Derick Dillard has Duggar fans seething with some of his most recent tweets. In particular, following a story about a pastor shouting at children waiting in line to see Santa, Dillard tweeted the same statement: “Santa isn’t real!” Viewers weren’t pleased, and the Duggar son-in-law soon deleted the tweet.
However, the criticism elicited further response from him, leading him to return to an oft-repeated party line from the Duggar family: the idea that people hate them and that this hate is their expectation because of their beliefs and that they will be rewarded by God for accepting this hate.
Derick has spent the past week tweeting somewhat more frequently than usual. Moreover, the tweets have been of a nature particularly grating to some viewers: he has praised Donald Trump, engaged in “slut-shaming,” repeated the claim that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts, as well as promoting the “War on Christmas” narrative, and even lashed out at Santa Claus and the families who love him.
These resulted in predictable backlash: viewers reminded the Duggar son-in-law that “modest is hottest” is still sexualizing the way women dress, that modest clothing didn’t save the Duggar sisters from being molested by their brother, Josh Duggar, that there has never been a time when people couldn’t say “Merry Christmas,” and that the Planned Parenthood claims were thrown out of court and the videos discovered to be deceptively edited.
@derick4Him Jill & her sisters were modest. Didn't save them from unwanted sexual assault— Tracey Lavelle (@LavelleTracey) December 14, 2016
What went too far for many followers of the Duggar family, though, was when Derick Dillard trashed Santa Claus. A recent story has circulated about a pastor who shouted at children who were waiting in line to see Santa, which may have prompted this tweet — it drew much backlash and may have resonated with the Duggar family’s sentiments. According to King 5, Pastor David Grisham Jr. told kids that their parents are lying to them, that Santa isn’t real, and that Jesus is the real reason for the holiday season.
Dillard’s tweet, whether or not it was prompted by that news item, echoed it in at least one important respect: rather than addressing parents and sharing why he felt they should handle Christmas the way that his religious beliefs dictate, Derick addressed the statement directly to kids. (It’s unclear whether any kids young enough to be regular visitors with Santa actually have Twitter accounts and follow Derick Dillard, but the intent still seems to be to direct a message to them.) Though both Derick and Pastor Grisham certainly have the right to those beliefs, bypassing parents to push them on kids has been widely decried as inappropriate behavior.
Though Dillard later deleted that tweet, you can see a screenshot — and angry responses from Dillard’s Twitter followers — below.
Hey kids, Santa isn’t real!
@derick4Him in a child's heart he is! "Seeing isn't believing , believing is seeing "! We do one gift from Santa. Rest from us!— none of your busines (@DawnFos83) December 14, 2016
It’s not clear if the Duggar son-in-law felt the heat, or just changed his mind about the tweet, but it was later deleted. However, after a few days, Dillard returned to social media to let the viewers know what he thinks about their criticism, which has not only been about social media behavior but about Derick and Jill Dillard’s mission trip plans.
A photo posted by Derick Dillard (@derickdillard) on
Derick Dillard offered up a quote from his nephew’s namesake, Charles Spurgeon.
“If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.”
Derick Dillard is hardly the first member of the Duggar family to attempt to rebrand criticism of his behavior as a hatred based on religion. Below, for example, is one post by the Duggar Family Official Instagram page, declaring that the follower of God will be hated but also saved.
Then there’s a tweet from Josh Duggar, quoting a congressman who said those with religious values shouldn’t be considered a “hate group” — Josh Duggar tweeted this in 2013, coincidentally the year when, according to Gawker, he was paying for a “guaranteed affair” through an extramarital dating site.
If Derick Dillard and the rest of the Duggar family differentiate at all between criticisms of behavior, and “hate” due to religious beliefs, they don’t acknowledge it in any of their public statements or social media posts.
[Featured Image by TLC/YouTube]