The First Amendment absolutely protects the right of the Benham brothers to preach, practice and believe whatever they choose – whether that choice is anti-gay or anti-gluten. That’s part of the beauty of this country. Another part of the beauty of this country is that free enterprise allows networks – like HGTV – the freedom to decide what kind of values they want represented by the talent they hire. And this week HGTV made the decision that it does not want to give air time to two brothers who, when they are not flipping houses for profit, are proclaiming that equal protection LGBT families is “demonic” and protesting a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.
As a Christian priest and pastor, my response is a big fat “Amen.”
The HGTV decision is not a war on Christians. It is not an attack on free speech. And it is not “anti-family” (whatever that means.) It is a business decision made based on the welcome reality that we are becoming a country where prejudice against LGBT people and their families is increasingly understood as counter to American values of liberty and justice for all.
I serve a church where we believe in family values that value all families and support a protect marriage movement that protects all marriages. When Jesus said “love your neighbor as yourself” there was no asterisk that said “*unless your neighbor is gay or lesbian” – and there are many, many Christians – as well as other people of faith and conscience – who find the views of the Benham brothers antithetical to their faith and values.
It is not fun to be fired. It is not pleasant to find your perspective disagreed with. But what has happened to the Benham brothers does not make them victims of the gay agenda. It makes them a footnote in the story of the arc of history that is bending toward justice for LGBT people.Preach it!