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05/09/2008

It's still not easy for us to dig the Duggars' views

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 7-108This morning on "The Today Show," the program once again featured the very large Duggar family and their 17 children (with one more on the way). And since the story was once again presented as a cute little kicker story from which no potential controversy could be mined, we thought we would take an opportunity to remind folks that behind these multiple births are some teachings and views that are not so easy for gay people to digest. Here's what we posted back in September of last year:

Originally posted on 9/21/07:

Unfortunately, it's not so easy for us to dig the Duggars

If you watched the "Today" show this morning, you probably saw extensive coverage of the 19 member Duggar family. Here's a pic:

Tdy Lauer Duggarfamily 070806.300W

It was presented as a sweet, heartwarming family story involving the foibles and fun of raising 17 little ones. Yet unfortunately, like so many stories and individuals that non-politically active heterosexuals can take for granted, the Duggar story is not so easy for us to accept as just a cute lightweight kicker story to fill a morning news program. That's because there is a strong anti-gay element to the religious fundamentalism that motivates the brood's extremely fertile ways.

Ya see, the Duggars support many anti-gay groups and organizations, such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Bob Jones University. But most discouragingly, they are strong supporters of the controversial teachings of Christian activist Bill Gothard and the staunchly anti-birth control "Quiverfull" movement (thus a big reason reason for the scores of kids). This is the same Bill Gothard who tours the country speaking rabidly against people and situations he sees contrary to a good, moral life, which of course includes homosexuality. Consider these words from Allen M. Barber, wherein he recounts a 70's era Gothard sermon in order to support his claim that gay acceptance is bringing us toward the Endtimes:

Bill Gothard Shows the Path a Nation Takes Toward Moral Decadence and the Judgment of God

In 1976, as a young minister, I attended a Bill Gothard seminar in Dallas and I will never forget his teaching on homosexuality and perversion (I still have the notes).

His teaching was under the title of “The Development of Concupiscence” (An old King James word we do not use anymore, which means “an evil unbridled craving or a strong unrestrained lust”).

He used the graphic of a thermometer to illustrate the moral temperature of society. The lowest and healthiest temperature was the ideal characterized by a spiritually moral society guided by the Laws of God. The next level up showing a rising unhealthy temperature was the development of concupiscence where the soulical natural man with his sensual cravings had begun to dominate and suppress the spiritual. The next level up representing the highest and most dangerous threat to a vibrant society was blatant perversion or homosexuality . Gothard said “That when a society reaches the point of condoning perversion, God will destroy that society” (Israel and Rome are examples from the past).

And there are loads of other frighteningly anti-gay Gothard testaments available online. Plus, there is Jim Bob Duggar himself, who, as an Arkansas state legislator and failed candidate for the U.S. Senate, ran as an EXTREME conservative on so-called values measures (and in case you aren't already aware, gay love is considered antipathetic to those "values").

So we sincerely wish we could just sit back and laugh as Ann Curry bounces a little Duggar on her knee and discusses the minutiae of the mother's harried days. However, doing so is a little tougher for those of us who desperately want to start families of our own, yet are constantly thrown roadblocks by folks like the Duggars and their allies. Now, we're not saying we think "Today" or any of the other networks who've given the Duggars airtime should necessarily delve into the family's controversial beliefs. We're obviously not saying that the Duggars should be barred from the national airwaves, nor are we denying that these are good kids with a compelling story. We're just saying that for us, the story can't help but have an extra element of frustration. And we have to wonder if a pair of queer progressives with their own oversized brood would get presented in such a cute, fluffy light without any qualifiers regarding their beliefs.

Meet the Duggar family — all 19 of them [Today]

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

Wow! They almost have 20 kids. I would just hope one of their children would be considered a gift from god if one of them were LGBT??

Posted by: Jeff Chang | May 9, 2008 9:51:15 AM

As many Duggars as there are, chances are one is gay. I only hope he or she can grow up unscarred from it and that it moves the family to reconsider their bias.

Posted by: Steve - Geneva, IL | May 9, 2008 10:31:54 AM

Odds are that one of the 19 will be gay. Poor kid.

