You may have seen the news that HGTV had planned a new show called “Flip It Forward,” another from their long line-up of real estate/renovation shows, to be hosted by twin brothers David and Jason Benham:
“Flip It Forward,” which was scheduled to premier in October, was supposed to feature David and Jason Benham as they helped families buy, repair, and sell real estate.
The twins will “leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry to help families find a fixer-upper and transform it into the dream home they never thought they could afford,” the network said in a press release announcing nine new series for next season.
However, very quickly, news started to spread that these boys have been quite the anti-gay activists, and that’s really not socially acceptable for HGTV’s demographic, and they quickly pulled the show. Sample David’s belief that fighting against gays is just like fighting against Nazis:
In a 2012 blog post on Operation Save America’s website, David Benham compared the fight against marriage to opposition to Nazi Germany.
“If evil is being accepted and appreciated at the national level, aggressive Christian men must lead the charge against it,” David Benham wrote. “In the late 1940s England realized this truth with Neville Chamberlain’s Policy of Appeasement and the Nazi regime. Chamberlain thought he could somehow ‘appease’ the fuehrer, yet Winston Churchill aggressively stood against this policy and proclaimed that they must kill Hitler and destroy the regime in its entirety. It wasn’t long before Chamberlain’s ‘politically correct’ policy fell flat on its face, and Churchill – the more aggressive man – took the reins and joined America in defeating the beast.”
David Benham also suggested in the Christian Post that support for marriage equality was the result of psychological issues.
“For the men on the other side of this vote, I’ll say a couple of things: You’ll never find the love of a father in the arms of another man,” he wrote. “The emotional hurt that you’ve experienced can only be healed through a life-giving relationship with the very one that created you.”
That’s strange, because real mental health experts long ago disabused the world of the silly notion that people are gay because of absent fathers. Perhaps David didn’t get the message.
Here’s more of David’s hate speech, this time in a conversation with conservative radio host Janet Mefferd:
It’s also been noted that David and Jason have a notorious family connection to contend with:
The brothers are the sons of Flip Benham, leader of the abortion-clinic protest group Operation Save America, which split from the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue in the late 1990s.
The elder Benham baptized Norma McCorvey – the plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision – and protested outside mosques while shouting “Jesus hates Muslims” and blamed the Democratic Party for promoting a “culture of death” that caused the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
Flip Benham was convicted in 2011 of stalking a Charlotte, N.C., abortion provider and sentenced to 18 months probation.
So, as I said, the religious right will be caterwauling about this any minute, about how somehow the Benham boys’ religious freedom or freedom of speech is being trampled upon. It will be as predictable as it is completely wrong. What’s really happened here is that to the great majority of Americans, those sorts of fringe, hateful views are no longer socially acceptable. Dan Savage captured what’s happening quite well:
[T]he real story here is that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point that I’ve been talking and writing about for years.
Once upon a time white people used to be able to go on TV and say the most racist shit imaginable (argue against legal interracial marriage, argue in favor of segregation) and keep their jobs and be invited back on TV to say that shit a second time. Then one day you couldn’t say that shit (not on TV, at least) and keep your job and be invited back to say that shit again. Opinions that used to be considered “respectable” were suddenly toxic career enders. We are rapidly reaching the same tipping point on LGBT issues. You can believe whatever you want, but you have to be careful when and how you express your anti-gay animus. Because it could cost you.
As David and Jason Benham just learned.