meant that I wasn’t open to them, sharing my every thought, dream, etc., I was physically pulling away from them, not wanting to hug my dad frequently, spending time by myself, asking questions (which evidently meant I didn’t agree with them).

Basically, I wanted privacy and for my dad to stop paying attention to me (attention that made me uncomfortable), and they wanted to control everything about me. They had already tried Josh McDowall’s stuff with me the previous year, which I thought was a little overboard since more rules and guilt trips don’t help anyone. I’m sure that I was a little sullen and mouthy since by my understanding all my crying out for help to my mom, and sometimes my dad, didn’t get any results. My dad continued to sit too close, tickle my knees or ribs at will, make me hug him frequently, sit alone with me and pry into my deepest thoughts, humiliate me in front of my peers and adults by sharing my personal habits or spiritual revelations I had, make jokes about me, twist and turn my words (manipulate) back onto me when I would sit down and express my concerns about them – I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you. In addition to asking my mom to talk with dad about giving me some space, I asked my youth pastor to just come sit with me during a talk with my parents and help me make sure that my point got across to them. Nothing, of course, came of that. I tried several times at many “family devotions” during and after dinner, to confront my dad (like I had been taught to do-Matt.18) about this strangeness I felt between us. I was always “wrong (i.e. don’t know what you’re talking about), confused, misguided, so you should spend more time searching your heart and the Bible to see what Jesus wants you to work on.” I tried this approach from the age of 11 to about 15, and then gave up since everything I said was always turned back on me (it still is to this day).

After my “rebellious” first year home schooling, my parents decided that I needed Character Building. I guess I wasn’t enough of a character already! So after talking to a friend who knew a friend who had a similar “problem”, my parents were introduced to Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) – or Basic Training – through the Character Sketches. (These character sketch books were full of character words, their meanings, stories taken from the Bible, and an animal assigned per character word to teach the how to demonstrate the particular character, i.e. faithfulness.) I remember the first time I looked through that book thinking “Seriously?! I’m supposed to learn how my parents want me to behave by reading how animals behave? We’re going to spiritualize animal behavior?” It seemed really kooky to me, but I wanted to keep the peace, so I cooperated. Boy was I in for a treat at the IBLP seminar we went to that spring (1989)!

At that first Basic seminar (I was 12), my dad made sure we all met Gothard. It was very brief, but I didn’t like him and thought it strange how like my dad he was – same first name, hair and eye color, body build, voice tones, manner of speaking and hand gestures.

The most unnerving trait they shared, which became apparent about 2 years later when I met him again, was the sexual undercurrent.

I recognized that particular type of tension because I dodged that sitting-too-close, inappropriate-tickling, alone-at-night-deep-probing-questions, forcing-affection and being-called-girlfriend tension from my father my whole life.

Another thing that seemed strange, yet obvious, to me was how odd it was for people who are married and probably have kids to listen and take to heart a man’s interpretation of the Bible, who has never left home or married let alone courted anyone (to my knowledge at 13) and had no experience whatsoever of raising kids. Wow! Really?! The rules he was spouting seemed endless and silly, focusing on only physical things that we should do, never the true Grace and Peace that Jesus brought us all after the cross.

So after attending Basic and learning all the things we must do to receive God’s favor (Wait a minute! I thought that was un-merited because of Jesus!), and, apparently, to fit in with this club, life became a burden.

It was already rocky enough, what with being the only child who was blessed with her father’s laser beam of religiosity, demanding my every thought, confession, loyalty but never my questions or concerns about anything to do with my parent’s authority. I call that blind loyalty, and ironically my parents taught me, no required me, to be a deep thinker and self-analyzer, to always question things, especially establishments and authority.

Did anyone else’s parents require complete transparency (even if nothing was there), daily Bible study at the ungodly hour of 6am (okay, I’m so Not a morning person!), regular self-analysis to see where you’re wrong and how you can be more like Christ? Or the room raids and confiscations when you’re gone, public humiliations by talking about your private struggles or personal habits? Or have the limits on youth group involvement and the focus on staying pure, pointing out that I’m inherently a sinner, so I have to keep myself pure and modest so I don’t tempt anyone and become a stumbling block? The way my dad talked he had me believing that every guy over the age of 12 had one thing on their mind most of the time, so it was my job not to encourage them. Later I would wonder how to turn him off! After witnessing my father come home from work one day (when I was about 14) and thank us for praying for him that day, because he’d been tempted by a beautiful red haired woman in a suit, I knew for sure that my dad was one of those males he’d been warning me about. It took years of being married to my wonderful, non-ATIA, Godly husband before I released my prejudice against most men.

