Flipping It Backwards
While we were skyping last night, my wife relayed a story she had heard that Home and Garden Television (HGTV) had dropped a show because someone had complained that the hosts – brothers Jason and David Benham – were devout Christians. That sounded like more of the right-wing War on Christianity meme, so I checked it out.
According to CNN, the Benhams had been scheduled to start a show called Flip It Forward, a play on the phrase Pay It Forward, in which they would be helping families renovate and buy homes, instead of flipping them for profit. That’s a virtuous premise, but apparently they (and their pastor father) are also very vocally opposed to non-traditional and LGBT lifestyles:
The brothers ran afoul of the network after the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair, labeling David Benham as an “anti-gay, anti-choice extremist” for reportedly leading a prayer rally in 2012 outside of the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The site posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation” and “demonic ideologies” taking hold in colleges and public schools.
Benham also discusses the fight for North Carolina’s Amendment One, which involved a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution.
I asked my wife, ‘How large a percentage of the core audience of HGTV do you think are gay?’ This isn’t about Christianity, it’s about ratings. Gay viewers are not likely to watch a show starring two anti-gay activists.
David Benham complained:
“We love all people. I love homosexuals. I love Islam, Muslims, and my brother and I would never discriminate. Never have we — never would we, … Never have I ever spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda. And that’s really what the point of this is — is that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith, …”
But, “as individuals,” is not really good enough. If I told the African-Americans I work with that I liked them as individuals, but I thought they belonged in Africa, how happy do you think they would be to hear that? If I told the women I work with that I respected them as individuals, but I thought they should be at home with their children, how happy do you think they would be to hear that?
The Benhams are certainly entitled to their beliefs, and to speak about their beliefs, but they also have to endure the consequences of what people believe about them.