Jessa Duggar’s boyfriend posts rant against Catholics, then deletes it

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When I first saw this story I thought it was about Jill Duggar’s new husband, Derick Dillard. It’s not that I can’t tell the many Duggar progeny apart, I sort-of can, it’s that I didn’t really read the story and rolled my eyes at it. It’s one of those “my religion is better than your religion, even though we have the same God” arguments, and really who has the time or patience for that? These people do, obviously.

Jessa Duggar’s 19 year-old fiance, apparently frustrated by the lack of full-on hugs from his would-be bride, posted a Facebook entry denouncing Catholics for some ways their religion differs from his own Evangelical beliefs. It was very eye-roll inducing and the kid must have realized that on some level because he deleted it when people started calling him out on it.

Ben Seewald, the staunch Christian boyfriend of 19 Kids and Counting star Jessa Duggar, 21, has been forced to delete an anti-Catholic rant he posted to his Facebook page last week, after it caused a social media storm, reports RadarOnline.

The 19-year-old, from Hot Springs, Arkansas, vented his ‘problem’ with the Catholic faith, slamming the religion for suggesting that Jesus’ mother Mary was a ‘sinless being,’ and quoting scripture to support his views.

‘Where [Catholics] depart from Scripture, I will in no way support, but will call them out because I love them and desire that they be turned from their deadly errors,’ the frothy diatribe read.

‘I have nothing against individuals who are Catholic,’ the post read. ‘I know a lot of Catholics who are great people. What I DO have a problem with is the teaching that man can merit God’s favor through his own works or the works of other fallen men.’

It continued: ‘I DO have a problem with the teaching that man can come to God through Mary or any other person besides Jesus . . . I DO have a problem with the deification of Mary as a sinless being.

‘Mary herself admitted her need for a Savior. If she had no sin, she would need no Savior.’

Readers were quick to respond to Ben’s post – not the first aggressive religion rant he has shared to the social media site.

‘Ben is the worst. He is just the worst,’ one user commented. ‘This kind of ‘Christian love’ is one of the most sickening sentiments on the planet.

‘It’s demeaning, it’s condescending, it’s self-aggrandizing and it turns my stomach.’

Many users pointed out the various errors in his Bible references, with one writing: ‘You post your almighty preachings as if you know the real truth.

‘But, then people point out your numerous mistakes, you take your post down or just erase all the negative things. Grow up boy and face the truth.’

Not long afterwards, Mr Seewald did indeed erase the post. He has since shared a post about ‘Abortion. America’s Silent Killer,’ – another one of his preferred subjects to proselytize.

[From Daily Mail]

I used to be Catholic but now I’m an atheist. I’m a recent transplant to the south though, and I learned to stop telling people I’m atheist lest they try to “save” me. (So many random people have tried to get me to go to their church. Unless it’s the Church of Bacon, I’m not going.)

So this whole rant makes little sense to me. Maybe those of you with more theology knowledge can explain it, but taken on face value it seems to mean that he doesn’t agree with certain Catholic beliefs and thinks they’re so terrible as to be “deadly.” He’s saying that Catholics are going to burn in hell for the fact that they think that charity is looked upon favorably by God, right?

A while ago I heard an excellent This American Life about a former high level Evangelical pastor and right hand man to Oral Roberts, Carlton Pearson. Pearson came to the personal realization that God wasn’t damning good people to hell just because they weren’t Christian. He also studied The Bible inside and out and decided that it was flawed and that it wasn’t God’s final word. Of course the Evangelicals denounced him as a heretic.

If I did believe in God, I would believe something similar to Pearson and The Unitarians. Their God is inclusive and loves and welcomes everyone. Seewald’s God is pissed off when anyone varies from their specific arbitrary formula for salvation.

Oh and Seewald also posted this photo last month of Jessa with a semi-automatic rifle. Shootin’ up sh*t for Jesus!
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Photos from Facebook

 

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270 Responses to “Jessa Duggar’s boyfriend posts rant against Catholics, then deletes it”

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  1. Lilacflowers says:

    As a Catholic, I can really feel his love for me just pouring through every syllable of that intolerant rant. How very, very Christian of him. And that weapon, that’s for the hunting of squirrels, right?

    • Isa says:

      I’m not a gun expert but I think that’s used for much larger game.

      • FLORC says:

        That gun isn’t needed for game other than war. I’ve known too many people that like guns for the sake of having them. The more the better. The bigger and quicker the fire rate can only be an improvement to them.
        That her gun in the pic is detailed in pink makes me do a facepalm.

        I’m card carrying NRA since my junior NRA days. I’ve hunted, but only when I had to. It’s not something I enjoyed
        To shoot down something that is causing you no threat imo means you’re losing a compassionate part of your soul and you can’t get it back.
        I always give a judgy side eye to those who collect those kinds of guns and glorify blood sport.
        That’s all I can care to say about this. And religion? it’s the same core beliefs. Be nice to eachother and stop arguing about who’s heaven and god is better. That’s such a corrupt and prideful way of approaching the concept of God.

      • wolfpup says:

        Early man’s compassion toward animals, was shown by rituals of thanks, toward the animal that “offered” it’s life. There were also rituals before the hunt. They felt that the sacrifice of the animal’s life, was made so humans could live. and they were respectful of that exchange.

        This kind of reverence for life, isn’t taught as the guns are passed around.

      • Kat says:

        @FLORC, thank you for posting such a thoughtful and sensible response! I notice that in the States, people are fanatically divided on so many subjects, including gun ownership, and what you said proves that there is a practical middle ground.

        I have to say though, I’ve never understood how conservatives in America think they’re entitled to bragging rights on the pro-life front when many of them seem to get so much pleasure out of taking an innocent & defenseless life as a weekend hobby (an activity that’s generally followed by downing few “brews”). The idea is completely devoid of both logic and compassion.

      • FLORC says:

        wolfpup
        Completely agree. There’s a level of respect or just decency that’s lost in most hunts. That’s it’s called a sport is pretty awful.

        To own guns like that? There’s only 2 reasons. Self defense because you live in an awful, violent place fearing for your safety. Or you just like to feel you have power over the lives and safety of others.
        I’m not Anti gun or Anti hunting. It’s just needless. If you can afford to visit a grocery store do you really need to hunt? Isn’t it more a want to hunt at that point?
        Some things just make it too easy for people to kill. There’s a disconnect from what you’re doing.

      • Lucinda says:

        FLORC–I know many people who hunt as a way to get a good part of their protein for the upcoming year. They get their one elk or deer and eat it. They could buy beef at the grocery store but they prefer elk. I can respect that. For them, hunting is a family event. They spend time together in nature and gain an appreciation for what the land provides. They also tend to grow and preserve a lot of their own vegetables. I don’t think access to a grocery store makes hunting pointless. But I do also agree with Wolfpup that you need to appreciate the sacrifice of the animal. I get very angry at home when meat gets wasted. I talk to my kids about the cost to the animal and how we need to honor the animal by eating the food, especially since we don’t hunt and it is too easy to disconnect from where our food originates.

      • Brionne says:

        Not hunting doesn’t absolve one of responsibility for what happens to animals. The fact that we can pick up steak, chicken and Turkey meatballs in cute plastic packaging doesn’t mean we bear no responsibility for what happens in a “bacon factory” or what happens when we encroach upon wild habitats or wash chemicals down the drain and into rivers where animals swim. I grew up around men who gather at certain times of the year to hunt clean and share meat as well as women who garden and can/preserve vegetables. There is something to be said for having the skills to feed your family from the land. I don’t find it to be pointless. But personally I draw the line at seeing elephants and rhinos hacked to death for their tusks or stuffed lions bears and elk.

    • OSTONE says:

      +1000
      Can’t stand your typical religion know-it-all folk. I am a Southerner Catholic, so constantly I have to read sh*t from some of my acquaintances that are on the same page with Ben about Catholicism on social media. “Pope Francis believes the story of Adam and Eve is a fable, he is a heretic”. “Catholics worship Mary, they are a cult” yeah, how about do a little research and STFU.

      • Isa says:

        It’s an AR15 right? If so we have one, used for deer. Got it because it doesn’t kick like the other guns we own so that my oldest daughter can hunt. I don’t hunt but my husband and my kids will. We hardly use any beef, we eat mostly deer meat since my husband can skin and butcher a deer.

      • Mom2two says:

        Believe me, I have come across this belief about Catholics from other Christians in the Northeast. I had a friend in college who showed me literature from her church that was very condemning to Catholics. They are hung up on Mary and the Saints and usually as their only Catholic friend, I’m shooting down the misconceptions.

      • Isa says:

        I much prefer the taste of beef but it is expensive and we save a lot of money by using deer meat. The cattle industry also produces high methane emissions which isn’t good for the environment. The deer are free range and not stuck full of antibiotics and hormones. Personally I think just buying meat at the grocery store doesn’t teach anything about the sacrifice the animal makes. There’s a major disconnect there.

