The Duggars – Tolerance Goes Both Ways

The Duggars – Tolerance Goes Both Ways

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DuggarsIf you aren’t familiar with the Duggar family, they have a reality TV show called, “19 Kids and Counting,” that has aired on The Learning Channel for the past 9 years. My wife and I are some of the millions of viewers who watch this reality show. Initially, I watched out of curiosity, wondering, why would someone want 19 children and how do they manage all of those kids in one house?  I quickly learned how they did it – through love, understanding and a great deal of patience. Their show quickly turned from “who are these freaks” to “admiration for doing such an amazing job.” As a father of four children, I marveled at how easy they made parenting look. I found myself learning from them and even instituting some of their successful parenting techniques. It was a show that we could all sit down and watch as a family and say, “See how these siblings treat each other… look at the amount of chores each child does… without complaining!”

http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/19-kids-and-counting/videos/duggars-about-courting-video.htm (Interesting views on courtship)

Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar, the patriarchs of the family, are well-known for having wholesome values to the nth degree. Picture them as the antithesis of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”  Christianity is the center-piece of their family and their faith in God steers the direction of this family. They endorse very old-fashioned values. For example, their children do not date – they “court,” which means that once they reach a mature age (16+ years), each of their children ventures out to find a suitable mate for marriage. This is done with parental approval and all dates are chaperoned by someone in the family. So far, none of their children have even kissed anyone romantically before marriage and they endorse this admittedly strange ritual called, “side-hugging.” The Duggars believe that you should save yourself for marriage and instead of hoping this happens for their kids, they instill their kids with Christian scripture and endorse certain rituals to hopefully make this happen.

Duggars Kiss #1

Controversy #1: The Duggars also hold this other biblically-based belief that has caused a little controversy recently. They believe that after someone gets married, they should have a passionate and romantic relationship.  They should kiss and do something that creates babies…often. So, a few weeks ago, one of their adult children (Jessa) posted a passionate kiss with her husband shortly after getting married. For some strange reason that I could not understand, people actually criticized this young couple for posting this passionate kiss on Instagram. I looked at this picture and said, “What’s the fuss? PDA of a married couple kissing is not controversial. If people have issues with this, they need to get a life.”

In an effort to show support for their daughter, Jim-Bob and Michelle posted a picture of themselves kissing passionately.  They wanted to show that a couple who has been married for 30 years still had some spunk. Of course, with 19 kids and counting, was this ever in doubt? They also challenged other married couples to post similar pictures of themselves on their Facebook Page, stating:

God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime. God loves marriage and it is supposed to be full of love, joy, fun and romance. Marriage is where romance belongs!  We’ve been married 30 years and are still in love! We had fun trying to duplicate Ben and Jessa’s happily married kissing picture. We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here.
duggar-kiss #2

Controversy #2: Sweet, right? Innocent, right? Apparently not. Same sex couples who were legally married, began posting pictures of themselves. The Duggars began deleting these photos. Charles Chan Massey, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights activist commented, “My post was soon deleted and I was banned from commenting, liking and posting any comments or photos.” Jim Wissick of Change.org launched a petition to have their reality show cancelled saying, “The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people. So far, 12,500 people have signed this petition.

Author’s Perspective #1: One of the tenets of this great nation is that we are all free to have our own opinions and viewpoints. The Duggars are a family and they have conservative values and follow the teachings of Christianity and biblical principals. They have every right to delete posts from their own website, just as you and I have the same right. Deleting same-sex photos from their website should not come as a surprise. If you watch the show, you know what they believe and why they believe it.

Author’s Perspective #2: As an American, any group has the right to protest and put pressure on television stations to not support the Duggars or their views. These groups are also free to express their anger or frustration. The American public also has the right to tune in or not tune in to this show on a weekly basis.

Author’s Perspective #3:  You have no idea how many lectures I have given on the importance of tolerance and inclusion, particularly in relation to this subject. I was one of those individuals who thought that if you didn’t accept a gay person and their subsequent choices that you were a bigot or a “hater.” My mindset was, “I am open minded and correct while your closed-minded views just needed some enlightened education.” I like to think that I have evolved and my views have progressed as I have matured. While I recognize that there are ignorant people who have hate in their heart toward others and are racist, sexist homophobic people, there are those who understand this topic and simply have different views. As Americans, we should respect, value and embrace those differences.

I fail to hear the “hate or fear-mungering” in the words or actions of the Duggars. I fail to see how their beliefs are an attack on the gay community. In my opinion, the controversy came when LGBT and Change.org decided to transform this light-hearted issue into one that fits their agenda. The hate, attacks and intolerance I hear are coming from these organizations.Even though I would vote for gay marriage to be legalized in this country, I am smart enough to know that  anyone who disagrees with me is not filled with hate or is homophobic. I am also smart enough to understand that Biblical principles will not change simply because a person, state or a nation takes a different viewpoint.  This is America, and we as Americans need to be more tolerant and accepting of people with differing belief systems.  If people want to have their lifestyle and values accepted, they need to be more accepting of other’s views, particularly when it differs from their own. Tolerance, in the end, goes both ways.

Your Turn: (1) Please place your comments below, (2) like and share our Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership)

1. Do you think the Duggars should have deleted pictures of same-sex couples from their Facebook Page? Why or why not?

2. I make a compelling argument that the Duggars are not homophobic people with hate in their hearts. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

3. If you were to offer suggestions to the Duggars or those at Change.org, what would it be?

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