More than 70,000 people have signed a Change.org petition against The Learning Channel and Discovery Networks over the reality-TV program 19 Kids and Counting, which centers around the Duggar family, who adhere to a radical Christian sect called “Quiverfull families.”
According to Huffington Post, viewers are angry about participation by Duggar family matriarch Michelle Duggar in a series of robocalls in Fayetteville, Arkansas in which Duggar urged voters to not support a municipal nondiscrimination law, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender orientation.
In the calls, Michelle Duggar described LGBT people as “child predators,” and said that trans women are actually male sex offenders who want access to women’s locker rooms and bathrooms.
The petition was launched by Jim Wissick of San Jose, California, who said that the Duggars are promoting anti-LGBT “fear-mongering,” and reminding the networks of the family’s involvement in the Family Research Center (FRC), an anti-LBGT agency that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. Josh Duggar, one of Michelle and Jim Bob’s sons, is director of FRC Action, the group’s activist arm.
“The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people,” Wissick wrote on the Change.org petition page. “You need to take a stand on the side of justice and cancel their show.”
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have managed to parlay their notoriety as a Quiverfull family into a lucrative family business. In Quiverfull families, wives are urged to produce as many offspring as they physically can, sometimes at the risk of their own health and well-being.
The ostensible aim of keeping Quiverfull women constantly pregnant is to raise a Christian army of their descendants in accordance with a scripture from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.
“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth,” says Psalm 127. “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Some women who have left the faith, however, have said that the real aim is to subjugate women and keep them vulnerable and powerless under the tenets of the sect.
“Growing up in a Quiverfull home means being raised by a narcissistic father and having a mother with a huge martyr complex,” wrote former Quiverfull mother Vyckie Garrison. “The kids are treated as property to be hoarded. They are isolated, coerced and manipulated, abused and deprived socially and educationally. As surrogate moms, the older daughters bear the brunt of the work: cleaning, cooking … even homeschooling and disciplining their younger siblings when the Quiverfull mothers become too worn down and burned out from perpetual pregnancy and trying to keep up with this unsustainable lifestyle.”