In a recent series of messages from Ben Seewald, Duggar fans are asked not to call President Barack Obama names or be insulting to him, or any other leader. In fact, Seewald calls on viewers to try prayer, and to honor even those leaders whose views might run counter to their own.
The Duggar family is very political, and openly so. Jim Bob Duggar has sought political office, and the family has supported Mike Huckabee through multiple campaigns. Though they may not tell viewers exactly who to vote for, they make it clear that they themselves support conservative politicians and policies.
Josh Duggar, of course, served on the Family Research Council, until his recent spate of scandals, including the release of a police report detailing alleged molestation of five young girls, ended his relationship with the conservative political organization. He has shown no reluctance to criticize Obama, often retweeting other conservatives and political figures.
RT @CharlieDaniels: Give Obama an inch and he'll take a drone.
— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) March 7, 2013
— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) January 25, 2012
RT @keder: Obama makes yet another list of things he wants to do, makes no mention at all of why he didn't do them in his first term.
— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) October 4, 2012
I wish it was that easy! RT: @SeanHannity UNINSTALLING OBAMA….. █████████████▒▒▒▒▒▒ 74% complete” — Tom Begley
— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) April 8, 2012
However, let’s be clear: Josh Duggar’s criticisms are primarily of the political sort. His commentary isn’t peppered with racial slurs or derogatory language.
Still, there’s not exactly anything positive, either, and Duggar even taps into Birtherism. Leaders aside, the Duggar family matriarch didn’t avoid derogatory statements when she recorded a robocall claiming that transgender protections would place women and young girls in danger from ‘men with past child predator convictions,’ who would ‘claim they are female.’ (Full text and audio of the call available at the Washington Post.)
It’s pretty clear the Duggar family does not support President Obama or any liberal or Democratic policies — so to see Ben Seewald, husband of Jim Bob Duggar’s daughter Jessa, posting a photo of Obama on his social media this week may have come as a surprise to followers.
Be in prayer for president Obama. "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
“Be in prayer for President Obama.”
A closer inspection of the post shows that Seewald is calling for prayers for the man — and not in the ‘may his days be few’ sense. (Politico reports that a GOP Senator joked about praying exactly that this summer.)
Not so for Ben Seewald — his call to prayer appears to be sincere, quoting the first four verses of 1 Timothy Chapter 2 in an assertion that praying for leaders will help create
“…a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
It’s not the first time Seewald has shown distance from the Duggar family in his political style — last month, he asserted that electing a Republican is not the path to “making America great again.”
That wasn’t the end, though — Seewald didn’t drop a call to prayer and run. Instead, as Duggar fans and followers spent Thursday and Friday arguing over the president’s religion, level of honesty, and degree of wisdom, Ben returned to ask for civility and to suggest that name-calling is not a good example of Christianity.
“You can pray for a political leader and not agree with all of their views.
“Also, before calling a leader (or anyone else) by a derogatory term, consider this: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17
Not all of the Duggar fans on Ben Seewald’s Instagram page agreed — there were references to the aforementioned ‘may his days be few’ prayer, and one fan said she could never pray for Obama.
Perhaps the distance between Seewald’s politics and those of his his Duggar in-laws’ explains the vehement response from viewers. A political rift between the Duggar household and Ben Seewald’s home, however, in an election year and with a new baby on the way, could spell new troubles for the family’s reality show brand.
[Image via TLC/YouTube]