      • Miss Bennett says:

        Agree, he has no idea what he’s talking about. As a Catholic, he’s way off base here. If he’s going to spread hate, he should at least make the effort to make sure it has some basis in fact.
        Catholics do not worship Mary.
        Catholics do not believe that they get into heaven by doing good works.
        Catholics DO believe that Mary was conceived without sin and that upon her death, she was taken, bodily, up to heaven. So what? Maybe they’re right. Why does that bug you so much Ben?
        Catholics to not believe that praying to Mary or the Saints can get them into heaven.
        And what does it matter what Catholics believe? Other peoples faiths are none of his damn business!

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      As a woman, perhaps you would be happier if you just deleted your brain and had a baby every year like a good little Duggar. Then God would love you more, you, you, you…. Catholic, you.

      Words cannot express my disgust for these people and their beliefs. Does that make me similar to him?

      Celebitchy, as a Southerner, I had to giggle a little picturing you telling one of my sweet but slightly dim cousins that you were an atheist. The family prayer (by prayer I mean gossip) chain would roar to a start and you would be emailed, Facebooked and tweeted to death until you just faked Christianity to make them go away. You are very brave.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Strongly resisting the urge to tweet him that Christ needed to be baptized.

    • Sam says:

      I used to have a friend who sort of got deeper and deeper into a form of Calvinist fundamentalism and became very convinced that his pastor “knew” how to read the Bible. One time, we were inside a Barnes and Noble and to get to another section, has to pass through the section that housed all the “religion” and Bible materials. I actually stopped and said to him, “Look at all these books about religion. Somehow, all these authors, over hundreds of years, have not managed to come to a cohesive answer about all the stuff you claim your pastor knows. What makes you think that he’s any better than them and he’s right?” He gave me some answer about his pastor having “studied” the Bible for decades and having traveled to Israel and knowing it because of that.

      Personally, it’s my hope that God is not detail-oriented. I like to think I’m religious for myself, not for God. I practice my religion because it betters ME and gives ME a great sense of direction and happiness. My hope is that God cares far less about the little details of one’s personal theology and more about the desire to live a decent life. What kind of God is he if people like the Duggars are the ones he favors? Personally, then I’d be worried.

    • Dinah says:

      I don’t know, but girl got herself some crazy eyes in that photo. Seriously.

      • Erin says:

        I haven’t watched this show in a couple of years, but Jessa looks different. He face is really thin. I think she’s older than 21, I thought she was the oldest girl. She might be 23 or 24. I know I thought it was a bit odd that she was dating a 18 year old kid. (He was 18 when they started dating) Guys usually mature later than girls, so I wondered what she would see in him. The girls are really toeing the family line. I always hoped one of them would want to live a normal life.

      • Sacred And Profane says:

        And the pic-pout, Dinah. Don’t forget the pic-pout…

    • Mona says:

      I bet you anything in a few years we’ll find out that he is beats her up.

  2. Ag says:

    “Shootin’ up sh*t for Jesus!” LOL. yeah, because jesus wasn’t a pacifist or anything. idiots.

    i can’t tell any of these kids apart, not that it matters.

  3. Loopy says:

    ‘apparently frustrated by the lack of full-on hugs’ AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH*DEATH*

  4. Rusty machine says:

    Uh oh. Out of 700 Duggar kids, surely one would go partly off the rails. Now we know which one. I can’t imagine posing with rifles is part of the wholesome Duggar family script.

    On a different note, I wonder if the Duggar machine will silence him or just revoke his courtship holding hands pass as punishment.

  5. Maria says:

    nice combination, being angry at people because you interpret scripture different and having semi automatic guns.

  6. Gia says:

    These are the worst type of people. Religious fanatics are the trouble with the world. Always have been. Always will be.

  7. Jag says:

    Celebitchy, maybe you should look into the Jedi religion? (No idea about it, but I know it’s real. lol)

    Personally, I’ve been looking into Unitarian Universalism. Raised Methodist and Baptist, with Pentecostal grandparents and mother. If Mom were here to talk with me about my beliefs now – and how they’ve changed – she’d probably fall over in a faint. lol

    Since that guy is in the public eye now, he needs to be aware that people will read what he posts. Perhaps he’s trying to get a following so that he can start his own church and make millions. Sounds like it to me.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      I looked into jedi religion :) . It is the best. I remember telling everyone I was a Jedi while my parents rolled their eyes LOL. As someone raised by atheist parents, Jediism made as much sense as any other religion to me. (I hope I am not offending anyone). And I was the jerk who told every other kid in my class they God didn’t exist. Needless to say I got into a lot of trouble. I remember stomping my foot and yelling my mother that it wasn’t my fault that other kids didn’t know already. I felt like the bigger kid who knew Santa wasn’t real and that made me smug. Thankfully I learned being respectful to other people’s way of life and beliefs.

      • ScienceGal says:

        I was similar as a kid, telling my mom at age 6, “Adam and Eve can’t be true, because it leaves out the dinosaurs!” It’s apparently genetic, because my daughter arrived at the same conclusion really quickly.

        Several years ago when she was in kindergarten, I was in the classroom helping out with a party or something like that. I overheard one of the kids saying something about asking for something from God, then I heard my daughter reply, “But God’s not real. Why not ask your mom instead?” I sighed and pulled her aside and said that people get sort of offended if you tell them that you don’t think their god is real. She didn’t quite understand this at first (“But why don’t they want to know that their god isn’t real?”), but has since adopted a much, er, softer approach.

      • maybeiamcrazy says:

        Haha. She sounds adorable. It is good to know I wasn’t the only one.

      • krastins says:

        @Sciencegal
        I love that story, I’m sure I’ll go thru similar struggles with my future kids!

      • lrm says:

        yes and unlike santa claus, you cannot really prove that god doesn’t exist— or does exist. just sayin’, it’s one of those difficult/impossible to prove one way or the other topics….
        furthering support for the ‘live and let live’ attitude, in my book. As long as it’s not harming others, anyway….

    • minime says:

      LOL
      I just heard from an Australian friend that Jedi is so much of a real thing that it is now included in the Census as official religion! :D

      I’m not convinced with the Church of Bacon, but if there would be a Church of French Fry, I would be in!

  8. Frida_K says:

    This bad and only 19?

    Wow, but he’s going to be a real charmer as he ages, isn’t he?

    And as for her, well mah gudness. Isn’t she just the cutest thing with her gun? Makes me remember the song “Killing for Jesus” by the Circle Jerks. Whooo-EEE!!!

    Bless BOTH their hearts.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeahhhh. I have photos of me shooting, but NEVER on the internet, and also I’d like to think I’m pretty sane, generally. I just think it’s fun to target shoot, and shoot popcans and shit in a safe environment and not post photos of me doing it :)

      It’s just an outright tacky photo … as if she’s somehow this super badass force to be reckoned with. It’s people like this that ruin shooting for actual, sensible, normal people.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I’ve always wanted to go to a shooting range, not because I have any interest in guns but just because I think it’s probably good for my own safety to know how to use one. But the gun fanatics always turn me off. My fear of being associated with those crazies overrides my practical need to know how to shoot a gun.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        My husband shoots clays and I want to go with him sometime. Neither of us would shoot an animal, but I see nothing wrong with target shooting. My only hesitation is that I’m very accident prone…

      • Erinn says:

        My fiance hunts occasionally… and then feels like crap if on a rare occasion he actually gets anything. Mostly he just walks through the woods and hangs out in the camp with his family. I actually think he’s only ever gotten one deer, almost threw up, but then made sure everything possible was used.

        I’m not a great shot with a rifle, but feel competent enough with a handgun that I think I could protect myself. I love shooting 2L pop bottles, haha. It made me feel so confident, which is a great feeling. My dad’s always been a big gun buff, but not a crazy. He likes to collect what he can, and it plays into his dad’s military career, and his years in cadets and as a cadet leader. And we also happen to be a family of natural good shots ;) We were always raised to have a healthy feeling towards firearms -respect and caution, but never fear, and always to assume everything was loaded, don’t point at anything you want to destroy, never put your finger on the trigger until you’re absolutely ready to fire, etc etc.

        Whenever dad starts spouting anything borderline fanatic I shut him down and make him think about how he sounds haha. But we’re also Canadian, so I think overall, we’re a bit more sedate about the whole thing. He gets a little riled up over the people that are absolutely horrified with guns, and think that there is no situation in which anyone should have one, because he enjoys it as a pastime, and likes to collect a bit. He feels like he’s vilified sometimes despite not being a crazy person.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        It’s funny, Erinn, I was just reading through the first couple paragraphs of your comment and I was like “wow, this is what gun-owners should be like. This is the attitude they should have..” and then “wait, isn’t she Canadian?” then I got to your last paragraph.

        Uh-huh, yep, that explains it ;)

        I’m sure there are gun crazies in Canada too but it’s just not like it is out here. Sad that nut-jobs give responsible gun-owners a bad name.

        But yeah, I just want to be able to shoot a handgun to protect myself (as you said).

        @Goodnames-I’m totally accident-prone too. We probably shouldn’t go shooting together. We’d both end up dead.

      • maybeiamcrazy says:

        My dad hunts whenever we are in South Africa. He sometimes takes me with him too. I don’t (can’t? ) shoot animals but I shoot targets. He teases me whenever I miss. He was a military man, he loves using a gun. We always eat the animal he shoots though so it doesn’t go to waste. So claiming all the gun owners are “evil” is just plain wrong but gun maniacs make me so angry. We don’t have guns in Switzerland, but dad insists on owning guns in South Africa because it is dangerous and most people own guns.

