It all started Thursday May 21, when a published police report from 2006 revealing accusations of child molestation against the oldest son of the popular TLC television series, 19 Kids and Counting’s, Josh Duggar, had been made public. It took more than a year for father, Jim Bob, to report the allegations made against his son. After the police report surfaced, Duggar, who had been the executive director of the Family Research Council (FRC), apologized and immediately stepped down from his executive director position. In the past, there have been a few websites and blogs that mentioned certain aspects of the Duggar’s lifestyle, which is based strictly on their religious beliefs. For example, the homeschooling practices that the Duggar family was endorsing via 19 Kids and Counting. Now, people are beginning to question if the 19 Kids and Counting family’s recent scandal has been a result of their extreme religious beliefs.
How could the loving all-American Evangelical family, whose homely, church-going lifestyle stole the hearts of thousands of viewers, have been the keeper of a secret so dark? The answer might have something to do with the fact that those 30-minute glimpses into the lives of the Duggar family performing their daily activities were made to seem very normal. Needless to say, those 10 seasons of 19 Kids and Counting were not even close to being enough to unveil exactly how serious they take their extreme religious beliefs.
The family of 19 Kids and Counting are dedicated followers of Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) as well as Quiverfull, both of which are Christian Evangelical movements created by American Christian minister, Bill Gothard, who gave up his position after his involvement in a sex scandal in 2014. Since the Duggar family debuted on cable television with 19 Kids and Counting, they have been shown attending religious conferences, joining other church members on missionary trips, as well as being present for all church services, but the show never really identified or made known exactly what the Evangelical beliefs of the family actually are.
Followers of Quiverfull live the life of a pro-purist, where women forego all options pertaining to birth control and where the indispensible work of women is motherhood. The followers of Quiverfull believe that society’s problems are because of modern women who feel free to engage in premarital sex, file for divorce and have abortions. Women who follow Quiverfull are expected to be submissive and obedient to their fathers and husbands.
The Duggar family uses 19 Kids and Counting to show the world that the Evangelicals can be financially secure as well as live a comfortable life, even with more than a dozen children. As a result of the public admiring the Duggars for achieving such a commendable feat, Quiverfull has grown to rely on the Duggars for sustainability. The movement has gained at least tens of thousands of followers since the TLC show hit cable television. The result of the scandal has caused people to see that what 19 Kids and Counting was lacking was offering audiences a clear definition or verbalization of what their extreme religious beliefs actually are.
American conservative politicians have granted the Duggar family access due to their Evangelical beliefs being made public. With that access, along with the supplied platforms for pro-Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender discrimination on social media outlets, the Duggars have adopted the title of representative for the conservative right.
As a result of the scandal surrounding 19 Kids and Counting and their extreme religious beliefs, TLC has pulled episodes of the show off the channel, but no plans have been made to cancel the show entirely. Considering the success that 19 Kids and Counting has provided for cable television networks worldwide, the scandal will probably end up blowing over in a few months with everything returning to business as usual.
Opinion By Kameron Hadley
Ark Times: Duggar World:Temptation, incest jokes, ‘playing doctor’, presidential politics
cine-fille:The Unseen Realities of 19 Kids and Counting
Page Six: Duggar father-in-law defends Josh amid molestation scandal
Photo Courtesy of Spiff’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Dennis’ Flickr Page- Creative Commons License