Share all sharing choices for: Chip and also Joanna Gaines and the anti-gay controversy over HGTV"s Fixer Upper, explained

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Fixer Upper/HGTV
The stars the HGTV — the Home and also Garden tv network — space patron saints that aspirational living. Jonathan and also Drew Scott, much better known as the home Brothers, help people purchase outline shanties and transform them into plush oases. ~ above Love It or list It, hilary Farr and also David Visentin rehabilitate homeowners’ present digs while additionally helping them decision if they want to move. A variety of various other personalities and programs cover whatever from flipping dwellings to buying actual estate overseas.

At the optimal of the HGTV pantheon room Chip and also Joanna Gaines, the stars of a display called Fixer Upper.

The Gaineses are based in Waco, Texas, and have a superhuman knack for turning dingy dwellings into miscellaneous you’d watch in a catalog or a way of living magazine: chefs’ kitchens that resemble deluxe Southern restaurants with double-cut bacon and braised pork cheeks on the menu; modern country life rooms whereby the couch is topped off with a too-precious pillow through a speak scrawled top top it; bedrooms the look prefer they’ve to be transported indigenous a $500-a-night big Sur bed-and-breakfast. And then over there is the shiplap.

There space no HGTV home improvement angels much more popular or desired than the salty-sweet mix of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their talent an unified with their easy chemistry — the goofs off; she rolls her eyes — has made lock bona fide stars.

Fixer Upper is in now in its fourth season, which premiered November 29. Yet it’s only in the past year or so the the Gaineses really climbed to tendency prominence. In October, they were the subject of a world cover story and profile. Your book, The Magnolia Story, has been top top the brand-new York times best-seller list for the past six weeks. And Fixer Upper’s ratings room a crown jewel because that HGTV.

“When the season-three finale aired in March, its practically 4 million-strong live audience topped every little thing that night — including the penultimate illustration of FX"s The people v. O.J. Simpson and a CNN city hall with Trump,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

But the Gaineses’ popular — together speculation around their offscreen religious beliefs and politics — has landed them at the center of one anti-gay controversy. Choose a the majority of celebrities, and especially due to the fact that the Gaineses are, in a sense, truth television stars, there’s a desire to know whether their offscreen lives enhance up through what they’re selling on camera, from their parenting styles (they have four children) to their love resides to every little thing in between.

In particular, your faith and their beliefs on same-sex marriage and also LGBTQ rights have come right into question due to the anti-gay views organized by the minister of their church.

BuzzFeed brought up questions around the Gaineses’ pastor and also why Fixer Upper never functions gay couples

Though they don’t discuss it lot on Fixer Upper, the Gaineses room devout Christians, a truth they’ve talked about in interviews favor this one through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And also the center of this controversy is a BuzzFeed write-up by Kate Aurthur about the Gaineses’ church in Texas, the Antioch ar Church.

More specifically, the Gaineses’ pastor, Jimmy Seibert, is against same-sex marriage and also supports switch therapy. In her BuzzFeed story, Aurthur asks 2 core questions: If their minister is against same-sex marriage, does that average the Gaineses space too? and why there is no Fixer upper ever featured a gay pair while other HGTV shows have actually — is it due to the fact that the hosts think what Seibert preaches?

Aurthur writes that she inquiry the Gaineses to comment for her story and also did not receive a response. Yet she color etc a reasonably direct line in between statements that Seibert has made in the past and also what the Gaineses can believe. Specifically, she cites Seibert’s comment that most LGBTQ human being are LGBTQ due to the fact that they to be abused, and that the believes it’s feasible for gay world to become straight if lock commit to doing so:

increases on the notion: “We can change, contradictory to what girlfriend hear. I’ve worked with human being for over 30 year — I have seen hundreds of people personally readjust their direction that same-sex attraction indigenous a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle. That doesn’t median they don’t struggle with feelings, the doesn’t typical that they aren’t hurting, that doesn’t mean it’s no challenging. Yet they have chosen come change. And also there has constantly been grace there for those who choose that.”

Conversion treatment is banned in five states and Washington, DC; the American emotional Association says that switch therapy and ex-gay set (the idea the sexuality deserve to be adjusted through religion) deserve to be dangerous:

uch initiatives have serious potential to injury young people due to the fact that they existing the view that the sex-related orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental condition or disorder, and also they often frame the inability to change one’s sex-related orientation together a personal and moral failure.

Given that Seibert believes you can adjust LGBTQ people’s sexual orientation and also encourages it, his position on same-sex marriage (hint: he’s no a vast fan the it) and his stance that businesses should be able to refuse service to LGBTQ couples top top the basis of confidence shouldn’t come together a surprise.

But whether Seibert’s beliefs are additionally held by the Gaineses isn’t together clear. There’s an evident connection between Seibert and also the Gaineses in that they to visit his church. However how much they agree v his views is uncertain. What us do recognize is that there hasn’t been a gay couple featured on any kind of of Fixer Upper’s 40-plus episodes to date (the couples featured likewise tend to it is in white); that truth was the apparent impetus for Aurthur’s article. And also when asked because that comment for the BuzzFeed article, the Gaineses declined to answer (after the story to be published, HGTV make a statement the its shows carry out not discriminate against LGBTQ people).

The Gaineses’ absence of response and BuzzFeed’s post have created several questions.

