After a great deal of controversy about an Instagram photo posted by Jessa Seewald, formerly Duggar, her parents created the Duggar Kissing Challenge. Unfortunately for the famously fertile family, they quickly found themselves thoroughly trolled.
It started with an Instagram post.
However, the kiss was too steamy for many Duggar fans, who thought Jessa should keep her kissing behind closed doors. This was mixed in with another controversy: a comment on a blog post blew up into numerous stories, spreading the word (almost certainly untrue) around the internet that Jessa, who slipped off with her new husband Ben Seewald to share their first kiss behind closed doors, was doing more than kissing in the church. As the story traveled, it ranged from simply kissing that some thought too passionate and hands-on for a church setting, to hints that more ‘firsts’ took place in the room behind the chapel.
Jessa did the classy thing and refused to address the rumors at all, only posting scripture to explain why she was returning kindness rather than hate to those telling tales out of church.
However, her parents were inspired, it seems, to speak out in defense of their daughter, and posted their own kissing photo to the show’s official Facebook page, along with the following message.
“God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime. God loves marriage and it is supposed to be full of love, joy, fun and romance. Marriage is where romance belongs! Recently, Ben & Jessa received some criticism for posting a kissing picture. We are so grateful they waited to share their first kiss until after marriage. We’ve been married 30 years and are still in love! We had fun trying to duplicate Ben and Jessa’s happily married kissing picture. We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here…”
Naturally, the show’s many fans began to post their own sweet kisses, and stories. Stories of spouses lost, photos of couples kissing while wrangling large families, and tales of long-lived love quickly earned piles of likes, and affirmation.
However, various sites began to discuss the kissing challenge, often with tongue-in-cheek suggestions about trolling the page. Jezebel was among these.
“Obviously, this is a time to celebrate heterosexual, God-sanctioned, Christian, maritally-bound lovin’. It is not a time to troll the Duggar’s Facebook page with any of the following:”
“- Photos of yourself kissing your same-sex spouse”
“- Photos of yourself kissing your same-sex not-spouse”
“- Photos of yourself kissing someone you have no intention of marrying and whose last name you’re honestly a little fuzzy on”
“- Photos of yourself smooching a puppy, a Ken Doll, the Eiffel Tower, a particularly ravishing box of Kleenex, or any other animal or inanimate object for whom you nurse unholy, not-Duggar-approved passions.”
Inspired by Jezebel and other sites, or having thought up the idea on their own, a number of couples leapt at the chance to showcase love of all kinds. Several same-sex couples shared photos that fit the Duggars’ request (“We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here,”) without following the clear intent (“God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime.”)
Click over to the post to see all the photos, but here’s a small sample:
The Duggars aren’t responding to the spate of photos, but many other commenters are, with supportive and encouraging comments. TheDuggar Kissing Challenge may not have gotten the response the family intended, but they definitely did get plenty of loving couples sharing photos.