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August 23 2015 1 23 /08 /August /2015 15:23
The Anna Duggar Dilemma, Finding Balance

(As in.... Offering Opinon vs. Rendering a Verdict)

Yesterday I came across a rant that someone had posted concerning the plight of Anna Duggar, since more of Josh's sins have been been smeared across our screens. The ranter said that she, “ Was about to do some preachin' ...”, concerning this troublesome situation. But in my opinion, “preaching” is pretty far from defining what she actually did. I understand just expressing raw anger at these complex issues! So no condemnation is intended in my response to this lady's rant. BUT I felt a need to answer some of her conclusions, which I found startlingly unjust, inconsiderate, and inappropriate.

While I agree with some of the basic sentiments written – especially on the way women are held back, disrespected and betrayed repeatedly by authority – particularly in the realm of religious beliefs – for most of their lives unless they grow some boundaries, and find the chutzpah to make them stick; And while I completely agree that – if he is guilty as he seems to have admitted - Mr. Duggar blew it, and has been a pretty pathetic example of “Christian Manhood” so far; still – I think there are some pretty bold negative assumptions and accusations made concerning Anna Duggar – especially concerning her religious/spiritual and educational upbringing! Bold assertions, stated as known fact – which may or may not be factually supportable! And which though cloaked in concern are actually quite insulting, is much closer to judgmental gossip – Therefore, I feel that I must take issue with some of these assertions which were made – in defense of Anna Duggar and her family, and I also have some objections of my own to some of the conclusions being drawn here, which I will try to make plain. I have put her words into quotation marks for clarity's sake. I begin with, the following paragraph:

“Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. “

Wow. That is quite an accusation! It indicts Anna's parents of willful neglect, and insinuates religious idiocy as well! Not only does it come off as judgmental and severely negative – but it doesn't state any supportable facts on which these “observations” or opinions are based. This makes these statements much closer to slander than concern!

My question to this ranter, then, would be, “Were you a long time family friend, who knew the ins-and-outs of this family's decision making processes? Were you close enough to perceive all the heart-motivations of Anna's parents, as to why they allowed, or restricted certain things? Or are you just another outside observer who takes issues with the overly religious lifestyles of these people?” Which, by the way, though televised are still no one's business.

If this writer does not know what motivated these people's decisions for their daughter – (and, of course, my hope is that she was presented with choices that she gladly went along with) - then this commentator is totally out of line in drawing such conclusions based on his or her own obvious biases against these particular religious persuasions and belief structures.

If this ranter was a close family friend, however, who would know these things – then something should have been said years ago. And anyone who knew, but didn't try to intervene “back then” shares the neglect, and “abuse” which is being judged!

This is the problem of judgmentalism – it is difficult to render judgment on any other human without indicting ourselves! Of course there is a right and wrong in this situation. But all of us on the outside, merely observing, need to stay within proper boundaries ourselves! It is fine to disagree with beliefs on any level – in general. But no one has any right making these kinds of accusations in the lives of anyone else. It just isn't right.

In my journey through the spiritual and religious realms I have, of course, known families where the religious beliefs did practically “cripple” the daughters, in terms of social and economical survival. If it was not outright crippling, it did tend to severely limit and hinder the possibilities of life choices! And that is wrong, - but - it was not usually a premeditated, or deliberate wrong-doing – it was cultural misinformation, and scriptural misunderstanding. Just as damaging perhaps, but no more damaging than some of the current social, cultural ideas flowing about these days in the liberal knee-jerk reaction to those religious suffocations! Proving only that Good Intentions are not enough. No matter which side of the line one has chosen.

I feel that I need to remind us all that - just as it is wrong to assume that every woman should be limited to the roles involved in keeping a home – it is equally wrong to assume that all women should be equipped for the business world – or should pursue a secondary education! Each person should be allowed to pursue their God given callings, talents and dreams – or their own apart from God if that is what they choose! God gave us free will, no person should be allowed to dictate our lives to us! Not conservative, nor liberal! Everyone needs to learn these proper boundaries. What this ranter is missing however, is that her opinion of what Anna needs is no more right, or wanted, or necessary, than Anna's parents!

And it is extremely unfair to accuse her parents of negligence without knowing why they guided her as they did. This whole rant smacks of pious judgment – whether it is based in religious or anti-religious judgmentalism matters little. It seems to be judgment that is completely unsupportable – just opinion, distant observation – based on a personal bias. A bias which I share on a level, mind you, but a bias no less!

“Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. Anna Duggar did that! Anna Duggar followed the rules that were imposed on her from the get-go and this is what she got in reward- a husband who she found out, in the span of 6 months, not only molested his own sisters, but was unfaithful to her in the most humiliating way possible. While she was fulfilling her "duty" of providing him with four children and raising them. She lived up to the standard that men set for her of being chaste and Godly and in return, the man who demanded this of her sought women who were the opposite. "Be this," they told her. She was. It wasn't enough.”

Beyond the issue of the non-religious bias that seems to be happening here, there are some comments concerning Anna's life choices with which I disagree profoundly. Perhaps she should have known her husband-to-be better? Perhaps she should have been given more say-so in what she wanted to do with her life? I have no idea how those things were determined – and I suspect that the ranter doesn't either! However, I feel a need to state the truth that being groomed to be a home maker is not a curse, nor is it a condemnation to enforced slavery! It can be those things, of course. But then so can anything else. No career is without its self-limiting constraints! Motherhood has lost its honor in our society – largely due to misguided religious ideas and myriad false doctrines from scriptural illiteracy! But it has never lost its place of honor in the Kingdom of God, nor do women go without proper respect within that realm. I am a mother of seven, and a life-career stay-at-homer – yet I am one of the most liberated women I know!

I have always taken issue with the inequality of authority which is generally given to men. Anyone who has read my blogs for any time knows that I constantly object to the realities - that respect for men is expected of women - regardless of the man's obvious character flaws, while the bulk of the responsibility is generally laid upon us women! And I have reached a place in my life where I have formed said boundaries against that rot, and have grown the necessary Chutzpah to defend my turf!

I do agree that the system is badly flawed, that the Scriptures are grossly misconstrued to support this flawed system, and that too many people have fallen into that trap, and have supported it in utter ignorance! So obviously I am not objecting to the ranters conclusions, IF there are facts to back up her conclusions! IF that is the way it is. IF she has accurately interpreted Anna's grief and situation!

But what troubles me is question which hands unanswered - does this person really know that Anna was simply coerced into these choices? Could she have possibly just been pursuing her own dreams within the possibilities which were presented to her? Could she have possibly chosen this life for herself – and could it be that she wasn't a total idiot to do so?

Perhaps her choice of husband was wrong? No one can say that but Anna! We are all flawed in some way. Given a chance anyone in his position may still be able to actually repent, get help, and rebuild his self-destructed marriage. But who is in a position to make such insulting comments about this young woman? No one! That's who! Of course they were not meant as insults. But read it again! It implies that she has no brain, no spine and no reason of her own! Where I come from sister, those are fighting words!

I understand the questions in the comments which follow, and yet, I sense that there is something which is being profoundly missed....

“What is Anna Duggar supposed to do? She can't divorce because the religious environment she was brought up would blame her and ostracize her for it. Even if she would risk that, she has no education and no work experience to fall back on, so how does she support her kids? From where could she summon the ability to turn her back on everything she ever held to be sacred and safe? Her beliefs, the very thing she would turn to for comfort in this kind of crisis, are the VERY REASON she is in this predicament in the first place. How can she reconcile this? Her parents have utterly, utterly failed her. Think of this: somewhere, Anna Duggar is sitting in prayer, praying not for the strength to get out and stand on her own, but for the strength to stand by this man she is unfortunately married to. To lower herself so that he may rise up on her back.”

While I get it that those who have not been through such life-struggles, as well as those who were not raised in a lifestyle of faith, or those for whom “faith” was grossly misrepresented – that they may not understand the power, necessity, or healing capacity of forgiveness; They may not understand the freedom in real submission or the proper boundaries of it! Still, I don't think it should all be just discounted as some religious weakness, or cultural foolishness! It was not her faith that “got her into this predicament”. It POSSIBLY could have been some twisted religious beliefs. But do we know this? Nor was it her love for this man. It was, if anything, his blatant hypocritical dishonesty! Not her blind naivete'! And – let me state this plainly - Forgiveness is not “lowering” oneself! It is raising oneself above one's betrayor! Wide-eyed intentional submission, is not slavery. It is the total opposite!

I am certainly not saying that this man deserves another chance – that would depend on whether he is just saying what everyone wants to hear, or is really, finally experiencing a profound deliverance and a real change of heart! And THAT is not anyone's place to say, except Anna's.

