When you think you’re out of Duggars, the world gives you more.

Just when you think there can’t possibly be anything else to be said about the Duggar family, a comment comes trickling in that raises your eyebrows right up into your hairline.

Now, I’ve been very very clear that I think the Duggar family practice–though not what I would want for myself–is something freely chosen by the family for their private life. The keys there being “freely chosen” and “private”–it’s none of anyone else’s business unless it causes due harm or is attained only through coercion. Which doesn’t seem to be the case.

However, this ‘live-and-let-live’ philosophy is apparently not nearly enough for, as Twisty might say, the godbags of the world and their wifely babymakers.

Like one “Mari-Jo,” whose comments on the original Duggar thread caused my eyes to goggle–and not just because of the over enthusiastic sprinkling of exclamation points. Witness thusly:

I am in awe of the Duggar family! I love the organization! This couple live their faith. They believe that God will provide and he does! They teach their children the laws of God and give evidence by example.

You’re totally welcome to your awe and your love. I don’t understand it, but I have no problem with the Duggars living their faith, and abiding by the laws of God. I worry if their kids will ever be able to socially integrate (in the event they want/need to). But that’s neither here nor there–when they’re 18, they can make their own choices, just like the rest of us. And until then… well, people have different upbringings. Some are weirder than others. Most still survive.

But I do take issue with the last part of your statement. The part where their windfall is proof of God providing. You think that God provides for everyone. What about women who are battered, for men who are murdered or people steeped in violence and ugliness every day? For children who are assaulted or starving or diseased or live through a childhood completely devoid of love or affection? I mean, have you looked outside of your sheltered life to really consider what “God provides” really means? It guess it means that you don’t have to take responsibility for your own personal choices or feel responsible for really helping others–or feel guilty about your good fortune over others. It means you want God to figure it all out for you.

But it doesn’t work like that. God’s not your Daddy, and you’re not 5 years old. God “takes care of you” metaphorically, by providing you the ability to attempt to take care of yourself. Free will.

The Duggars are making their way and claiming that ‘God provides,’ but in reality, a fortunate combination of attractiveness, whiteness, and circumstance provides. I might not agree with their particular hair product choices, but it’s midwestern prairie politics. It got him elected. She was a cheerleader. He’s a good ol’ boy. And if they weren’t white, you could forget it. I’m certain there are many black single moms with a dozen kids who are pretty sure that “God” doesn’t provide. None of these good upstanding souls that donated time and resources to the Duggars will cut those supermoms a break. And they certainly wouldn’t get all new appliances.

If God did not want them to keep having babies, then she would not get pregnant!

Divine birth control, eh? So tell me, MB, why are there so many unwanted children in the world? Because, by this reasoning, God wants people to conceive children that they’re later going to starve, beat, molest, or murder. And that’s not even touching the subject of abortion. If God is so against abortion–and has this kind of interest in using his superpowers to muck around with human progress–then why does he knock up so many women that he could just leave well enough alone?

For Christ’s sake, it’s biology not theology. Otherwise there would be no point to IVF, nor to contraception. If God wanted you pregnant, you would be; and if he didn’t, you would never conceive. You can’t have it both ways.

They are just leaving the decisions up to God and not blatantly refusing to accept God’s will. Children are gifts from God! Besides, there is power in numbers!

God’s will may have created biology and probability, but I don’t believe he (or anyone else) controls the roll of the dice. And, to be honest, referring to “God’s will” in regard to birth but not at all in death or with regard to fertility is totally hypocritical. Birth control is merely a way to sway the statistics in your favor, and is the moral equivalent to IVF or any other active pursuit of pregnancy. After all, a godly wife’s barrenness or the minister’s heart attack might also be a “God’s will.” Yet we treat them.

And then, for a moment, we actually agree: For those who desire a family with biological offspring, pregnancy and children are indeed gifts. And I am certain that there are some who found an unexpected pregnancy to be, in the end, a great gift. However, I am also sure that there are some for whom an accidental knocking-up is life-altering–and not in a good way. Like many other things in this world, it all depends on your perspective.

And I totally don’t get the whole “power in numbers” deal. What is it exactly they need power in numbers to overcome? Or to spread? (And that’s the problem. If they want to do this for themselves, great. But they seem to need power and numbers. That gets scary quick.)

And, moreover, I’m starting to get the feeling this is more about that than about having many children because you want lots of kids.

When Michelle and Jim Bob are old, they won’t be in nursing homes because there will be enough children to share in the care of their parents, physically and financially.

You know, this is a reason lots of people give for why childless couples should have children (“Oh, you don’t want to be all alone when you’re older…”), but it’s one that doesn’t sit very well with me. I think you should have children because you very much want them, not because you’re afraid of growing old alone… or of not having enough money to retire on your own savings. And even having kids won’t guarantee success financially.

