For those who have been following my ‘ramblings’ for weeks or months you might have come to the conclusion that I am against the church as it deals with the politics of this nation. Actually it is quite the contrary. I have a strong faith in God’s churches and I find it disheartening when they appear to sit back and let atheists/God-haters have full reign in our what used to be Christian society and culture. Being a ‘fighter’ by nature I rely on God to give me the stamina and will to stand up to wrong. I guess I expect the church to do and expect the same. I must say that I am sometimes disappointed and unfortunately through my studies of ‘politics and the church’ I am finding that much of society is likewise disappointed. While 85% of Americans claim to be Christian why is it that the 15% atheists, God-haters, ‘could-care-lessers’, etc seem to constantly be ‘winning’? There’s more to Christianity than a Sunday morning sermon and pot luck dinner. This week I will look at a situation where the Christians come out on top in a hate-filled attack by the mainstream media and militant LGBTQ activists.
This week HGTV finds itself involved in yet another exchange of culture cross fire. Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines are devout Christians and can see how their faith not only favors their television program but also their family. This set of values set the militant LGBTQ crowd on the warpath. What was the first target of attack? It was reported that the Gaines family attends Antioch Community Church, a non-denominational megachurch. Their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, preaches…heaven forbid…that homosexuality is a sin. [Gina Mei,”Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Pastor Preaches ‘Homosexuality Is a Sin”, Hearst Communications, Inc. (Cosmopolitan), November 20, 2016]. BuzzFeed joined right in. Cosmopolitan went on that their pastor is both staunchly against same sex marriage and a strong believer that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle’ choice and a ‘sin’. [Ibid]. Such revelation was more that their feeble, journalistic minds could handle that left many wondering where Chip and Joanne stand? BuzzFeed even went on to investigate the pastor’s sermons. The result of this investigation was that Pastor Seibert’s sermons presented the same message that nearly every evangelical church in America professed. BuzzFeed demanded to know if the Gaineses were against same sex marriage. Fixer Upper has fans of all stripes: Christians, feminists and LGBTQ. All have found something to love in the Gaineses. HGTV, looking at the substantial popularity of the show, dispatched a spokesman who told in a statement they “respect the privacy of our show hosts and will not comment on matters relating to their personal lives.” [HGTV in communications with Todd Starnes , November 2016]. The truth be known it is none of the media’s business as to where the Gaineses worship. Do the militant LGBTQ activists want to create a ‘blacklist’ banning individuals who attend evangelical Christian churches from working on television? This is nothing more than a modern-day witch hunt. But even so the church stood by the Gaineses and HGTV’s support of their show. When asked about the church’s position on same-sex marriage the pastor responded,”Our definition is not the definition we made up. It’s straight from the Scripture. One man, one woman for life. That’s how God created us.That’s what He has for us.” [Pastor Seibert in communication with Todd Starnes, November 2016]. Further the pastor went on to say that the reason for the sermon is for the confused middle, the majority of America. People don’t know what the Bible says anymore on issues of sexuality. People don’t know what God says on homosexuality or any other issue. I felt the need to say we are all a mess, but the fixed points were set by God, not us.” [Ibid]. The Gaineses had been members of the church for fifteen years and the pastor had nothing but praise for their faithfulness to God, the church, and family. Pastor Seibert had words of encouragement to other Christians facing similar attacks: “Do we believe that God and His Word is right and enough? As a believer I need to do what’s right and trust God with what’s wrong. So when I have a Biblical conviction about my lifestyle choices or how I should run my business or how I should run my home, we should be free to do that…to lovingly express our views to the world around us.” [Ibid]. He also called on fellow Christians to stand together in the face of adversity. Support one another when people make stands. Don’t leave them out there alone. Let’s get behind them and support them and love them and pray for them.” [Ibid]. These are great words of encouragement as we face an onslaught from a small but vocal mob of anti-Christians, God-haters, atheists. Perhaps one season Chip and Joanne can have a few episodes refurbishing safe spaces for emotionally fragile ‘snowflakes’. Both the Gaineses and Benhams encouraged followers to send positive notes to HGTV. Even Mrs. Stutzman said she would gladly embrace the gay customer who has/is causing her such grief. They are all following the advice laid out in 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18: See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone. But always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
One of the beauties of a non-denominational church is that the pastor can deliver the sermon/message from the pulpit without a church bureaucracy determining whether it is acceptable or not. It’s up to the congregation to determine if a message is received or not. The pastor of Antioch Community Church took a stand to support what was right in God’s eyes and the church stood with him. While HGTV didn’t display exceptional support for the Gaineses it did know that the support was there thus HGTV found comfort in the background and one of HGTV’s favorite shows continued to entertain and inform the many watchers.
Unfortunately the God-haters don’t limit themselves to grandmothers, or grade schoolers, TV show hosts, or patriotic morning announcers. The schools do, however, seem to be a favorite target. Next week we will look at a few of those attacks designed to discourage students but we will see how that’s easier said than done.
– Bob Munsey