So the Duggar family (evangelical family starring their own reality TV show on TLC, 19 kids and counting) recently admitted to the press that their eldest son molested a minor when he was 14 years old . He admitted same to his parents who sought help for him from the elders in their church. The incident repeated itself a year later and reports are that the girls lived in the home with Michelle and Jim Bob at the time. The Duggars prayed about it sought and spiritual guidance. To paraphrase, the incident brought them closer to God, their faith was renewed and the boy was rehabilitated. Note the incident went by unreported.
I will admit, I believe that chances are, had Josh Duggar been reported to the relevant authorities, he would have been charged, possibly been removed from the home, incarcerated and branded a sex offender upon his release. He would have quite possibly lead a less than full life, not being able to get a job or even get married; But that’s just a bias from me because having watched a couple episodes, I find the family to be likable. This made it all the more difficult for me to accept that the family that I had admired since seeing them would take what I perceive to be the law in their own hands. This got me thinking..Where is the line between a domestic incident and a criminal offense? Does healing by faith mean there is no longer a need for the justice system? We were made aware of this incident because the Duggars are considered prominent figures but how often is this happening in households across the world?
I do believe that healing and rehabilitation by faith in cases of drug addiction and alcoholism can be successful and maybe ‘the Duggars’ rehabilitation’ worked for Josh Duggar but that’s a dangerous path. It does a couple things; it sends the message that when there are cases of molestation or abuse of any nature, parents and members of the church should rehabilitate their own without it ever being reported. What then is the purpose of the judicial system? How far do we take it? If a rape or murder occurs, what then? ‘home rehabilitation’ again? What then of Psychopaths? You can’t ‘fix’ a psychopath, what then? Implement a quota? after the first kill, you rehabilitate, pray it doesn’t happen a second or third time?
I’m all for freedom of expression through religion but we must draw the line somewhere and that line is when the actions become a crime punishable by law.