The Duggar family media coverage teaches us many outstanding lessons, one of which is that while God opens many doors of opportunity to serve Him, we need to guard ourselves from the hidden dangers of media celebrity, pride and accolades.
Now critics are crucifying the family again after viewing “The Kelly File” that reportedly drew 3.1 million viewers. (See videos below) The Duggars didn’t know that this was a bait and betrayal from the media- even the so called “Conservative” Fox network.. The opportunity to defend themselves and the bait of celebrity status ultimately backfired on them.
Opposition to Birth Control
Jim Bob’s and Michelle’s opposition to birth control and large number of children had already drawn the attention and scorn of population control advocates who are obsessed with controlling the population. Few people value life these days.
We’ve become a very selfish society and the Duggars forgot that it is a taboo to have more than two children in most Western nations including some in the church that view children as a burden to society, an interruption to our lives, a drain on our economic progress, and many other negative reasons.
In fact we are blaming babies and children for all kinds of social and political problems that don’t even exist, yet the pornography and sex slave business is making billions of dollars a year promoting sex that ultimately increases the population. It’s the same media that broadcasts lust and violence, which in turn feeds lust until people can no longer contain themselves within the bounds of human decency.
The Media-Opportunity and Control
Remember the amount of information someone has about you is a certainly a factor in determining how much control the person exerts over you. Privacy is the door through which power must pass to access information about our lives. Once that door is opened, we become vulnerable to manipulation and control.
The media that was originally birthed to glorify what was good, righteous and pure in the human heart, has now become overtaken by lust for money, power, and greed. So the media elites and empires of this world have become tools to manipulate, control, and exercise dominion over the public at large.
The Duggars forgot or didn’t know that the vast majority of all news media including in the United States is controlled by five or six corporations. These corporations control almost all America’s newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, books, records, movies, and now the Internet. These avenues of media occupy a major role in the private lives of the entire societies with controlled sights and sounds.
Apart from a few independent newspapers, most of the media has been a champion of the elite’s agenda, which is to promote other people’s rights and to bow to the pressure of only one group of people wherever possible. They only care about their ratings, survival, and to avoid offending those groups who have the power to damage or even destroy them. This includes the powerful LGBT Lobby.
The media that used to play a positive role in being a watchdog in society, government corruption, and the plight of the weak and marginalized, cannot maintain their integrity and independence any longer. It will use personal attacks against those who dare challenge sex before marriage, homosexuality, birth control or anything related to pro-family causes.
Hitler was right when he reportedly said, “one must demonize the opposition if one wishes to create agreement on political or social philosophy….make the price of opposition as steep as possible.” The most enduring lesson of Nazi Germany in propaganda, according to Dr. Lutzer, is:
Ordinary people, simply concerned about living their own lives, can be motivated to become a part of an evil movement through the power of compelling propaganda, intimidation, and mass euphoria… In such a climate, anyone who swims against the stream is demonized by misrepresentations, false evidence and ridicule. With such pressure, even rational and decent people who refuse to be co-opted begin to question their own sanity. Can they alone be right when everyone else is wrong?
Most of the journalists love freedom and liberty, but they love their lives and comfort a little bit more. Who can blame them? After all, most human beings prefer to turn to the path of lukewarmness, compromise, apathy, and self-preservation when faced with opposition. There are very few journalists today who possess the persistently determined character to report the truth objectively.
I am not suggesting that every media personality twists the truth for personal gain. There are so many good people who work in the media and do their best to operate with a sense of ethics, justice, and commonsense. What we are referring to represents just a few who decide to openly violate the laws they are sworn to protect in order to gain money, power, and control by calling the gospel “hate speech” and the family tradition “intolerance.”
The end justifies the means. The ability to gather vast amount of information about us is increasing everyday; which leads to questions very few are asking: what information should become open to the public and what should remain closed or private. How much should other people, the media, institutions, or governments be allowed to know about its citizens and their activities? What are the boundaries and safeguards, and who will decide—in other words who is watching the watchers that are unrepentant?
The Danger of Pride and Lure of Celebrity Status
The problem is, the Duggar family accepted the celebrity status which provided the media an occasion for disreputable persons to make fun what they cannot understand. Yes, most of us have made terrible choices in our past lives and one cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can certainly repent and do something about it today in order to build a better tomorrow. This is what Duggar was trying to do, but he wasn’t allowed and therefore had to resign.
