WACO, Texas — One of the hosts of the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” has written a blog post that some are interpreting as a response to the recent controversy over the church the couple attends, which holds to biblical beliefs on marriage and homosexuality.
“Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world,” Chip Gaines wrote on his wife’s blog on Monday. “This is our home. A house divided cannot stand.”
While not specifically referencing the controversy—or any issue or circumstance in particular, he said that the past year has been one of much division that has left people sad, angry and scared.
“If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow, we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love,” Gaines wrote. “Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth.”
“It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith,” he continued. “That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other. Don’t ask us to, ’cause we won’t play that way.”
Gaines said that he desires a world where people may disagree lovingly.
“Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike,” he said. “Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.”
As previously reported, in late November, Gaines and his wife Joanna were placed under scrutiny as BuzzFeed reporter, Kate Arthur, noted that because homosexuals and others enjoy “Fixer Upper,” and because the Gaines’—who identify as evangelical Christians—have not stated a position on homosexuality, the outlet decided to look into the beliefs of their pastor.
The couple attends Antioch Community Church, led by Jimmy Seibert.
Arthur explained that she called the church and was pointed to the beliefs section of its website, which states, “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” She was also advised that the church has always held to that view.
Arthur additionally pointed to a sermon delivered by Siebert following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which he noted God’s design in the book of Genesis.
“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,” he said. “God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”
Siebert outlined that homosexuality is a sin, but that Christ can set men free from any sin, no matter what it is.
“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 preached.
Seibert urged compassion for homosexuals and encouraged Christians to “lovingly, carefully bring them back to Scripture.”
Listen to the sermon in full below.
“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers?’” Arthur consequently posed.
Other media outlets soon picked up on the matter, including Cosmopolitan, which characterized the report as a “startling revelation.” However, some criticized the BuzzFeed article as being a “witch hunt” and a “non-story,” as it is not a news flash nor a surprise that Christians believe the Bible.
Tyler O’Neil of PJ Media noted on Tuesday that some Christians might have wanted Gaines to write lucidly in support of his pastor and biblical teaching on the matter. However, he said that Gaines’ point was that those who disagree with various life choices are not haters.
“While the TV star’s comments may leave some on the right unsatisfied—‘Why didn’t he defend the Christian position against gay marriage?!’—they are an important reminder that Christians are first and foremost about love. Jesus called us to love our enemies—even those who disagree with us or persecute us,” O’Neil wrote.
“At the same time, Gaines’ remarks are a clear rebuke to those liberals who think everyone who disagrees with them, especially on same-sex marriage and LGBT issues, is a ‘hater,'” he said. “It is emphatically clear that Chip Gaines does not ‘hate’ gay people, even if he does agree with his pastor’s views against same-sex marriage and for the possibility that gay people can be redeemed from a sinful lifestyle.”