Danny Cardwell's picture

    Christian Rejection of Humanism: Josh Duggar and Bill O'Reilly

    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Instead of pointing out the contradictions between Bill O'Reilly's and Josh Duggar's professed beliefs and their actions, I thought it would be more interesting to focus on the continued elevation, by many evangelicals, of media figures. Duggar and O'Reilly join a long list of fallen religious personalities who were (foolishly) placed above the flesh they reside in by Christians who should've known better. The need to maintain a pseudo-symbolic order is the modern day version of Aaron creating a golden calf. The idolatry lies in the false belief that political affiliation and social status can grant you direct access to the Most High.
    Believers are tasked with accepting weakness and sin as constitutive strains in our molecular structure. While some choose to struggle daily with the ways they fall short, others engage in the willful denial of their sinful nature. Yes, there will always be people playing the role and faking the funk, but why do so many believers fall into their trap? Many want/need the illusion of man made wholesomeness to be authentic. Some of their actions lead me to believe that their faith is as dependent on projecting righteousness through an in-group identification as it is on deep metaphysical investigation. We get examples of this every election cycle; some hyper-partisan believer emphatically claims that their candidate is a "true" Christian, or that God is backing their political worldview. These arguments, as compelling as they may seem to some, overlook the fact that none of us can see into the deepest darkest corners of a person's soul, nor do we possess the ability to know God's will.   
    It's hard to follow Jesus and admit sin around folks who have a utopian view of what it means to be a Christian. Some of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters find themselves on the outside looking in. There's more dignity in admitting weakness than faking perfection, yet too many feel forced to accept a Stepford religion that forces them to suppress their humanity. Some of us become so consumed with a public figures shiny clear coat that we forget to lift the hood and see what the engine looks like. Some churches and religious leaders have hurt their credibility by professing their faith and allegiance to those who were better at hiding their sins than confronting them. If you're around Christians who make it a regular habit to demean and chastise the very people Jesus died for then maybe the fruit they are bearing isn't of the Lord 
    Bill O'Reilly and Josh Duggar hurt real people. While some are dancing on their proverbial graves, we shouldn't forget the tragedy visited upon the children who were molested by Josh, nor the domestic abuse by Bill. Their transgressions are more than ammunition in the war against holier than thou Christians. This isn't an argument to absolve them of their wrong doings. Publicly humiliating them may feel good and vindicate their political enemies, but it does nothing to shrink the pedastal they were standing on. There's a revolving door of people waiting to get access to the money and spotlight that comes with being a public figure; maybe we should lower the pedastal they stand on and do a better job of vetting the character of those we elevate. These men are just symptoms of a greater problem.


    Bill Cosby has to be added to the mix. He had moral recommendations for blacks and their tendency for "funny" names in the Poundcake Speech, yet he appears to be an immoral, brutal, misogynist. Their are just too many women with similar stories. I loved Heathcliff Huxtable. I loved comedian Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby the man seems to be a dirtbag. The reason for the qualifiers is that Cosby has not been found guilty in a court of law. He does have a settlement for an alleged sexual assault in his Philadelphia home O'Reilley has not been found guilty of spousal abuse. He does have a settlement for a falafel incident. The records of the investigation into Josh Duggar have been destroyed by a judge's order. The common theme of these cases is that financial power allows abuse of women to continue. They are the moral misogynists. 


    Excellent post. Glad that you are posting again.

    I agree 100%. Bill Cosby did a lot to alienate many of his loyal fans. His fall was cataclysmic to the image he created 8n the 80's and 90's.

    Michael Brown was killed after stealing cigarrillos at a convenience store - maybe should have gone for the pound cake.

    Cosby's behavior towards women is inexcusable and criminal, and that makes his speech hypocritical, but not necessarily wrong -  it was fairly straight-forward and obvious in a lot of ways, as Ta-Nehisi Coates quite nicely portrays the trend of black conservatism from Booker T. Washington & Marcus Garvey through Malcom X & Louis Farrakhan. Single parenting as the norm is just stupid and self-defeating. It's hard to blame whites or society for all the black-on-black murder. There's more to the story than preaching responsibility, but self-sufficiency and self-respect are still standards to strive for.

    Personal responsibility is important. That is why the investigations into police activity in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Chicago have been so disheartening. Police have been used to increase city profits by abusing citizens with ticketing. Millions have been paid out for physical violence by police. The police need to take personal responsibility for their misdeeds. Police have lost the trust of many citizens.

    The murder rate has dropped dramatically in many cities. People are showing personal responsibility. NYPD championed Stop and Frisk as a major means of stopping violent crime. Citizens complained about the abuse of the civil rights. A lawsuit resulted in curtailing Stop and frisk. There was no increase in violent crime. All Stop and Frisk did was create tension between civilians and the police. Citizens in NYC are demonstrating personal responsibility. Police departments need to work on their own personal responsibility.