Posted by: | May 9, 2008 10:37:52 AM

Interesting, thoughtful post. We cited in the GroundReport article:

http://www.groundreport.com/US/Duggar-Family-Announces-18th-Pregnancy

Posted by: Rachel | May 9, 2008 10:46:26 AM

Thanks, Rachel.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 9, 2008 11:03:10 AM

I find it fascinating that the same people who screech from the rooftops that "kids do best with a mother and a father" have no problem with kids being raised with 1/18 of a mother and a father. They'd get more personalized attention at the DMV.

I also wonder how much is in each kid's college fund. Oh wait, they're Evangelical-homeschooled, so college will not be an option. Never mind.

Note also that the older children are conscripted into "chores" that essentially make them full-time surrogate parents. Mowing the lawn and setting the table is one thing; having to serve as a dawn-til-dusk au pair for 10 or more of your younger siblings is child abuse, pure and simple.

Posted by: KipEsquire | May 9, 2008 11:20:33 AM

I'm not gay but I'm horrified that these people exist. After watching the Today show piece with the Duggars this morning - I'm really left angry with these people. In times of global warming, world-wide food problems and yes - anti-gay sentiment, they people seem happy to do whatever they want and teach their kids ignorant ways of the world.

Posted by: Heidi | May 9, 2008 11:22:47 AM

The same cast of characters who demonize the LGBT community by and large decry abortion as well. One comment on abortion and birth control: within the evangelical community (and other religious groups) there are literally millions of married (presumably monogamous) women who (with the full knowledge and consent of their equally bible thumpin’ husbands and probably in most cases their ministers as well) take oral contraceptives just like the Duggars did once upon a time. And very few of that collective religious body would ever condone abortion.

Oral contraceptives are about 80% effective at controlling ovulation, but are about 97% effective as a birth control mechanism. There is a secondary effect that the fundies either ignore or are unaware of that creates a hostile environment in the uterus which effectively miscarries many of the fertilized eggs that make it that far.

It is very possible that a large percentage of these evangelical women (my mother included) have induced their own abortions by utilizing oral contraceptives for birth control. And, just like the Duggars were, many of them are probably completely unaware that it happens. BUT there are many leaders within the ranks of religion who are fully aware of the consequences of oral contraception.

SO, WHY DONT THEY ALL KNOW? Why do these abortion-raging Christians continue to use oral contraceptives? The reason is that the discussion isn’t politically expedient to the religious agenda, so it isn’t discussed (Catholics abhor all forms of birth control, but that is more due to their stand on all sexuality outside of marriage than abortion). And many of these good Christian families don’t ever look outside of the narrow scope of view from their religious shroud to ever make an informed decision – to do so would be sacrilege.

But the same leaders of Christian America who blithely ignore the millions of abortions that are the result of their willful inaction, they are the same ones who consider the LGBT community to be the biggest threat to America.

Religion, thy middle name is Duplicity.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 9, 2008 2:21:59 PM

Isn't it possible to work toward a society which is more accepting of gays and still not demonize these people? They can afford these kids, they own their own home free and clear, and the news story isn't about their politics or religion, but of their unusually large (and apparently happy, healthy) family. How does it help gay people or those of us that aren't gay but abhore how gays are sometimes treated to condemn these people? Isn't that a little duplicitous?

Posted by: Phil Faranda | May 11, 2008 3:22:14 PM

Phil: What is unfair is to say we are "demonizing" or "condeming" them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are just saying that as is the case with so many other things we encounter in daily life, this story is not something can sit back and view as a cute little fluff piece, because we know there is more there. We just can't. There is a socio-political element here.

The thing is this: They are getting lots of attention and surely making lots of money off this story. And it is, admittedly, charming. But there is a movement behind the story that is being completely ignored. The driving force of their story is Bill Gothard, the Quiverfull movement, etc. And that is an ideological movement that is very hostile to LGBT equality.

If you want to talk about disingenuous -- well, what is really disingenuous here is to present their story WITHOUT looking at the motivation behind it, the connections within it, and the ideas being reared along with the children. You say that the media is not making this about politics or religion, and you're right. But there are real connections there that the media SHOULD be making if they want to tell the full story.

Malice towards the Duggars as people? We hold nothing close to that! Just as we hold no personal vendetta against even our community's outspoken opponents. We are simply rounding out the picture and expressing our opinions about a story the have willingly taken public.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 11, 2008 3:38:51 PM

I dont think thats right if they are raised with Gay or Lesbian being unacceptable then chances are they wont be gay. Sorry GO DUGGARS!

