This past weekend, the Duggars’ pastor, Ronnie Floyd, preached a sermon about Josh. Go figure. In it the pastor, who previously defended the eldest Duggar’s molestation of his sisters with the statement, “things like [the scandal] have happened before and will happen again,” explained that Josh’s infidelities via the Ashley Madison website were the result of a “sexual epidemic” in the country. “Sexual epidemic” is an absurd phrase, as absurd as the notion that molestation can be chalked off as an action, like infidelity, that happens every day. Babies are born every day. Just ask the Duggars. Are they perpetrators of a baby epidemic as well?
But, I digress. The pastor’s poor verbiage is only symptomatic of the real problem at hand, something I’ll dub the “fundamentalist epidemic” that we’re all vulnerable to, religious and secular alike. Anna Duggar recently stated that she’s taking part of the blame for her husband’s cheating ways. Why? Because her fundamentalist church has taught her that she didn’t put out enough, so her husband had to seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere. For the record, when a spouse pursues sexual fulfillment outside the bonds of marriage, that’s grounds for divorce. You don’t just get to go get your jollies on and come home to your wife and kids. If your wife legitimately isn’t satisfying your needs, you divorce her and move on. You don’t establish multiple accounts with a kinky cheater’s website while your wife is at home tending to your brood. I guess Anna’s pastor missed that line in the Bible.
Anna Duggar’s fundamentalist views have done nothing more than inflame feminist fundamentalists who point to her as yet another example of how the Bible holds women back. This is as equally absurd a notion as Duggar’s. If you want to have a real debate over a wife’s Biblical responsibilities to her husband, start with the fact that a Biblical marriage is a legally binding contractual affair with provisions that protect both partners equally and provide for a wife’s financial future in case of divorce. The Bible doesn’t force a wife to be her husband’s sex slave. Yet, what the Bible actually states about marriage and adultery and divorce doesn’t even surface in the debate. Why? Because it is easier to argue opinions – that is, man-made fundamentals – instead of facts.
But, if we focused on the facts, the story would be null and void. And this is juicy stuff. Sex always is. Not because it is an epidemic in and of itself as Pastor Ronnie would like us to believe, but because human depravity is an epidemic inherent from birth. Didn’t he read his Bible? Christians believe in redemption as a Biblical fact. But, in this instance, even redemption is subject to the romantic whims of the human mind. So-called advocates of Biblical marriage and “redemption” believe Anna is right to try to save her marriage. The Bible says otherwise, but that wouldn’t make for as good a story. Romantics have fueled the success of bodice-rippers for centuries; Josh and Anna are just the latest stars in the genre, this time with a Christian twist.
The Duggars set out to be a shining example of fundamentalist Christian living. In the end, they only managed to exemplify the fact that fundamentalism, in all forms, sells. The Bible instructs, “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” The media thrive on this concept, waiting to pounce on the sin because sin is an attractive justification to our depraved souls. After all, as Pastor Ronnie said, it’s happened before and it will happen again. That’s one fundamental you can count on.