In the Bible that David and Jason Benham rely on, John 14:2 says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms…”
But in HGTVs fall schedule, there’s no longer room for the Benhams’ home makeover reality show. And news that their pilot was not picked up for a series has ignited another broadcasting brouhaha over God and gays and who can host entertainment shows.
It’s Duck Dynasty redux… sort of.
This time, instead of the bearded patriarch of A&E in trouble for comments about gays and weird ideas about black people, it’s a social media teardown over the rehab twins’ harsh you-can-google-them views about homosexuality and abortion.
Not typical House and Garden TV fare. I know because I religiously follow the squabbling realtor and designer duo on Love it or List It, the adorable dudes on The Property Brothers, the terminally cheerful gal known as The Rehab Addict, even the I-think-its-phony House Hunters.
Yet, I have no idea whatsoever what faith these realtors and contractors and designers profess other than their ritualistic obsession with open concept floor plans.
Neither have I ever heard the Lord’s name invoked on these shows except during the inevitable “reveal” where the homeowners are led into their redone abode and they gasp, “Oh My God!”
So it is with some surprise that I read that HGTV has cancelled down the Benhams’ Property Brothers knockoff pilot, Flip it Forward after RightWingWatch.org flipped out over the brothers’ views. The site easily found online evidence of the Benhams as devout Christians, Liberty University grads, who also actively oppose gay marriage and abortion rights. (Remember, folks, Christian faith and conservative political views actually are not synonymous).
According to USA TODAY, David Benham protested outside of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, in an effort, he told a radio host, to halt the homosexual agenda. And the twins’ father is Flip Benham, an outspoken anti-abortion activist who is now the director of Operation Rescue.
The Benhams’ response to the GHTV cancellation is to say, “If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.” Their Facebook statement says:
Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.
There’s also a Twitter campaign (#flipthisdecision) demanding that HGTV restore the show. And, no surprise, supporters of the HGTV decision are repurposing the hashtag to celebrate banning the Benhams.
Like I said, Duck Dynasty redux. Although Phil Robertson survived the flap and continues to flourish, at least the discussion prompted many to reexamine their public – and maybe even their private – views about how to share an open society.
That brings me to my question about the HGTV Flip It flap.
Unless the Benham brothers planned to conduct spiritual screening for clients on TV, or they broke employment laws against discrimination in hiring their crews or they refused to choose any non-Christians for their makeover magic, where’s the beef here?
Video courtesy of Liberty University via YouTube
Don’t like them? Don’t watch them. Bad ratings are a faster way to kill a show than any political blowup.
But can I watch people whose religious, social or political views may not be my own (even those who insist an island in every kitchen) take a sledgehammer to a mildewed basement wall? Sure.
After all, how many sports teams do we follow without knowing or agreeing with the players? How many movies do we see where the stars may live lives we deplore off camera?
If the Benhams’ show were cancelled because its description is a thinly-veiled knock off of The Property Brothers, who would notice or care?
I’m pretty clearly against open concept floor plans but open minds work for me.