Now, the Duggars? They seem to want their kids, and more kids. More power to them. And the likelihood that at least one of their children can and will support them in their old age is high–but, again, that’s not a reason to have that many children. Or any children. Have them because you really want to be a parent.

Also, and just in general for large families, financial robustness isn’t usually an end goal. Few families are as fortunate as the Duggars to have corporate sponsorship (from both the networks that have aired their specials and the retailers featured in them (Hello, WalMart)) and a successful real estate business under their belts. I do not at all say that to begrudge Jim Bob his success. I’m totally ‘yay money’ especially for those who wish to have a dozen plus kids. I’m just saying it’s not every family that can manage that kind of income. And it requires that kind of income to feed, clothe, and educate an entire football team, plus some coaching staff.

Plus- the burden per child will be significantly smaller due to their numbers! By sharing in the chores, upkeep and care of other siblings while growing up, these kids will know how to care for themselves and their own families and homes when they are adults.

Wait, wait, wait… I’m not understanding how the burden–which grows with each child that’s added–is reduced per child per addition. It’s a 1:1 ratio. Add one worker kid, but require one more caretaker kid. In their parlance, “buddy.” It doesn’t help–it’s just breaking even.

Unless you mean that the burden of child-raising on the parents is reduced, since once they have enough older children to assume the responsiblity of raising the younger ones, the parents can cede responsibility to their offspring.

Which, well, that’s kind of what I think has happened. But is it ultimately good for children to be responsible for raising their siblings? Admittedly, by the time a child comes of age in the Duggar household (especially if he or she is one of the upper 10 or so), they’ve seen as many babies being born and cared for as any decent medical intern. And I am quite certain they will never need home ec classes or instruction on organization or industrial kitchen. But at what cost?

The price is difficult to calculate. Children should help out around the house by doing chores and assisting their parents. And it is generally agreed that young children should not work–this is why the state requires a license for people younger than 16 who wish employment. The question is how much work at home is too much and beyond that reasonable amount that children should be expected to perform? I daresay the Duggar kids miss out on some childhood fun due to their expected household duties. A specific example? Two of the Duggar daughters are the primary cooks for the household. They each prepare a major meal of the day–only breakfast is prepared by other members of the family. So two teenage girls, in addition to the buddy duties and other household chores, must prepare a meal for 20 or more people on a daily basis. That sounds like a real job to me.

They will have plenty of time in their lives to get “introduced” to the “real world” (a relative term). It really is ideal to instill a good solid base of faith, morals and education before the “real world” tries to destroy them. They will be stronger.

Ok, two things here: one, I believe the introduction to the real world is better sooner than later. Knowing how to deal with people who aren’t like you is a useful skill. And hard to do if the only people you see are exactly like you. And sussing all that out at 18? With no prior experience? Ouch.

And, perhaps more importantly, the real world doesn’t have any cruel intentions–it’s not out to “destroy” anything or anyone. I’m sorry you feel threatened by other people’s actions or beliefs. I guess that we have in common as well.

After all, we were born to be able to freely choose the love of God, not the love of the Ipod.

“Freely choose” implies you can make either choice. What you’re trying to say is that we should choose to love God, and not material things. The two aren’t exclusive as far as I know. And the ubiquitous iPod is probably not a good place to pick a fight. I want to listen to tunes while I mow my yard. How is God being slighted there?

Not to mention that some of the greatest excesses I see? Are mega-churches. Also, women having 16 children.

May God Bless them! For every one else- don’t begrudge others any gifts bestowed upon them. This is God’s way of providing for them.

If you want what they may have received in “hand outs” then do what they do or remain silent!

I’ve already said, in part, why I don’t think this will work indefinitely. The Duggars are a perfect storm–right look, right time, right places. There is a limit to how much product or effort will be available for free, and it’s not going to be the most worthy that get it–it’ll be the most photogenic or best publicized. It won’t be an inner city mom-of-many or a gay couple with a brood that gets Wal-Mart’s publicity shot.

And as for “remaining silent”: uh, no. If you have a right to tell me what is “best” for me, with regard to my own body and my own family… I think I can safely respond with something akin to “hell no.”

This is about “thy will be done” not “my will be done” Praise God!

There is nothing more presumptious–or less godly–than a church-goer who has not only decided that they have a monopoly on “goodness,” but also that they–and they alone–truly understand what it is that God wants. And to not only be entirely certain what God wants for you but also what God wants for other people!

People like Mari-Jo are, in large part, the reason that people like me have no truck with the great majority of Gods or their followers. Religion is like a cancer–its need to reproduce itself entirely outstrips the host’s ability to support it–and in the end, both are dead.

5 responses to “When you think you’re out of Duggars, the world gives you more.”

