May 9th, 2014
08:34 AM ET

Were TV hosts' religious beliefs a problem?

(CNN) – Twin brothers David and Jason Benham have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.

The brothers ran afoul of the network after the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair, labeling David Benham as an "anti-gay, anti-choice extremist" for reportedly leading a prayer rally in 2012 outside of the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The site posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation" and "demonic ideologies" taking hold in colleges and public schools.

Benham also discusses the fight for North Carolina's Amendment One, which involved a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution.

The Benham brothers were the planned stars of the HGTV show "Flip It Forward," set to premiere in October, in which they would have helped families purchase homes they otherwise could not afford.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • TV

soundoff (441 Responses)
  1. kenmargo

    If you're going to (or plan to) work for a public business, watch what you say. simple as that. I'm a nobody. but if I make my anti religious beliefs public along with naming my employer. My employer may have a problem with it. Use common sense and watch what you say.

    May 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • kenmargo

      Public meaning high profile.

      May 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  2. thesamyaza

    well i believe saving sex till marriage is not healthy for marriage. nothing worse then marring some one and finding out you don't enjoy them in bed, and have horrible sex for the rest of your life... it leads to divorce. that's my belief and i don't need people passing laws to hinder my belief

    May 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    too bad, h.omophobes - no show for you!

    May 12, 2014 at 7:34 am |
  4. dandintac

    This is a good object lesson for celebrities. If you want to make your bigotry public (whether it's religiously inspired or not), you have to expect that people will react to it–mostly negatively.

    May 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • kudlak

      And also positively, in cases where they play the poor, persecuted Christians. I'm sure that these guys will be heralded as heroes as they make their way through the Christian media circuit.

      May 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  5. midwest rail


    Now for the funny part. Russ claims that this type of speech is to be considered "civil discussion" because we have to filter their comments in the context of their beliefs. Patently absurd.

    May 11, 2014 at 9:00 am |
  6. bostontola

    The most absurd thing I have ever seen on this blog:

    I have a PhD in psychology. Fail troll. Fail.

    May 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

    May 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
    • midwest rail

      It has a chance of being accurate if PhD stands for Piled high and Deep.

      May 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
      • bostontola

        It is more likely that the Tooth Fairy is real than this joker has an undergraduate college degree. It's very sad that this person would make such a claim, it shows deep self doubt. I hope s/he gets help.

        May 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  7. Vic

    Another fair and balanced article, by ABC News:


    Early on:

    May 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • kudlak

      Gee, I thought some other network was the "fair and balanced" one?

      May 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Fox news, "fair and balanced"... as long as you are pro-life, hate gays, hate democrats, hate the anti-christ Obama, hate Hillary, hate gun control, etc etc...

        May 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • Science Works

      hey Vic

      Dad taught them well hey Vic ?

      Fired anti-gay HGTV hosts: Teaching evolution is Satan’s ‘toehold’ in the classroom
      By David Edwards
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:23 EDT


      May 21, 2014 at 11:29 am |
  8. tallulah131

    HGTV already has a show with this premise anyway. It's called Property Brothers. It's one of my favorites, and the brothers who host don't appear to have any problem with gays and lesbians.

    May 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Love that show. My girlriend and I watch it a lot. Rehab Addict, too

      May 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I'm utterly hooked on Property Brothers. Rehab Addict is pretty good too. Sadly, I can't even afford to buy a house.

        May 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        You two need a life.

        May 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Got one thanks, finny. It's better than yours.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          I highly doubt that. You're obsessed with your pathetic atheism like it's your religion. Stop lying to yourself.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • kudlak

          You sound very angry. Maybe you need a puppy?

          May 10, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • tallulah131

          That was weak, finny. Even for you.

          May 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • kudlak

      Maybe it's a stereotype, but the Property Brothers are a couple of Canadians, right?

      May 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Yep. Canadians are good people.

        May 10, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I concur, we tend to be good people. We just finished watching Big Brother Canada and the support the one guy received after publicly announcing he was gay was pleasant to see, although I'm not certain he would have received that same support had he been in the states (no offense to those who are not bigots).

          May 11, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • sam stone

          i live 20 minutes from canada, and canadians have always seemed to be pretty decent folks to me

          May 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • kudlak

          And then along comes Rob Ford and Justin Bieber, and that whole positive stereotype just disappears ...

