The downfall of reality television personality Josh Duggar as a result of sordid sex scandals looked to have taken a new twist just one year after the events ruined the reputation of an individual closely tied to Christian family-oriented organizations.
Duggar was reportedly planning to appear on the second season of his sisters’ reality television show, Jill and Jessa: Counting On, though subsequent reports appeared to have dismissed such news.
Prior to that news, Duggar’s appearance was supposed to address the scandals in question. That earlier news was met with cynicism from critics who stated that the appearance was more of an attempt at increasing the ratings of the show and that he’d blame external (or evil) forces for his missteps.
Back in May 2015, news broke that Duggar’s father had told Arkansas State Police that Josh had molested five underage girls, four of them being his sisters. Due to the fact that the incidents had taken place in 2002-03, the statute of limitations to prosecute Duggar had passed.
The 28-year-old Duggar and his family first became known after his mother gave birth to 19 children. That led to the reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, which purported to show the daily life of the Duggars. Throughout the course of the program, their deeply held Christian beliefs were strongly emphasized.
Such beliefs were called into question after information the molestations came out, with subsequent news further tarnishing Duggar’s credibility. That related to his admitting that he had cheated on his wife Anna, and that he had used the controversial site, Ashley Madison, in pursuing his affairs.
The 19 Kids and Counting program was cancelled in the wake of that news and Duggar was forced to resign his position as executive director of FRC Action. That organization serves as the political action committee for the Family Research Council.
A few months after the scandal broke, Duggar chose to enter a faith-based rehabilitation program located in Rockford, Illinois. At Reformers Unanimous International, Duggar and others were reportedly instructed on how to rid themselves of a destructive habit.
A portion of the treatment was to be employed in a standard 40-hour-per-week community service position. However, the role of religion is prominent, with Bible study and weekly trips to church mandatory for all residents, who live in spartan surroundings.
The facility had been praised by the Duggar family in the past and claims to have a success rate of 80 percent in helping to rehabilitate the residents who come there.
Duggar’s previous role and the actions that forced the resignation were held up to ridicule by critics who charged him with hypocrisy. That’s due to the fact that he had previously described the family as being the “epitome of conservative values,” and espoused opposition to such things as divorce, abortion and gay rights.
That role allowed him to interact with a number of prominent politicians who held similar viewpoints. Chief among them was former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who endured severe criticism during his brief campaign to win the 2016 Republican nomination for president.
Huckabee had expressed support for the Duggar family soon after the news broke about the admission of molestation. That was seen by some critics as offering tacit support to the father who had withheld the information until his son could not be prosecuted, a charge that Huckabee vigorously denied.
However, many of the other Republican contenders for the presidential nomination had also been willing to align themselves with Duggar in some fashion. These included Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.