The Duggar family is currently under a lot of scrutiny, due to their cover-up of Josh Duggar’s past of molesting his sisters and other underage girls. But, as Gawker’s Jennifer C. Martin points out, it’s also worth taking a closer look at the Duggar’s religious beliefs and the severely patriarchal culture that Josh Duggar grew up in.
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The Duggars practice a set of beliefs that are very similar to the Quiverfull movement, a sect of Christianity that’s heavily focused on high fertility rates (no birth control allowed). Though the Duggars do not technically consider themselves a part of the Quiverfull movement, "their lifestyle mirrors many of its core principles."
The sect gets its name from a Psalm that states, "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed."
Or as Martin aptly puts it, "Each child is an arrow in their quiver, and they’re going to try to shoot it right at you."
Quiverfull is also a "backlash" against feminism, where women are "wife and mother first of all," according to the BBC. Having as many children as naturally possible is more important to members of this sect than making sure that the mother is safe. Vyckie Garrison, a mother of seven, continued to have children even though she was told after child three that it was medically unsafe for her to continue to do so.
"I really believed that I wouldn't die unless God willed that I die, and if he did then I would accept that, because obviously he's the smart one, and has the big picture and knows the whole plan,” she told the BBC.
And boys like Josh Duggar are told that men have "absolute power."
"In these situations you're giving the man ultimate power - you're saying the only one that can check his power is God," Heather Doney, who grew up in a Quiverfull household, told the BBC.
Meanwhile, there's a much bigger issue at stake for these conservative Christians.
"Some Quiverfull adherents believe they are building an army for God -- or at least an army of conservative Christians," the Huffington Post reports. One "well-known proponent of Quiverfull ideology" says that a woman's womb is a "weapon against Satan."
One author explains their mission, saying, "if just eight million American Christians began supplying more 'arrows for the war' by having six children or more, they propose that the Christian Right ranks could rise to 550 million within a century."