A lot of the teachings from IBLP my parents had already been teaching me for a while. Some of the new things were the Patriarch stuff, women wearing only dresses, no make-up, long hair, stay at home, having babies (no birth control) and the courtship idea. The teaching that people are supposed to follow all these rules (most of which are made by man), which are “backed up” by Bible verses used out of context, to be “right” with and blessed by God, weren’t new to me. It was, however something that I was finding oppressive and didn’t think was right. What I saw through my parents and the numerous churches we attended was those in positions of “authority” (power, really) abusing their position saying, “Jesus died for you because He loves you and wants to save you. (His blood wasn’t powerful enough? I have the power to make Jesus my Redeemer or Savior?) But He accepts you as you are. Accept Him so you won’t burn in hell (Didn’t Jesus take the judgement of the world and bring Peace between man and God?).” Then after you accept Him – really, who wants to burn in hell? – they teach all the things you have to do to continue to stay “right” with God. The backstabbing, ostracizing, cruelness comes the minute you questioned anything or didn’t agree exactly the same way. Aside from studying how Jesus behaved after the cross (as well as before!) and noticing that He certainly never acted that heartless way, it just didn’t feel right.

It’s what Jesus wants from us, to be hateful towards someone who doesn’t think, act or dress like us?

Really?! That shows Love?

Well, after contemplating suicide three times my 13th year, shortly after turning 14 I raised my fist to God and told Him to take this “Christianity” and shove it! If this was Him I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He was going to have to show me who He really was for me to have anything to do with Him. He, thankfully, didn’t disappoint me! About five months later He encouraged me to read Song of Solomon. He showed me His Love, He wooed me and became my best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, most especially my Hope. I know to the core of me that He was the only way I made it to 18 reasonably sane and alive.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Reverse Decision, Withdraw from Homeschool Conference

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

This evening, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar reversed their commitment from earlier today and withdrew from speaking at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family.

The Super Conference is a homeschool conference put on by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), the largest statewide homeschool organization in Colorado (reaching over 10,000 families). Earlier in the day, the CHEC board announced that Jim Bob and Michelle would not be withdrawing from the conference despite recent revelations concerning their troubling handling of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by their son, Josh Duggar. The board issued a public statement that said, “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference. They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.” You can view the CHEC board’s original statement here.

Tonight, however, the CHEC board revised their statement and informed conference goers that the Duggars had withdrawn due to “recent and increased attacks and pressure on the family.” You can view the new statement as an archived PDF here. An image and full text follow:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.05.47 PM

Text is,

A Note from the CHEC Board on the Duggars

Updated statement as of Wednesday, 5/10/15 at 7:15 pm

By God’s Providence, CHEC just received word that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have decided not to come and address the 2015 Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family. This latest change comes in light of recent and increased attacks and pressure on the family.  They have graciously requested to withdraw entirely from speaking at this year’s conference and therefore will not be appearing at the Friday evening event on June 19th.

We thank you for your patience as we have interacted closely with Jim Bob the last several days.  Please be in prayer for the Duggar family during this difficult time.Thank you for your support of CHEC and the Rocky Mountain Super Conference.

The CHEC Board of Directors

About CHEC and the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family

CHEC was founded in 1990 by Kevin Lundberg, who is currently a Republican Senator for the state and most known for his opposition to IUDs. Lundberg was replaced as CHEC director in 1999 by Kevin Swanson (now the director of CHEC’s radio program Generations Radio), whose hyperbolic rants against homeschool alumniGirl Scout cookiesTaylor Swift’s “demon songs”, and Disney’s “Frozen” are well-documented by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Right Wing Watch. CHEC organized the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit, where Swanson, late HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka, and male supremacy advocates like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham called for abolishing child protection services. CHEC is also known as the homeschool organization from which mass shooter Matthew Murray graduated.

According to their website, CHEC’s upcoming Super Conference on the Family “will explore ways to build stronger families, churches, and governments through SERVANT LEADERSHIP.” The conference features educational tracks on homeschooling, leadership, Christian worldview studies, relationships, and Christian discipleship. It is being held next week, June 18-20, 2015, at the Denver Mart in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the Duggars, conference speakers include R.C. Sproul, Jr. (a defrocked pastor who advocates extreme patriarchy), S.M. Davis (speaker and writer for Bill Gothard’s IBLP and ATI programs), and others.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to Speak Next Week at Homeschool Conference

UPDATE, 8 PM PACFIC: The Duggars have now withdrawn from the conference. Read more here.

