Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Day After I Wrote To the Duggar Girls

Dear Friends,

Thank you for yesterday. An amazing number of you read my blog. I really appreciate it. I would love to see sexual abuse become rare, swiftly punished, and abhorred, and I think that for that to happen we have got to stop being quiet about it. Abusers rely on silence and shame.

I read a couple of other things yesterday that pertain to the Duggars, though indirectly. First, one website, which I can't find right at this moment, pointed out that there is no such thing as "consensual sex." There is "sex," which is by definition consensual, and then there is "rape" which is not consensual. There is no middle ground.

Then I read this very well-written post which says that for women members of the sort of fundamentalist patriarchal cult to which the Duggars belong, there is no such thing as consent. All sexual activity, even holding hands, is forbidden before marriage; after marriage, the wife is not allowed to say no when her husband wants sex.

This is so inexorably sad.

Also, apparently thinking about sex before marriage is just as sinful as having sex before marriage. Yikes. I tried to follow that to its logical conclusion--envy is the same as theft--but then realized that there was no logic involved.

I read another screwball post--you could probably find it on Facebook--where some fundamentalist preacher was all in support of Josh Duggar--I'm not sure how the logic devolved here--oh wait, no logic--then said that if evolution was true it didn't matter whether he really assaulted his sisters, because then it was just two bags of molecules rubbing up against each other at random.

I had to sit and think about that for awhile. Then I remembered that for some people, belief in God rests upon belief in Creationism. That is to say, if evolution is true, then there is no God. So, wanting there to be a God, they cling to Creationism in defiance of all evidence to the contrary.

I've never understood this. I know an awful lot of people who believe in evolution and God. (I also know some people who believe in evolution but not God. I don't, admittedly, know anyone who believes in Creationism but not God. Though speak up if that's you, I'm intrigued.) I don't think the earth has to exist solely on a human timescale to be miraculous--the more you look into science, the more you truly understand the discoveries we have made, the more crazy amazing it gets. The universe exploding from one source? The actual way our bodies work, that I'm sitting here thinking words and my fingers are automatically tapping the correct keys of my keyboard? Think of all that involves--a concept of language, spelling, then all the cells involved with the actual actions of my fingers--muscles moving, nerves firing, chemical reactions all up and down my arms and in the mitochondria of each cell--it's nuts. It's extraordinary. And then think of how crazy our brains can be. I mean, I love my horse and all, and I think for a horse she's quite good at communication, but I don't expect her to create poetry. Whereas every once in a while, we humans get Shakespeare.

My daughter is very good friends with a girl from a staunch conservative Baptist family--but one, unlike the Duggars, that is part of the real world. So the two of them have agreed to just not discuss the evolution/Creationism thing, but meanwhile my daughter occasionally goes to her friend's youth group and plays Bible trivia and explains that Catholics don't worship Mary, and her friend comes with us to Mass sometimes and wonders how we know when to sit and stand and kneel. I know that different beliefs can coexist peacefully; like my daughter, I don't require my friends to think the same way I do.

I wish someone could explain all this to the Duggar girls. After yesterday I feel sort of personally involved with them, and the more I read about their situation, the more concerned I am.