This is why the Lord warns us not to cast pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6) The pearls of a Christian are, perhaps, his/her experiences of the Lord’s grace, power and love in regards to his soul and these should not casually be made public, unless prompted by the Holy Spirit.
David Wilkerson, for reasons of his own, turned down every invitation from a U.S. president to visit the White House, but he would drive hundreds of miles out of the way during an evangelism tour so he could meet an obscure nun who had written something about Christ that had moved him. Always, he saw the world and those around him through the lens of eternity. He probably knew the dangers of his ego and pride which the media could manipulate, control and use it against him. It was Alexander Solzhenitsyn who wrote that:
If a deep-sea fish used to a constant pressure of many atmospheres rises to the surface, it perishes because it cannot adjust to excessively low pressures, and in much the same way I for fifteen years had lurked discreetly in the depths—the camps, exile, underground- never showing myself, never making a single noticeable mistake about a person or a situation, now that I had risen to the surface and to sudden fame, inordinately resounding fame (for in our country abuse and praise are carried to extremes), began making blunder after blunder, completely failing to understand my new position and my new possibilities….
Remember the danger of pride is always with us. A good example is that of Hezekiah found in 2 Kings Chapter 20. The Bible tells us that out of desperation, God answered Hezekiah’s self-willed prayer and confirmed it with a sign of a sun’s shadow going back ten steps backward. But shortly after the Lord had answered his prayer, Merodach-Baladan, the son of Baladan king of Babylon, having heard that the king was sick, sent a get-well card and a gift to Hezekiah.
Then, Hezekiah made a mistake of showing the messengers of the son of Baladan king of Babylon all his treasure house-silver, gold, spices, aromatic oils, his stockpile of weapons—a guided tour of all his prized possessions. There wasn’t a thing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah didn’t show them.
When Isaiah asked him what he had shown the messengers from Babylon, he replied, “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.
There are many lessons to learn from Hezekiah account which would be beyond the scope of this post and which culminated in a series of many terrible things that should have been avoided:
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord! Behold, the time is coming when all that is in your house, and that which your forefathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons who shall be born to you shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of Babylon’s king.
From the book of 2 Chronicles 32: 24-31, it appears that Hezekiah’s prosperity, success and deliverance from sickness had made him proud. Instead of giving credit to God for all his blessings, he tried to impress the Babylonian visitors with his wealth and power.
The Bible tells us “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3) But even these children can make us proud. We can all be tempted to do exactly what Hezekiah did in different areas of our lives. Without knowing something we esteem becomes an idol—family, power, prestige, education, ministry, ego—can all become idols.
Helmut Thielicke, a German theologian and pastor, said, “success in any area of life is the greatest narcotic of all…. and it’s this worship of success that is generally the form of idol worship the devil cultivates most assiduously…” A testimony of success in any area of life can be exploited by the enemy and can quickly degenerate into vanity and self destruction.
Someone who understands this issue of celebrity seeking a lot better than I do is Chelsea Vicari who serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She concludes by saying:
The pursuit of celebrity is an idol that urges us on promising fulfillment, affirmation, and a claim in society. It doesn’t always deliver.
For Duggar, the promise was an elevated spotlight in a conservative pro-family movement. A position most 20-somethings from Arkansas would need to work ’round the clock, on a shoe-string budget before finally attaining….
As we see in the case of reality television, celebrity can ultimately be turned on us and can tear us down pretty far. Indeed, there are consequences of the pursuit of celebrity.
First, celebrity seeking has the potential to hurt people that never wanted to be involved in the first place. Few commentators have stopped to consider how the Duggar daughters or Jenner kids feel about the worldwide unraveling surrounding their families’ personal confusion, frustration, abuse, trauma and healing……
Another problem with celebrity seeking is it encourages us to exchange our well-intentioned motivations with self-serving ambitions. As Christians we have to stop and consider how living out our private lives on millions of TV and computer screens might cause us to elevate our goals, our pride, and our selves before the Almighty….
I’ve heard it said that reality TV is the Roman Colosseum of our day. This comparison seems reasonable. Still, some people assume their celebrity status is cheered on by their audience. Remember, that is not always the case. In the world’s eyes, the higher the celebrity status, the more entertaining the fall.”