  1. brian Says:

    I always find the dichotomy of two realities a bit confusing. There’s the Real World that the allegedly completely evil (even to other humans) people populate to the absence of all fundamentalist Christians… and then there’s the reality in which God decides when women get pregnant. In other words, God’s only around when the overwhelming majority of people present are fundamentalist Christian. That’s the only sense I can make of the logic, and I grew up in a fundamentalist environment.

    That logic is the reason for the power hunger, the excuse for the bloodshed, and the general drive to beat the rest of the nation into their mold. Never mind that many of us find that mold to be extremely shallow at best, and morally offensive at its worst. So yes, yes they need to fight violently to have their will impinged upon the rest of us.

  2. heather Says:

    I came across your blog and I just had to leave a comment. I would like to know where this BREED MARE with frizzed out hair plans on taking her older children to take their SAT tests for college ; or are they expected to grow up and be like mommy and daddy with NO education ??? I am a teacher, and I think what these people are doing is cruel and rotten…do these kids have any peers that they can hang out with in between their bible studies and child rearing of their younger siblings ? What they should do is tie the mother’s tubes, and get the kids to see an orthodontist on a family plan, because most of them have a mouth problem as well…I am just trying to figure out which parent has the biggest mouth problem, take a look at them if you don’t believe me. Also, I wonder if she would be BLOWING OUT KIDS every 15 minutes if she had just ONE child with a learning problem, or autism, or Down’s Syndrome. I’d like to see her handle a kid with amblyopia, never mind ADHD ! Let’s hope this last one is her last ! They are just DISGUSTING ! I just don’t think it’s fair for these bible thumpers to keep producing kids who will in turn, produce more….then run to the bible and find some bible passage to say that what they are doing is “God’s will”. Let’s hope that she goes into menopause soon, and her hormones stop racing. Enough is enough ! If they didn’t like all of the publicity that they are getting, then they would refuse the t.v. documentaries and all of the freebies that comwe with the t.v. documentaries.

  3. Eve Says:

    I can tell you are more of a pew warmer,,if you go to church at all than a real bible believing person.

    site owner says:

    And I can tell you’re a judgemental bigot who gives Christians a bad rap.

    I do believe in the bible. I believe it is a book, with all good intentions of being both a historical record and religious tract for a fairly moral religion… that has been translated and twisted and taken out of context for uses that were never meant, given meanings that are wholly inaccurate or at best unsustainable, and touted about as an infallible ruling when it is at best a well-meant guide.

    If you spent more time /studying/ the bible instead of breathlessly memorizing it and the words of small, scared men… then you might realize that. But I have little hope.

    As for warming a pew? I haven’t in more than a decade, largely because of people exactly like you.

    The bible teaches us many things and it appears to me that the Duggars are going by the book.

    What part of the book says you need an enormous house kitted out with the finest in home appliances paid for by an outlet of a media conglomerate that you believe is part of the /inherent evil/ in the secular world? Hypocrisy much?

    As for the inner city Mom….is she married? Does she know who the Daddy of any of children are? Did she have more kids just to get more welfare checks? This inner city Mom is usually one who is usually not God fearing or clean living…A lot are on drugs and just let someone else take care of their kids or they just wander the streets…don’t pretend you don’t know what they do.

    That might just be the most racist and classist thing I’ve ever heard anyone say in my entire life.

    How about that inner city mom? You hear “inner city” and mistake it for “crackhead.” Not to say that a crackhead is any less deserving of God’s grace… because, clearly, if you /read/ the bible, you know that the /least/ of us–the sick the poor the sinners–are greatest to god. You wouldn’t be /judging/ now would you?

    And that entirely aside, why don’t you chew over the profile of a real inner city mom: Hispanic, early 40s, Catholic. A child of immigrants, a citizen (lest your xenophobia come out to play as well). No money for college, so she joined the workforce and got married, in the church. Her religion forbade birth control, as does the Duggars. She has been married for 20 years now, and has 11 children. She and her husband both work–they have to, and sometimes he has to work multiple jobs just to pay the bills. The live in a cramped 3-bedroom apartment. Their kids go to public school and public daycare or stay with friends and family–not because their mother doesn’t /want/ to stay home, or is out “walking the streets” but because she is working–they can’t afford anything else. She prays /daily/ for menopause, or–at the least–not to be pregnant /again/. The medical bills from the children they already have are staggering, not to mention the amount of time she spends off work–without paid leave–for each birth or bout of childhood illness. The local clinic–or Planned Parenthood–gives some amount of pre and post-natal care, but anything beyond run-of-the-mill illness and this insurance-less family is screwed. And why don’t they have insurance? Well, first, a good portion of the jobs they are able to get don’t carry insurance benefits. This includes many jobs through temp agencies or deemed “part time” to save companies money on inessential personel. And those that do get bennies aren’t on the cushy plans enjoyed by office denizens and middle managers. And even if they were, the monthly premiums for a family of 11? Would reduce an already-meager paycheck to nearly nothing.

