It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for the Duggars and their 19 Kids and Counting reality TV show. A few days ago a celebrity gossip tabloid reported that twelve years ago Josh, the oldest child, fondled five young girls, several of them his sisters. He was fourteen at the time. The tabloid took the police report public and the web has exploded with condemnation.
Parents Jim Bob and Michelle have been publicly shamed for calling it a “very bad mistake” and covering it up. Last night CNN’s Don Lemon and his guests slammed them for dealing with Josh through a religious lens of sin and repentance rather than acknowledging “the reality”: his actions are a crime and he should be reported to the police. (Really? Keep reading…)
The Learning Channel is deciding whether to continue producing the show. Viewers are deciding whether they will continue to watch it. Or permit their children to watch it. Many of us are listening to the uproar wondering how to respond to fellow-believers with wisdom and grace. And no doubt many families with a similar experience are watching this unfold in horror of what this all means for the way they handle their own children.