Jim Bob Duggar, patriarch of the "19 Kids and Counting" family, has responded to a petition to cancel the TLC show over the family's Biblical views regarding marriage, saying it has helped spread the Gospel message.
A Change.org petition was launched in November by Jim Wissick, of San Jose, California, accusing the Duggar family of "fear mongering" due to their opposition of gay marriage and Michelle Duggar's support for the repeal of a pro-transgender anti-discrimination law. The petition has garnered 180,000 votes since Wednesday morning.
However, The Pathway reports in a speech given at Booster Banquet at Hannibal-LaGrange University, Jim Bob said that the the petition has done exactly the opposite of what supporters had hoped in a speech given at
"We love everybody, but we don't always agree with them," Jim Bob said. "[The creators of the petition] won't succeed. Our show is the number one show on TLC. We love everybody. It's a small group creating this fuss. All it has done is give us more exposure. We've gained 50,000 Facebook fans last week. God is expanding our borders through the national media."
The many supporters of the Christian conservative Duggar family responded to the Change.org petition by launching a counter petition urging TLC to keep the show on the air.
A link was posted on a Facebook fan page for Michelle Duggar with the caption, "The Duggar Family is under attack from anti-marriage advocates for standing for traditional marriage. We commend The Duggar Family for their brave stand in defending marriage as ordained by God between one man and one woman. No individual's sexual behavior and chosen lifestyle has the right to redefine marriage."
Until recently, the Duggar family did not address criticism regarding their Christian values, but at the time posted a message on their Facebook page about remaining steadfast in their convictions, using a passage from scripture.
"This is such a sweet scripture that we hold dear," the Duggars wrote. "We will always stand for truth and the values we hold dear without compromise but we will do so in love and kindness - treating others well even if we don't agree with them and we will do so without hateful words. This verse is a reminder of how we must always carry ourselves. Precious words from Jesus."
"19 Kids and Counting" recently received its highest ratings ever, with a total of 4.41 million viewers for the two-hour special of Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard's wedding,