      • Erinn says:

        OKitt —

        fun fact; during the years of the gun registry non-sense here, we had the RCMP come to the house asking for all of the information on any firearms that we might still own because they ‘lost their data on their computers when the system crashed’. And apparently the idea of hard copy backups is just insaneeee.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Definitely, OKitten, we should just stick to drinking. No one gets hurt.

  9. MrsB says:

    I am no fan of the Duggars, and frankly can’t stand what they represent. However, I think calling this a “rant” is a little dramatic. I don’t agree with what he is saying, but there are differences in each sect of religion, and he is entitled to his opinion.

    • Josephine says:

      Except that he isn’t even correct about Catholic beliefs.

      More importantly, why is anyone giving these two any attention whatsoever? Why do only ignorant, talentless people get coverage? Can we please stop the rush to the bottom of the barrel?

      • MrsB says:

        Yes. I am so ready for ALL reality “stars” to go away forever.

        As far as Catholicism, from what I understand there is a wide range of beliefs within it – so some people might believe the things he was speaking of, but some do not? Just like christianity, you have so many people that believe different things. I personally go to a non-denominational church, but I have a friend who is Catholic so we have had some discussions, but nothing too in depth.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I agree with you, MrsB

        As an atheist I have no opinion about religions fighting with each other.
        Have at it, kids. lol

        But a quick peak at this man’s Twitter and it all seems pretty benign to me. Goofy pics of him and his GF, bible excerpts, lame inspirational quotes. Eh. I find it all pretty harmless in light of the fact that we have religious zealots like James Bopp, Kris Kobach, and Dick Armey in powerful positions.

        *shrugs*

      • LAK says:

        MrsB: it´s all christianity. catholics and protestants are simply different versions of the same thing.

      • bluhare says:

        Isn’t most religion different versions of the same thing, though? The end result is heaven (or the equivalent), the only difference is how you get there. If we all get in then what the h-e double hockey sticks does it matter how we all got there? God lets people in, and if he’s told different people different things then it must be OK, right?

      • wolfpup says:

        The fear of death is the precursor of heaven. The problem with how one gets there, is that it removes the focus of the mere beauty and gift of being alive in the present, to focus on goals after it.

        This is it, and we are sharing the ride…that’s nice bluhare – I like being alive with you.

    • Stef Leppard says:

      It doesn’t seem like a “rant” to me either. He is passionate about his religion and is voicing his opinion. Zealots like him tend to be closed-minded, but this seems pretty harmless. The reason he’s getting so pissed is because the Bible states not to worship idols (other than the Lord?) and Protestants generally believe that Catholics worship Mary as an idol. Disclaimer!: I’m saying *generally* here, ok? A general idea among some Protestants. And I’m not saying I believe this at all, I’m just discussing what his mini-essay meant, as I interpreted it.

      • Geekychick says:

        Then they should learn about Catholicism from credible source.
        And maybe respect religious beliefs of others.
        To be prejudiced, arrogant and totally clueless at the same time is NOT the recipe for a good discussion. I am (a little bit free-practicing-for example-I’m prochoice and LGBT) Catholic and this level of ignorance is offensive. He thinks he can be phobic of Others (as in:anyone different than himself), rude and arrogant, his religion sends missionaries to other countries that demonize homosexuality and brings real problems, persecutions and linching to gays in other countries, and God will still love him-just because his mouth are full of Jesus. I personally think those kind of people are not close to God, but I don’t rant, judge and try to “educate” them. It’s their thing and their choice, leave me with mine.

      • Greyson says:

        Agreed.

        There are a lot of reasons to take issues with his beliefs — I am pro-gun control, pro-choice, the Quiverfull movement gives me the creeps, the over zealous Religious intensity, etc. However, what he’s saying here is essentially what all Protestants believe!

        Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was written in 1517! Many of the points listed are why a large group of Christians broke away from the Catholic Church and formed various denominations!

        I don’t see what he wrote as a rant against Catholics. He’s debating Catholicism — which is a huge difference! People have been debating religion for thousands of years. And personally, I actually AGREE with his points of contention! It’s why I no longer consider myself catholic. I don’t think you should pray to the Virgin Mary or any “saints” — nor, do I think the church has any authority to declare any people Saints, after all the Pope is still a man.. I don’t debate religion on Facebook but Ben isn’t alone in his beliefs here. Not by a long shot.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I would agree if this was all I knew about them. But I put it in the context of their other beliefs and it’s just another way they have of saying they have all the answers and everyone else is committing a deadly sin by holding different beliefs.

      • wolfpup says:

        I have a friend who is Mormon, and recently she was feeling sad and confused about why many Christian denominations, would say that she is going to hell because she is not saved. In Mormonism, heaven is divided into three categories, with the top region able to practice polygamy, and procreate other worlds; in the same way they believe God did with this one. The next two heavens down, get lessening pleasures and privileges. Then there is hell for the people who are broken (crimes), go to.

        I see religions as based on fear and control. It is very invasive to the mind.

      • mayamae says:

        I have had Mormon friends and they are very clean living people. I have a problem with the concept that a woman cannot attain heaven unless a man (husband or father) pulls her through the veil.

      • wolfpup says:

        The priesthood thing again, men only.

  10. Belinda says:

    It would appear that abortion is the go-to unifier for fundies the world over. “Lets fight the common enemy people; female autonomy”

    • PoliteTeaSipper says:

      Great big heaping tablespoons of WORD, sister.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      Ugh. A little off topic, but I honestly hate the fact that a lot of Evangelicals (haven’t heard ALL of them, so I’m just generalizing here) focus on stuff like abortion, birth control, gay people, ‘modesty’ (SHUDDERS on that one)–and never have anything interesting or productive to say about stuff that REALLY matter.

      Like maybe teaching your son that just because a woman is wearing a short skirt doesn’t mean that she’s a wh0re that needs to be saved. Or that life isn’t picture perfect for everyone, and we all need support, not judgement sometimes.

      I just can’t stand how they teach their kids how they think things would be in a perfect world. Yes–in your perfect world, people would only have sex after they got married. But in the REAL world, people have sex before marriage. And telling teens that God says you shouldn’t have sex before marriage does nothing for them but result in pregnancies–if they’re ‘lucky’.

      Forgive my ranting–but I know a particular evangelical who was freaking ridiculous. One of his many rules included that his grown ass daughters had to be chaperoned on dates…and they were in their TWENTIES.

      And I’m particularly cruel about him because he agreed with Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a slut. Some Christian.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I believe that religions like that appeal to worst side of people. It’s nothing to do with faith or spiritual growth. It’s about making yourself feel better and safer by believing that you are superior to other people with different beliefs; ignoring your own sins and focusing on “sins” you don’t want to commit anyway – like straight people admonishing homosexuals. How great is that? They get to feel virtuous by refraining from doing something they don’t want to do anyway. They can band together and gang up on a group of people who are different and have no connection to them so they can feel holy without doing a thing to improve themselves. There’s nothing about helping the poor or loving your neighbor as yourself. It’s all about making yourself feel superior.

      • fairyvexed says:

        Rush Limbaugh thinks you take a birth control pill every time you have sex.

      • bluhare says:

        Stop making sense, Virgilia! :)

    • fairyvexed says:

      It’s funny how they ignore what Jesus was pretty frickin’ clear about——-feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, don’t cast stones unless you’re perfect yourself (especially significant given that it was men stoning a prostitute), toss the moneylenders out of the temple, comfort the disturbed, visit the imprisoned, heal the sick——–to focus on obscure crap here and there about homosexuality and abortion. And Jesus didn’t say squat about gays, abortion, and birth control pills, but he sure talked a lot about compassion and humility and empathy.

    • Sam says:

      I think people latch onto abortion for a few reasons. It represents to them the ideal “sinful” situation. You have an innocent “baby” (whether it really is is a matter of personal and scientific debate) plus something they view as totally avoidable.

      The wild thing is that the Bible says very little on the topic of the unborn and what it does say doesn’t support them. The Jewish law of the Old Testament held that an unborn life was not as valued as the life of an existing human. It was a punishable offense, but not treated as severely as a homicide. The New Testament (and Jesus) actually says nothing about abortions or the unborn. Most of the objections to abortion come from a single verse in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, in which God says “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” They take this to mean that you are human and existing prior to birth. However, theologians have pointed out that this could also easily be read to mean something else.

      When I was in divinity school, a professor pointed out that the Jeremiah verse could also suggest that the soul pre-dates the physical body and is a separate entity. Thus, an abortion would simply release the soul back to God to await another body. My point is that it actually takes some theological stretching and creative reading to try to argue that the Bible is strongly anti-abortion. There’s no “smoking gun” that makes it so.

      • fairyvexed says:

        Lots of religions were so okay with abortion that abortionists/midwives used to advertise their services/products in religious circulars! In Catholic newspapers from the early Nineteenth Century you can see adverts for pills or potions that would induce “courses”……a euphemism for menstruation.

        But back then a fetus wasn’t a big deal till “quickening”, which was roughly when the woman could first feel movement. Women could be and were executed before that stage of pregnancy, and of course lower status women were expected to work up to delivery.

