Ben Johnson

, ,

HGTV cancels reality TV show after left-wingers ‘expose’ the stars’ pro-life, pro-family views

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
Image

CONCORD, NC, May 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The home improvement television network HGTV has canceled a proposed reality show after a left-wing website printed an “exposé” of the evangelical stars' pro-life, pro-family activism.

Flip It Forward, scheduled to debut on Home and Garden Television this October, would feature brothers David and Jason Benham helping down-on-their-luck families purchase a dream home they thought they could never afford. “In each episode, the guys help a deserving family find a fixer-upper and transform it into their forever home - with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry between the brothers along the way,” HGTV announced.

But the website “Right-Wing Watch,” a project of Hollywood producer Norman Lear's People for the American Way, ran an article yesterday denouncing the Benhams as “anti-gay, anti-Choice extremists.” It highlighted the alleged extremism of the brothers and their father, Rev. Flip Benham of the pro-life outreach Operation Save America.

The article features a YouTube video of David Benham speaking at an abortion facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, the siblings' home state. In the clip, Benham mentioned that he had arranged for pro-life groups to give pregnant women free ultrasounds. “I just thank God for what He's doing in the city,” he said.

They also organized a prayer protest outside the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

As another example of his purportedly radical views, Right-Wing Watch reported that David Benham told talk show host Janet Mefferd that “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.”

Such views constituted, in the words of Slate, “the Benhams’ repellant and well-documented ultra-conservative activism.”

The brothers were also criticized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for their opposition to building the Ground Zero Mosque.

However, it was the family's opposition to same-sex “marriage” that seems to have flipped the tables on their TV future.

The Benham brothers helped successfully overcome the lobbying of the president of the United States to see North Carolina pass a constitutional ban on gay 'marriage' by a landslide. Amendment One, which defines marriage “between one man and one woman,” passed by a 61-39 percent margin in May 2012.

“The family is essential to society as a whole,” David wrote in The Christian Post at the time. “The design of the family – man/woman covenanting together for life, reproducing children, caring for and nurturing them to maturity, etc – is the thread that connects the world together and has provided the very basis of society since the beginning of time.”

Around noon today, HGTV announced it was dropping the project on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The boys' father, Flip Benham, told LifeSiteNews exclusively that his family had not been notified about the cancellation before the network's public announcement. “We have some contractual obligations to the people we are helping right now,” he said.

Flip Benham called the homosexual activist lobby “the biggest bully in the country.”

“There's no one who dares oppose them,” he told LifeSiteNews. “No corporation would dare stand up to this juggernaut of the homosexual agenda.”

He said his family did nothing to hide their views from the network, which is distributed to 98 million U.S. households. “We knew – and so did HGTV – that this was a possibility,” Benham told LifeSiteNews.

He was sorry his sons had to pay for the actions of their father. “I think of my sons, who have to suffer for the fact that their dad speaks up about the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. But he held firm: “Homosexuality is not a good thing. It destroys those who practice it and nations that approve of it.”

He believed the backlash came in part due to pro-life successes in fighting abortion. He pointed to plunging abortion rates and the declining number of young people who support abortion-on-demand.

He also gave thanks that he “had the privilege of baptizing Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, and she's now a professing, confessing Christian” who would like to see that Supreme Court case reversed.

“All over the country the battle's being won, and now this battle has moved from one manifestation right into another,” calling the drive to normalize homosexuality “simply a different colored glove covering the same fist.”

Every Christian who opposes homosexual activity is conflated with Westboro Baptist Church, Benham told LifeSiteNews. “It's not that we hate them. It's that we love them enough to tell them the truth and point them to Jesus, Who sets them free.”

Abby Phillip of The Washington Post treated the cancellation as a matter of course, to be expected from network executives faced with a potential association with Christians. “Cursory research probably could have saved the network from this particular embarrassing episode,” she wrote.

Benham said the chilling of free speech violated HGTV's self-understanding as a tolerant and diverse workplace. In 2012, HGTV’s then-general manager Kathleen Finch told Slate, “Our goal is to represent our viewing base ... so one of the things that we make sure that we do is to have as diverse of a homeowner population as we can.” But Benham noted that, while HGTV has plenty of homosexual characters, he did not know of a single evangelical Christian, or anyone who espouses family values.

Christians who believe in traditional morality face an intensifying call for corporate executives to reprimand or purge them because of their religious beliefs, not their performance or results.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

A&E briefly suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson last December for expressing his private views about homosexuality, only to back down days later after a massive public backlash. More recently, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stepped down after homosexual activists revealed that he supported California's successful Proposition 8.

“You begin to understand how chilling it's been to corporations,” Benham said. “Now you begin to see how Dan Cathy backed down on his stand at Chick-fil-A that marriage was between a man and a woman,” opting not to be vocal on social issues in the future.

“We are see Christianity systematically being criminalized,” Benham told LifeSiteNews, referencing this campaign and proposed “hate crimes” legislation. “If you are going to stand on what the Bible says, you are going to spend time in jail.”

“Nationally, you look at the picture, and you look at the Republican Party, and you think, 'Is there any hope and help?'” he said. “And the answer is not there.”

“If the church can't even stand strong, how can we expect HGTV, which doesn't even acknowledge God, to stand strong against this?” he asked. “It's a battle we've got to fight, and we've got to be willing to pay the price.”

God, he said, “is not wringing His hands worried about what's happening here. He's just watching His church seeing if she will live up and be what God called us from the very beginning to be: the light of the world, the salt of the earth.”

Contact:

HGTV's online contact form: http://www.hgtv.com/contact-us/package/index.html

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

,

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

,

German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook