Joseph Duggar is courting Kendra Caldwell! The latest of the older generation of Duggar children to enter the “courting” world is the 22-year-old, seventh-oldest Duggar kid (and third-oldest Duggar boy), who has officially entered into a “courtship” with an 18-year-old friend of the family.
Unfortunately, some evidence seems to indicate that Josh’s girlfriend is from a family that has some regrettable attitudes about LGBTQ people, but more on that in a few paragraphs.
— People Magazine (@people) March 8, 2017
First, the good news: As People reports, Josh and Kendra couldn’t be more excited about their courtship.
“We are so excited to share the news with others that we are courting. Our families are close friends through church and this has allowed Kendra and me to get to know each other. She’s the best!”
Kendra is similarly excited about the new relationship.
“I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time with Joseph as we take this exciting step toward a new season in life. It’s a really wonderful moment!”
For those not familiar with all this “courting” talk, the Duggar kids don’t “date” in the traditional sense that it’s understood in American culture. Instead, they invoke the old-fashioned practice that, perhaps, your great-grandmother did. First, the relationship requires the approval of the families (or, more specifically, the fathers) before it even gets off the ground. That is, Kendra had to get approval from Joseph’s father, Jim-Bob, in order to enter into the courtship, and Joseph had to get permission from Kendra’s father. Further, all of their “dates” will be chaperoned, and their physical contact will be limited to hugs.
It’s the same type of relationship all of the Duggar kids have gone through or will go through. Prior to Josh and Kendra’s announcement, the last Duggar to enter into a courtship was sister Joy-Anna, who began courting family friend Austin Forsyth last year and is now officially engaged.
— TheCelebrityTalk (@TheCelebrityTlk) March 4, 2017
That the Duggar family would practice an archaic and patriarchal relationship system like courting is par for the course for the deeply conservative, evangelical Christian Arkansas family. In fact, the Duggars’ lifestyle as a whole is devoted to an interpretation of Christianity that eschews birth control (which is why parents Jim-Bob and Michelle have so many kids), focuses on sexual purity, and favors the role of the father in shepherding the family – even when it comes to the relationships of adult/older teen children.
It should come as no surprise that Kendra Caldwell’s family is similar to the Duggars when it comes to lifestyle.
Unfortunately, however, the Caldwell family may have taken things to an uncomfortable extreme. As AOL News reports, the Caldwell family is known around Fayetteville, Arkansas, for their apparently homophobic and anti-LGBTQ views.
Kendra’s father, Paul Caldwell, is a pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and the congregation has been known to go door-to-door, handing out pamphlets that posit that “homosexuals” don’t exist.
“Does God love Homosexuals? This is a flawed question… There are no such things as Homosexuals.”
According to KNWA (Rogers, Arkansas), Fayetteville resident Joanna McCusker says she and a lot of her neighbors were offended.
“I was just offended that they would be going door-to-door in this community with that information. I think most neighbors were pretty offended.”
Kendra’s dad, for his part, insists that the message is not one of hate, but of love.
“Our church loves the LGBT community, hence the reason we have decided since Spring 2014 to reach out to them. This is just another avenue we are trying.”
You can watch Joseph Duggar’s courting of Kendra Caldwell when Counting On returns to TLC this summer.
[Featured Image by Vakidzasi/Thinkstock]