        Then a couple of things happened. A woman went to and graduated from an American medical school—and women started going to midwives who, unlike male doctors, washed their hands and instruments. Women also started joining the abolitionist movement, which had the virtue of being not about them—–but it got them out of the house. Pregnancy back then killed a lot of women, but if women went to midwives, well, then they might survive—– and even avoid the yearly pregnancies that killed so many women. Add to that political activity that neatly dovetailed with the altruistic stereotype forced on women and it looked like American women were out of control—–and getting out from under mens’ thumbs. All of a sudden abortion became bad.

      • grimsfairytale says:

        @fairyvexed
        That was seriously the most interesting thing I’ve read about the demonization of abortion in a true historical context. And I knew women had done things to induce abortions before quickening and it wasn’t a thing (parsley tea, parsleyby the cervix, etc) but somehow never made the connection between it and women’s political and personal volition gaining power at the time. Thanks!
        *will now fall down an internet rabbit hole researching the topic*

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Both Sam and fairyvexed – excellent posts.

      • mayamae says:

        A turning point in Margaret Sanger’s life was an incident commonly referred to as “Tell Jake to Sleep on the Roof”. I read about it in college, and it’s always stayed with me. Sanger was a nurse on the lower east side of NYC, and dealt primarily with pregnant women. One day a man named Jake came home and discovered his wife on the floor, and their children crying. The woman had experienced a botched abortion, and was septic. It took two weeks, but she lived. Out of desperation, she asked her doctor how to avoid future pregnancies. His response – “Young woman, there’s only one way. Tell Jake to sleep on the roof!” Later that same year, the woman died from an attempted self-abortion. That very night Sanger decided to give up nursing and become a contraception advocate.

        “I was now finished with superficial cures,” she wrote, “with doctors and nurses and social workers who were brought face to face with this overwhelming truth of women’s needs and yet turned to pass on the other side. They must be made to see the facts. I resolved that women should have a knowledge of contraception. They have every right to know about their own bodies. I would strike out; I would scream from the housetops. I would tell the world what was going on in the lives of these poor women. I would be heard. No matter what it should cost, I would be heard.”

        She went on to be persecuted, shunned, exiled, and jailed nine times. She wrote a pamphlet, “Family Limitations”, which forced her to flee to Europe to avoid imprisonment – it spelled out specific birth control (she created that term) techniques.

        Ironically, an Archbishop of the Catholic Church aided her cause. He gave an interview to the New York Times that praised the arrest of Sanger, and stressed the church’s disproval of contraception. Newspapers exploded along the east coast with editorials in reaction, and “birth control” became a common notion.

      • fairyvexed says:

        It really seems like TPTB (mostly male) didn’t care about abortion when women were mostly under their thumbs, but got very twitchy once it looked like women were going to be able to manage their bits without male input——or control. As long as they were the ones in a position to hand out rights, they didn’t think too much of it—–a man’s home in his castle. But then women decided they’d had enough with the pretense and started asking why they had to ask.

        That’s why I always point out that womens’ rights are still conditional, while those of men are absolute. Some guys will whine that Ladies’ Night free drinks are a terrible oppression on men, but that kind of thing serves only to increase profits. Women still gain and lose rights (or privileges) based on things like appearance, docility, amiability, and submissiveness. Look at Shailene Woodley and her ridiculous comments about feminism. The things she’s saying certainly aren’t pleasing to women, but who do you suppose likes bashing feminism?

    • K says:

      The really interesting thing is that Evangelical fundies were originally pro-choice.

      “Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indifferent to the subject, which they considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976. When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century—was pleased: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.html#ixzz38WEwJdni

  11. lisa2 says:

    I hate the My Religion is better than YOUR Religion: if you are not of my faith then you are going to burn in hell.

    I guess my God doesn’t care about what you call your religion. My God cares that you are a person trying to do the best you can everyday to be a good person. succeeding on more days than not.

    I hope I’m right because that is how I’m living my life. I’m from the South too and and yes the first question I’m asked about what church do I attend; because their Church family is the best Church family.

    • Wren says:

      Honestly I don’t think anyone can do better than that. I grew up in a very religiously diverse community where nobody gave a shit what you believed then moved to a pretty all Christian all the time area for college. Ugh. I’ve never had time for the “my God is better than your God, my religion is better than your religion” nonsense.

      If God is as vindictive and arbitrary as they say, then we’re all fucked, them included.

  12. eliza says:

    A Duggar (not technically) .Pretty much says it all.

  13. Kolby says:

    A couple of severely photogenic morons.

  14. Chibichichai says:

    Wow. The “my religion is better than your religion” bashing is exactly what I hate. That’s not teaching or spreading, in this case, God’s word but trying to crucify one another over semantics. His biggest issue is that Catholics believe that Mary was sinless? Notice he didn’t say born without original sin. In all my years of regularly going to Church (you go every Sunday for three years and you pretty much hear all of the bible) I never heard that claim. So he made something up and then goes on to criticize Mary saying she needs a Savior…um…if that statement came straight from the Bible then you have a problem with THE BIBLE and not Catholocism

    My take on religion; I’m not forcing my religion onto you, so do not force yours into me. These are a foundation for my morals and although I might not agree with every doctrine, it brings me peace. If you want to know more and ask, I’ll tell you. If not, then go on with your alternative lifestyle and shut up.

    Love,
    A girl who grew up catholic, turned away from the Church for a couple of years (about 7 years) and then found my own personal relationship with the Church and now you’ll find me at Mass most Sundays (migraines…)

  15. littlemissnaughty says:

    I don’t know what your problem with the guns is, they’re full of love! They’re supportive weapons! Rifles of friendship and forgiveness, if you will.

    This dude has issues. I’m an agnostic but I do understand religious people and why it’s an important part of their lives. But your faith is supposed to guide you, not turn you into a crazy militant lunatic. Why is it always the crazies who are so damn loud though? Religious people always lose me as soon as they a) try to convince me to change my mind or b) use their faith to excuse their hate. Hypocrisy is not high on my list either. So this child better shut up and actually listen to Jesus. Try to parse what he meant.

    • fairyvexed says:

      Sexual frustration kills, people. Well, apparently, it kills brain cells, and that boy didn’t have any to spare. Hell, I bet he doesn’t have a spare set of underwear, much less gray matter. That’s just the sort to rely on that kind of angry anal personal over-regulation. He’s not used to thinking, so he lets others do it for him because thinking gives him headaches. God help us when he starts having sex. His poor little brain’s going to pop.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I’m a devout Catholic and I can’t muster up any outrage here. People have been arguing over these issues for ages. I don’t think he even came off as disrespectful. The gun picture is far more unsettling than anything he said.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Maybe not disrespectful, but certainly condescending. He’s going to save you from your deadly errors because he knows better than you. Please. Ok, I’ll be annoyed on your behalf. Lol

      • Original Tessa says:

        Agree. How any religion can claim to KNOW the answers assumes some level of greater enlightenment and greater understanding of any of this, and that just seems so ridiculously condescending. None of us know squat, and to nitpick Catholicism right now over *gasp* praying to a woman, and doing charity, when there is so much religious warfare going on in the world is painful to me. Get your head straight, man.

      • Carol says:

        If the people who are so upset that Catholics “pray” to Mary ever actually studied the “Hail, Mary”, they would realize we are just quoting scripture and then asking her to pray for us. Like they ask people to start prayer chains, we do the same. I am always amazed at the people who want to diss Mary. If you believe in Jesus, then why would you blow off the woman who carried him and raised him?

        Catholics also believe in charity and good works because we take the Book of James seriously. I am always amazed at the people who tell me I can’t be a good Christian because Catholics don’t treat the Bible as literal, but then gloss over James’ quotes that faith without works is empty.

        Can you tell I am a devout Catholic who grew up in a Southern Baptist town in Texas? His quotes bring back lots of memories!

  17. Sam says:

    One of my friends once said to me, “Remember when people were all freaked out by Christian Science and they thought we were super-dangerous cult members? Well now we seem so reasonable and nice compared to the crazy new types of Christians running around.” And you know what, she was right. Christians like the Duggars truly scare me because they’re not content to simply lead their own lives with whatever theology they choose. They want to convert others and, if that fails, impose their will through mass breeding and voting shares.

  18. aenflex says:

    Bunch of crap. On another note, just read for the 3rd time Escape by Carolyn Jessop. It’s worth reading.

  19. InvaderTak says:

    As a former Catholic myself, I never did get why people who go on rants like this can never seem to get what the Catholics actually believe. In this one, the part about Mary admitting she needed a Savior. Mary needed Jesus to get her to heaven because she was human. A human without sin due to devine intervention, but still a human being with a soul. The only way for a soul to get into heaven after leaving the body in death is through the Savior. The gates of heaven were opened by Jesus after the resurrection. Before that, they were closed and all the souls were ‘asleep in the grace of god’. That’s why she needed a Savior, to get her soul get to heaven. Not because she herself sinned.

    Edit; I have no ides why I care So much, but there it is. If you’re going to criticize, get your facts straight. But that might mean *gasp* asking a knowledgeable Catholic! This dude can shut the f up now. There’s other points I could argue but whatever.

