SunTrust Banks reinstates business ties with Benham Brothers after national backlash
ATLANTA, GA, May 19, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – SunTrust Banks has reversed its decision to cut ties with pro-life, pro-family activists David and Jason Benham. The brothers announced the national bank chain had ended its business with the Benham Real Estate Group, their primary business. The reversal came on Friday afternoon after an outcry from social conservatives.
The Benham twins came to national prominence after HGTV canceled a planned reality TV show called Flip it Forward over the pro-life and political activism of the brothers and their parents. Announcing the decision by SunTrust on Friday, David Benham said that SunTrust's decision was part of an "agenda to silence [that] wants us out of the marketplace."
The planned show was originally planned for launch this fall, and would have shown the brothers helping families "find a fixer-upper" home "and transform it into their forever home." However, after a liberal website reported on the work of the Benhams – faithful evangelical Christians who opposed efforts to redefining marriage in North Carolina and protested outside an abortion facility that employs an accused rapist who says he aborts “ugly black babies” – the show was canceled.
Then their real estate business took a hit.
However, a national outcry from people of all beliefs led SunTrust to reverse its decision. SunTrust had told national media outlets, including LifeSiteNews, that the business decision was made by a vendor. A SunTrust spokesperson said that the vendor had "reinstated the listings with Benham Real Estate." Beth McKenna also told reporters that "we don't make choices on suppliers nor base business decisions on political factors, nor do we direct our third party vendors to do so.”
However, the vendor disputes SunTrust's claim, saying the bank initiated the original decision, according to The Daily Caller.
According to Faith Driven Consumer founder Chris Stone, whose organization launched the Twitter activist hashtag #FlipThisDecision and says it represents "46 million consumers...who spend $1.75 trillion annually," SunTrust's decision was a direct result of the American people being heard.
"When you have someone who is, in a general sense, being persecuted for their beliefs, because their beliefs are in conflict with the current onslaught of the pro-choice or the LGBT agenda," Stone told LifeSiteNews, it becomes "costly to take a position that opposes those agendas."
According to Stone, though, the cost to SunTrust was too much.
"When you get a tremendous outpouring of support from mainstream Americans, even those who are in the pro-choice and pro-LGBT communities, SunTrust has to listen,” he said. “People are saying, 'We don't agree with you, but we agree with your right to believe and say what you do in the free market of ideas.'"
"SunTrust forgot who its customers are all across America," concluded Stone.
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Their father, Flip Benham of Operation Save America, told LifeSiteNews that his boys intend to continue helping the poor families they began working with due to the show, even if the show will not go on. They have also offered to take no commission on homes they sell, in order to help the families.