The battle is on—but America’s super-sized family isn’t backing down.
More than 90,000 people have signed an online petition calling on TLC to pull its popular 19 Kids and Counting series from the air, accusing the Duggar family of “fear mongering” for their beliefs about homosexuality. The show follows Arkansas Baptists Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children, all of whom are outspoken supporters of traditional marriage. Jim Wissick of San Jose, Calif.—author of the Change.org petition that is quickly gaining steam—claims the Duggars are using the language of hate and ignorance to promote their views.
“The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people,” Wissick wrote in a letter to TLC, posted on the Change.org petition page. “You need to take a stand on the side of justice and cancel their show.”
According to the Huffington Post, the tussle began after Michelle Duggar’s involvement in a robocall against an anti-discrimination housing law affecting the transgender community in Arkansas. Duggar asked the people of Fayetteville, Ark., to oppose a city ordinance forbidding business owners and landlords from evicting and firing people based on their gender identity. In the recording, she warned about the ordinance’s potential consequences.
“The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men—yes I said men—to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas, and other areas that are designated for females only,” she reportedly says in the recording. “I don't believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
Referring to the call in the Change.org petition, Wissick bashed the mother of 19, arguing that being transgender does not automatically or necessarily equate to being a child predator or rapist.
“Transgender people—who are far more likely to be the victims of harassment and violence if forced to use a bathroom that is inconsistent with their gender identity or expression—deserve to have the ability to use the bathroom in peace and safety,” he wrote.
The Duggars’ Facebook page is also caught in the crossfire. Last week, after their newly married daughter was criticized for sharing an Instagram photo of her kissing her husband, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar posted a photo of themselves kissing and encouraged “all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here.” John Becker, of the LGBT blog The Bilerico Project, posted a photo of him kissing his “husband” and a message about marriage equality. His photo was later deleted, E! News reports.
Wissick objects to the photo’s removal in his petition, also noting that the Duggars’ oldest son, Josh, has taken a job with the Family Research Council.
Fans of the family have launched petitions of their own on Change.org and Petitions24.com, fighting to keep the program on the air. It is the longest running reality show on TLC, now in its ninth season. In light of recent controversies, other Christian celebrities have expressed support for the Duggars, including actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron and Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson, whose family experienced similar backlash last year after Phil Robertson said homosexuality is a sin.
“[Our families] have a lot of the same values,” Sadie Robertson told Fox News on Thursday.
Regardless of the outcome, the Duggars say they will remain steadfast in their biblical convictions, denying any use of hateful speech.
“We will always stand for truth and the values we hold dear without compromise but we will do so in love and kindness—treating others well even if we don’t agree with them and we will do so without hateful words,” they wrote on their Facebook page last week, quoting a line from Luke 6:27 about loving one’s enemies. “This verse is a reminder of how we must always carry ourselves. Precious words from Jesus.”
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Photo: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: November 25, 2014