Last week HGTV announced a new series for fall called Flip it Forward starring twins David and Jason Benham and quicker than you can say ‘queer idea’ the show was scrapped.
Why? Well, it doesn’t take long for people to do a quick Google search on anyone, and everyone, who suddenly appears in the limelight, and someone over at Right Wing Watch remembered hearing the name David Benham before and the search was on.
After a nano-second, Google came back with the story of David Benham and his prayer protest outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte back in 2012:
“We don’t realize that, okay, if 87 percent of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand; we have no-fault divorce; we have pornography and perversion; we have a homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation; we have adultery; we have all of the things; we even have allowed demonic ideologies to take our universities and our public school systems while the church sits silent and just builds big churches. We are so complacent, we are so apathetic and we are very hypocritical in the church, that’s why the Bible says judgment begins in the house of God. So when we prayed at 714 we asked God and our city to forgive us for allowing these things in the house of God.”
David Benham is active in the anti-choice — he he regularly leads protests outside of abortion clinics, condemning those who use the facilities to Hell; he is anti-Muslim — he claims that Muslims are “the enemy attacking” America; he's anti-gay — he protests at Pride celebrations and has said that marriage equality will “erode the moral fabric of society” while citing the biblical death penalty for homosexuality; he has even compared fighting against marriage rights for same-sex couples with the fight against Nazi Germany.
Gays. Death. Gays. Nazis. That's David Benham.
Well, once that shi — once that story broke, HGTV announced via its Facebook page that they had “decided not to move forward" with the Benham brothers' show.
Now, it would be safe to say that HGTV has a very large gay audience, and HGTV presents itself as an inclusive corporation with inclusive programming, so, yeah, they are within their rights not to air a show whose content, or hosts, might offend their viewers or their employees, or harm their image.
Naturally, though, the Christian wingnuts are now crying foil, calling the cancellation of the show a “smear campaign’ against any and all who disagree with The Homosexuality or are Pro-life; why its an attack on Christians and faith. But is it, really?
David and Jason Benham appeared on CNN to discuss the cancellation, saying they think HGTV was "bullied" into dumping them:
"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." — David Benham
David, I’ll speak to you as a gay man, one of The Homosexuals that you don’t speak against, even though you’ve done so repeatedly, and I will tell you my agenda: equality.
I would like to marry my partner and have it recognized anywhere I happen to move in this country.
I would like not to be fired for being gay.
I would like not to be denied housing for being gay.
I would like not to be bullied, bashed, or murdered for being gay.
I would like to watch into a bakery or a photography studio, or any business, and not be denied service for being gay.
I would like being equal.
That’s the agenda.
I don’t want to silence you, I simply want you to see that your faith, and I don’t know of a faith that seems as hell-bent — and that is the perfect word choice — on discriminating against people while calling themselves the injured party.
You talk about being discriminated against because a cable network doesn’t want your show on their LGBT-friendly channel? Well, go to a network that shares your views. Check with Pat Robertson; check with Tony Perkins or NOM and see if they’ll start up a channel for you.
And that might just happen. It seem the Benham brothers are working with Faith Driven Consumer, the advocacy group that played a big role in drumming up support for Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson after his own anti-gay remarks led to a (temporary) suspension from his A&E show, to broker a deal to air their show.
Good for them. This is America and we all have the right to say and do what we want to say and do; we can have our TV shows and preach anti-gay sentiment, and label all Muslims as evil, and condemn women to hell for their choice.
But when you have an inclusive employer — which is what HGTV would have been to the Benhams — then maybe they can choose not to have you and your opinions as part of their network. HGTV is considered to be one of the most progressive networks on cable, and I myself have seen many HGTV shows with same-sex couples looking for homes, families with two dads or two moms doing renovations and the idea of the Benhams and their stance on The Gays being on that network is unappealing to me, many others, and to HGTV.
But don’t fret, people, most folks who identify as Christian are nothing like David Benham; most folks who identify as Christian wouldn’t suggest death to homosexuals, wouldn’t compare a struggle for equality to what happened in Germany under Hitler.
Most Christians wouldn’t use fear as their argument, only those on the fringes.
Those who won’t be on my cable channel this fall.