The Duggars: the Anti-Gosselins
Even in the wake of the media circus that surrounds the Gosselin family, another reality TV show about an unusually large family premiered last night. WeTV showed Raising Sextuplets, which follows Bryan and Jenny Masche as they navigate raising six 16-month-olds. Like the Gosselins, the Masches are professing Christians. (In the show's opening sequence, Jenny shares that, despite the dangers involved in carrying a large pregnancy to term, "because of our faith, selective reduction was not an option.") In light of the Gosselins' recent troubles, it seems odd for any family to choose to expose themselves to the scrutiny that likely at least contributed to the Gosselins' marital problems. As Christians, we might ask, is it wise to enter a "public marriage" when the dangers have been so clearly laid out?
For proof that reality TV exposure does not itself destroy a family, we need look no further than TLC's 18 Kids and Counting, which offers a weekly peek into the life of the Duggar family. As part of the Quiverfull movement, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar abstain from all forms of birth control and, according to their website, "asked God to bless them with as many children as he saw fit in his timing." The show has followed them through multiple pregnancies, planning, building, and moving into a 7,000-square-foot home (built debt-free), and even the courtship, marriage, and pregnancy of Jim Bob and Michelle's eldest, Josh, and his wife, Anna.
To most viewers, the Duggar family is truly ...1