We picked up this edition of "Life Matters" from our church bulletin, and I thought that I would post it on here in two parts, since it is rather long. It is a great article! Hope you all enjoy it!
What's wrong with this picture?
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are happily expecting their 18th child in January 2009, With that announcement, the family (pictured in front of their home) has once again become the object of world wide media coverage and blogoshpere discussion.
The fascination, of course, is with the size of the Duggar family. Back in 2005, the Dallas Morning News ran a story on the family (which then consisted of only 16 children) observing, "in an era when the ideal family is is widely viewed as two children - one girl, one boy - the Duggars are an anomaly..."
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2003 that family groups with four or more children continue to decline from 17% in 1970 to 5% in 2003. In addition, the Census Bureau reported in 2004 that "During the past decade, the [fertility] rate has fluctuated between 2.0 and 2.1 births per woman, close to the rate required for natural replacement of the population (about 2.1 births per woman.)
Unwarranted criticism and attacks
Based on this information, there is no doubt the Duggar family size is atypical. But "atypical" should in no way generate criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle's openness to life, an yet, that is exactly what has and continues to happen.
With the exception of Mark Morford, a popular columnist who writes for the San Franciscan Chronicle and sfgate.com, the mainstream media has generally shied away from judgmental comments about the Duggars. In his October 2005 column - entitled "God does not want 16 kids" -Morford referred to Michelle and Jim Bob's decision to have a large family as "weird pathological protofamily breeding happy gluttony". Then he asked, "Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest?"
Following these vitriolic comments, Morford lamented that these "kidbots will never be allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right - where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on culture? Where is the counterbalance to offset the damage?"
There you have it. This "tolerant", progressive so-called "pro-choice" writer does not believe the Duggars (or other large families) should have the freedom to choose how many children they have. He has no tolerance for people who have what he believes are too many children and he has no tolerance for those of us who believe in God. And, he apparently thinks designer jean and a good hair cut are more important than love and responsibility.
Moford comments "mild" compared to blogosphere.
Just as the case in 2007 when Michelle gave birth to her 17th child, the blogosphere is abuzz about her 18th baby in utero. While there certainly have been positive comments about the Duggars, the majority are negative. Many are down right malicious and venomous - terribly cruel to say the least. Many are so sexually explicit that I would not even consider citing them in this publication.
The majority of the negative comments contain over the top stereotypical remarks not based on factual information. I found the comments from the pro-abortion radical feminists to be the most interesting and ironic. Their mantra has always included "a women has the right to choose", "all children should be wanted", and "women have the right to choose if and when to have a child."
Yet, the feminist blogs are chock-full of condemnations of Michelle Duggar's choice to have 18 children. One feminist who dared to challenge the criticism was told, "What the Duggars are doing amounts to the emotional abuse of the mother, not reproductive freedom."
I have seen the Duggar family a number of times on The Learning Channel and they appear to be a happy, well-adjusted, responsible Baptist family. Michelle was named Arkansas mother of the year for 2004. They live in a 7,000 square foot house with nine bathrooms on 20 acres in Tontitown, Arkansas. They are debt free and the children are home-schooled.
The rest of this article will be continued tomorrow. Once again, I did not write this article. Comments are welcome, but keep them positive. Anything abusive, rude or with inappropriate language will not be published. Keep your thoughts and comments kind and charitable!