HGTV cancels reality TV show after left-wingers ‘expose’ the stars’ pro-life, pro-family views
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.”
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.
HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series.— HGTV (@hgtv) May 7, 2014
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.
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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.”
HGTV's online contact form: http://www.hgtv.com/contact-us/package/index.html