HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines criticized for possibly supporting traditional marriage | Wikimedia
HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines crit­i­cized for pos­sibly sup­porting tra­di­tional mar­riage | Wikimedia

“Nation Shocked, Hor­rified As Chris­tians Hold Christian Position,” reads the headline of a Babylon Bee article pub­lished Dec. 1. It may be satire, but it’s a pretty good summary of a Nov. 29 piece by Kate Aurthur that appeared on BuzzFeed.

In the article, “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Mar­riage,” Aurthur leads an absurd crusade against America’s favorite HGTV couple, Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. She is shocked that the Gaineses would dare to attend Antioch Com­munity Church, which is pas­tored by a man who has spoken out against same-sex marriage. 

Just to be clear, Aurthur is not saying that the Gaines family takes this position. In fact, she doesn’t actually know what they think. “The spokesperson for Antioch said she could not speak for Chip and Joanna Gaines on same-sex mar­riage,” Aurthur admits. In the days after pub­li­cation, the Gaineses haven’t taken a position, although HGTV issued a statement that it does not dis­crim­inate against LGBT people.

When it comes to the Gaineses, there is no evi­dence of dis­crim­i­nation, bigotry, or even unkindness toward the LGBT com­munity. There is no evi­dence that Fixer Upper has or would refuse to feature a same-sex couple, which they have every right to do. In fact, other HGTV shows have fea­tured such couples, but it is unknown whether there are any gay res­i­dents of Waco, Texas who have applied for the show. There is not even evi­dence that the Gaines family believes homo­sex­u­ality is sinful or that same-sex mar­riage is wrong, not that there is any­thing hateful about defining mar­riage the way is has been defined for nearly all of history. 

The only thing they’re guilty of is being Christians.

Brandon Ambrosino sum­ma­rizes the inten­tions of Buz­zFeed well in a Dec. 1 article pub­lished in The Wash­ington Post. “They know that the Gaineses and HGTV are going to have to come out with a public statement on same-sex mar­riage,” Ambrosino says. “They also know that if the statement is not 100 percent sup­portive of same-sex mar­riage, the network will be pres­sured to drop them.”

Ambrosino points out that only about 55% of Amer­icans support same-sex mar­riage. “Is the sug­gestion here that 40 percent of Amer­icans are unem­ployable because of their reli­gious con­vic­tions on mar­riage?” he asks. “That the com­panies that employ them deserve to be boy­cotted until they yield to the other side of the debate — a side, we should note, that is only slightly larger than the one being shouted down?”

Unfor­tu­nately, that is exactly the impli­cation. Far too often, pro­po­nents of same-sex mar­riage and the left-wing media simply cannot handle the fact that other people, espe­cially decent people like Chip and Joanna Gaines, dis­agree with them. The con­se­quences for reli­gious freedom are dan­gerous as lib­erals are is shutting Chris­tians down wherever they can.

“Really, what is the cost to society if two HGTV hosts are allowed to thrive without dis­avowing their pas­tor’s com­ments on same-sex mar­riage?” asks Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle. “The far greater risk comes from trying to compel them to do so, whether through hard gov­ernment power or soft private coercion.”

The hypocrisy of the Left is obvious. According to New York Mag­azine, at least seven leading fashion designers have already refused to design for future First Lady Melania Trump because of their political ide­ologies. They have every right to do so, just as Chip and Joanna Gaines would have every right to refuse to fix up houses for a same-sex couple, should they so choose due to their own con­vic­tions. There is nothing hateful about a Christian couple who declines to build a home for another couple if they feel that the values of the latter con­tradict their own. There is some­thing hateful about this tirade  against the Gaines family because their unknown opinion on same-sex marriage.

This fic­tional quote from the Babylon Bee is not far from the actual position of those attacking the Gaines family. “‘We’re not saying people can’t be Chris­tians,’ a Seattle woman said in a Facebook comment. ‘This is a free country, after all. But when Chris­tians decide to actually have Christian beliefs about things — I’m sorry, that’s just too far.’”

Ms. Lasch is a sophomore studying French and journalism