    Edit to add:

    Much of the response to Michael Brown's homicide was the use of police to abuse citizens in the black community through a rigged system aimed at increasing revenue rather than true law enforcement. The St Louis County Jail is taking personal responsibility for their failure by participating in a plan to improve the legal system

    But it was interesting to see the case pretty much matched Cosby's pound cake example.

    The really interesting thing is how widespread police abuse is in minority communities. Ida B Wells heard the same nonsense of personal responsibility in attempts to divert attention from lynchings. She was told to address black crime first. Crime has gone down over the past several decades, but there is no level that will ever be low enough to satisfy those who do not want to address police abuse. Brown was the spark that exposed the terrible judicial system in Ferguson.

    Edit to add:

    The Brennan Center looked at factors shown to be rated to decreased crime.

    Mass incarceration did not lead to decreased crime

    Attention to employment and education reduced crime

    Targeting actual criminals causing crime in a neighborhood rather than mass stop and frisk techniques decreased crime.

    Personal responsibility is a sound bite. Jobs and education have impact. A single mother with a good job can have significant impact. An employed male capable of supporting a family can have impact. 

    Cosby is a repeat drug-rape felonist over several decades, using his fame for access and silence. Duggar's infractions were fondling without permission (not penetration) as a minor and seemed to be tamed by some family discipline (don't think it required big financial power), while AFAIK, O'Reilly's was 1-time as part of a domestic argument & I hate to be too judgmental as people commonly have a few  flareups of the crazy in decades of living together, especially in divorce & custody stages.  (I've no idea how egregious his harassment behavior with Mackris was). I don't really see how the 3 situations fit together or warrant any conclusions.

    And while it's easy to get glee over the failings of our political enemies, it's not quite a Christian attitude from what I understand of religion.

    The idea that of isolated domestic violence incidents seems mythical. Most abusers are repeat offenders. We do have O'Reilley's settlement in the falafel case. Josh Duggar molested at least five people. His crime was covered up. We don't know if their are other abused women out there.Power was obviously involved in Josh Duggar punishment being a lecture from a law enforcement officer. 

    Cosby's power resides in his ability to pay powerful lawyers and a PR machine. O'Reilley's has similar power. Given the Duggar family's wealth from the television series, their friendship with local law enforcement, and the fact that records were destroyed indicates that the Duggars have power as well.

    I don't watch O'Reilley or the Duggars so I don't go out of my way to relish their mistakes. I comment when Bill says something stupid. The Duggars were background noise like the Duck Dynasty folks. Cosby, no the other hand, was someone I admired. Despite that admiration, I brought him into the discussion.

    Duggar was a kid and of course molesting by fondling is a lot less serious than rape. The falafel accusation of course wasn't proven, and a $100 million asked to settle a non-rape harassment case is pretty outrageous, especially compared w Cosby's serial drug induced rape schtick. Whether O'Reillys domestic abuse was repeated, there was no claim of multiple incidents by his wife that I saw, only 1 incident, tho might be possible other mentions are under court secrecy (vs daughter's direct testimony)

    It appears that part of the counseling Josh Duggar received included asking the victim what they had done to cause the molestation


    Edit to add:

    Given recent revelations about O'Reilley's lying about stories reported on air, we have reason to question his denial of current allegations.


    At any rate we shall see if any other issues arise from the allegations about Duggar and O'Reilley. I'm out of this particular thread.

    Good O'Reilly article, and yes, good time to stop.

    Thanks for your comments. I want to push back on the claim that fondling is less serious than rape. Yes, if we were to judge solely on the basis physical violence then yes I agree, but let's consider the long term psychological damage victims experience. If Bill O'Reilly is innocent then it makes me wonder what kind of man he is that his daughter would fabricate a story about abuse. Thanks for taking the time to consider the arguments in this post.

    1) Fondling is less serious than rape - both physically and psychologically. I can't imagine there being any real controversy in that statement, and contrary would trivialize the horror of rape. That doesn't mean it should be ignored, but the parents didn't seem to ignore it (at least by some accounts) - just not every adolescent should be thrown in jail for his/her sins - we sometimes have better ways to punish and learn - agreed?

    2) I said I can't assume O'Reilly is completely guilty from the harassment suit, not the domestic abuse. (I assume there was some kind of sexy talk & some talk, but I also guess it was trumped up to try to get a ridiculous $60-100 million out of him - again, not even for actual rape, though in this case *if* your work/career is destroyed, the significance *could* be pretty severe.

    Regarding domestic abuse, first O'Reilly is not unique - roughly 1/3 of women report physical or sexual abuse from partners. Pointing fingers & scolding Bill in this case probably ignores that 1 out of 3 or 4 of your male mates has done something similar but we're likely not on their case because we don't know, they're not a Republican conservative or other excuse.