Is the absence of happy couples featured on Fixer Upper the Gaineses’ choice, and also if it is, climate is the discrimination? though Aurthur doesn’t point out it in she article, HGTV canceled a present in 2014 because one that its hosts went ~ above the document asserting the LGBTQ civilization were a scourge the the earth. Discovering that, where could the Gaineses right on the network’s judgment scale?

Fixer Upper isn’t about Christianity or LGBTQ rights or any type of social concerns — it’s about putting small clocks right into living spaces and blowing increase kitchens. And also if the display isn’t positioned to resolve those things, and also if the Gaineses aren’t cultivating their faith or Seibert’s top top the show, is it fair to referee the display on the grounds of speculation around their faith? need to the Gaineses respond? execute they have an obligation to?

If their wholesomeness and also kindness is an integral component of what castle selling, carry out we deserve to understand the whole truth prior to we buy into it?

The Gaineses have (involuntarily) come to be a right-wing poster pair in a political culture war

After Aurthur’s short article was published, conservative websites and also writers lashed out at the publication, calling the an assault piece plan to destroy the Gaineses’ reputation and also career and to denounce Christianity by way of free politics.

Hans Fiene in ~ the Federalist published an write-up titled “BuzzFeed desires to destroy Chip and Joanna Gaines because that Being Christian and Wildly Popular.” Kaitlan Collins at the daily Caller walk a comparable route, alleging that “BuzzFeed Is do the efforts to damage One that TV’s Most famed Christian Couples.” At nationwide Review, David French added, “Buzzfeed Demands: ‘Are You currently or have actually You ever Been a Christian?’”

French’s piece also discusses the problem of depression, anxiety, and suicide in the LGBTQ community, however fails to recognize that this depression can stem indigenous bigotry the cites religious beliefs as one excuse:

America’s gay areas are beset through elevated prices of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and also suicide. America’s transgender neighborhoods suffer from important shocking rates of suicide. These are sad realities. Is it out of bounds to respond by speak of god’s transformative grace? I understand men and women who space alive today due to the fact that God rescued them from the deepest emotional and psychological abyss.

The roundabout reasonable French supplies — the gay people would be less sad if they just listened come God, who he suggests has told people that it’s it s okay to discriminate versus gay people and also make claimed gay world sad — is yes, really something.

But the typical thread to run through every one of these piece is that the authors believe BuzzFeed is a leftist publication and also that Christianity is under attack. Yes a little bit of glossing over of Seibert’s quotes about conversion therapy and also discrimination against gay couples (you have the right to hear those price quotes in complete in this 2015 sermon he provided in an answer to the legalization of same-sex marriage), and also generalizing the BuzzFeed piece with the declaration that “liberals hate the Christian faith.”

That’s not exactly fair.

There are a multitude the Christians that don’t think what Seibert believes about conversion treatment — a 2014 YouGov poll discovered that only 8 percent of Americans think conversion treatment “works.” and there are additionally a multitude of for free who recognize as Christian — a 2016 Pew research study poll uncovered that 44 percent the Catholics determine as Democrats, matches 37 percent who identify as Republicans.

These conservative piece are just as guilty the what they’re accusing BuzzFeed that doing: flattening the discussion over the Gaineses’ spiritual beliefs to north up identity outrage and also fuel a political narrative. And in their press to polarize, castle overlooking entire swaths of civilization — possibly including the Gaineses, who, like a most Americans, can identify as Christian but not act totally in lockstep with their church or their pastor.

What the fight end the Gaineses’ ideas is really about

HGTV has a long background of leaning towards the gradual in the species of civilization it features on that shows.

Same-sex couples space featured in countless of that programs. The network airs programs favor House Hunters International the sometimes feature non-American same-sex couples, and also shows prefer Property Brothers and Love It or List that have had same-sex couples who had their houses renovated. And also the channel proclaimed on December 1 that every one of its present programs are open up to LGBTQ couples.

“We don’t discriminate versus members the the LGBT ar in any type of of our shows. HGTV is proud to have actually a decision clear, regular record the including people from all walks the life in the series,” an HGTV spokesperson stated in a statement come BuzzFeed ~ Aurthur’s write-up was published.

As stated above, in 2014 the channel canceled a propose show, Flip it Forward, due to the fact that its hosts, David and Jason Benham, to be vocally anti-gay. The Benham brothers are sons that a man named flip Benham, the leader of an organization referred to as Operation save America, who has actually gone ~ above the record in saying that “Jesus hates Muslims” and blamed the 2012 Aurora massacre on Democrats. David Benham spoke to a conservative talk present in September 2012 and said, “Homosexuality and also its agenda ... Is attack the nation,” plus part nonsense about "demonic ideologies."

If Chip or Joanna Gaines had said something on the record similar to Seibert or come the Benham brothers, the an inspiration for Aurthur’s BuzzFeed post would be much more clear, due to the fact that HGTV appears to have a policy against discriminatory speech and practices. However the crucial detail right here is the as much as we know, the Gaineses haven’t said anything comparable to Seibert or the Benhams.

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In fact, castle haven’t really publicly positioned themselves to it is in LGBTQ allies or enemies, nor have actually they provided to the display as a mouthpiece for your church.

Chip Gaines tweeted top top December 3 the in the wake up of the BuzzFeed article, human being should not strike Aurthur or Gina Mei, who aggregated Aurthur’s piece for Cosmopolitan: