This week has seen a flood of outrage against Duggar family members by Catholics fighting back against perceived anti-Catholic rhetoric by the Duggars. Yesterday, Jill Duggar and her husband Derick Dillard only added fuel to the flame with a post on their blog, The Dillard Family, which appeared to be an effort to fade the heat but had the opposite effect for many.
The backlash against Jill and Derick comes from the fact that they claim to be missionaries in Guatemala, a country which is already 100 percent Christian and predominately Catholic. Comments on the blog post expressed anger against the couple and against others in the Duggar family as well.
“It is just difficult to understand what it is you are trying to do over there. You say you are not trying to convert Catholics yet here you are, preaching to Christians.”
“I hope you have not been called to convert Catholics as it is impossible to convert a Christian into a Christian.”
“I am about tired of Catholics being insulted. … Those who insult Catholicism clearly know nothing about it. … So why bash other religions just because they practice a little differently than yours? This is not the first time the Duggars have made a snarky comment about Catholicism. They claim not to be perfect but bash everybody that doesn’t follow their beliefs. Try being open-minded for once.”
“How can you convert Christians, when they’re already Christian? Preaching your specific sect of Christianity over others is not what Jesus called his disciples to do. You all, Ben included with his remarks specifically on Catholics.”
The comment about Ben was directed at several posts and videos by Jessa Duggar’s husband, Ben Seewald. One of the most notorious anti-Catholic posts he made was in July, 2014. Ben removed the post from his Facebook page, but a screenshot of the original text remains online.
In the post, Ben said he desired that Catholics “be turned from their deadly errors.” Some of the angry replies to Ben’s opinion are still posted on his Facebook page.
Last week, Canadian Catholics came together in strong opposition to the Duggar family when the speaking engagement for Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar at an upcoming convention was announced by a homeschool organization.
The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) had booked the Duggar family parents for its 2016 convention in early spring. Responses from its membership and the general public flooded the organization’s email address, which was posted on its website. One forum group claimed its members sent over 600 emails complaining about the selection of the Duggars for the convention line-up, and many of those complained about the Duggars’ anti-Catholic views. More than 50 percent of Canada’s population is Catholic.
Just days after the press release announcing their appearance, the booking was abruptly canceled by the organization. AHEA president Paul van den Bosch stated that “the Duggars’ philosophy is not representative of AHEA as a whole.”
One delighted Canadian posted a message on Facebook and promised that her group would email advertisers on TLC to have the Duggar family removed from that network.
“SO PROUD to be Canadian right now, and so proud to be part of a team that emailed and received letters back from the president of this conference.”
Members of the Catholic faith are particularly offended by Duggar family members who make public statements inferring that Catholics are not Christians. While it is true that Protestantism does not agree with Catholicism in many respects – and vice versa – posting public statements against Catholics for their religious beliefs does not sit well in any country, but this is especially true in the Western Hemisphere.
Many also feel that the Duggar family’s mission trips to El Salvador and Honduras every December target Catholics for conversion to the Protestant faith.
In July, 2014, the Duggar family (including all kids over the age of 10) along with Ben Seewald went as volunteer missionaries on a tour of El Salvador and Honduras. One of the other volunteers in the group posted pictures taken by Jim Bob Duggar on her blog and stated, “As it was in the early days of Catholics persecuting the Christian church, so it still is today in these countries.” The tour presents the “Christian church” as exclusively the Protestant church.
Those tours the Duggar family attends are led by Mike Schadt, the pastor who presided over the wedding of Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald on November 1, 2014.
Jill Duggar and her husband Derick Dillard were volunteers on a Mike Schadt tour to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for the entire month of July, 2015. Jill and Derick are expected to join the rest of the Duggar family on another Central American tour with Mike Schadt in December. Their jaunt is expected to be filmed for the second part of the upcoming TLC special Jill & Jessa: Counting On, which will air in the spring.
The backlash against the Duggar family will continue, so long as any Duggars continue missionary activity in Central America. A post on TLC’s Facebook page last Friday about the upcoming special drew many derogatory responses.
“The people of Central and South America already are Christians. They don’t need Duggars; they need Democracy and for Human Rights laws to be enforced.”
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[Image via TLC]