    • wolfpup says:

      What about original sin? Isn’t this why Jesus was a sin-offering? Original sin is nuts to me and so is human sacrifice. I don’t see how Mary could go thru life not making mistakes (by divine intervention). Mistakes are as important as successes in human learning.

  20. Trillian says:

    Ah, religion. Used to spread hate since the beginning of ages.
    Even little atheist me is pretty sure that attitude was NOT what Jesus meant when he said that part about loving one another …

  21. Kori says:

    His complaint is just a more vitriolic version but it is one shared by many Evangelicals. Namely Catholics believe in Jesus dying for our sins and granting us but add that you have to do good works in your life. That’s the point of purgatory–all who believe will go to heaven but depending on how you lived your life it will take differing amounts of time. Evangelicals and most Protestants groups in general believe in salvation through the acceptance of Jesus alone. I’m Catholic and I deal with degrees of this with my husvamd’s non-Catholic family. Many believe it’s a renunciation of the power of Christ and that explains why some, like this kid, are so hardline about it. I remember watching Bob Jones on Larry King years ago when he said thePope could be saved if he would just accept Christ as his Saviour! I just about fell off the couch but it’s a common belief–along with us ‘worshipping’ Mary.

    • L says:

      Yup, I’ve heard this plenty of times as a former catholic. We worship the saints, Mary, and the pope (who is the anti-christ btw), and believe that you have to be a good person to get to heaven not just accept Jesus. I’ve also heard that we are anti-bible since the Catholic church accepts evolution as the process for the diversity of life on earth.

      Oh evangelicals-how crazy you are.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Well, the Catholic Church does pre-exist what we know as the New Testament of the Bible, being founded by that Christ guy and his buddy Peter.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I hear you, but it goes both ways. I’m an Episcopalian and a Catholic woman said to me once, “do you have Mary in your church?” I said “no, we believe that Jesus fell off the turnip truck.” Lol

      • sigh((s)) says:

        All this. And your baptism doesn’t count because it was done when you were a baby… So much misinformation. There are a lot of us ex-Catholics running around, aren’t there? But we still get fired up when people bring up the fake reasons to hate. Down here in the South, Catholics aren’t even Christian! It would almost be hilarious if they weren’t so serious.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @GoodNamesAllTaken, yes, there are dolts in every faith.
        @sighs, my baptism counts because I reaffirmed it through my confirmation and I reaffirm it every year at Easter but they would have to know the actual rules to know that and, as you say, there’s so much misinformation. It is easier to hate when beliefs are based on lies.

    • Ennie says:

      As a teenI went to visit the USA with one of my elder half brothers and first thing he made me do was to “accept” Jesus as my savior and made me recite some pledge of alliance… DUH! I obliged to make him happy, but of course I knew I already believed (Catholic here), I accompanied them to church but I kept my faith, he was kind of a bully in his insistence… and they did not believe in listening to music for simple pleasure (just to worship!), so that made them lose points!
      Many of them were nice people, tho, and that made me a more open person, in contrast of my my hypocritical brother.

  22. Talie says:

    He should try reading a piece of literature besides whatever version of the Bible his religion has cooked up. He’s probably batty because all he can read/view are things that have to do with his religion.

  23. Karen says:

    Hating on other religions because yours is “better” is showing your lack of understanding of the point of all religion.

    This debate had been around for a while and other posters before me explained the Catholic position better than I could about Mary and sin/savior. If he disagrees that’s his prerogative, but he doesn’t need to say that a 1 billion strong religious community needs to be warned about their “deadly errors”.

    Part of me just thinks maybe a few people push this idea because worshipping Mary is anti patriarchal. The elevatation of a women is really what maybe a few people are afraid of. ??? Maybe I’m reading too much into it?

    But different interpretations of the bible will and will continue to exist. Be respectful of each other.

    • Tang says:

      They just focus on hating a particular group of people. Currently, many of these fundamentalist religions are very anti-gay and anti-Catholic, spewing out lots of hatred towards these two groups. They just have to have people to hate on, and it is really that simple.

      I know someone like this and I’ve tried to point out to her, that we have freedom of religion in America, and even IF she disagrees with Catholicism, people still have a right to practice this faith. Even in the face of her anger towards it.

  24. lisa says:

    this is what happens when your girlfriend isnt allowed to read your messages w/o her parents screening them

  25. jesb says:

    Her parents have said in several episodes that Jessa, as a very small child, was the most “spirited” of the children, and it took a lot to reign her in. They are marrying her off quickly because she is the wild card in the family. If you watch the show, she is clearly not into this guy. Body language, facial expressions…. she wants nothing to do with him. No way out though, as far as she is concerned.

    • Greyson says:

      Oh no.. I don’t watch and refuse to! But that makes me sad that she may not actually like this guy. Her dad is pushing him on her hard. The other girl who just got married, you could see there was mutual love between them.. So sad for this girl if it’s not the case for her..

    • Lara Morgana says:

      I do watch the show (I find it fascinating in a very twisted way). No, she is not into him. He is dull as dish water and you can see it in her face that she barely tolerates him at times.

      I do, however, believe her sister, Jill, is truly in love with Derick (her new husband) and vice-versa. Of course, Derick is older, has actually been to a real college, and has a very charming personality. Ben – not so much.

      I don’t care about Ben’s rant against Catholics. I live in middle America – close enough to the south that I have heard that same old line of crap all my life – “Catholics worship Mary”; “Catholics allow drinking”; “Catholics are not REAL Christians”.

      If Jessa marries this poor boy she will be miserable and I have no doubt she will make his life a living hell.

      • Jane says:

        Well, maybe if she is miserable it will open her eyes to her parents beliefs. She will not be so blindly accepting of what she is told about how to live her life. Considering how many children the Duggars have, the odds are one of them is going to rebel and think for themself. It just remains to be seen which one.

  26. Tang says:

    A lot of fundamentalist churches in my area have a strong anti-Catholic bias and are very vocal about their opposition to Catholicism. Perhaps instead of focusing on how much they hate Catholics, they could spend more time doing service work and trying to help other people – rather than condemn them.

  27. Amanda says:

    This is one of the reasons why I don’t believe in organized religion. It causes more problems than good IMO.

  28. Murphy says:

    This kid is an idiot.

    Just GET ALONG people.
    BE NICE.
    Isn’t that what being Christian is all about?

  29. BeckyR says:

    Most of the cruelty and wars the world experiences are based on religious beliefs. For the love of GOD I wish people would put down their weapons AND their hideous remarks and learn to coexist. It will never happen but one can hope.

  30. Dawn says:

    He is all of 19 without any true life experiences outside of the cultish society he was raised in. I am sure people slam their interruption of the Bible all the time because gee it is a centuries old book that was interrupted many different times by many different scholars. Many times it was re-interrupted to fit a King’s wants or a Popes. I find it sad that once these kids hit adulthood they don’t try and think and evaluate things for themselves. A cult is a cult and all the different religions in the world all have their kooks. And truly if he believes in what he posted he should have the balls to leave it up there and have a discussion with those who believe differently but even in their world money apparently talks louder than god.

  31. GiGi says:

    Just to be clear – MANY evangelicals believe that being an evangelical christian is the only true salvation. I was raised in a gospel church and we were definitely taught that “Catholics practice a false religion”. I’ve never met an evangelical who didn’t believe that. They don’t care about the details of Catholicism or any other faith. In fact, they don’t view Catholicism as Christianity at all. To these people, being Catholic is the same as being Mormon or Buddhist or Hindu – you’re all lost souls, just waiting to be won for the Kingdom of Jesus.

    Of course, it’s ridiculous, but they don’t care. These people are living in a bubble. A creepy, creepy bubble. It’s all so gross.

    • wolfpup says:

      GiGi – I attended a theological seminary that was an offshoot of Bob Jones University. I just want to affirm what you said.

      • wolfpup says:

        Geez, I just have to brag here (ok?). I was the first woman allowed into the seminary – and I out performed all the men. In one of my classes, the professor did not want me to ask questions because I was a woman! I was at the San Francisco Theological Seminary and I am grateful for the opportunity, and for the kindness of those helping me learn.

  32. Nicole says:

    This is why I’m an antitheist, not just an atheist. Because religion is divisive. Just look at the Christians telling other Christians that their form of Christianity is going to lead them straight to hellfire. To be fair, none of the Christians I know are anywhere near that ignorant or mean-spirited. Unfortunately, this guy is likely to indoctrinate a dozen of his future children into the same beliefs. And then arm them. UGGG!

  33. nicegirl says:

    Funny, but I know a few folks who were Catholic/raised Catholic and now consider themselves atheists (at least 3).

    • Ennie says:

      And they are hopefully nice people.

      • nicegirl says:

        Yes, they are good people.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        why would they not be?

      • littlestar says:

        You don’t need to believe in god to be a good person. Most people are inherently good. Just like there are people who believe in god and commit violent crimes against other people, right?

      • Ennie says:

        That is what I say… usually when one leaves their religion, many times you keep the good values. I also know agnostics, atheists, and people who name themselves as belonging to a certain religion, but they do not really practise as in going to church or service… nevertheless, they are good people that care about others.
        There are many types of people, not only good or bad, but shades of gray (ugh). What I usually see is people that are good to their family, but could care less for others, the people crossing the street, the homeless, the elderly… we can start being more charitable, religious or not.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “usually when one leaves their religion, many times you keep the good values. ”

        I was raised atheist, I was not raised with religion.
        I don’t need religion to teach me right from wrong-my atheist parents taught me that just fine.
        I grew up doing the right thing not because I was scared of going to Hell, but because my parents raised me to be empathetic and compassionate and to have a strong moral code.

