Leave it to PETA to push the envelope.
“Doggies Multiply Faster Than Duggars: Be Responsible. Always Spay and Neuter.” That was a billboard campaign
that the controversial animal-rights organization wanted to launch in Springdale, Arkansas, near where America’s most fertile homeschooling family resides. But the company that rents the billboard space (wisely) backed out.
It’s hardly the first time, nor will it be the last, that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their many children have become a contentious national talking point. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was downright respectful, compared to how unhinged liberal pundits have smeared them.
Back in 2005 when the Duggars had only 16 children, a San Francisco Chronicle writer named Mark Morford insulted the devout Christian family, sneeringly describing them as:
spotless white hyperreligious interchangeable people with alarmingly bad hair, the kids ranging in ages from 1 to 17, worse than those nuked Smurfs in that UNICEF commercial and worse than all the horrific rubble in Pakistan and worse than the cluster-bomb nightmare that is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise having a child as they suck the skin from each other's Scientological faces and even worse than that huge 13-foot python which ate that six-foot alligator and then exploded.
Morford also managed to both give Michelle Duggar crude advice and blaspheme the Lord:
If God wanted you to have a massive pile of children, she’d have given your uterus a hydraulic pump and a revolving door. Stop it now.”
When the family grew to 17 children, a controversial column
in the Hartford Advocate
by Alan Bisbort
, since withdrawn, advised Jim Bob to “get fixed:”
Michelle Duggar of Rogers, Arkansas is a bitch in heat. Literally. She just gave birth to her 17th puppy, er, child. The tone of the Associated Press story that accompanied this horrifying news was one of celebration. I mean, my gosh, 17 children! In a world bursting at the seams with more than 6 billion of us! This is nothing to celebrate. This is something to curse.
But the Duggars, in their powerful, pro-culture-of-life way, always manage to have the last word.
[youtube qGH0Ow4AZlc nolink]
Michelle, still in her early forties, bore her nineteenth child last year. Preemie Josie Brooklyn weighed only 1 lb, 6 oz at birth and was just released from the hospital this month thanks to amazing advances in medical technology. Throughout that ordeal, the Duggars picture landed on the cover of People
magazine with the obligatory sensationalist headline: “How many kids are too many?”
Michelle Duggar spoke right up. She was quoted in the People article
as saying, “We’ll just wait and see what God has in store.” Miracle baby Josie will be featured on a Mother’s Day special
on TLC’s popular reality television show featuring the Duggars, called 19 Kids and Counting.
Meanwhile, Jim Bob and Michelle’s embodiment of the philosophy that children are a gift from God have earned them millions of admirers. Admittedly, even fans don’t always get their counter-cultural ways, but many certainly find this wholesome, orderly group a welcome break from the hedonistic pursuits that are a staple of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
For instance …
- The Duggars are debt-free, yet own a spectacular 7000 square foot home.
- They eschew the often toxic dating culture, yet the oldest son, Josh, managed to find himself a lovely wife, Anna Keller, via a virtuous-style courting relationship. (The couple now has a baby girl of their own.)
- They are entrepreneurial, not seeking government handouts. Both Michelle and Jim Bob, in fact, are licensed real estate agents, while Josh owns a car dealership. They have also saved the taxpayers of Arkansas hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe more) by choosing to be homeschoolers.
- They are civic-minded. Besides Jim Bob serving a stint in the Arkansas legislature, they will also be headliners at The Baby Conference to be held this summer in San Antonio, and they have participated in short-term mission trips to El Salvador.
- They are stars, but celebrity has not turned them into Jon and Kate Gosselin. Their dress and manners remain modest and squarely grounded in middle America, not Hollywood. The Duggars make it clear they have one purpose and one purpose alone in this life: To glorify God. (My money is also on Michelle and Jim Bob to make good on the ‘till death do us part’ business.)
- They don’t mind being whimsical, given that all the childrens’ first names start with the letter “J.”
If America is softening towards the issue of life and very large families, it’s due, in no small part, to the example of Michelle Duggar, who in her own sweet fashion is a gladiator on the front-lines of the culture wars.
In fact, think of her as the anti-Margaret Sanger.