A Canadian homeschooling association is taking heat for not canceling a keynote speech to be delivered by reality television stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar at their annual convention next April, reports the CBC.
Despite having their television show, 19 Kids and Counting, pulled from the air by the TLC network after it was revealed that their son Josh molested several of his sisters when he was a teen, the Duggars are still a draw.
According to Paul van den Bosch, president of the Alberta Home Education Association, the Duggar’s appearance was booked two years ago for the convention in Red Deer before all the controversies erupted.
“We were getting many more positive emails and calls from our members who still wanted to hear the Duggars,” said van den Bosch. “They basically said, you know, this did happen 10 years ago and it was the son, not the parents, so please don’t punish the parents for the sin of the son.”
The organizer added, “We don’t look for absolutely perfect speakers because, well — we’re human. Someone who is perfect? That’s unattainable.”
Not all members associated with the group agree with allowing the couple to headline the event.
“It is unfortunate that a group of people are tarnished with such a negative brush because of the actions of one family or organization,” read a statement from Diana Stinn, founder of the Phoenix Foundation.