Exclusive: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar on spreading the culture of life with prayer and activism
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – They’re famous for welcoming new life, and welcoming it abundantly – Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have given millions of Americans a glimpse at life in a large family by starring in TLC’s popular reality show “19 Kids and Counting.”
The Duggars have been open about their pro-life values from the start, and they make no secret of the fact that they eschew all forms of birth control in order to allow God to set their family size. The family also showed their respect for the dignity of the unborn by honoring the two children they lost to miscarriage with names and burial services.
But just leading by example isn’t enough for the Duggars, who have also become increasingly involved in pro-life activism. The family has always been political – Jim Bob previously served in the Arkansas state legislature and made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2002, while their eldest son, Josh, was recently named executive director of the Family Research Center’s Political Action Committee. But in recent years, the Duggars have noticeably tightened their focus on right to life issues, using their platform to publicly advocate for laws limiting abortion – which they call the “baby holocaust” – and to form a coalition of pro-life groups called “Life United” that they hope will raise awareness of the victims of abortion.
LifeSiteNews caught up with the Duggars at the Students for Life of America Conference last week – where they were given the “Defenders of Life” award – and asked them about their new roles as leaders in the pro-life movement, along with their plans for the future.
“A couple of years ago, our family was in Washington, D.C., and we went through the Holocaust Museum, and we were just so amazed with how well that was done, telling the tragic story of all the Jews and many others throughout Europe that were killed,” Jim Bob told LifeSiteNews. “And after going through that, I just really felt like what was going on in America and around the world is a baby holocaust.”
Jim Bob pointed out that while the Holocaust Museum tells the story of 6 million people who were massacred, the number of babies slaughtered by abortion in the U.S. alone is closer to 60 million.
“It came to me – I thought, you know, what if we brought together all the pro-life groups in the nation, and formed kind of an umbrella group where eventually the goal would be to make a Life Museum in Washington, D.C. to highlight life and also talk about what has happened – how abortion started in America, how it became legal, and all the tragic stories that have happened.”
Such a museum, Jim Bob said, would also include “stories of people who chose life and how those lives were saved.”
“That’s the main goal behind Life United,” he said. “To make a Life Museum a reality in Washington, D.C.”
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While nine pro-life groups have already joined the movement to build the museum, the Duggars are under no illusion that bringing their vision to fruition will be an easy or inexpensive task. “Our goal right now is to promote the idea,” said Jim Bob, “and see if there are any major donors who will jump on board to make this happen in the future.” For now, he and his colleagues are busy laying the groundwork for the museum’s eventual content – “we’re trying to gather information, history, stories.”
While the Life Museum is still in the early planning stages, the Duggars have been busy with more than just that. Last year, they traveled the nation to speak out in support of multiple state legislative initiatives aimed at curbing abortion, including in Texas, where a 20-week abortion ban and tighter safety restrictions on abortion facilities spurred angry debates and protests, along with the filibuster that launched Wendy Davis onto the national stage, fueling her gubernatorial ambitions.
Jim Bob told LifeSiteNews that the Texas debate was particularly vicious, with a lot of anger on both sides. While he acknowledged that each side believed strongly in the rightness of their cause, he said he thought abortion supporters were “blinded.”
“The people who want abortion to continue, they think they’re supporting women’s rights,” he said, “but they’re just really blinded to the fact that these are little babies that are being killed. These are women who are maybe choosing a quick solution to a problem, but they don’t realize they’re going to have a lifetime of regret after they have the abortion.”
As for pro-abortion commentators who openly admit that abortion is killing but say it should remain legal, Jim Bob asserts they are victims of the same mentality that turned ordinary German citizens during World War II into accessories to mass murder.
“During the Holocaust,” he said, “I think [the Germans] got desensitized to what was happening, and eventually they just went along with it because they were fearing for their own lives and thought, ‘I can’t oppose this because if I do, my own life will be taken.’” He said that in today’s world, where “immorality is praised,” speaking up for virtue can feel dangerous, too.
But both Jim Bob and Michelle believe that it’s up to those who value life – especially Christians – to speak up for those who have no voice, in prayer and activism.
Michelle said that in her daily Bible reading, she came across a verse that described how “God said Abel’s blood cried out from the ground” after he was slain by his brother Cain. “I thought, ‘Lord, how do you view this, right now, today?’” she said. “The blood of these babies is – I’m sure – crying out to the Father.”
In addition to prayer and activism, the Duggars believe the traditional family is one of the most important defensive weapons against the death spiral of Western culture. They say the best thing people who value life and virtue can do to effect change is get married, have kids and raise them right. Raising nineteen kids of their own, the Duggars say they are keenly aware that what parents teach their children can have profound impact on the future.
“As parents, as we speak into the lives of our children, [we should] express gratitude, number one, for life,” Michelle told LifeSiteNews. “God is the giver of life. He’s the one who came up with the idea of marriage and children, and so we express that gratefulness to God to our children, say ‘We are just so grateful that He gave us you. You are such a gift.’ And then they view that as the truth; God says children are a blessing and a gift, and they go on – the next generation, and the next generation, and the next generation values life, because they’ve been taught that God values life.”