Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines belong to an evangelical church which is headed by a pastor who is completely opposed to gay rights, as pointed out by Buzzfeed.
All the episodes of Fixer Upper, HGTV’s popular home renovation show hosted by couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, has never featured a gay couple on the show. Although similar shows have featured homes belonging to gay couples, Fixer Upper has never done so. Not much attention was given to this fact until Buzzfeed posted a detailed story speculating that the couple has not had any gay couples on their show because of their religious beliefs.
Buzzfeed dug into the beliefs the couples’ church holds against homosexuality. The church’s pastor, Jimmy Seibert, is openly against gay rights and believes that gay people should be “converted’ back to the heterosexual way of life. The founder of the 17-year-old evangelical church calls the Gaines as “dear friends,” and has opposed the passing of gay rights very strongly.
In his Sunday sermon following the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Pastor Seibert made his and his church’s stance clear:
“This past Friday the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, therefore redefining for our nation what they believe is a new normal. However, this law does not change God and His word. But it does give us as the people of God an opportunity and a challenge to learn how to love God on a deeper level than we ever have.
He then talked about Genesis, and said that marriage is between “one man and one wife.” He went on to say, “This is a clear biblical admonition. So if someone were to say, ‘Marriage is defined in a different way,’ let me just say: They are wrong. God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”
He emphasized the belief that homosexuality is a sin. “Truth No. 1: Homosexuality is a sin. The lie: Homosexuality is not a sin.” However, he encouraged the congregation to have compassion for homosexuals.
Although authorities like the American Psychological Association and The Human Rights Campaign have declared based on research that conversion therapy for LGBTQ members is a farce, and that if anything it can only cause more harm, Pastor Seibert still insists that people who are homosexual should be counseled and helped to become “normal.” The Pastor believes that God has promised his people the power over temptation, and that with prayer and inspiration from scripture, gay people can turn straight.
Seibert says: “Truth No. 2: God is able to give us power over every sin, including homosexuality. Lie No. 2: I am a homosexual in thought and action, and I cannot change.”
He then speaks of a playground conversation he recently had with a friend, who wondered about the sexuality of one kid in their charge. To his friend he said, “Can I just tell you you don’t have to wonder? You can lovingly, carefully bring them back to Scripture, be compassionate in the journey. And help them direct their passions rightly to how god created them. We can change, contrary to what you hear. I’ve worked with people for over 30 years — I have seen hundreds of people personally change their direction of same-sex attraction from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle. It doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with feelings, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting, it doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. But they have chosen to change. And there has always been grace there for those who choose that.”
The question the Buzzfeed post now raises is whether the couple actually has not had gay couples on the show because of their church’s anti-gay stance. HGTV itself stated that they don’t discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community in any of their shows and that they welcome people from all communities and sections in its series. Church representatives insisted that they couldn’t speak for the couple, but affirmed that the Church, and Pastor Seibert, are against same-sex marriage and consider homosexuality a sin, as it has been declared in the Bible.
Chip and Joanna Gaines should be free to believe what they want – and so should all Americans. pic.twitter.com/pvM08zTEJN
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) December 1, 2016
The couple has not yet officially said anything about the story on Buzzfeed directly, although Chip did post a series of Tweets which indicated that the couple was a bit troubled by the allegations.
Fans of the show have declared that if the couple does turn out to be anti-gay, then they would boycott the fixer uppers. This has put the couple in a very difficult position as on one hand the popularity of their show is at stake, and on the other, their church- the Antioch Community Church- is openly against same-sex marriage rights.
In an interview with Fox News, Seibert denied that Antioch Communicty Church is anti-gay. He said, “Absolutely not. Not only are we not anti-gay, but we are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He had made them to be.”