Would YOU marry anyone who has a history of sex abuse - as the perp?

Inspired by the topics about Josh Duggar and the leaked report regarding allegations that he molested numerous girls as a teenager, most of whom were his own sisters.

The reaction has been quite mixed, but many are expressing support for Josh and stating that the Christian response is to take him at a word he has repented, and to forgive him.

The story also states that Josh did disclose his history to his now-wife Anna, and she married him anyway.

Well, you could argue that if we REALLY are to forgive we are to behave like priests in the confessional, that we essentially treat the sinner as if the sin never happened. (I have heard, for example, that if an accountant who worked for the parish confessed embezzling funds, that the priest can NOT use that information to justify firing the accountant.)

So, would you be comfortable, marrying someone who had a history of such behavior?

No. Nor would I ever recommend such a thing to anyone I cared about.

We are not priests in the Confessional, and nor is Anna.

Since there are no canonical impediments, it’s a personal preference. People need to discern their marriage vocation with due diligence in any case.

There is some merit to revealing the past to a potential spouse, because I see quite of chatter on the Family Life Forums about how later in marriage one partner discovers the other had another sex partner before the marriage or something to that affect.

On the flip side, it also helps for the person to whom past sins are revealed to to be understanding and patient, regardless of their decision to marry.


no way.

I would have zero problem marrying Josh Duggar (although, frankly, I do quite like my wife much better), or anyone who had a history of abuse at such a young age.

I would have a much more difficult time marrying someone who, as an adult, was a serial child rapist, although that person would likely be in prison rather than at the altar, I would guess.

“Sexual abuse” covers a lot of ground, and it is impossible to make blanket, definitive statements about it. I think that pornography, for example, is a despicable abuse of women by men (usually). Yet I used pornography as a teenager, my wife still married me, and I’m glad that she did (and, no, I don’t believe I’m a threat to my wife or daughter). “Date rape” is a terrible thing on college campuses, but do you really think that a person cannot make amends in their life and become a wonderful husband and father after a night of drunken carousing?

There are a lot of really bad things that people do, and literally anyone can be changed by grace. I start from that point and then move to the specifics, rather than pretend that a certain group of people are ipse dixit impossible to marry.

There are varying types and degrees of abuse.

In this case, though, my answer would be a great big NO!


Even if he were not a “he”, the answer would still be no.:wink:



It would largely depend on what the offense was. A drunken grope they were mortified about as soon as they sobered up? Possibly. Anything to do with rape, incest or kids? No way. Nu uh, that’s an instant killer. Wouldn’t risk it or my child around them.

It’s one thing to forgive, it’s another to enable. It takes a very specific kind of person willing to fiddle children or siblings, one I don’t think we should risk creating the same situation for again.

Would you be happy leaving your child with a pedophile while you went out to the store? :ehh:

I wouldn’t marry someone with that history. How could you ever be sure that he wouldn’t do it again, whether to his own children or to someone else’s? I would never leave my child alone with anyone who had a history of fondling children, even if the incidents occurred years in the past. Even if he deeply regrets it now and has refrained for years from doing it (which I assume is probably the case with Josh Duggar), who’s to say that in a moment of weakness, he wouldn’t do it again? If someone has a sexual attraction to children, does it ever go completely away? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t risk it.

That’s not to say that you can’t forgive someone who has committed abuse–but forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to give the person unsupervised access to your children.


*Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you,"Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”*

(John 8:10-12)

That’s Christ’s response to repentant child molesters. Is it yours? “No I would not…” is a long way from “Then neither do I condemn you.”

No, mine is to hush the child to safety. I am able to defend myself, an innocent five year girl isn’t and shouldn’t be posed to that threat.

There are things we can forgive, but there are things we cannot risk. The sanctity of childhood innocence is one of them. I cannot see how the Lord could condemn us for protecting his most innocent helpless creations.

Well if we’re talking about repentant sinners, how is someone who’s former ways involved hurting children different from someone who’s former ways involved adultery? Former ways are former ways. Those were the ways of the flesh. The new person is walking in the light of life, a new person in Christ. If the new person who has put to death the old person is indeed “walking in Christ,” why would you “deny the little children to go to Him?”

God can change a person, regardless of what you “think” and “feel” or how comfortable you are at accepting it.

Saul was a murderer. Christ changed him. Paul healed people. If Paul had to be haunted forever because of his past as a murderer, then he would never have been given the opportunity to be anything but a “former murderer.”

No way.

(I am a woman, fwiw.)

I would want to know more. WRT the Josh Duggans case, he was doing this to his *sisters, *which to me means he lacks some boundaries that I would want my husband and father of my children to have.

Second, it would matter to me if the problem were one involving pre-pubescent or post-pubescent minors who were unrelated.

Many a young man has had a “sex offender” label hung round his neck because his girlfriend was “too young.” Maybe his birthday came before hers and before his birthday he was within the bounds of the law, and afterwards he wasn’t.

That sort of thing would be different from someone who behaved in a *predatory *manner, or someone interested in pre-pubescent minors.

All of this would be predicated on the man’s having actually done whatever it is… Josh Duggans has apparently admitted to having done this, but there are plenty of cases of false accusations and false “recovered memories,” so I would definitely want to be sure about the situation.

There is a key difference between an adulterer or an individual who can’t keep their pants on and a child rapist. An adulterer has elicited consent from another party, the child cannot grant their consent. A horrible reprehensible ill, one of the worst things a human being can possibly do to another is forced upon them far before they can even comprehend what has happened.

The adulterer is not a threat, one can decline and be quite safe. A child molester will simply take what they want, and must be forcibly prevented.

Repentance is to be admired, but there are other ways a child molester can repent than risking the safety of other children through a relapse. There are many other needy causes in this wide world he could offer aid to.

You do know that a child molester who repents and changes their ways is no longer a child molester… right?

Or have you forgotten what God can do?

Isn’t this how we got into the whole priest-pedophile mess? Didn’t we send them for counseling, and then forgive them and believe them when they said they had repented?

Didn’t we lose most of our moral credibility, when it turned out they had neither been “cured” nor repented?


Well then what do you suggest? They be put to death? How many times did Christ say we should forgive them?

I’m not saying we should potentially endanger people, nor am I saying we should ostracize former perpetrators completely forever (as some here suggest). I’m saying we should take God at his word. It’s not easy to do in the case of child molesters, but whoever said this whole “Christian” thing was easy?

Sometimes things don’t fit into nice and neat little categories or cliches. This is a complex world and people are complicated, and God can heal anyone regardless of what we think or feel about it. Christianity is messy business and it hurts. It’s only because it hurts that it is truth.

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