Revelations that Josh Duggar, from the TLC hit 19 Kids and Counting, sexually molested a number of underage girls 12 years ago exploded over the Internet Thursday, with celebrities, victims of sexual assault and ordinary people rushing to condemn the reality show star.
Duggar, who is also an outspoken evangelical Christian, has ironically made a name for himself in recent years promoting family values, in addition to speaking out against same-sex marriage.
The devout Duggar, nevertheless, found supporters among many on the religious right and a powerful defender in former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.
In a lengthy Facebook defense of Duggar posted Friday morning, Huckabee affirmed his support for the family against what he called the "blood-thirsty media," saying, "good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things," and that no purpose was served by "sensationalizing" the story.
Read his full post below:
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. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today's blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one's judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh's actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family's authenticity and humility. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims. Janet and I love Jim Bob and Michelle and their entire family. They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection. It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness. We have been blessed to receive God's love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.
The post underscores the selective outrage of religious conservatives when crimes involve one of their own. Huckabee's passionate defense of Duggar stands in stark contrast to a pithier response he had for the U.S. Supreme Court after the justices partially invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
On Twitter, Huckabee said the prospect of same-sex marriage made Jesus cry.
The truth is, however, if Jesus is going to be doing any weeping, it would probably be for the victims of Duggar's crimes, people who seem to be a second thought in Huckabee's 361-word Facebook epistle. Their well-being and their welfare should the real priority for Jesus and the rest of us. Sexual molestation is not a "mistake", it's a crime, and it is an insult to victims everywhere to say anything else.