Posted by: not fair | Oct 27, 2008 2:22:38 AM

"not fair": First off, there is no basis for the idea that those who are raised in a gay-non-accepting household will be less likely to be gay. Many (most?) of us in the LGBT community were raised in such homes.

But that being said -- The point of the post is not about the possibility of the kids being gay. That's not the point of the post in even the slightest. The point is that we as gay people have trouble seeing this as a cite little human interest story, because we know some of the views behind the "quiverfull"/homeschooling/ socially conservative movement. We wish that outfits like the Today show would be a little more insightful about the "WHY" behind the many children, and what that why means for some of their viewers.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 27, 2008 11:42:04 AM

Hold everything. It is not Bill Gothard that is against homosexuality as perversion IT IS THE BIBLE. Read it. If you do not like what the Bible says then attack your creator not his servants. Or go ahead attack his servants as Jesus said you would but do not say that Biblical references are ascribed to a modern day man. You are wrong because you want to justify your sin. May God Bless You with the Wisdom to see the error in your judgement.

Posted by: dimphil | May 16, 2009 10:38:40 PM

It's so funny how you on the anti-gay side always demand that gays/progressive read their bible. From my experience, this crowd is *more* well versed in the bible (and the objective reading thereof) than are the social conservatives.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 31, 2009 9:33:55 PM

Gay is wrong. Period. Don't even waste your breath trying to justify your perverted actions. REPENT SOON, AND YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN. IF YOU DO NOT, THEN YOU WILL SUFFER FOR ETERNITY.

Why risk your eternity for instant satisfaction?

Posted by: Heather | Sep 1, 2009 4:03:27 PM

Oh Heather.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 1, 2009 4:06:28 PM

Serious, Heather, zip it, you bible thumping, ignorant jesus freak.

Posted by: Kate | Sep 1, 2009 4:14:37 PM

It's funny how Jesusfreaks can't comprehend the idea that sexuality does not define an entire individual. I am gay, and my relationship is based on mutual respect and a deep connection, not "instant satisfaction", bitch. It's also amusing that Christians scream "Jesus said we would be attacked!" when someone questions their beliefs. It's a way to justify evading every challenge that comes their way.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 1, 2009 6:34:39 PM

@ Heather: You know what the Bible also forbids? Eating pork, shellfish, fat, or blood; getting tattoos, shaving or trimming facial hair, wearing clothes made from mixed fibers, working on the Sabbath, cross-breeding animals, and mixing meat and dairy products! Even touching the skin of a pig is a sin! Nobody should go to jail for being gay any more than I should go to jail for eating a bacon cheeseburger and shrimp after spending a day getting tattoos, shaving my face, and cross-breeding livestock. Also, God is no more real than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or Bigfoot, since there's no evidence to support any such entity.

I have to wonder if any of these Jesus freaks even BELIEVE the poisonous crap they're spewing out of their lying mouths.

As for the Duggars, someone needs to get that couple a condom! In fact, what we need is a legally set maximum number of kids anyone can have, depending on their income level, and we also need to make abortions and birth control MANDATORY for anyone under the age of thirty.

Posted by: An atheist | Sep 1, 2009 11:42:45 PM

Why? Why 19 kids? I can't give the attention needed to 3. WHY??????????????????????????????????????

Posted by: Deidra | Sep 3, 2009 12:56:38 AM

Wow stupid ppl are still fucking breeding. 19 wtf well 1 out of 10 kids are gay so they will prob have 2 at least they will have each other till they can get the hell out of the looney bin!!! you know u need a dl to drive a pistol permit to carry a weapon ur dogs need to be licensed why the fuck dont u need a license to reproduce? and my spelling sucks i dont give a fuck you get my point o and heather do your self a favor and get fucked cuz it sounds like u need it u bible thumping bitch every time ppl like you are uncomfterble u scream jesus well guess what the bible also says only god had the right to judge!! dumb ass go read the bible some more ur a lil slow

Posted by: court | Oct 30, 2009 8:42:11 PM

praying for you guys.

Posted by: anonymous | Nov 6, 2009 4:59:25 PM

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