And the ranter is wrong on another point - Anna can, of course, divorce him, if she senses that he is unrepentant, and so she should! Sure – I do agree that divorce in her particular cultural realm would take a profound amount of courage on her part – if any of the suppositions this ranter has made do, in fact, bear any truth. But she would not be the first nor the last to have to struggle though that maze of injustice. And – if her belief in God is sound – He will guide and provide for the needs of herself and her children. How many women have found the inner entreprenurial wizard, during just such a trial!? And if she comes to that conclusion, then that would be the time to “beseech God for strength to stand on her own” – with HIS help!

But – unless her parents failed to teach her how to set boundaries for people who don't understand the principle of minding their own business; or with authority – even themselves - who don't know their place; unless this was some kind of shot-gun wedding – in which Anna had no say – unless they neglected to teach her discernment of any kind – unless they deprived her of her ability to think for herself or contact God for help – they are not part of this catasrophe. There are NO parents who should hold that much power – though I have sadly seen those who do. Eventually the reigns are released – or should be – to the grown up kids – to make decisions and reap the consequences. And if not, then that is truly wrong. But God will eventually level all those playing fields and bring justice to those who have taken too much authority upon themselves. Despite the many who have failed to realize this Truth, God is not fond of despots and dictators!

I do agree with some of the emotions of the last paragraph of this rant in which she states her desires for her daughters – and I completely understand - though I do not necessarily share - all her conclusions or solutions.

“As a mother of daughters, this makes me ill. Parents, WE MUST DO BETTER BY OUR DAUGHTERS. Boys, men, are born with power. Girls have to command it for themselves. They aren't given it. They assume it and take it. But you have to teach them to do it, that they can do it. We HAVE to teach our daughters that they are not beholden to men like this. That they don't have to marry a man their father deems "acceptable" and then stay married to that man long, long after he proved himself UNACCEPTABLE. Educate them. Empower them. Give them the tools they need to survive, on their own if they must. Josh Duggar should be cowering in fear of Anna Duggar right now. Cowering. He isn't, but he should be. He should be quaking in fear that the house might fall down around them if he's in the same room as she. Please, instill your daughters with the resolve to make a man cower if he must. To say "I don't deserve this, and my children don't deserve this." I wish someone had ever, just once, told Anna she was capable of this. That she knew she is. As for my girls, I'll raise them to think they breathe fire.”

One thing that everyone – both the ones who misuse authority and the ones who object to this misuse – seems to forget or leave out of these kinds of equationsis that there IS a righteous standard which God WILL judge us all against. YES! We need to teach our sons and daughters the proper use of authority! YES! We need to teach our sons and daughters to stand against oppression – especially in marriage & religion! YES! We need to find the balance in this thing and to do it – get it - right!

But just as the “equality” issues have been too often traded in for mere revenge, this is happening in the “liberation” of the female as well. Our Savior did come to level the playing field for all involved. But, sometimes, we tend to try to take that bull by the horns all on our own. And then, usually, there is a knee-jerk reaction instead of purposeful, intellectual, spiritually correct adjustments to the evil perpetrated. There is a right and a wrong. But wrong answering wrong will never produce righteousness. So we need to be sure that we are staying within the right ways of God. And that we are not standing in judgment of things that we don't understand! We must take our frustrations with our fellow man to God, and seek His solutions. - if we want to right the wrongs of our society. So again, seeking to bring balance to this issue, I assert that this rant is completely understandable, but is not necessarily reasonable. For whatever that is worth to anyone!

Shalom Chavarim.

SCD 8/22/15

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  • Sandra Carlton Duncan
  • I am a devoted follower of Yeshua, the Messiah. I have been married to Gene Duncan II for 37  years, and counting. I have 7 children, 3 boys & 4 girls - all grown up. They have been home educated, K-12. I also write, hence the blog  (including, but not limited to: children's books, poems, and personal growth art. ) Please stay tuned as I share my personal journey through poems and writing.
  • I am a devoted follower of Yeshua, the Messiah. I have been married to Gene Duncan II for 37 years, and counting. I have 7 children, 3 boys & 4 girls - all grown up. They have been home educated, K-12. I also write, hence the blog (including, but not limited to: children's books, poems, and personal growth art. ) Please stay tuned as I share my personal journey through poems and writing.