Reality television star Josh Duggar believes Christians should enjoy a special right to discriminate against LGBT people or be made victims of discrimination themselves.
The star of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” who works for the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, said Christians were being forced into silence on social issues such as same-sex marriage, reported CNS News.
“Right now in America there is an agenda to silence people of faith, those who hold a dissenting opinion,” Duggar said. “That's not what America was founded on. America was founded on respect, tolerance, and really not discriminating against people based on their religious convictions.”
Duggar, the eldest of 19 children and affiliated with the Quiverfull movement, described his Christian views as mainstream orthodoxy.
“Orthodox Christianity, in general, and all faiths, really, ascribe to the fact that the family is central to everything,” he said. “When you look at our economy right now and you look at all the other issues -- national security, immigration, all these issues that we face in our country -- it all goes back to when you have strong families, you have a strong economy, you have a strong nation.”
Duggar said the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality was “fundamental” to preserving the “bedrock” of family life.
“Only one other country in the entire world has ever redefined marriage, and that was Brazil, when they stepped in through the court system to do that,” Duggar claimed.
In fact, 18 countries worldwide legally approved same-sex marriage through legislative action or court rulings, and two others – Mexico and the United States – recognize same-sex unions in at least some regions.
He compared the case to the Roe v. Wade decision that overturned state bans on legal abortion.
“I think that in 1973 the court had another decision that they said we're going to decide this once and for all, and Roe v. Wade, when that was handed down it only began the debate that still continues today and obviously we know where that issue stands now,” Duggar said.
“All of Americans understand that the issue is not going away, so I think what we have to realize is this is only the beginning of a larger discussion -- and what's really at stake here is the American family,” he added.
He urged Christians to speak “with civility” when they called for legal discrimination against LGBT people.
"It's very clear that this is a debate that's not going to go away, and I think what we have to do is we have to come to this and we have to talk with civility,” Duggar said. “We have to go out there and we have to be clear in what we believe and we have to be firm in saying, look, this is where I stand.”
Watch an interiew with Duggar posted online by CNS News: