Friday, May 22, 2015

Where Your Treasure Is

If your Twitter feed is anything like mine, it is lighting up with shocked responses to the news that Josh Duggar, TLC star, purity culture paragon, Family Research Council executive admits to sexually abusing underage girls, possibly including his sisters, when he was a teenager. And while I am naturally heartsick to hear this news, I confess that I am not surprised. Because you see, purity culture is based in the kind of power & control ideology that can easily lead to abuses like this. Purity culture teaches that women's bodies belong to men, and that offenses against women's bodies are not offenses against the women in them, but against the men who have headship over them. Purity culture teaches that women's bodies are naturally salacious, and that women's primary duty is to prevent men from lusting, thus making any man's transgression that woman's fault. Purity culture teaches that confessing the sin (in this case, confessing it to the authorities) is less important than maintaining an image of purity on the outside, so that no scandal can tarnish the family's reputation.

But the most heartbreaking part of all of this, for me, is where the Duggar family continues to put its value. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21). Democratic strategist Karl Frisch's tweet has gone viral, pointing out that the Duggar family statement uses the word 'God' six times, but never the word 'daughters'. It is clear that the Duggars' concern is for their son, for their name, and for their reputation, not their daughters - or, for that matter, any of Josh's victims. While this blog - like many journalism outlets - abides by the practice of not naming sexual assault victims until and unless they speak out for themselves, acknowledging the perspective of the victims is a key part of making amends to those victims. By speaking primarily from the perspective of Josh and his journey toward redemption, the Duggars and their spokespersons are disregarding the very real women he abused, whose lives ought to be our primary focus.

The Duggars are not alone in demonstrating their disregard for women. The #SayHerName campaign calls attention to the fact that protestors have been marching in response to the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others, but the deaths of black women at the hands of the police have largely been ignored, even by the #BlackLivesMatter leadership, and even moreso by the national media.

Where is our treasure? The Incarnation of Jesus Christ shows us that God's treasure is in us. We who claim that name as our salvation and our king must follow in his way in treasuring those whom he loves. Not as symbols of purity or keepers of reputation, but as people, made in the image of God and valuable in themselves and for themselves. Tanisha Anderson. Rekia Boyd. Miriam Carey. Michelle Cusseaux. Shelly Frey. Kayla Moore.

For where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.

No comments:

Post a Comment

It is expected that you have read the submission guidelines and community norms, which guide our editorial decisions and comment submissions.