I recently learned that there are a lot of rumors and strange tales in the political world surrounding the Duggars. Not being a huge follower of politics, I am not sure what to make of all of the mud slinging and rants that are prevalent on the internet about this large conservative family. Since becoming a homeschooling mom, politics has indeed taken on a whole new meaning for me. Just like most American’s today, I figured that my family had a right to do what we wanted pertaining to our children’s education; sans negligence and inadequacy , of course. That type of arrogance was quickly squelched when I became aware of the huge struggles and victories that homeschooling pioneers before me had faced in the 80′s and 90′s. I actually signed my very first petition (on the official White House website and everything!) that is trying to help a German couple obtain asylum in this country so that they may homeschool their children (it is illegal to homeschool in Germany). The asylum was denied on May 14, 2013, but HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) plans to appeal. To learn more about the Romeike Family and HSLDA go here: http://www.hslda.org/legal/cases/romeike.asp
The Duggars political platforms are pretty standard for homeschoolers, so I do know a bit about their political views and aspirations: Pro-Life, the stance on what a Biblical marriage should look like, and the freedom to homeschool. They have always stated that, “they have very conservative values”. Jim Bob was a political figure himself for a while, serving on the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002, after feeling that God called him to run for the seat. He has campaigned for other offices, but those campaigns were won by others. The second oldest son John David, has also thrown his hat into the political arena when he campaigned for Alderman of Tontitown, Arkansas in 2010 (he lost). The family publicly and financially supported Rick Santorum (whose family is also homeschoolers) during his campaign to be the Republican Presidential Candidate…..further pushing them into the political spotlight. They even drove around in their huge 45-foot bus with the Presidential Candidate’s name on it, imploring people to, “Joint the Fight!”.
Whatever is said about the Duggars concerning their beliefs and principles, one thing is very clear…….they knowingly invited scrutiny by publicly proclaiming their views on television and through the media (an observation, NOT a judgement). They were not afraid to openly display or discuss those opinions because they firmly believe in them. That is very commendable and regardless of your outlook on this family, standing up for what you believe in is a courageous thing if you are not hurting other people. Some would argue, however, that their children will suffer for their parents open and public views, but that is true for ANY child. Children are subjected to their parents convictions until they are legally free to make their own choices. Criticizing the Duggars because they have conservative values and that their children must adhere to those values while living in their home, seems hypocritical from anyone who also has values that they expect their own children to follow.
For me, the most confusing thing about the Duggars and why the world is so fascinated with their politics, is their involvement with Bill Gothard and ATI (Advanced Training Institute). The way I see it, they joined ATI (founded and run by Bill Gothard) when Josh was just 4 years old, and have used the homeschool curriculum associated with that Institute ever since. The meat of the curriculum is in the form of “Wisdom Booklets”, which I now own after purchasing a set off of Ebay (my family is not a member of ATI which is the only way that you can buy the books from the Institute itself). They are great booklets for their Bible study (we do not use them for the history or science because we use other materials). The program is very conservative and they do council you on many different aspects of your life, but I don’t see the Duggars complaining about the guidelines. Another family whom I love, Gil and Kelly Bates and their children, are also members of ATI….I don’t hear them complaining either. So, why all the fuss about that relationship? If you research it, you will find many sinister and ugly accusations…..tons of ‘Full Quiver” movements and “Gothard Cult” talk. I am sure there are people who have been dissapointed or even emotionally hurt by ATI, but I think that is true for ANY organization……and in ANY church. Does that make the organizations bad or wrong because they cannot serve or please eveyone? I don’t believe so……
So, it should not come as a shock for any of us that Josh and Anna Duggar are about to journey head-first into the world of politics. Although they haven’t physically moved to Washington D.C. yet, Josh has been intergrating himself into the game for a few months now. The oldest Duggar son and his wife just announced to the world last night on the Duggar’s show, 19 Kids and Counting (which airs on TLC), that they are uprooting their family of soon-to-be five and moving halfway across the country so that Josh can officially take a job in the Capitol. Why now? Because Josh was offered a job there and the young couple believe that it will be a good opportunity for their growing family. How do Jim Bob and Michelle feel? By all appearances (which weren’t many, but they did talk about it on the show) they are being supportive, yet although they have said nothing negative nor contrary, last night they looked heartbroken. What position is Josh accepting in D.C.? Now, that’s a whole other ball of wax……
There are way too many speculations on the internet, yet I could not find one “hard fact’ that could serve as a straight answer to the above question. Here is what I very loosely pieced together:
The possible organization that Josh is going to work for is called Family Research Council, which is a public policy organization in Washington, D.C. that defends and promotes the pro-family agenda. Their website can be found here: http://www.frc.org/ Supposedly, there was a statement issued from FRC that stated that Josh was just one of many candidates that applied for a job at their organization……but, I couldn’t find it (doesn’t mean it’s not there, but I am a homeschooler of four so I don’t have a full-time researcher schedule).
FRC’s vision and mission statements are:
Vision Statement: Family Research Council’s vision is a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish and religious liberty thrives.
Mission of Organization: Family Research Council’s mission is to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.
There are many, many opinions on Josh taking a reported ‘Senior Executive Position’…..some people are extremely happy and some people are downright infuriated (and a little scary). First of all, that Josh would even be offered such a position, and second that he would work for this organization. Good grief, a little contradictory isn’t it??
Eventually, time will tell exactly who Josh is going to work for, what position he will fill and what his job description will be. As a devout family person, I ache for the whole Duggar clan as they will surely feel the loss of losing close proximity to Josh and his family. No doubt, Josh and Anna will feel the loss the other way around as well. I myself, could never leave the area that I grew up in, because I know that doing so would be heartbreak for my Mom and Dad…….and truth be told, I have grown to genuinely feel the same about families staying close together geographically. All we can do is pray for the comfort of all of the Duggar’s who will be missing Josh and Anna, for Josh and Anna and their babies while they step out on this journey, and that every one of them seek God’s will in all that they do in this ministry of being an example for conservative Christians……Amen!
Read more on Josh and Anna Duggar, their story and updates on their life together here: http://ja20.com/