For the past few years, Josh Duggar, eldest son of the 19 in the Duggar clan, has been the face of the Family Research Council (FRC) at rallies against LGBT equality across the country. As executive director of FRC Action, the organization’s political arm, he helped fundraise for the organization, hobnob with Republican presidential contenders, and promote its anti-LGBT talking points, including claiming that his lesbian aunt “chooses” her “lifestyle” and that LGBT people are a threat to children.
But Duggar just resigned from FRC after admitting to allegations that he molested several young girls as a teenager, including some of his sisters. Details of the police report, only filed by patriarch Jim Bob Duggar more than a year after the molestation took place, first came to light through reporting from In Touch magazine and later confirmed by TMZ. In a statement to People magazine, Josh Duggar publicly confessed to his behavior and the Duggar family also acknowledged his past mistakes on Facebook. But FRC’s official response, via President Tony Perkins, was incredibly muted.
The FRC statement, posted only on its website’s front page (as opposed to a dedicated press release page that would be archived), simply states, “Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years. Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.” The organization, committed to protecting children and families, never identifies the “concerning events” nor condemns Duggar’s behavior.
FRC has a well-documented history of demonizing LGBT people as being a threat to children. A 2002 document called “Homosexuality and Child Abuse,” still found on FRC’s website, claims, “The evidence indicates that homosexual men molest boys at rates grossly disproportionate to the rates at which heterosexual men molest girls.” This claim incorrectly assumes that the men who molest boys are gay, when in fact pedophilia is not motivated by sexual orientation. Male pedophiles who molest boys might be completely heterosexual; because the children are prepubescent, sexuality does not explain the disordered behavior. In 2010, Perkins, along with Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg, complained that scientists refuse to accept that there’s “a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia.” Perkins doubled down on this claim just last year.
Given the way FRC claims that protecting children is its motivation for most of its positions, its silence on actions that Duggar admitted to is telling. As Dan Savage tweeted Thursday night, “If a gay dad did nothing after his son molested 5 girls… @FRCdc & @FRCAction would argue that no gays should be allowed to have kids.”