Bend it Like Benham

The best bit of good news I have seen is this report from the Hollywood Reporter suggesting multiple other networks are considering picking up the series “Flip it Forward” that HGTV cancelled.

Since Carrie Prejean was hounded off the national stage for the crime of answering the question, should every state have gay marriage, with a polite “no,” Hollywood and the entertainment industry have made their point of view crystal clear: The glamour of television and movies is not for people who believe marriage is the union of a husband and a wife.  (The pageant judge who videotaped himself and posted the video calling Ms. Prejean the “c-word” was welcomed back to judge more young would-be beauty queens—what does that tell us? And when Carrie’s not atypical California teenager’s sexual/romantic history was exposed for the clear malicious purpose of “slut-shaming” her to retaliate for her refusal to recant on gay marriage, not a single progressive voice rushed to her defense.)

Duck Dynasty’s survival was the first crack in this new and quite literal McCarthyism, the one sign of hope that the new blacklist was not impenetrable, some could seep through.  True, the Robertson’s Duck Dynasty was a monster hit network-sustaining franchise player.  But when the family who would not recant faced down a network whose economic survival depended on this hit franchise, the entertainment industry and its LGBT allies relented: that show at least could go on.

The Benham brothers were in a very different position. Their promising HGTV show concept “Flip it Forward” combined the gentle sibling rivalry of the hit Property Brothers, with the charitable appeal of physically transforming homes for needy families, were only a prospective show, not a megahit.

So when Right Wing Watch decided to target the brothers for being anti-gay and anti-choice “extremists,” HGTV (who knew about the brothers’ evangelical Christian views when they took on the show) immediately caved.

Not so the Benhams:

“The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is: have we shined Christ’s light today? Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpiece of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. . . .

“Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.

“We were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision. With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principles, and dedicated professionals.”

Then the final clear stand: “If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”

We are now in media res.  If the Benham brothers are able to survive and flourish as home-building faith-filled reality TV stars, the dark curtain will have lifted a bit. The future will look brighter, new possibilities will open up, whether it is on traditional existing media, or whether we begin to fund and create our own networks of communication.

For as the Benham brothers have made clear, for them, whether or not they are on TV, matters not so much.  For the future of a free, tolerant, and religiously diverse America, it matters a great deal.

If you can help them, (and I know the readers of this list include a surprising variety of highly placed people with access to social, political and financial capital) please let me know.

The contest right now is whether or not the Left and their LGBT allies will successfully redefine mainstream orthodox Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) beliefs as the equivalent of racism.

Or whether we will forge a peculiarly American path to a better, more diverse, and tolerant outcome for us all.



Maggie Gallagher, American Principles Project

P.S. Can you do me one favor?  Can you pass this email on to one friend and ask if they’d like to join our community of Americans willing to stand for marriage, for life, and for religious liberty?