This post on Slacktivist addresses some of the issues concerning the Duggars’ warped sense of morality, and that of fundamentalists in general. As another blogger puts it, fundamentalist sexual ethics can largely be summed up with two boxes, one for sex within marriage and one for everything else. This “everything else” includes molesting your sister, but it also includes consensual sex outside marriage, as well as any gay sex. It also doesn’t allow for the possibility that someone can rape their spouse. My wife was recently reading something from this site about how it’s a wife’s duty to provide her husband with sex whenever he wants it. Is it possible to get any sleazier than saying, “God wants you to have sex with me”? This dualistic approach seems to be a basic building block of fundamentalist thinking, and it also ties in with the idea that all sins are equal to God. I think that, as well as simple denial, is part of why the Duggar parents insisted that Josh just made mistakes, like everyone does. If he had masturbated or looked at a Playboy, that would also be a mistake by the Duggars’ standards. Similarly, they argued that people pointing out the Duggars’ hypocrisy think Christians have to be perfect, which is certainly not an argument I’ve ever heard from anyone BUT conservatives who say it’s not true.
Whereas non-Christians are going to Hell because they once spat on the sidewalk, apparently.
Also, whatever happened to conservatives being tough on crime? Anyway, it appears that people within the conservative evangelical subculture can’t understand ethical systems that AREN’T as simple as the two boxes. According to Fred Clark’s posts, people with such beliefs will claim that liberals divide everything into consensual or non-consensual sex, and hence are way too permissive in many respects. The problem is that consent isn’t the endpoint for liberal sexual ethics, but rather the beginning. There are consensual acts that liberals aren’t cool with, but there aren’t any NON-consensual acts they ARE cool with.
That’s why the posts from fundamentalists that Libby Anne talks about don’t make sense to anyone who isn’t part of that culture. A teenage couple going to Disney World unchaperoned is just as bad as molesting relatives? How does anyone arrive at that? There also seems to be a hint there of the thinking that this couple would be so unable to control their hormones that there’s no way they WON’T have sex.
I’ve probably written before about how I’ve never understood the view of marriage as a line in the sand, but I guess it makes sense when you have a totally dualistic viewpoint. What does marriage really change? Well, your tax status, but what does that have to do with whether sex should be acceptable? And if the important part is the covenant with God, can’t you just as easily make that in private without a minister telling you it’s okay?
Some people are determined to make God into a bureaucrat, in which case they might have more luck being devotees of Nabu. Fundamentalists are devoted to the idea that marriage changes everything, but can’t really explain HOW. And that’s not even getting into how the rule of no sex outside marriage probably leads a lot of people to rush into getting married. By the way, my wife and I have a marriage license, but it’s from a civil authority rather than a church. Does that mean that, in the eyes of the fundamentalists, we’re still single? What about non-Christian religious marriages? Aren’t those pledges to a false god, and hence not binding? Then again, they also tend to be opposed to gay marriage despite the fact that same-sex couples aren’t getting married in THEIR churches.