        I’ve never been to a Church except for a funeral or a wedding but I’m still a good person.

        Religion is not necessary in order to have strong values.

        I don’t think you meant any harm by your comment, but I just had to address that part of it.

      • nicegirl says:

        Exactly. Religious folks aren’t the only folks with strong values and good morals.

      • Ennie says:

        YEah, I was talking about people who grow up being religious or somehow around it, because I hardly know atheist families raising atheist children. It is absolutely uncommon where I live, what is very common is non practising families.

        In the bigger cities, even in my predominantly catholic country you can surely find more diversity, many different religions, and agnostic and atheists.
        The atheists and agnostic I know are usually adults and few teens.

        But one problem I see everywhere now, is that many families from very different backgrounds are not instilling real core values to their children, some do, I can see the difference in the children.
        I can only hope that life teaches them well.

  34. S says:

    I grew up VERY Southern Baptist… going to church twice every Sunday and every Wednesday night, and part of my highschool was in a private school where we had Bible class every day as part of the curriculum and chapel once a week. Some of my teachers did touch on the Catholics worshipping Mary as an idol belief. I never really gave it much thought (or cared) because it didn’t affect me.

    A few years ago, I started dated a Catholic guy and regularly went to Mass with his family, and obviously what I had been taught wasn’t true. What I noticed most about Catholic Mass was that while their service remained rooted in tradition and ritual, they were also very welcoming to all backgrounds (race, sexuality, etc.).

    Often Evangelical/Protestant denominations get caught up in rules (often made up, often inconsistent in enforcement- if homosexuality is wrong, so is divorce and remarriage. The New Testament is actually more specific on the rules of divorce and remarriage than ever has been on homosexuality) rather than the practice of love, acceptance and charity, which is really what Jesus taught.

    It makes me sad to see Christians be so divisive and judgmental. It would absolutely turn me off if that’s the only example of Christianity I ever saw.

    (For the record, after 18+ years of Southern Baptist indoctrination, I was still able to leave home, go to college and make up my mind for myself. I’m 29 now I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to reach “salvation”. That’s absurd. These two still have some time to grow and learn and change.)

  35. Kcarp says:

    Gun Rant—-

    The gun pic disturbed me much more than religious post. I am from Texas and I’m one of the three people in the whole state who isn’t pro gun. Whoever thinks these pics are funny or hot Are disgusting.

    Let me clarify more I’m ok with people having guns for protection, I’m ok with concealed handguns, I just do not think machine type guns are needed for protection or hunting.

    I didn’t vote for Obama so I’m in no way liberal, but nothing disgusts me more than Republicans and their guns.

  36. joy says:

    I live in Arkansas and I can attest that nobody likes these nuts. NOBODY. Their religion makes my head hurt, and I’m a Christian working for a Christian charity. I want to take a second and scold that little numb nut for her gun pic. I have my concealed carry permit. I carry guns all the time because Little Rock can be sketchy and people are crazy. But you will never see a pic of me posted up holding a gun as a prop. Because they’re not a joke. They are a deadly weapon and not a toy and every time some idiot like her poses with one, it does nothing but make women like me who carry a gun seem like a whackadoodle gun nut.

    • Nosy says:

      Fellow Arkansan here as well, I can agree w/ Joy and say she’s right. Nope. No one likes them. I’m embarrassed of them and DD. I’m super ashamed of the gun pic. Ugh. Another great reason to give our state a bad rep. On another note, I notice there are a lot of lovely British ladies on this site and when the whole hunting thing came up I thought of Ladies of London. Did anyone see the episode at the Earl?Duke? (Please forgive me!) of Sandwich’s Estate where Juliet made a HUGE deal about eating the venison. I do not eat venison. However I was mortified at their behavior. Please fill an ol’ southern gal in on your opinions!!!

  37. Lady says:

    I’m Catholic, not a very good one mind you but I’am. I didn’t really find him offensive, he was rather condescending but I think that is a product of his age and religious understanding of the world. I can’t fault the kid for having thoughts and convictions and it really has no implications on my life whatsoever. I don’t nit pick the bible and perhaps I should, but I think that’s not really the point of being Christian any way.

  38. mkyarwood says:

    Blah blah blah blah ‘women are evil and responsible for all the world’s ills because they totally tempted me’ blah blah blah blah.

  39. NeoCleo says:

    “I learned to stop telling people I’m atheist lest they try to “save” me.” Can I get an amen to that?

    Seriously, I’ve been there too many times myself.

  40. Original Tessa says:

    I pray to Mary. I am not even a very good Catholic, but I am Catholic, and I’m not worried if she doesn’t hand God my prayers on a post-it, I pray to her because she’s a woman, and I feel she would (if, IF, she’s up there) understand my thoughts better. That’s it. She’s a strong female figure in a book all about men. Deal with it other religions who can’t deal with the fact Catholics pray to Mary. It’s all a bunch of wishful thinking anyway. Why can’t we wish there was a woman in the castle in the sky looking down on us?

  41. jc126 says:

    Former Catholic here, including 12 years in Catholic schools, now an atheist. Despite my quibbles with the RCC and EVERY other religious sect, one thing that always made sense to me was the notion that faith without works is dead.

    • wolfpup says:

      That’s how they suck you in. First they tell you that all you need to do is believe, and then they say that a true believer, would get baptized and do good works. All of a sudden there are bunches of rules – and the “just believe” has becomes slavery, to their ideals and customs.

  42. GIRLFACE says:

    What a tool. The evangelical movement is dangerous-I think of Westboro and the creepy prepper evangelicals, the extreme patriarchy inherent in this stuff and the gun-crazies… these people are dangerous. They are borderline hate groups or full on ARE hate groups disguised as something else. I agree that teenagers holding assault rifles in Instagram pictures to be cute, funny, or alluring is very disturbing.

  43. kri says:

    “Deadly errors”. Third paragraph down. That right there is the problem with man-made relgions. Emphasis on man-made. Anyone reading this, please understand that I am NOT slamming any one relgion/belief system. I am pointing out that when groups of men (in every religion) got together to decide the particulars and argued about faith, canon, laws, and organization, they started a mindset, if you will. It began with the basic “Our god is better than your god” and is now up to the point where organized religion is at the heart of our worst conflicts. Too bad they didn’t let any women into those meeting thousand of years ago. Oh, wait. They were too busy stoning or burning us. Ooops! Sigh. This person who cannot hug a grown woman he loves must be so frustrated.

  44. littlestar says:

    So he’s basically a 19 year old boy who hasn’t yet experienced life and all it’s tragedies, joys, and experiences. He knows nothing, and this is because of his religion that shelters him and keeps him ignorant.

    I would say I feel bad for his future wife, who is obviously going to be marrying an ignorant, hateful fool, but she seems to be no better than him.

    Why can’t there be at least one Duggar child who realizes how f*cked up their religion and way of life is and breaks free???!!! I would love one of the girls to say f*ck you Jim-Bob, I’m going to university! Wishful thinking…..

  45. Ginevra says:

    Just FYI, you can be an atheist unitarian. I would even venture a guess that there are more agnostic/atheist UUs than theist. It is not a requirement of the faith that you believe in God.

    • jwoolman says:

      Actually, there are loads of non-theists in the pews and pulpits. People just redefine traditional language to suit their own real beliefs and keep the peace. One friend started talking about “the Divine” at one point (no, not the famous Divine) to avoid using the G word without offending anyone. People stay with formal religions because of cultural, social, and family ties, and that can work fine. What’s really important is what we do or don’t do to each other, and there are plenty of Biblical references showing that Jesus felt the same way. Most religions can and do support a kindly approach to life, despite the fact that some bearing the same affiliation just use their religion as yet another weapon in their arsenal to try to control others. It’s not really the problem of the religion, and that behavior shows up all over the world.

  46. allheavens says:

    Cannot stand the Duggars. The image they put forth to the world as the fugal, self-sufficient good Christian family is a lie. NO family of 21 can live off a single income.

    Though they are paid for their participation on the show, the truth is the Duggars subsist on food donations from Sysco; supplement their bank accounts with contributions from other evangelical Christians and their church; and built their 7,000-square-foot “dream house” with donated supplies and decked it out with appliances donated by the Discovery Channel. The family subsist on “private” charity but let’s face it, it is simply private welfare. They are subsidized so white evangelicals can point at them and say, “Well they have 19 kids, don’t accept handouts from the government and have good Christian values. It can be done, so women squeeze out as many babies as possible, God will provide.”

    Michelle deliberately stops breast feeding so she can get pregnant. Basically, she is a human puppy mill and the more babies she has, the more free stuff she and her family get. It’s a con.

    If they were a family of color, they would be demonized from here to eternity.

  47. LMS says:

    As a Unitarian Universalist atheist, I feel the need to point out that the UU church has no dogma and no particular belief in any god or gods. Instead the UU church follows seven humanist principles:

    http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/

  48. Mrs McCubbins says:

    People like this are why I’m anti religion of any sort!

