I didn’t want to post on this because I don’t really want to read about it or think about it. After Gothard and Phillips and everything else, I am starting to feel a whiplash effect. Nevertheless, I have been thinking about it and what I’ve been thinking about primarily isn’t the specifics of the case or how many times Josh Duggar referenced himself in his apology statement or what the police report said. What has interested me is the underpinnings, the dynamics. From his case particularly, I think “How common is this in family situations?” and “How do I know what to look for and/or how to prevent such things in our own family?” and “Where is the line between stupid kid and permanent pedophile?”
I’ve long been utterly dissatisfied with the way the church handles issues surround or pertaining to sex for several reasons, and this article is the clearest and by far most relevant one I’ve found that covers a few of the particular theological issues that frustrate me and connects them up with the resultant rationalizations that abusers use for their behavior. Even if you aren’t too concerned about the actual cases in the news, thinking through the potential ramifications of a particular philosophy is important so you can be aware of them in your own life or the lives of the people you love.
This article is written by a lawyer who grew up in Gothard’s organization and has handled cases very similar to the Duggar one. In addition to covering the theological/general teaching underpinnings for an abuser’s rationalization process, he also discusses the distinctions between an actual pedophile and kids just reacting to their own sexuality in generically kid ways as well as risk factors and earmarks for the former. Again, extremely helpful. The Duggars: How Fundamentalism’s Teachings on Sexuality Create Predatory Behavior
To be clear, I am neither saying nor implying that this theology always ends this way. Sex abuse in various forms occurs everywhere and for a variety of reasons. However, this article is a good overview of the types that are more frequent in Reformed Christian circles and go a long way towards explaining why this is so. Good to keep in mind as we train our own children.