    I've also witnessed several weird domestic disputes where 1 or both partners go unhinged. People having lived together a while often have pent up frustration and it boils over. Sometimes it gets physical and not always just from the male - people throw, punch, scratch, bite, yell, and use lots of psychological & physical means to get revenge or an advantage. In the best of cases no one actually gets seriously hurt and they can wake up not too embarrassed about how stupid and ugly they behaved, and hopefully even patch up the relationship. In the worst case, it ends like the football player who cold-clocked his girlfriend and should go to jail. In between, it's one of those grey areas of human behavior - we can take it too (IMHO) strict, but then lots of pretty normal people would be in jail for a rare blowup and society would (IMHO) suffer, or we can take it too (IMHO) loose and then lots of people - usually women - suffer silently from repeat beatings and rapes.

    So with that intro, O'Reilly's abuse of his wife most likely was not dreamed up by his daughter, was part of a child-custody dispute like Alec Baldwin entertained us with, fortunately doesn't seem to be too bad or of long duration but still ugly, and I'm not terribly interested in judging it as the end-all of Bill O'Reilly or anyone else. Others might disagree and I'll gladly leave them their opinion.

    There is no controversy about molestation being less serious than rape. Both can result in significant psychological trauma. Some survivors will not label the sexual assault rape simply because they are familiar (related) with the perpetrator. Sexual trauma is used as a general term to cover all situations. We cannot suggest that molestation has less impact on the brain than rape. Molestation Is not a crime to be dismissed. It has psychological trauma as a residual, just as Danny Cardwell noted.


    How much help Josh Duggar received is an open question. The state trooper who administered the "stern talk" later went to jail on child pornography charges. The trooper was a family friend. How close did said trooper get to the children in the Duggar family?


    Regarding O'Reilley, we have seen temper flares since the time he was on a tabloid TV show. We have seen him blow up emotionally at guests on his current opinion show, we have seen him lie about journalistic issues. He should not get a pass on suspected domestic violence because other guys do it.

    Oh please, getting your breasts fondled is going to result in more trauma than forceable or coerced penetration, frequently in violent situations? yeah, everything=everything, I get it, we are all one, one can never know, yadda-yadda-all-come-free.

    O'Reilly is an entertainer on TV. His on-air behavior may or may not reflect his real-life persona (shouting extroverted entertainers can be puppies off-stage, and quiet types can turn weird & aggressive when you're alone with them or piqued in some way, and even chronic loudmouths may not be physical at all). His lying obviously does, though is irrelevant to either harassment or domestic abuse, except for whether to believe his version.

    I don't see what the trooper's porno bit has to do with Duggar and frankly what Duggar's actions have to do with his father's stances (except that the father seems to have dealt with it).

    I just see a bunch of shit shoved in one bag, with the hope that it'll somehow hold together as a trend or storyline.

    It typically bothers me that "liberals" frequently find excuses to obsess over other people's problems and personal lives. I thought part of being liberal and progressive was being tolerant and not too proscriptive or judgmental. Maybe I need to update my dictionary to 2.0.

    The girls had their breasts and genitals "fondled". This happened while asleep and awake. The court records were destroyed so we don't know what fondling means. There is psychological trauma associated with getting your breasts and genitals fondled. The total impact on an individual can't be predicted. This seems obvious.

    Please update your dictionary to 2.0. I don't find tolerating sexual abuse in my dictionary definition of Liberal. 

    Yes, psychological trauma can be predicted even though there are typical ranges that vary from victim to victim. This isn't magic or voodoo that we're supposed to stare agog at. I'm sure rape counselling centers can give you a pretty decent overview. I'm pretty sure if women were psychologically destroyed by being fondled inappropriately our species would have ceased some thousands of years ago.

    Time to leave the discussion. Your urge to be a contrarian has led you to support some pretty vile ideas. 

    I'm pretty sure you've no idea what you're talking about, and your perception of "vile" is shrouded in a whole complex of misunderstandings both intentional and accidental.

    Developing adult analysis & responses for life's widespread & recurring bad-to-awful social phenomena is not "tolerating", it's simply being mature and trying to be effective and progressive.

    You did a better job of articulating my point than I did. Thanks!

    You have a typical script you run quite often here. The "worse things are happening" script. Of course worse things are happening. We could play that game until we get to Hitler and then, whoops, Goodwin's Law. That approach stymies serious discussion of the situation and trivializes the abuse. I'm more than capable of discussing horrendous human rights abuses and in the next moment discussing social problems that are less devastating. I'm not sure why you find that difficult. I'm not at all interested in discussing whether rape is worse than fondling. It's a straw man argument, an attempt to divert the discussion. But since you seem to need to hear someone say it, yes it is. Bringing up the idea of jail is another straw man. I've seen no one  suggest he should have been sent to prison for fondling his sisters. But again since it seems to be the most super important issue to you I'll state that jail is not the appropriate punishment for a teen fondling his sisters.

