Articles

TV Show Hosted by Evangelical Christians Canceled


A TV show that was starring
evangelical Christians as the host just got cancelled
before it even airs. So, the bad news is
it’s not Duck Dynasty. The good news… I don’t really know if there’s any
good news, but here’s what happened: HGTV offered a show
to David and Jason Benham. And these are twin brothers whose plan
was they were going to renovate houses: they were going to turn bad houses into beautiful dream homes.
And that was the gist of the show. But after they already started, you know,
after they signed all the contracts and everything, it came out
that these brothers are not just Christians because, you know,
who really cares about that? But they’re pretty
nasty Christians. These are guys who have said horrible things
about gay people, people who’ve had abortions. And their father’s
even worse. Their father, Flip, is the head of
Operation Save America, which is one of those nasty anti-abortion groups
that protest outside of clinics, making women who are getting the procedure
feel even worse. They’ve also–
Flip also stood outside mosques and said things like,
“Jesus hates Muslims” as people were walking
into the mosque. And one of the brothers actually took after
his father in this sense. He would join them– He would join his father on these rallies
and these protests. David Benham actually led a protest outside
the Democratic National Convention in 2012. And he’s also been known for going on the radio
and saying things like, “We gotta stop this radical homosexual agenda and Muslims,” not extremist Muslims might do,
“all Muslims are the enemy of America.” And his brother joined him too
on a lot of these protests and rallies. So, when this news came out
on the website Right Wing Watch, HGTV said: “You know what?
We’re not going to air this show.” And it’s a smart decision by them,
because why deal with this media firestorm? Why alienate so many of your
gay friendly viewers when you have these brothers who have not proven
themselves, who don’t have ratings hit yet? Why not? It’s just easier for them to just say:
“You know what? We’re not going to deal with this controversy.” And by the way, this isn’t to say HGTV took away
their free speech. No one’s taken away these brothers’ free speech.
They can say whatever they want, but no one owes them a TV show
for spouting these awful things. You know, HGTV had to decide between
promoting these bigots or, you know, alienating all of their viewers.
And I think they made the right decision in that aspect. But this controversy does raise
an interesting question, because there are a lot of evangelical Christians,
who are on television, and a lot of them are very outspoken
about their views. So you would think: “How come their shows
are still on the air and this one got cancelled?” So, let’s just– Let’s run through a few of these
shows and talk about why they’re still on the air. We know the guys from
Duck Dynasty are homophobic. We know the patriarch of the family,
Phil Robertson, got in huge trouble when he made very homophobic
comments to a magazine, you know, last year. And that show– They basically put the father
on temporary, you know, suspension with the full intention of bringing him back
once the controversy died down. And that’s pretty much
exactly what happened. When you have the highest
rated show on cable television, they’re not just going to cancel you
because you said something stupid. They’re just going to try
to ride this one out. And as much as
I hate to admit it — and it did for their show — it seems to have worked.
I don’t think most people seem to care so much
about what he said anymore. But they’re not going to cancel
the highest rated show on cable just because someone says
something homophobic. Now it’s just– The basic line is:
“You know, this is the Duck Dynasty family. They’re Christians.
This is what they believe.” So, you know,
take it or leave it. And they know full well that people aren’t leaving it.
If you like the show, you love the show. So, they don’t care about
alienating anyone else. What about the Duggar family from
19 Kids and Counting? You know, that is an entire– What is that? 21 people who are evangelical
Christians, all raised in that tradition. And the father, Jim Bob Duggar, is very
outspoken about his conservative principles. But if you actually look for any outright
homophobic statements he’s made, he doesn’t really say a lot of nasty things.
They actually tend to keep away from the culture war battle
in that sense, unless I missed something, and I’m sure
you’ll let me know if I did. But they don’t come right out and say, you know,
“This is how we feel about gay people, this is how we feel about abortion.” Their show is mostly about how their family
operates with so many kids, and that’s the gist of it. So, they’re not going
to get cancelled. It is interesting to note that HGTV
has offered another reality show to another evangelical Christian. This person’s name is Jen Hatmaker
and she’s a popular Christian blogger. She’s actually a conservative Christian,
who has said marriage is between one man and one woman, but she pretty much left it at that.
She actually thinks it’s better if you just don’t take sides
in the culture war. She thinks that’s courageous. I think
that’s cowardly, but that’s a separate issue. But basically she hasn’t made
any nasty statements about gay people and she calls out Christians who do say
nasty things about gay people, even though she doesn’t think
they should be allowed to get married. So, I’ve been thinking her show’s probably
not going to get cancelled, because remember this is– As much as some
Christian right people are going to make
this out to be a story about persecution, you know:
people are going after these Christian brothers. And even the magazine Christianity Today,
their headline about the story was “Too Christian for cable?” Like, “No, their Christianity
has nothing to do with it. It’s the fact that they’re bigots.” That’s it, pure and simple. So, other
Christians can have their TV shows. We all know there are
Christian TV stations, we know there are
Christian TV hosts. But if they say something
that’s truly hateful, and what the Benhams have said
is truly hateful, I don’t think anyone expects these cable
television networks to keep them on the air, especially when they
haven’t shown anybody why they should keep their shows.
It’s not like their rating is bonanza. It’s not like they’re so popular
that the station could fire them and people would flip out.
No, that’s not going to happen. This is a small controversy
in the Christian world. And you know what? In a few weeks
no one’s going to care about these guys at all. So, the Bedhams
don’t have the show anymore, but if you are concerned about them, you know,
I wouldn’t be too worried because I’m sure Fox News
is going to give them a show soon enough. My name is Hemant Mehta
and I write at FriendlyAtheist.com Please, leave your comments below
and we will check them out.

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