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Despite recent revelations concerning their troubling handling of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by their son, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be speaking next week at the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family.

The Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family is a Christian homeschool conference organized by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), the largest statewide homeschool organization in Colorado (reaching over 10,000 families). CHEC was founded in 1990 by Kevin Lundberg, who is currently a Republican Senator for the state and most known for his opposition to IUDs. Lundberg was replaced as CHEC director in 1999 by Kevin Swanson (now the director of CHEC’s radio program Generations Radio), whose hyperbolic rants against homeschool alumni, Girl Scout cookies, Taylor Swift’s “demon songs”, and Disney’s “Frozen” are well-documented by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Right Wing Watch. CHEC organized the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit, where Swanson, late HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka, and male supremacy advocates like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham called for abolishing child protection services. CHEC is also known as the homeschool organization from which mass shooter Matthew Murray graduated.

According to their website, CHEC’s upcoming Super Conference on the Family “will explore ways to build stronger families, churches, and governments through SERVANT LEADERSHIP.” The conference features educational tracks on homeschooling, leadership, Christian worldview studies, relationships, and Christian discipleship. It is being held next week, June 18-20, 2015, at the Denver Mart in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the Duggars, conference speakers include R.C. Sproul, Jr. (a defrocked pastor who advocates extreme patriarchy), S.M. Davis (speaker and writer for Bill Gothard’s IBLP and ATI programs), and others.

Prior to the sexual abuse revelations, the Super Conference web site had highlighted the Duggars as special conference guests. Their web site said,

Friday Evening with the Duggars

Join us on Friday, June 19th, at 7:00 pm for a special evening with the Duggars . Come and hear a presentation with Jim Bob and Michelle. Entry is free with a full conference pass, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Although this is a first-come, first-served event, please indicate on your registration how many from your party will be attending this event.

And they featured an image of Jim Bob and Michelle prominently on the web site:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.42.21 PM

After the allegations several weeks ago that the Duggar family’s oldest son, Josh Duggar, had sexually abused five young girls when he was a teenager and Jim Bob and Michelle possibly violated state law by taking over a year to report the abuse to the authorities, many people speculated whether CHEC would withdraw its invitation to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. However, in a recent radio program, Kevin Swanson (director of CHEC’s ministry Generations With Vision) said CHEC would wait to see what Jim Bob and Michelle wanted to do. Swanson made clear CHEC would not be withdrawing their invitation.

Today, the CHEC board announced that Jim Bob and Michelle will not be withdrawing from the conference. Rather, they will be continue as the Super Conference’s special evening guests. The CHEC board statement states that, “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference. They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.”

You can view the CHEC board statement as an archived PDF here. An image and full text follow:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.37.16 PM

Text is,

A Note from the CHEC Board on the Duggars

We have confirmed that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference.  They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.  We anticipate an evening of reflecting upon the repentance, forgiveness, and healing that Jesus brings as we walk meekly before Him – even through the tough times.

Given the recent events in their lives, Jim Bob and Michelle asked that Friday evening be the only time that they speak at the 2015 conference. They also decided that it would be best for their children not to attend.

The event is included in full conference registration, and we encourage families to come hear this powerful testimony of the gospel’s work in our lives, but all attendees must be registered* for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family to attend.  (This includes grandparents and children attending with your full conference pass.)  Register online here.

Seating is limited, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The evening session starts at 7:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:00 p.m.  We are anticipating a full house, so please plan on arriving early!

The CHEC Board of Directors

This statement by CHEC coincides today with the revelation by In Touch Weekly that the Duggar family is now under investigation by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Police were called when the family refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Shame on You, Kevin Swanson

HA note: The following is written by Kathi and reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on June 4, 2015 with the title “Kevin Swanson talks (or doesn’t talk) about the Duggars on his radio show.”