  49. Jaded says:

    Listen up you pea-brained, pencil-dicked little moron – God doesn’t care what religion you subscribe to. You don’t have a private line to God through your ding-bat, outmoded and selfish beliefs. God is universal love, egalitarian above all, and only wants to teach us to be equally loving, compassionate and accepting of our differences, as long as we treat each other with tolerance, kindness and respect. Now FO and STFU.

  50. I Choose Me says:

    The most important thing I took away from this article is that there is a Church of Bacon. Praise Bacon! Indeed.

  51. weirswalker says:

    This marriage will never happen….he is way too controversial and her folks will bust them up..

  52. Algernon says:

    Jesus’s message, in a nutshell: Be excellent to each other.

  53. Decloo says:

    I just want to say how happy I am that there are so many atheists here. That is all.

  54. Kim1 says:

    I wonder how many of the Duggar kids are Gay.With 20 kids one is probably LGBTQ.

  55. Peppa says:

    I am Puerto Rican and Italian, so I was raised very Catholic (Catholic school all the way through, the who shebang). I really had no idea that Evangelical Christians even thought this way until I was a teenager and worked with an Evangelical girl at the YMCA. She asked me what religion I was the moment I met her. She constantly told me and other Catholics that we were not real Christians, and that we needed to be saved in order to go to Heaven. I told her “but we believe in the exact same God” and she gave me the whole “you guys worship Mary” speech and also said that Catholics drink wine with communion and that real Christians don’t drink alcohol. She told me EVERY time I worked with her that I needed to repent and go to her church and become baptized in order to save myself. It was SO bizarre. The Harry Potter books were coming out at this time, and one of our coworkers went to the midnight book release. This girl told her, straight out, that she was going to hell because of this.
    Finally, an older woman who worked with us said that if she continued saying this stuff, that she was going to report her. I don’t want to sound like I’m generalizing (I am also a Catholic turned Atheist) but this girl was not very bright and basically sounded brainwashed. That is the vibe I get from this guy and the rest of the Duggar kids. The girl I worked with said things about the Catholic religion that sounded like talking points she was repeating from her parents/relatives or her pastor. I remember saying something to her once like “well that’s because you’re Protestant” and she flipped out and said “I am NOT Protestant, I am a Christian!! I have never been a Protestant in my life!!”
    It was very sad and eye opening to me, and helped change my view of religion. I was only 16 at the time, and while I was working there one of the priests in our parish was accused of molesting two men when they were teenagers. My church rallied around the priest and even had fund raisers to support his legal defense. Well, lo and behold, he was guilty and admitted as such even though one of the poor men was dragged through the mud for this (one of the men was Thomas Roberts who used to be a CNN anchor, there was a special on it many years ago). It has always made me feel sorry for young people who follow religion in such a strict way.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      If “real Christians” don’t drink wine, why did Jesus consume it? That’s the question I always ask when I hear that statement.

      I was born and raised Catholic (grew up in a Catholic children’s home) and even though I am a practicing Green Witch, I hold no ill will toward the Catholic religion.

      • Emily C. says:

        They claim it was actually grape juice. I am not kidding. They also claim they read the Bible “literally.” But the wine in the Bible that Jesus drank is actually non-alcoholic grape juice, and when he said you have to do good to please God and that’s it, and that it was as easy for a rich man to get into heaven as a camel to get through the eye of a needle, their response is to cover their ears and go LALALALALA. Because they read the Bible literally, you see. Noah’s ark really happened; the Golden Rule, not so much.

      • wolfpup says:

        Green Witches – a definite go! I love its reverence for the earth and *our real life now*.

        I’ve always thought that religions miss something when everyone’s focused on getting to heaven or avoiding hell. Life is so good! This is it – this is our time to live.

  56. Maria of MD says:

    Ah heretics…the Duggars and their ilk would probably be flummoxed if you tossed that at them, because they are exactly that: heretics.
    And this from one, so I know what I’m talking about, the difference being that I’m a peaceful, coexisting type of heretic from a different spiritual path, unlike these gun-hugging sorts who don’t know history or much about the historical figure behind it.

  57. Lucky Charm says:

    Since he is only 19, I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s just immature and ignorant. As a Catholic from birth, I have heard similar things over the years. I’m just shocked at how many evangelicals and fundamentalists don’t believe that Catholics are actually Christians. The Catholic Church was the FIRST Christian church – the others weren’t formed until centuries later when they broke away from the church to form their own separate, diverse denominations. Basically there are two branches of Christianity – Catholic and Protestant. The Protestant branch has several limbs and those have off-shoots and separate denominations. And no, we don’t worship Mary or the Saints – we include them in our prayers sometimes, and pray to them for extra help on occasion, but they aren’t God and we don’t consider them to be.

    Even in my Catholic school religion classes, we learned about the different Protestant faiths, but never once were we told that they weren’t really Christian just because they believed differently! Were we asked to pray for their souls, so that they could leave purgatory and get into heaven? Yes. Were we taught that they were evil people that didn’t worship God? NO. As far as Catholics being baptized as babies – that originated in the middle ages with the high infant mortality rate, because the soul of an unbaptized person can’t get into Heaven. Now it’s just more traditional than necessary to baptize an infant, and many parents choose to wait until their children are older before doing it.

  58. Emily C. says:

    Right-wing U.S. Evangelicals like this misogynist cult are so focused on faith, not works, that they do actually believe works are evil. It’s a great justification for not caring about anyone outside their compound and for racking up as much wealth as they can without caring about anyone who isn’t also rich. Fred Clark at Slacktivist has been talking about this for a long time. It’s difficult for anyone raised outside the right-wing Evangelical bubble to understand because, of course, it doesn’t make a lick of sense, and makes even less sense when you actually read the Bible.

    So, if you want to try to get the weirdness, read Fred Clark’s Slacktivist site. The best place to start would be with his discussion of the horrific Left Behind books. (Which is also very entertaining.)

  59. aang says:

    As a cafeteria catholic I just roll my eyes at this kind of thing. I homeschool my kids ( not for religious reasons) so by default we spend a lot of time with evangelicals. They think we are Mary worshiping idolaters who are headed straight to hell.

  60. joan says:

    Why are people like the Duggars so predictable? I expected the guns and the God the moment I heard of them.

    Groucho Marx once had a couple on his show w/tons of kids, and the man said, “Because I love my wife.”

    Groucho said, “I love my cigar too, but I take it out once in a while.”

  61. MyCatLoves TV says:

    Thank you for mentioning Carlton Pearson. I watched a program on him a couple years ago and it moved me greatly. His was an amazing journey and he lost so much – materially – from that journey. But he gained even more.

  62. Lucinda says:

    Glad someone called him out on his scriptural ignorance.

  63. herladyship says:

    I can’t put my finger on it, but I never thought this courtship would last.. I agree that she’s just not into him.

  64. RN says:

    God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians.

    • Jaded says:

      I love that comment – thank you so much.

      • ERIKA says:

        I am Catholic and agree with you 100%. Many of my friends go to church every sunday morning and of course they do the “facebook location check in” for everyone to know how religious/holly they are. Once I invited them to go to the local animal shelter to walk the dogs that stay in the kennels without any exercise, for days sometimes, but no they couldn’t miss the mass because God expect them to “see them every sunday”. I

      • Lilacflowers says:

        God will see them if they attend Mass at a different time or even at a different church or even if they attend the Saturday evening services. They’re attending to be seen by the other parishioners.

        @RN, although nobody knows what God thinks, you are probably 100% correct, if there is a God.

  65. Penguen says:

    Lapsed Jew, here. I had a coworker/friend who was Evangelical (we were close – I was even in her wedding). But I was totally stunned one day when she ran into a church friend at work, and pointed to me while they chatted about her wedding: “that’s my matron of honor over there,” and then in a quieter voice, “she’s Jewish. I can’t save her.”

    I was done after that.

  66. MerlinsWife says:

    Is it just me or does he look really stoned in the picture where he is wearing the orange polo?

  67. L says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand. The Duggars (and presumably their offspring) eschew TV and what I would gather to be mainstream media outlets. Yet the younger generation is allowed to use FB, texting and other social media? I thought this was something they did not condone. Sometimes I think they’re in it for the ride, of course, they’re benefitting ($$$) from the TV show after all. Doesn’t make sense.

  68. Joh says:

    What a petty god these people worship.

  69. Katie says:

    And the most terrifying thing? These fanatics are popping out kid after kid after kid. Hard to imagine dealing with an ever increasing number of people with these beliefs, because man oh man they do a hell of a job brainwashing.

  70. Jaded says:

    There are uneducated, unenlightened evangelists of every stripe invading the world’s sanctity every minute of every day. They are wholly responsible for the religious strife, hatred and ultimately the wars that are fought every day in every country. Nobody, NOBODY has a direct line to God. Nobody has the answer dictated to them alone by their bloody-minded and intolerant beliefs. All you have to be is accepting, egalitarian, tolerant, loving, charitable and kind. Period. Pinheads like this Duggar boyfriend are so lost in their fantasy world that the sooner we stop paying attention to them through stupid reality TV programs, the more quickly the world will evolve into a better place for everyone.

