Yesterday, HGTV decided not to move forward with a reality TV show starring David Benham, less than 24 hours after Right Wing Watch exposed him as a far-right activist who has compared gays to Nazis and warned marriage equality will destroy society. Immediately, of course, the Religious Right drummed up the “persecution” narrative.
Anti-gay commentators including Laura Ingraham, David Limbaugh, Erick Erickson, Bryan Fischer, Ralph Reed, Todd Starnes, Peter LaBarbera and Janet Mefferd — along with groups including the Family Research Council and Faith Driven Consumer — all criticized HGTV for axing the show.
LaBarbera, who once joined fellow Religious Right activists in demanding that Fox News “cease using [gay rights advocate Wayne] Besen as a guest commentator,” appeared on Mefferd’s radio show today, where the two charged that HGTV’s cancellation of the show with undermined the freedom of speech.
Pat Robertson called the move “outrageous” and a sign that society is no longer “built around the Bible.” “Good grief, isn’t there supposed to be some freedom? Aren’t we supposed to have a First Amendment?”
He even linked it to a case in Saudi Arabia where a blogger was sentenced to 10 years in jail along with 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam.
David Benham and his brother Jason said in a statement that the controversy over their show was a result of “lying” and misinformation:
“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. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. 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.”
Their father Flip Benham, in an interview with LifeSiteNews, warned that “Christianity [is] systematically being criminalized” by “this juggernaut of the homosexual agenda.”
“Homosexuality is not a good thing,” he added. “It destroys those who practice it and nations that approve of it.”
The boys’ father, Flip Benham, told LifeSiteNews.com exclusively that his family had not been notified about the cancellation before the network’s public announcement. “We have some contractual obligations to the people we are helping right now,” he said.
Flip Benham called the homosexual activist lobby “the biggest bully in the country.”
“There’s no one who dares oppose them,” he told LifeSiteNews. “No corporation would dare stand up to this juggernaut of the homosexual agenda.”
He said his family did nothing to hide their views from the network, which is distributed to 98 million U.S. households. “We knew – and so did HGTV – that this was a possibility,” Benham told LifeSiteNews.
He was sorry his sons had to pay for the actions of their father. “I think of my sons, who have to suffer for the fact that their dad speaks up about the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. But he held firm: “Homosexuality is not a good thing. It destroys those who practice it and nations that approve of it.”
“All over the country the battle’s being won, and now this battle has moved from one manifestation right into another,” calling the drive to normalize homosexuality “simply a different colored glove covering the same fist.”
“We are see [sic] Christianity systematically being criminalized,” Benham told LifeSiteNews, referencing this campaign and proposed “hate crimes” legislation. “If you are going to stand on what the Bible says, you are going to spend time in jail.”