With Duggars Fading, Meet The Bates Family
They’re cut from the same mold, with 22,000 kids,and home schooling courtesy of the same fundamentalist cult the Duggars worshipped, whose head had to resign because of sex abuse charges. The Duggars and the Bates seem to be competing for who can have the most kids and be the most pure.
Many fans of Bringing up Bates believe the Bates family is “better” than the Duggars; Kelly Bates genuinely seems to love her 19 children, Gil Bates actively parents (and can also paint glow-in-the-dark eagles at impressive speeds), minimally talented country-singing son Lawsonis more sociable and fun than any Duggar boy, and Erin Paine nee Bates is compelling to watch as she shares everything in her life from makeup tutorials to her struggles with fertility.
But lurking behind the admittedly gorgeous family are the same ugly beliefs that drove the Duggars to keep their child-molesting son hidden from authorities for over a year and in the same house as the sisters he molested for many more. Alongside Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Gil and Kelly Bates share a devotion to God, an affection for TV money, and a strict adherence to the ATI (Advanced Training Institute International) homeschooling curriculum.
It’s not a secret that the Duggars follow the ATI curriculum, an educational program that tells young women to cover up their bodies lest they “defraud” the horny men around them, and an educational program that blames victims of sexual assault. But the Bates family ties to ATI run deeper and present a troubling dynamic in the Duggar molestation scandal: regardless of whether or not Gil Bates knew of Josh Duggar’s actions—an open secret in their shared tight-knit religious community—Gil Bates himself is a driving force in ATI, peddling an actively harmful and scientifically inaccurate curriculum to young men and women, and doing so while making significant amounts of money charming viewers with his family’s full-frontal hugs and exclusive breeding announcements in People.