The new issue of the Hollywood Reporter features a nice dispatch from Springdale
by journalist Scott Johnson, who attends church services and speaks to a number of locals in and around "Duggar territory," even making a stop in Tontitown to try the family's front door. What he finds is mostly pretty depressing, like this moment in a Baptist service, courtesy of one Pastor Ronnie Floyd:
Suddenly a photograph of Caitlyn Jenner, the personage formerly known as Bruce Jenner, the Olympian turned reality TV star, appeared on a giant screen overhead. "Gender is not fluid," Floyd intoned to several enthusiastic "amens." He looked over at the picture of Jenner and seemed to shake his head, which prompted titters and clucks of reprobation from the mostly white, mostly well-groomed and mostly over-40 audience. Instead of stained glass, pastel-colored backlit panels on both sides of the stage glowed brightly. The crowd was rapt.
Most of the people he meets express support for Josh, and believe the family is "getting slammed unfairly," as the pastor at Grace Communion Ministry puts it. "No reason I see to pull it off the air," he says. "But I'm not a big reality TV person. I think the media is trying to massacre and crucify that family. ... Judging and condemning belong to Jesus Christ. I wouldn't want to be judged now for what I did when I was 14 years old."
Not everyone stands with the Duggars, however. For instance, Brad Carter, who Johnson meets in a public library and who introduces himself as a longtime resident and author of a novel he describes as "a gay buddy comedy with Sasquatch." "Quite frankly, I find the family appalling," Carter says. "Their beliefs are quite alien to me, and I find their views of the LGBT community downright offensive. That so many people get their ideas about Arkansas from watching the Duggars' show is an embarrassment."
Read the rest here.