The Duggars are crazy. Yet we love them. (We feel the same way about the Sister Wives gang, by the way.) We jumped off the 19 Kids and Counting train wreck about the time Josh Duggar took his new job with an arm of the Family Research Council. Until that point they were (mostly) harmless. Crazy-yet-harmless probably describes our family as well, actually.
But things have gotten weirder lately for them. If that's possible. I know that the network filters out much of the religiousness for the sake of a viewership that decidedly disagrees with Duggar beliefs. We like watching their big family, but secular audiences don't want the Christian homeschooling and "Biblical" mindset that goes with it. Every once in awhile there would be some bleed over...but I think most Americans--contrary to the "religious freedom" complaints--are ok with others being vaguely, non-preachy religious around them. Or in public. It's a free country. Live and let live.
After all, how is 19 kids or 5 wives that much different than an unmarried family of 4 with a Stay At Home Dad?
The recent uproar has maybe been...forced? Everybody should know that the Duggars are fans of traditional marriage. Did it surprise anybody that they would oppose kissing gays? They feel threatened by a dominant American culture. Most religious folk do. We get it. The Amish aren't hounding us to change the laws to support an Amish lifestyle though. That's the Duggar problem. Faith isn't the problem. Being fans of traditional marriage or large families or "courting" or any of it--not the problem.
As I write, more than 130,000 people have signed a petition to cancel the Duggar's show on TLC. And Michelle has a counter-petition with 3,000 signatures or so to defend their views. It's Duck Dynasty all over again! And 19 Kids... recently scored some of its highest ratings ever this fall with new babies and weddings. Meh.
I have no opinion about keeping the show on the air...my real opinion is the bigger issue of the Duggar family being a bigger threat to me probably than I am to them. I would leave them free to have their big family, their show, and quietly go about their weirdness. The actual problem is that in seeing the outside world as a "threat" they help create the conservative bubble that wishes to roll back American progress like gay rights, healthcare (Obamacare being a favorite complaint of FRC), etc.. By viewing steps forward as their faith under fire, the Duggars fuel the same flames of ignorance and intolerance that refuse to pass immigration reform and see President Obama as not just wrong on yesterday's executive action but unlawful and even counter-American.
The bigger issue here is that if the Duggars expect Americans not to be horrified at their large, overly-religious family as a spectacle on American television...the least they could do is not be horrified by married gays kissing. It's not the homophobia itself but the hypocrisy and political element to it that bothers me more. I won't be signing a petition either way. Or watching the show for that matter. My advice to the Duggars is more about being the loving family they claim to be. If you love others in the Christian way you claim...quit looking so bigoted and awful. You're obviously not the only bigoted, awful people around these days. But most bigots don't get national tv audiences. It's hard to think of one of these TLC-type families who hasn't ended in a giant explosion of cringe in the end. Let's hope the Duggars are paying attention to that fact.
TLC should give them some more time to get it together. But get these people a PR person for the sake of all of us.