Last week the Duggar family recevied some good news for a change:
After a brief courtship of just a few months, Jeremiah Duggar had proposed to Hannah Wissmann, and she accepted.
Between his eldest son being imprisoned on child pornography charges, his eldest daughter being arrested for child endangerment, and his own defeat in his race for Arkansas State Senate, 2021 was probably the worst year of Jim Bob Duggar’s life.
And he probably hoped that things would begin to turn around with Jeremiah and Hannah’s engagement.
But now, Jim Bob is being confronted with het another reminder of the extent to which his authority has crumbled over the course of the past year.
Jeremiah and Hannah announced their engagement on Instagram with what would appear, to most people, to be a perfectly innocent photo.
“She said YES!” Jeremiah captioned the pic.
“Hannah, getting to know you for the past year has been so incredible! I can’t even find the words to describe it,” he continued.
“You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I cannot wait to marry you. I love you!”
Now, it’s tough to imagine that anyone could be anything controversial in such a seemingly wholesome wedding announcement.
But as many commenters have observed, the pic is a clear violation of the infamous Duggar courtship rules.
It’s been a while since the Duggars enumerated these rules publicly, but diehard fans — and critics — remember them quite well.
Shockingly, Duggar couples are never allowed to be alone together until after they say “I do.”
And even when they’re sufficiently chaperoned, they’re forbidden to engage in kissing, hand-holding, and their physical contact is limited to brief “side hugs.”
Yes, front hugs are forbidden, as Jim Bob and Michelle are of the belief that opposite-sex genitals should only come within close proximity of one another when they’re collaborating to make a baby.
In the Duggars’ warped view, this is true even of crotches that are safely ensconced within a layer of denim or pleated khaki.
You really can’t overstate how weird this family is.
And so, when commenters on the always-entertaining r/DuggarSnark subreddit realized that Hannah and Jeremiah had bravenly flouted those rules, they had a field day.
“It’s an outrage! A scandal!” one commenter sarcastically remarked.
“Straight to hell!” another joked.
“So are they gonna skip the aggressive hand holding?” a third asked.
A fourth pointed out that Jeremiah’s post could be interpreted as a direct challenge to his overbearing father:
“He’s like, ‘I f–king dare you to say something about this hug, Dad,'” this person oserved.
Critics used to fantasize about the day when one of the Duggar kids would challenge their father, but it always seemed like a pipe dream.
After all, Jim Bob had all the power, and since he pocketed his kids’ TLC earnings, he also had all the money.
It was impossible to imagine that any of the Duggars would put it all on the line by openly defying their father.
But Jim Bob suffered a precipitous fall from grace over the past year, and now, he might need to brace himself for an internal power struggle, like some evengelical version of Succession.
Or at the very least, he might have to get used to his kids disregarding his most pointless rules.