The latest round of pro and anti-Duggar banter occurred when Michelle posted a kissing challenge, encouraging couples to emulate a steamy kiss between her and husband Jim Bob. It was a little weird to start out, but things got really bad when Michelle deleted photos of same sex couples kissing. Why? Because her definition of when kissing is okay is when it's between a married woman and a man. So apparently married same sex couples don't count to Michelle, even though they do count in the eyes of the law, and you know, people who are open to allowing people to be happy with who they are.
People are clearly not happy with this situation, and this is shown by a petition asking TLC to cancel 19 Kids and Counting. However, others have countered with a petition of their own to keep the show on the air because Michelle and crew support the idea of traditional marriage.
Here's my take on this situation - the whole thing is complicated.
It's complicated for TLC because:
- TLC just took a big hit losing Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The network lost a show that gave it millions of viewers; it is logical to lose another show that brings in strong ratings?
- TLC faces a challenge - does the network stand by the fight for rights and equality by cancelling the show, or do they conclude that any show will be controversial in some way, so it shouldn't allow a show to be cancelled because of some people's opinions? They probably won't cancel the show, in my opinion, because all publicity is good publicity, and this issue will probably get them even more viewers.
It's complicated for the Duggar family because:
- The Duggar family stands by their views, and technically you can't tell someone their opinion is wrong. Do we have to agree with the Duggars' opinions? Absolutely not. But us telling them their opinion is wrong is exactly the same as the Duggars telling viewers that their opinions are wrong.
- The Duggars face a decision: do they change their stance on gay marriage (or at least stop speaking against gay rights and such) or do they stand by their beliefs? I think people in a position of influence should use the gift they've been given to share positivity with the world, rather than hate. But the thing is, the Duggars truly believe they're doing the right thing, even if that belief can harm others. In their minds, what they are doing is the right thing. Like with the situation a while back where Michelle likened transgender people to pedophiles - what? It's so wrong on so many levels, but I genuinely believe that Michelle doesn't see that.
It's complicated for viewers because:
- 19 Kids and Counting is a fun show to watch. While I completely disagree with many of the Duggars' views and practices, I enjoy watching the show. However, it's for entertainment purposes only; I don't view the family as role models in any way. Do I give up a show I like because I disagree with their beliefs? I'm not sure.
What drives me a little bit crazy about this whole thing is the things I've read on Facebook and other media. One supporter of the Duggars praised the show, stating that it shows good Christian values and we need more of that on TV. That drives me nuts. Why? Because I don't think we do need more good CHRISTIAN values on TV. I think we should be good people on our own accord; it shouldn't have to be based in religion. And this goes back to believing in the "right" god. What if this was about a Jewish family? A Muslim family? An atheist family? People would be all up in arms because the family isn't worshiping the "right" god and showing the "right" morals, even if their opinions on gay marriage were the same as the Duggars'. It's that kind of intolerance (my religion is right / my morals are right / my religion belongs on TV because I'm in the majority so my views are correct) that breeds hate and problems!
I personally believe that people should be able to enjoy any religion that they would like, as long as they live their lives in a moral and ethical way. Our differences are what allow us to have intellectual discussions and think through complicated issues. However, I believe religion should be used for positive reasons. For example, use the teachings that say we should treat everyone equally and everyone deserves respect. We pick and choose what we take from religious texts anyway; why not focus on the good? Someone who truly wants to make the world "right" or "better" or whatever else should use their influence to make others feel accepted and allow them to be the best that they can be. Isn't it true that many religions teach that we should love all people? So use that! It's not possible to tell someone that their viewpoint on gay marriage or abortion is wrong, however, it is possible to explain that they don't have to partake in things that they don't believe in, but they shouldn't stop others from living their lives. We all deserve an equal chance to be happy, and putting hate out into the universe based on your own beliefs isn't helping anyone.
I really think what TLC should say to the Duggars is this: You have a popular show on the air and we would prefer not to cancel it. However, we'd like you to not spread hate. If you can't agree with this, we'll pull you off the air. We know we can't change your personal beliefs, but we can tell you what our network represents, and if you can't stand by our terms of sharing positive messages, we'll have to part ways.
What do you think of all this? Should 19 Kids and Counting stay on the air?