So here we go again. Another Christian celebrity is in the spotlight for something, and the Christian army is going to war to fight for him.
Josh Duggar, one of the “19 Kids and Counting” on TLC, was investigated in 2006 for inappropriately touching minors when he was a teenager. In Touch magazine reported it recently. It was all over Twitter. It was all over television. It was a big deal.
In a statement of response, Duggar said:
I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.
The response from the Internet was vitriolic, blasting Duggar, his family and TLC for covering it up. The network has since pulled the show from its schedule.
Of course, the Christians had to come save the day. Mike Huckabee, in a Facebook post:
Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.
There’s more, but I want to say what most people aren’t going to say about this. A couple things.
First, Christians betray their self-proclaimed “moral high ground” by supporting Duggar and bashing every other celebrity who does something bad.
The guy that comes to mind first for me is Justin Bieber. Oh how many Christians I’ve heard that have very negative things to say about Bieber and every other young guy that has made a fool of himself in public. “He’s a terrible role model for the children!” “What a shame and a disgrace!” When we get so defensive about Duggar and his actions and refuse to offer others the same type of second change we’ve given him, there’s an incredible hypocrisy.
And I think it’s a symptom of Christianity in general. If it’s a Christian who’s repented and their life has changed, it’s OK! He’s changed, so there’s nothing to worry about. But if the person is still in the middle of the issue, BASH BASH BASH. We refuse to let grace and the possibility of grace permeate every situation. We’re forgiving of Christians we agree with and unforgiving of everybody else. We hesitate to give the benefit of the doubt.
Jesus loves Josh Duggar just as much as he loves Justin Bieber, Robert Downey Jr., and Michael Phelps, all celebrities who have been in trouble with the law, whether or not they have professed any connection to Jesus.
Second, Josh Duggar is just like every other Christian out there. He’s messed up. And he still is. We shouldn’t idolize him.
A lot of the Christian blogosphere will probably tell you – and rightly so – that Duggar is an example of the power of Christ to change someone and that mainstream society just doesn’t get the Gospel. And they’re right.
But what they won’t talk about is that Duggar is a Christian who has done some bad things in his past and still does. I don’t know him. I’ve never watched the show. I’ve never thought twice about watching the show. OK, maybe I did once. But I’m pretty darn sure that he’s not the best poster child for Christianity. Here’s the thing: there is no poster child for Christianity except the one who lay in a manger over 2,000 years ago. That’s the problem when we prop up sinful people as our idols. Jesus is the only idol we should have.
As human nature, it seems that we are searching for people to look up to. That’s why we follow people on Twitter, buy their books, listen to what they have to say, watch their movies/TV shows/sermons/messages/music videos, etc. But our idols are often the wrong ones. And situations like this expose our flaws in choosing our idols. Can we look up to people? Yes. But we should never see any man as the pinnacle of Christian obedience. And anyone who paints themselves as such is lying.
So before you rush out to defend Duggar, please keep these things in mind. And maybe perhaps I don’t need to be so cynical. If he’s a Christian, he is forgiven. He is loved. He is a new creation in Christ. And the Gospel is so unbelievable to society that they do miss it.
But let’s try to treat everyone the same. Just like Jesus did.