    And yes, Domestic violence is more common than society admits. But that's a problem, not an excuse as you seem to be using it. We're partly along the path to dealing with that problem. We've come a long way since the time when domestic violence was accepted behavior that the police and the courts at best ignored and  more often condoned. But we still have a long way to go in dealing with the problem of domestic abuse. Your trivialization of that problem would take us back to the time when married women had no recourse in the face of abuse.

    I'm not sure where you get the idea that the Duggar's handled this problem well. While they didn't completely ignore it by all accounts I've seen they handled it poorly. The mere fact that it happened again and again and again after it was reported over and over by the girls to their parents is evidence that at the very least they weren't paying sufficient attention to his behavior. Not much of a surprise since with 19 children to watch it's unlikely that any of them get sufficient attention.


    "Bringing up the idea of jail is another straw man. I've seen no one  suggest he should have been sent to prison for fondling his sisters. But again since it seems to be the most super important issue to you I'll state that jail is not the appropriate punishment for a teen fondling his sisters." - they keep bringing up the importance of reporting this to the police, the awfulness that the judge expunged the records, etc. - what the fuck do you think they're asking if not to have the ordeal turn into some kind of juvenile home, or incarcerated as an adult as our over-zealous system likes doing with 14/15-year-olds? sorry that I know how to read just a wee bit between the lines - Democratic crowd wants blood from GOP scandal figure.

    And sorry if folks here lumping 3 kinds of affronts to females together warrants a dissection of the differences - celebrity drug-rape with impunity for decades is different from a domestic dispute/child custody chokehold is different from adults talking dirty on the phone and/or workplace verbal harassment is different from an adolescent copping a feel inappropriately from several girls and getting punished for it.

    You have a typical script where you come along and ignore the original post and stream of comments that followed just to pick a gripe with me - in this case a post calling this Duggar guy a "fallen religious personality" based on stuff he did as a kid 12-13 years ago, while Bill O'Reilly is a "religious figure" at all?

    "The mere fact that it happened again and again and again after it was reported over and over by the girls to their parents " - I've seen that the father found out on 2 occasions, in July 2002 and March 2003, and from what I can tell tried to deal with the situation - the 2nd time apparently successfully. How he "handled it poorly" aside from calling in the police and letting them handle it, I don't know.

    And sorry if I know of a lot worse sexual molestation and trauma and think it's extremely stupid and puritan and typical American weirdness about sex that people can equate fondling with violent rape. Yes, the former is icky, can cause problems, should be dealt with, but is a lot less likely to cause permanent psychological trauma and difficulties than a typical American date rape, violent rape in a park or alley or parking lot or stairwell or workplace, fully consummated incest and wherever else these yearly 300,000 US sexual assaults take place. The thing I was trivializing was not rape, but making some political figure your rapist poster child when the problem is much more severe and cuts across men who are religious and atheist, loudmouth blowhards and quiet antisocials, strangers and acquaintances an husbands/boyfriend, etc., etc., etc.

    Edited to add that by far the majority of rapes are in someone's home, not outdoors.

    the awfulness that the judge expunged the records,

    More bullshit from you. When people discuss the judge expunging Duggar's record they're not discussing whether juvenile's records for minor sexual offenses should be expunged if there are no repeat offenses after some number of years. Nor are they implying he should have been jailed. They're discussing a judge issuing an order to expunge the records of one single individual while leaving the records of many others intact. While I would  probably support expunging records of juveniles after a period of good behavior I have a problem with a judge making a special provision for one person. Don't you?

    You keep thinking I care about you. I don't.  Remember that comment I made about not giving a fuck that you seemed to like? It wasn't only about wattree, and if he posts something I like and feel moved to respond to I'll post my agreement with him. Because what I post has nothing to do with the person I'm posting to nor does it have anything to do with prior arguments or lingering resentments. If I agree with you it's because you said something I agree with. If I disagree it's because you said something I disagree with. You, as a person, are a complete stranger to me and I don't give a fuck about you. There's no personal vendetta here because we have no personal relationship. I'm not holding onto lingering resentments because I just don't care about you. Get over yourself dude. 

    I just like the song "I don't give a fuck, not a single fuck, not a single solitary fuck, motherfuckah..." - gave me an excuse to share. Figured you ignored the video anyway, not your style.

    Jim Bob Duggar, Josh's father, ran for the U.S. Senate seat from Arkansas. Part of his platform included the death penalty for rape and incest. The woman should carry the rapist's child. The rapist should be put to death. The elder Duggar knew about the incest accusations against his son Josh. Jim Bob did not call for his son to face death, he got help from local law enforcement. Josh received a "strong talking to".

    One penalty for the "heathens", a more forgiving message for the "Christians". 


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