The spring speaking engagement for the Duggar family parents at a Canadian homeschool conference has now been put on hold due to angry backlash a day after the announcement was released to the press.
With the announcement yesterday that Duggar family parents Jim Bob and Michelle would be keynote speakers at a homeschool conference in Canada in April 2016, the sponsoring organization was overwhelmed with objections. The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) has now put the booking on hold and made an updated announcement on the homepage of its website.
Paul van den Bosch, AHEA’s president, told the Globe Unlimited that “his organization reached a contract with the Duggars two years ago. After the controversy, the Alberta group asked them to address how parents should react when their children make mistakes.”
When reports surfaced in May that the Duggar family had endured more than a year of incestual sexual abuse, the AHEA released a statement to its membership regarding the scheduled speaking engagement.
“As announced at our April 2015 convention, the Alberta Home Education Association has invited Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to be the keynote speakers at our 2016 convention.
“The AHEA board today affirms that decision after careful consideration of the facts of the recent controversy concerning one of the Duggar children.”
The AHEA statement also included several reasons why its Board of Directors made the decision in June to keep the Duggars on its scheduled list of speakers.
“The controversy surrounding actions taken by Josh Duggar is really ‘old news.’ The events happened more than a decade ago and were dealt with legally and morally at that time. AHEA does not condone Josh’s behavior but wishes to follow the example of the victims in this situation who have expressed a desire to ‘forgive and forget.’
“… Since all parents are prone to blaming themselves when their children make a mistake, it is AHEA’s hope that Jim Bob and Michelle will share what they learned as parents from these difficult experiences – learning of Josh’s behavior then and now living through the recent media hysteria.”
AHEA president Paul van den Bosch also posted his personal email on that announcement. Now, it appears that the objections to the Duggar family have increased and the cancellation seems likely.
This will not be the first time Jim Bob and Michell Duggar have been cancelled from scheduled appearances since their family scandals hit the media beginning in May. Their booking to speak at the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family sponsored by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado was cancelled in June.
A speaking engagement scheduled for August 2 at mega-church Lexington Baptist in South Carolina was abruptly cancelled. The church posted the announcement on its website.
“After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, we have decided to cancel our August 2 event with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. We are praying for the entire Duggar family and everyone involved in this heartbreakingly difficult situation.”
Since May, the only speaking engagements for Jim Bob and Michelle that were not cancelled consisted of a marriage conference in front of a few dozen people at an Arkansas retreat owned by a friend of the family and an organization affiliated with the disgraced Bill Gothard, author of the homeschool program used by the Duggar family.
Before their fall from the good graces of audiences, the Duggar family commanded up to $20,000 for an appearance, often speaking before crowds of thousands. The family’s 19 kids would be paraded on stage and sing a hymn or two, play musical instruments, and parents Jim Bob and Michelle would give a talk about parenting skills and family values. One engagement was in a 5,000-seat auditorium at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. That appearance was filmed by TLC and aired on the now-defunct 19 Kids and Counting.
In their heyday, the bulk of the family’s bookings were from politicians, homeschool conventions, and churches. Now that even more Duggar family scandals have emerged, those lucrative appearances are gone. The simple reason for this is that the Duggar parenting skills are no longer seen as an example for others to follow, and their core family values are now suspect.
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