  71. ERIKA says:

    The biggest hypocrites I have ever met in my life are Christians. (I am Roman-Catholic). There, I said it. I am latina, live in Florida and I absolutely despise idiots like these Duggars that have the bible in one hand and the gun in the other one. And of course they love every human being as long as they are blonde with blue eyes. They looooooove sex, bet they watch porn every night, have more kids that any illegal mexican on welfare but think they are the purest thing on planet earth. Biggest Hypocrites Ever.

  72. Godwina says:

    Jessa and Ben: A waste of beautiful faces.

  73. JW says:

    What a pathetic, intolerant little hater. And people’s comments that he is just expressing an opinion. If it was an opinion about black people or Jewish people, there would be an uproar and he would not be allowed on that sad little show any longer. Catholic’s seem to be fair game for some reason.

    Religious intolerance caused and is causing countless problems in the world. Perhaps he would like to go to Iraq and do some volunteering. Two strands of Islam, slaughtering their fellow man. Perhaps Google the Bosnian war. That was a doozy – nothing like genocide in the name of religion.

    I have suffered personally from religious persecution. I had no idea of the intolerance and hatred towards Catholics (which I am) before I married a lapsed Pentecostal. But both my husband and mother-in-law have attacked me since the birth of our child. Promises made to raise her a Catholic were dismissed and my life was threatened (by my husband) if she were baptised. A meeting between him, my M-I-L and some freak who called himself a paster, talking about me in derogatory terms over my religion, was recorded by my husband and left on our computer accidentally. This ‘man of God’ said that women who visited clairvoyants caused their babies to die of SIDS, that a corporation in the USA controlled the weather and that the UN made vaccines not work so they could control the population (amongst many other idiotic statements). So many conspiracy theories I was hoping he was going to mention who killed JFK and where Elvis was hiding out!

    I am unfortunately still married to this ugly individual, but not for much longer. And I got our baby baptised and she is a Catholic with me as per the promises made – honour and integrity matter less to these people (by these people I mean the people I am unfortunately related to) than hatred of Catholics.

  74. jwoolman says:

    Yeah, some Protestants get really upset that Catholics aren’t Protestant… Particularly fundamentalists like this boy, but I’ve heard plenty of bigoted statements from non-fundamentalists who should have known better. They had more respect for Hindus and Buddhists far far away than for their Catholic neighbor who might (the horror!) have a statue of Mary or a favorite saint in their garden or house. How dare they be different! How dare they actually express their beliefs where normal people can see them!!!

    He’s had this stuff drilled into his head since he was in the womb. I’m sure he feels the same about other Christians (not just Catholics) who don’t line up exactly with his particular list of dogma. His heaven is definitely not overcrowded.

  75. Capepopsie says:

    Well, I really dont know

  76. LaurieH says:

    I have always thought (and I freely admit I could be totally off base here) that deep down, atheists really do believe in God or at least leave open the possibility of God. They may not call Him God or even equate Him to what religious people believe, but I honestly think they believe in some sort of undefinable higher power. They simply find nothing productive in trying to define it or revere it; no doubt due to all the pain that has been wrought throughout history by religious differences. It is quite possible to believe in God (however you define that) and not be religious. Many people are turned off by organized religion; they find it confining, contradictory and confusing. Many people find comfort and stability in organized religion; it gives them a real sense of purpose and fellowship. I don’t judge. I find it interesting (in the academic sense) that so many people can read the same book (the Bible) and walk away with so many interpretations (which only reinforces and proves that the book is one of our greatest mysteries). I often wonder if God is amused by our interpretations and just shaking His head. I have also always thought that what keeps us seeing “the truth” is our own arrogance and ego and that our arrogance and ego (as well as a big dollop of ignorance) is what shades our interpretations of the Bible. All that being said, I believe in God – deeply and unequivocably. For me, organized religion is like one of those “Who Wore It Better” questions, except that you’re being asked “Who Interprets It Better”. How should I know? I could listen to everyone’s interpretation, but I am simply not smart enough to know which one is right. And I am humble enough to admit it. So I just keep my eye on the ball (God) and do as Jesus commanded: love each other. Be nice to each other. Treat people the way you want others (including God) to treat you. It’s kind of easy…it just starts with a smile.

    • wolfpup says:

      I don’t need Jesus, to have empathy and compassion. That is a part of my soul.

      A god is not necessary, to have spiritual beliefs. I love this expression of what we can be sure of:

      The valley spirit never dies.
      It is the woman, primal mother.
      Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
      It is like a veil barely seen.
      Use it; it will never fail. (Lao Tsu)

      Nature is my teacher and my kneeling place. Man and his notions are not. Live the questions, counsels Rilke. I believe it is the questions that ennoble us. Western religions are not the totality, of the wonderful ideas of mankind.

    • Ange says:

      No, I’m happy living my life with no belief in a higher power of any sort. The notion of it is rather nonsensical to me. When times get tough I rely on myself and my loved ones. I don’t mind admitting I do have the rather Pollyanna outlook that everything will always turn out for the best but there’s definitely no divine intervention behind that for me.

  77. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    She really looks like her creepy Pa Jim Bob.

  78. teehee says:

    If he at leat bothered to differentiate between the TEACHINGS of a religion, and the PEOPLE that accept them, then he woul dearn a bit less wrath- but the huge flaw of confusing people as good or bad for following a different belief— is one of the biggest kinds of ignorance that a person can exhibit….

  79. Mrs McCubbins says:

    Just another kook listening to his imaginary friends in the sky.

  80. BigMaMa says:

    and they are going to procreate? …. LAWD HELP US!

  81. Blair says:

    I could have sworn Jim Bob Duggar supported Rick Santorium for President in the last Presidential Election Cycle and Santorium is a Catholic. I know he was the most right wing of all the candidates but if the Duggars don’t think Catholics are Christians I doubt he’d support him.

    RE: Jessa’s “beau”
    I knew kids like him growing up in the South and they are basically naive and ignorant. They really believe they are doing the lord’s will by calling people out over differences in doctrine like this. Everything is so black and white with these kids. There are no shades of gray. He’s just young and dumb and proudly ignorant of the larger world.
    Oh regarding his point about “works” vs “faith” This was a debate between the Catholics and Protestants in my family. Unless I’m mistaken the Catholic view is NOT that you can earn salvation through your good works but that if you have faith and accept Jesus as your savoir you will be compelled to engage in good works. I could be wrong. but I suspect Ben just doesn’t know what he’s talking about

    • lisa says:

      rick santorum was raised catholic but he supports quiverfull. when he talks about religion, it doesnt reflect catholicism. i suspect he is full out fundie but thought it would be a career killer and doesnt admit to it.

      catholics need both faith and good works

  82. ann says:

    I would rather hang with a Catholic over an evangelical any day.

  83. Sophita says:

    My new Church is the !CHURCH OF GLAM ROCK!

    Queen and Adam LAmbert are a religious Experience and they PREACH LOVE

    Happy Girl here

  84. P.J. says:

    So, to be clear, “charity” and being an all around good and loving person doesn’t bring you closer to God-though the Duggar’s themselves have openly stated that they do countless works at home and abroad for the less fortunate for this very reason-but females only wearing knee length or longer skirts and dresses, not cutting their hair and couples in “relationships” not hugging from the front, holding hands or kissing until their day of their weddings DOES??

    God help me, this dude is so f**king unhinged. Ben must be a dream for Jim Bob because clearly as soon as this kid had his first sip of the Kool-Aid he went all in for the full gallon. What miserable lives these extremist people must lead.

    Cue to newlywed Jill announcing her first pregnancy of countless others-right on cue and as expected of her-any day now…Sigh. My heart truly goes out to each and every Independent Fundamentalist Baptist woman. They’re prisoners and most don’t even realize it because they’re so isolated from birth.

  85. raindrop says:

    Without Catholics, there would be no Protestant denominations. Show a little gratitude, little would-be-Duggar. Hahaha.

  86. Vilodemeanus says:

    The Duggars are frauds, the crazy branch of religion they used to belong to was to liberal *leader of the cult was a pedophile that Jimbob sent 3 of the kids to when they were teens for rolling their eyes and questioning him* so they got some pervert to make them more compliant. Read the story about that. Jimbob decided he knew more about God so they hold their crazy services in their home because of their extreme views. That buddy system is like the East German cold war, if one buddy sibling does not report something the other one said or did the one who didn’t rat out his or her buddy is severely punished. This is a cult with a woman who only wants babies at the heart of it, once they are still infants she passes them off to the older children to raise. It’s very much like growing up in an orphanage. The fact that Jimbob picks out who is going to fuck and breed with his daughters disgusting. Which is why I call him the American Taliban, he’s no different. Religiously intolerant, arranged marriages, can’t be educated outside of the house, no one wants to say it but he is just like the Taliban. It’s sick. They all are sick. They are the last thing from truly Christian people, they don’t even fit into a regular church, meaning they are in a cult. This was an abusive environment and anywhere else except Arkansas the state would have been monitoring this family for abuse. Really sending your kids to a child molester as punishment? He did it with 3 of them. Sick sick sick, and freeloaders to the max. They are the last thing from an American family. Shame on Discovery for continuing this sick charade.