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    An Alberta Homeschooling Group Cancelled A Planned Speech By The Duggars

    The group originally called the Josh Duggar molestation scandal "old news."


    The Alberta Home Education Association announced Sunday night that it's cancelling the Duggars' planned speech after pushback from its membership.

    "Although early feedback from our members this summer was supportive of having the Duggars come here, recent feedback from our own members points out that their appearance here would not be in the best interests of home educators," AHEA president Paul van den Bosch said in a statement.

    Van den Bosch also highlighted another speech about preventing child abuse that will go ahead as planned.

    "As we have learned, child abuse can happen in any home and is never 'old news'," he said.

    Read the original story below.

    The Alberta Home Education Association has invited Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to be keynote speakers at the group's annual convention.

    CHRIS KEANE / Reuters

    The reality TV stars are homeschooling advocates who educate their own children using a Christian-inspired curriculum that emphasizes Biblical teachings.

    Their TLC show 19 Kids and Counting was cancelled earlier this year following the revelation their oldest son Josh molested five children, including four of his sisters, when he was a teenager.

    Josh Duggar said he "acted inexcusably" when he was younger, but that he found forgiveness from God.

    The AHEA defended its decision to invite the Duggars to its convention.

    Danny Johnston / AP

    "The controversy surrounding actions taken by Josh Duggar is really 'old news.' The events happened more than a decade ago and were dealt with legally and morally at that time," the group said in a statement on its website.

    The AHEA said it does not condone Josh Duggar's behaviour but is taking a "forgive and forget" approach to the situation.

    The AHEA promotes a religious view of education that "values the supremacy of God" and emphasizes parents' "God-given right and responsibility to direct the education of their children." It does not receive any provincial funding.

    AHEA president Paul van den Bosch told CBC News the group doesn't seek out "perfect speakers" for its keynotes.

    He also said the group booked Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar as keynotes before the molestation scandal erupted. Van den Bosch expects them to address the controversy during their speech.

    "We hope that the Duggars will speak about what happened, what they learned, what they've done to prevent further incidents like this," he told CBC News.

    BuzzFeed Canada has contacted both the AHEA and the Duggar family for comment.