After HGTV cancels show, SunTrust Banks cancel business deals with Benham brothers
CHARLOTTE, NC, May 16, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – First, they lost their show. Now David and Jason Benham's business is threatened, as SunTrust Banks pulled all its properties from the brothers' real estate company, as well as several other franchisees. All, it seems, over their support for traditional marriage.
The brothers' real estate company – the Benham REO Group, which has nearly 100 offices in 35 states – once held “preferred broker” status with the bank. But David and Jason say that longtime economic partnership came to an end without explanation during a 15-minute period on Thursday.
“We were caught off-guard with this one,” David Benham said. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”
They said while they respected the institution's right to make or terminate contracts at will, they noted many of the individual franchisees affected by the decision do not share their views on life or marriage.
“As Americans we find ourselves at a crossroads and are forced with a decision to either stand up or sit down,” he said. “Evidently, SunTrust’s longstanding commitment to diversity must not include our historic Christian values.”
Building on his reaction to losing the HGTV show, Jason Benham said, “If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it.”
The HGTV network canceled their scheduled reality show Flip It Forward earlier this month after a left-wing website described the brothers' pro-life, pro-family views.
They and their father – Rev. Flip Benham, the founder of Operation Save America – are active in the nation's pro-life movement. Based in Charlotte, they regularly protested A Preferred Women's Health Center, where abortionist and accused rapist Ashutosh “Ron” Virmani works. Virmani once told OSA that he aborts “ugly black babies.”
However, it was the brothers' activism on behalf of the state's constitutional marriage protection amendment, which 61 percent of North Carolina voters approved in 2012, that fueled most of the Left's activism.
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HGTV soon bowed to the pressure, declaring that evangelical Christians are more extreme than racist abortionists accused of rape, or the militant homosexual movement. The move prompted Faith Driven Consumer founder Chris Stone to launch an online drive asking HGTV to #FlipThisDecision. To date, the network has not shown signs of reconsidering.
The home improvement network left the brothers in the lurch, their father, Flip Benham, told LifeSiteNews at the time. They had already begun production on the show, helping six families find a dream home they could not otherwise afford. The family affirmed they would help those families whether or not their good deeds appeared on camera.
Their father told LifeSiteNews that the network was aware of the potential backlash before they signed the show.
The Benhams have handled the cancellation of the show, which was to have debuted in October, with grace. They told Bill O'Reilly, "We're not victims. We're not crying. Thumbs up to HGTV."
In an online video entitled “Truth in Love,” Jason Benham said, “What has come out of us in these last few days is nothing but the work of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.”
Not everyone is interested in cutting business ties with the phenomenally successful twins, who place their faith in Jesus Christ at the center of everything they do. Five other networks approached them about filming a reality TV show, some networks asking for different emphases.
Stone said, “We are brokering a possible deal between them and their show and an alternative network to HGTV.” The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that one of the networks in consideration is INSP. However, it offered no further details.
The new move is the latest LGBT movement assault on those who oppose homosexuality. Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stepped down last month after homosexual activists complained of his $1,000 contribution to California's Proposition 8, which California voters approved. Local media report that Golden State Warriors’ basketball coach Mark Jackson was fired from that post because of his Christian views of sexuality and marriage.
A 2013 Pew Research Center poll found more Americans believe homosexuality is immoral than believe it is moral, or morally neutral, behavior.