I am 2 years late on this story, but my father told me about the Benham brothers, a real estate family-duo who had a reality TV show lined up with HGTV, but which was cancelled when it was revealed that one of the brothers was active in anti-LGBTQ protests. Someone had played a video about them at his Bible study, where he was saying they were pressured out of their TV deal by HGTV because they wouldn’t compromise on their faith. This sounded rather suspicious and obviously one-sided to me (plus it’s not like the world needed another shitty real estate reality TV show/60-minute home improvement commercial anyway), so I looked into it and it would seem that Right Wing Watch made some (arguably hyperbolic) statements about one of the brothers’ views on homosexuality and the “gay agenda”.
If you follow conservative evangelical circles, all the stuff they said is pretty much par for the course for that kind of worldview. This represented a rift between what was reported to me and what seems to have actually happened though – this was represented to me as the brothers being persecuted for being Christians and pressured to cave in to “The World”, whereas it seems like the show was actually cancelled because of shitty public statements that one of the brothers had made. Is this religious persecution? I think it would be hard to argue that it isn’t religious persecution in a sense, but do I feel sorry for him? Not really, because he’s being persecuted for not being able to persecute others (and if you believe that the show was cancelled due to persecution over being a Christian, then you’re basically saying that a core aspect of Christianity is the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people). If we simply looked at the brothers immediately after the HGTV cancellation then I’d be willing to potentially feel some sympathy for them, since they seemed to be just getting strung up for some statements made a few years earlier. However, that time is long past and they seem to be leveraging their persecution complex to get political attention. Naturally, they’re from North Carolina and have been showing up in the news lately saying stupid bullshit which is further solidifying the accusations that, hey, maybe these guys just don’t like gays.
Oh sure, the brothers will vehemently argue that “anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying”, but they seem to think that only applies to individuals, since they also claim “homosexuality and its agenda […] is attacking the nation,” and that it “erodes the moral fabric of our society” and “threaten(s) future generations”. Do those sound like the statements of someone who isn’t hateful of gay people?
This, of course, is just the logical issue with the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach to the so-called “gay problem” in the church. You’re really just deflecting the argument by trying to be loving, but when you consider a major aspect of the person’s identity to be abhorrent, you’re going to have a hard time making them feel loved. Similarly, my father echoed this sentiment when he told me the Benham brothers story: “I’m not anti-gay, I’m just pro-Bible.” I’m sorry, but bull-f–king-shit. You’re anti-gay because that’s what you think you faith has told you to become, but you’re worried about the stigma that such a label gives you. Seriously, stop shying away from your unsavoury aspects because you think they’ll make you look like the bad guy – because really, that’s what us Christians are being here. We are the assholes here, denying people equal rights and respect that the rest of us enjoy because we believe that is what God wants us to do. If that’s still what you believe then fine, but don’t try to turn yourself into a noble defender who isn’t even incidentally hating on anyone, because it’s making us all look like idiots.