Values Voters Summit Honors Biblical Patriarchy Movement

Friday night’s entertainment at the Values Voters Summit was a musical performance by 18 of the 19 Duggar children (stars of the hit reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting, which the audience seemed to find absolutely adorable.

In bestowing the first annual “Pro-Family Entertainment” award on Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins simultaneously portrayed them as an exceptional example of a family’s devotion to God and a family model to which everyone good Christian should aspire. The master of ceremonies declared described the Duggars’ contraception-free-it’s-all-up-to-God-television-show: “what’s most exciting of all, they are using this opportunity to make Christ known and make others see that the Bible is the owner’s manual for life.”

Of course anyone who has more than one child knows the challenges of dressing them immaculately, coiffing their hair perfectly, and having them stand on stage in front of several hundred people to sing and play their violins in unison. The Duggars pulled that off with 18 kids on Friday night, and were then honored as the angelic ambassadors of God’s will for the family.

As Julie reported here in July, Michelle Duggar was named Mother of the Year by the Christian Reconstructionist group Vision Forum, which advocates biblical patriarchy, the subject of RD contributor Kathryn Joyce’s book Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. You really should read Kathryn’s book to fully understand the concepts of “male headship” and “wifely submission” that animate this movement (which includes the Quiverfull movement and others), but in a nutshell, this movement is, as Michelle Duggar herself said on Friday night, about “obedience.” Duggar was referring to obedience to God — she said, “Our motto is obey first, understand later” — but it’s also about the wife’s obedience to her husband.

You can find Kathryn’s writings for us on this topic here, here, here, and here.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email