    That is reality. Not television reality, not Montel Williams reality.

    And what do you think when you see this mom in the grocery, counting out WIC foodstamps? I’m fairly certain you don’t rush to congratulate /her/ on her display of god’s great will. Her kids are the ones you forbid your kids to play with. You’re certainly not going to tithe to give her the baby grand piano her children “need.” Discovery Channel isn’t knocking down her door with 6-figure checks.

    At least this Mom is married, and trying to bring her kids up to contribute to society and not be a drain…

    As noted, marriage isn’t only the property of quiver-full fundamentalists.

    And I’m not so certain the Duggar kids are particularly keen on contributing anything to a society they’ve never seen or been encouraged to even contemplate. The family is clearly separatist–they do not regularly interact with any portion of “society” other than a select few from their home church. And speaking of the “home church,” it’s been mentioned here before (though not entirely substantiated) that the family has their expansive, expensive home–which is connected to city services like any other property–written off as a religious building for tax sheltering purposes. Thousands of dollars in taxes a year they’re not “contributing” to society already. And does no one recognize the absolute hypocrisy of a formerly elected–and paid by the state–official loopholing his way out of paying his part back into the coffers?

    And here, again, you assume that “inner city” is a euphamism for “inevitably state dependant.” So not true. So many of my contemporaries–bright, skilled, talented and successful people–come from backgrounds just like the one I described earlier. You are clearly out of touch with reality.

    as for the Gay couple…read your bible..their lifestyle is an abomination to God…I didn’t say that…He says that….they shouldn’t be together in the first place in God’s eyes,,much less trying to raise children…

    Let me ask? Do you eat shellfish? Does your godly husband trim his beard? If so, the same verses that call homosexuals an abomination apply the same to those now-permissable things. And quite a few more. In fact, verses from the same book–Leviticus, in case you need to check it out–dictate how and when one should take slaves–from neighboring countries of course–and how women should be shut away during menses. I’m thinking there’s an awful lot of unwitting abomination going on out there, if we’re going strictly “by the book.”

    The bible was written by men. Men attempting to lay down historical and spiritual record, a writing greatly affected by the rules and laws of society and citizenry at the time. And if you take the time to study not just the words on the page, but their context in their time, the picture becomes far more clear. The book of Leviticus deals almost entirely with the rules regarding health and public safety of that era. Communicable disease–what with the lack of antibiotics–was a serious problem. Cholera was rampant, and shellfish was a common source of the disease, coming from waters polluted by human and animal waste. Pork was forbidden for similar reasons, the pig being able to host many dangerous-to-consume organisms. The rules about sex were in place for the same reasons. Lacking today’s hygenic practices and short-course antibiotics and antifungals, sexual intercourse with a menustrating woman–or really any contact at all outside of a virginal marriage bed–also carried a high risk, not just of catching today’s “scary” STDs, but of common, treatable infections that, then, could be quite deadly. For instance, many woman have recurring yeast infections at menustration, and those can be passed to their partners–especially so when the climate and conditions and dress all encouraged that sort of illness. Untreated, that kind of infection can lead to sterility, sepsis, and death. The same risk of general infection/illness is true of unprotected anal sex–thus the ban on male-male relations and on sodomy in general. There was no cure for even “minor” STDs, so once they were introduced into a population, they spread–and not solely through sexual contact. Remember, they didn’t have antibiotic soaps or practice even remotely safe hygiene. People shared everything from bedsheets to undergarments, and they didn’t pop down to the store for disposable toilet paper or run a load of wash with bleach after an illness. Promoting fidelity was a public health mandate, in a time where safe sex options and basic medical intervention were simply not available. Controlling behavior was the best that could be done.

    But now, like the advances in food handling, processing, and animal care that allow us to eat shellfish and bacon, there have also been sufficient advances in medicine and reproductive technology–and the knowledge of the importance of hygiene–that allow humans to behave as they are naturally inclined.

    It’s called context. You should try it sometime.

    If you are going to preach Sister,,you need to make sure you are versed in the Bible…

    *snort*

    Versed in your version of what you think the bible says? No thanks.

    Carry on Duggars….God has truely blessed you.

    As has Campbells Soup and Huggies Diapers. Amen, you corporate whores, Amen.

  4. Kim Says:

    I have been thinking about this mess ever since I saw that wedding show, and I must say, I think I love you.

  5. bascha Says:

    Awwww, shucks. *scuffs foot* Thanks…

    I’ve another Duggar post in the works, but they always seem to get away from me in length. Perhaps I’ll get around to posting it soon.

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