There’s a trial being conducted in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The defendant is Josh Duggar, 33, the oldest child of the Duggar family. Those of you who have cable and receive the TLC channel, you’re familiar with the show 19 Kids and Counting.
Josh Duggar was charged, and is being tried to receiving child pornography, and retaining child pornography. Each count carries a substantial fine and prison time of up to twenty years. If given consecutive sentences, he could be spending a maximum of forty years in prison.
He’s 33 now, that means he could be 73 before he’s free.
These are serious charges, however legally, in the United Stares, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
Christians in the United States and around the world are being persecuted in one way or another, and this case isn’t helping.
You see, the television show was famous – it was a huge moneymaker. Everyone was making money – the network, the family – everyone looked at this family as a wholesome family with wonderful morals.
Then came the cracks in the foundation – Josh was accused in 2006 of molesting four of his sisters in 2002 and 2003. It was eventually reported to police and a report filed.
Josh was treated favorably in return, ordered to receive counseling from a church elder.
Most, if not all production agreements with actors have morality clauses – if an actor, in this case, a cast member (family member) does something that reflects unfavorably or immoral on the show or the network or the property (the show), that person can be written out, or the entire show could be cancelled.
Scandal is just starting to emanate from the cracks of the Duggar empire.
In Numbers 32, Moses was instructing the Israelites on what to do when going to war, but he warns them in verse 23 – and should serve as a warning to every one us:
But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.
No matter what anyone does to cover up their sin, God knows all about it and at some point, they will be exposed.
A tabloid finds the police report, and writes an article about it, exposing Josh Duggar and what he did. His father, Jim Bob, the patriarch of the family, tried to get ahead of it and put out a response that Josh apologized to the family and to the girls.
A television interview with Megyn Kelly, merely parroted what was put out.
It was only a half truth, and full of omissions. At the time, however, it circumvented the morals clause and the network was satisfied – the show goes on. Bullet dodged.
Fast forward to this past April, when Josh was arrested for the current charges.
Child pornography and child abuse – either physical, sexual or mental, is a serious matter. Any pastor or elder who finds out about it is under mandatory requirement to report it to authorities. Here in Pennsylvania, we have Childline and if I were ever to find out about such activity of this type, by law it must reported to Childline – and if I don’t, I could be subject to sanctions and charges myself.
There’s only one exception to this, and it’s extremely narrow – if a parishioner were to come to me for counsel, I must initially keep it confidential under the clergy-penitent exception. I must counsel that person to repent and turn themselves in – the exception does not give me a blanket ability to cover up the crime.
Even King David had to deal with earthly consequences, even though he was forgiven for his sins of adultery and murder. Likewise, anyone who hurts a child may be forgiven by God if truly repentant, however earthly consequences must be dealt with.
Getting back to Josh Duggar, these charges dug up the prior bad acts, and the defense team and his father tried unsuccessfully, to get them suppressed. This shows that Josh has a propensity to this type of behavior.
If his prior Christian counseling led him to truly repent, there should have been a change to his behavior – and his life. There was apparently no change.
Then, other issues start to leak – Josh was exposed as an adulterer as his name, credit card number and other identifying information was exposed as a customer of the Ashley Madison website, a service that matches cheating husbands with women for sex.
A change in behavior? True Repentance?
I just don’t see it.
Then, some adult children in the show were apparently not being compensated for their appearances on the show. The father, Jim Bob apparently received all compensation but never distributed it to the children.
Jill Duggar, one of the daughters and a victim of Josh, would not be silenced – by anyone, not her father, mother or siblings. She disclosed the issues of Josh’s criminality and the compensation issues. She’s indicated that she would testify against her brother.
Remember what Moses said to the Israelites? If you sin, it will be found out.
Well, let’s just say that about a year ago, when the wall started really cracking on, all shows and affiliation with the Duggars, were terminated.
I started to think of a similar family, with a similar show on a different network – the Bates family, and their show Bringing Up Bates.
The patriarch, Gil Bates, is a good Baptist pastor of a Tennessee church, Jim Bob is an elder of his local church; the Bates show is on a clean network “UpTV” (formerly GodTV), the Duggars show was on TLC, a network that celebrates homosexuality and sin of all types.
There hasn’t been a hint of scandal from the Bates family – and believe me, if there was, it would have been exposed. The Bates show, and everything around it, are transparently overseen by church elders.
In the Duggar case, there was no such transparency. It was between the producers, the network and Jim Bob. There was no accountability where there should have been.
Jim Bob has done everything over this last half year to keep his son Josh out of jail, including pre-trial incarceration, and to toss up every barrier to derail the process.
As a pastor, I look at the totality of the situation and I need to wonder – is Josh really truly saved? I mean, I don’t see any repentance where there are clear facts to back up the case.
In 2 Samuel, chapter 12, when Nathan looked at David and presented him with his sins, David repented immediately. God was still extremely angry with David, but the penalty was lightened a little – but there were consequences nevertheless.
Josh has a history of such offenses, the case is unraveling against Josh’s defense, he needs to repent – to God, and to the public. Repentance means to turn from the sinful behavior, with Gods help.
He, nonetheless, is unrepentant.
And, as for Jim Bob, if he truly attempted to get in the middle of this mess, to keep his kid out of prison, and it seems meant to stem the derailing of his fame and his run for State Senate in Arkansas, he needs to shut down this run for office, repent of his sin of omission, and both he and his son need to get some godly counsel.
Jim Bob needs step aside to allow this case to run it’s course without further interference. Josh is an adult, not a child.
If Josh is found guilty, he needs to serve an appropriate prison sentence that matches the crime of child exploitation – and during such incarceration, get with a good prison chaplain and reflect, truly repent, and get things right with God through His son, Jesus Christ.
The Duggars should know that no one is too big for God. In Colossians 3:25, Paul writes:
But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
In Romans 2:11, Paul writes
For there is no partiality with God.
In other words, God is no respecter of persons. Humility is seen much more favorably than pride.
Jim Bob is full of pride – he’s famous, his family is famous and he’s has a campaign for state senate on morality. That’s pride, and God won’t have it.
Gil Bates has a similar show, but he isn’t prideful, he’s not tooting his – or his family’s horn. God’s blessing his ministry, his church, and it’s being used to further God’s kingdom.
Jim Bob could take some lessons from Gil Bates.