About Kathi: Kathi is a Bible-belt midwest transplant to the beautiful Pacific northwest. After homeschooling her kids for 10 years (she decided that high school math and science were not her strongest subjects), both kids are in public school. She is a former church goer and finds herself in that unstudied demographic of middle-aged Nones. She has a B.A. in Urban Ministry and a M.S.W. (Master of Social Work). Her goal is to work with children who have been abused or are in foster care. She loves to knit, cook and read (not in any particular order). Kathi is a contributing writer at Spiritual Sounding Board. Also by Kathi on HA: “Kevin Swanson, Child Abuse, and Dead Little Bunnies”“A Closer Look at Karen Campbell and Lisa Cherry’s Podcast Series on Sexual Abuse Prevention”, and “Kevin Swanson on the Gen 2 Survey, Homeschooling, and Sexual Abuse of Women”.

On May 28, 2015, Kevin Swanson entered the foray of folks talking about the revelation of Josh Duggar sexually molesting several little girls when he was a teen. His radio show, “The Duggars – Why the Media Storm” starts off with the vague assertion that no matter what Christians may say about the Duggars, the world will attack because the world hates the Duggars because they don’t take birth control. Right.

“The liberals have hated the Duggars from the very beginning and they will admit that. . . .The reason they hated the Duggars was because the Duggars did not take birth control. That’s a simple explanation for why they hate the Duggars. They hate the Duggars because the world is into killing babies and they kill a lot of them.”

Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, here is what Swanson was not going to say:

  • Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.
  • Incest is worse than homosexuality. HUH?? Steve Vaughn chimes in saying, “They’re about the same.” To which he offers hearty laugh.
  • Humble, repentant sinners will go home justified rather than the proud, unrepentant homosexuals.
  • Most children sin, or that all children sin, or that all of us sin, or that some teens commit fornication, or that a lot of teens commit fornication.
  • Incest is a capital crime in some cases, and we’re not going to tell you which cases incest is a capital crime as defined by scripture.
  • The Duggars shoulda, shoulda, shoulda, shoulda, reported the problem to a different police officer, different judge, different church elders, and, and, and, and, and, and, and…
  • The Duggars can be more real now after all their sins are out there for the public to see and that’s going to make for a better reality show.
  • The whole sexual revolution with all of its millions manifestations was a really good idea.
  • American conservative Christianity is in really solid shape. (Really, this is such a long, drawn out rabbit trail that makes absolutely no sense.)

Whew! Am I glad that Swanson saved us all from listening to an uncomfortable conversation about the real issues surrounding the Duggar situation. So what did Swanson manage to talk about?

Well, he did manage to state that his radio show, Generations With Vision, is a part of the parent organization Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). And, he did manage to mention that the Duggars have been invited to the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family. He also mentioned that while the Duggars have not been asked to withdraw from the CHEC conference, the Duggars also have not informed CHEC that they will not be upholding their speaking engagement. So, as far as we know, the Duggars will still be making their appearance at this “super” conference. You know, all of this information would have made for a great disclaimer at the beginning of the show.

Screenshot 2015-06-01 at 1.20.09 PM

So why has CHEC not revoked their invitation to the Duggars for this upcoming conference? It’s all about forgiveness. And, praying and loving the Duggars. And because sin is bad (because God said so), but Jesus went to the cross for that sin so who are we to judge? I think we all just got Jesus-juked.

If it’s all about forgiveness and not judging, then I want to know when the Duggars asked CHEC and Kevin Swanson to forgive them of their sins. When did Josh Duggar approach the organization and confess what he did and ask for forgiveness? When did Michelle and Jim Bob approach the organization and Kevin Swanson and confess how they manipulated the system to hide what their son had done and ask for forgiveness? Why does Kevin Swanson pull the forgiveness card so easily when he was not the one who was wronged? Why is he so quick to forgive and forget? Honestly, it is my opinion that Kevin Swanson views victims of sexual abuse as bitter and he has very little empathy toward victims of abuse.

Co-host, Steve Vaughn, summarizes this attitude by quoting Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” With this comes the call for all Christians to put it all away. Stop being bitter and slanderous toward the Duggars. Be tender-hearted and compassionate. Because that is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.

To which I reply, “Shame on you!”

Shame on you, Steve Vaughn, for callously laughing at victims of incest. And for saying that homosexuality is the same as incest.

Shame on you, Kevin Swanson, for not taking seriously the issues that have been exposed about how the Duggars mishandled Josh’s sexual molesting of young children.

And, shame on you Kevin Swanson for the appearance of not addressing the issue because it may impact your parent organization’s “super” conference. Because, if the Duggars don’t show up, then you need to take out “We’ve Got the Duggars” on your banner and then people may not be as interested in attending.