Josh Duggar--Eldest of '19 Kids And Counting'--Is New Face of Faith and Politics
(CNSNews.com) – Fans of the TLC network reality show “19 Kids And Counting” will have to wait until next season to see what happens when the eldest son, his wife and their three children leave the Arkansas family nest on a cross-country trek to the nation’s capitol.
But 25-year-old Josh Duggar said he’ll feel right at home as the executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council. Faith and politics, he said, are the vehicles for promoting family values.
Duggar, who ran his own business for six years before joining FRC, spoke to CNSNews.com about some of the issues that he’ll be championing at his new job.
Duggar said he believes faith and family are under attack in the United States.
“Our faith is really under attack right now,” he said, adding that “assaults on religious freedom” are historic under the Obama administration.
He called it an administration “that really openly says we want to see the demise as of these certain principles,” citing the recent efforts in the U.S. military to limit Christian troops from sharing their faith.
The family, Duggar said, is also under attack with efforts to redefine marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman.
Duggar also expressed his passion for protecting the unborn from abortion.
“I think that’s probably one of my top issues is the right to life, because, obviously, if you don’t have life we can’t debate all the other issues,” Duggar said.
He said public opinion about abortion has shifted as people are more aware of the reality of a child’s growth in the womb.
“That is a baby, and those precious lives must be protected,” Duggar said, adding that he is also passionate about helping mothers who face unplanned pregnancy.
On a lighter note, Duggar said he and Anna’s decision to pick names for their children that start with “M” – every child in the Duggar family has a name that starts with “J” – wasn’t exactly intentional.
Duggar also said the most frequently asked question posed to him and his wife is how many children they plan to have. He said they believe that decision is not in their hands.
“It’s not about how many children you have, but it’s really about whether or not you’re willing to love the children that God has given you, that he’s blessed you with,” Duggar said.
“God’s not going to give us more than we can handle, and I think that each child is a gift from the Lord, and that’s the way we really view it,” Duggar said.
Duggar said he was inspired by his father, Jim Bob, who served two terms as a state legislator in the Arkansas House of Representatives, and his mother, Michelle, whom he praised for the job she’s done raising him and his 18 siblings.
“I think from an early age my parents really instilled in us the importance of, not only being involved in politics, but really being active in your community and realizing that life is made up of a lot more than just you,” Duggar said in an exclusive interview with CNSNews.com.
Duggar said his role at FRC fits with Christ’s teaching about the virtue of having a servant’s heart – a truth he said his parents also taught by example.
“My parents have definitely exemplified that in their lives,” he said. “Having 19 children is not an easy task.”
The journey that brought Duggar from Tontitown, Ark., to Washington, D.C., however, is not your typical family saga, and it’s not just because his family is larger than a professional basketball team.
When Duggar was 20, the family became the focus of a reality television show, now the longest running series on the TLC network. The idea for the program was inspired after Jim Bob’s unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2002.
A photo of Jim Bob, Michelle and their then 11 children waiting at an Arkansas voting booth ended up in the New York Times. Parenting magazine did a feature on the family, and the reality show (formerly 17 Kids And Counting, then 18 Kids and Counting) launched in September 2008.
By then, Duggar’s homeschooling was complete (he graduated from “high school” at 16). In fact, Duggar married his wife, Anna, in 2008 -- the same year the current series launched.
Anna and Duggar’s courtship was long distance – she lived in Florida – and they shared their first kiss on their wedding day.
Now, the Duggars have three children of their own – Mackynzie, 3, Michael, 2, and Marcus, 2 months – and have just settled in their new home near D.C.
Duggar and his wife have their own website, where fans can read about their story, see photos of their children and keep up with posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“We hope that our site will help you get to know us a little better and that you will be encouraged in your life through what God is doing in ours!” the website said. “We are just normal people who live pretty normal lives, we just have camera crew follow us every once-in-a-while!
“We look at our opportunities to share on television as a ministry to reach into the hearts of viewers and share through our life the hope that we have found in Jesus Christ!” the website added.