Let’s just dispense with the rhetorical setup: The Duggars are done as TV celebrities.
That would be the family of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents of “19 Kids and Counting.” The Learning Channel has just announced it is dumping the reality TV series in the wake of reports that one of the kids, Josh, fondled and touched young girls inappropriately when he was a 14-year-old.
What’s more, Josh Duggar misbehaved reportedly with some of his sisters.
This a big deal at a couple of levels
One, Josh Duggar was a big hitter with the Family Research Council, a conservative think tank dedicated to the promotion of “traditional family values.” He’s quit his FRC post.
Two, Josh’s parents have been outspoken critics of the gay rights movement, particularly the push for “marriage equality,” and allowing gay people to marry. Jim Bob and Michelle have been harsh critics of LGBT citizens, saying that homosexuality leads to pedophilia and other immoral behavior. How can they say those things now while ignoring what’s been plainly obvious throughout all of recorded history, which is that “traditional, heterosexual” Americans are capable of precisely the same kind of behavior?
The Duggars are close friends of another Arkansan, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who’s running for president. Huckabee has acknowledged agreement with Josh’s statement that his behavior was “inexcusable,” but adds that it isn’t “unforgiveable.” True enough. Scripture does tell us we’re entitled to grace. But that will have to come from within.
The Duggars certainly are entitled to believe what they wish politically. However, when those political beliefs run head-on into a seriously flawed personal history, well, that’s when you have to excuse yourself from the public limelight.
The Duggars have a huge following across the nation, particularly among those who have admired them for their stated belief in family tradition and their strict moral code.
That trust has been shattered, at least to the extent that their TV network benefactors — TLC — no longer feels comfortable thrusting this family into Americans’ living rooms.