Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard celebrated Thanksgiving with college students from other countries, and the former 19 Kids and Counting stars posed for a few photos with their new friends. These pictures are now being used to promote a college ministry program on social media.
On Saturday, two photos of Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard were posted on the Facebook and Instagram pages for C3, a college outreach program run by Cross Church. The pictures were both taken at Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s home in Springdale, Arkansas over Thanksgiving weekend. In one of the snapshots, Jill’s new nose piercing is visible and she’s standing next to a woman wearing a hijab.
“Last week some of our C3 families had the opportunity to host students from our International ministry for Thanksgiving!” reads the message accompanying the photo on the C3 Facebook page. “Thank you, to all the families who opened up their homes and made these students feel welcome over Thanksgiving break!”
The same photos were also posted on the Duggar Family News: Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Facebook page last week, and they prove that C3 altered the image of Jill standing next to the woman in the hijab. In the original photo, a second woman is standing on the other side of the Counting On star. Jill’s disgraced older brother, Josh Duggar, can be seen sitting at the dining room table in the background.
However, Duggar critics aren’t complaining about the photos because Jill and Derick made their new acquaintances eat dinner with Josh. Instead, they’re accusing the couple of using people of different faiths as props to score brownie points with fellow Christians. Jill and Derick previously mentioned their outreach to Muslims on their blog. In a September 4 post, they revealed that they had invited a Muslim family over “for an American dinner.”
“‘See? We can accept those whose religion is different than ours.’ I feel like they’re parading people who are different than they are to prove how great they are,” read one Facebook response to image of Jill Duggar posing with the woman wearing the hijab.
Jill and Derick may feel that their public image needs a boost because it recently took a major beating. Derick has been harshly criticized for tweeting transphobic remarks about a teenage girl, and his behavior even cost him his gig appearing on Counting On. This is because his target was Jazz Jennings, the teen star of another TLC reality show. However, his remarks about Jazz aren’t the only strike against him. As reported by In Touch Weekly, he has continued to anger and upset some netizens with his divisive tweets about other hot-button issues like feminism and race.
Some Duggar watchers believe that Jill Duggar’s new nose piercing is another ploy to distract from Derick’s Twitter troubles, but there’s also speculation that Jill thinks it will help her and Derick convert college students.
“I still don’t buy it. I think it is a rebranding of the Dillards to stay hip and relevant to the college ministry they are trying to pursue. Time will tell,” wrote one critic of the Duggar daughter’s nose stud.
“Maybe she did it to make herself more relatable to Muslims and Hindus in an effort to evangelize them?” another commented.
However, as evidenced by a Reddit discussion on the topic of nose piercings, not all Muslims would respond positively to Jill Duggar’s new jewelry; some members of the faith believe that the piercings make women look “promiscuous.”