          May 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
    • saggyroy

      I like House Hunters International. Very eye opening in regards to other cultures. One thing that bothers me a bit is when the house hunters are moving because 3500 sq ft is getting cramped for the 2 of them, or we only have a budget of 1.2 Million. How about some regular people. Rehab Addict seems to be it.

      May 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  9. joeyy1


    May 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Oh, no. Not this wretched tripe again. Can't you post something even remotely interesting?

      May 10, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
  10. gulliblenomore

    Actually, are you sure he is not as a-ssjack 12 year old? He certainly writes as if he is....

    May 10, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      12? Most 12 year olds are not so stupid as thefinisher...most 12 year olds know how to use a dictionary and don't cry foul when confronted with the actual definitions of words.

      May 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  11. thefinisher1

    Atheists are such cry babies. Everything offends them. Atheism needs to mature and start getting with the times.

    May 10, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      where should I hang the troll-feeder? It has to be low enough to the ground for them to get their grubby tongues through the holes...

      May 10, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • thefinisher1

        Troll? Speaking the truth about atheism is not trolling.

        May 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Then provide some evidence of what you claim.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Claim of what? I made no such claims that hasn't been proven with facts. The funny thing is, you are part of your own problem on why you haven't gotten evidence of God. You won't be able to realize it because you are a spoiled overgrown man child.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Doris

          When the thefailedstarter1 comes up with some facts we might just hear about it outside of the blog. I'm not holding my breath...lol.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • kudlak

          Ok! When you start speaking the truth about atheism, you'll stop being a troll.

          May 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Under the bridge where it got its education and where it lives.

        May 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • bostontola

      Fits finisher, Salero to a T:

      Prejudice refers to an evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include "any unreasonable att.tude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.

      Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred.

      May 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        You atheists act like children on a playground. Somebody has to show you aren't as "cool" as claim and think. Your atheism is a delusion. Fact. Get over it.

        May 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Doris

          thefailedstarter1's butthurtism is showing.....

          May 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Lol!!! You atheists here are clearly the most dumbest people on this blog. You don't want people to question anything. The only thing you care about is feeding your ego. Grow up.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Doris

          thefalsestarter: "...the most dumbest..."

          Get some education. Then you might see who needs to grow up.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          I have a PhD in psychology. Fail troll. Fail.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Finisher....I am almost positive you do not have a PHD in anything, but if that is even close to being true, then I weep for our education system. You really are a tool on here....even if you despise atheism, you really are a tool.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheism is a delusion of the mind. If we are all born atheists like atheists claim, that means ATHEISTS invented religion. You atheists like throwing stones for no reason when your atheism invented religion. Stupid fool is a stupid fool.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • tallulah131

          finny has a PhD in Mom's basement.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Lol. Your delusion is smashed and you are lashing out. Very common.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Actually Finisher....I have a legitimate question to ask you. How did you come upon your belief in your god? Did you always have it or is it something recent?

          May 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • observer


          Based on his level of maturity and intelligence, there's a very good chance it's a PHonyDegree.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Doris

          Lol – oh wow! Am I supposed to be impressed? Based on your posts, you should probably look for a refund from your alma mater or whoever sold you the "degree" (wink wink).

          May 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Awwww! You atheist nut cases are jealous!

          May 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Doris

          Jealous? Lol – no, but I do find it amusing that you find the need to defend your idiotic rants with claims about your education.

          May 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • tallulah131

      The funny thing about "thefinisher" is that he/she/it never actually finishes anything. He/she/it just makes pointlessly offensive comments and then drifts away again - possibly to use another screen name to troll. "thefinisher" appears to have a life utterly lacking in substance. What a waste of humanity.

      May 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        My words offends your pathetic atheism? Awe!!! I feel so honored!

        May 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Aw, honey, Fruit flies are more offensive than you. You aren't important enough to offend. You aren't important at all.

          May 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          If I'm not important and you aren't offended, why did you comment? Stupid hypocritical troll.

          May 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I comment because I just want you to know that we all understand how pathetic your sad life is. When people respond to your trolling, we're just doing you a favor and giving you the much-needed human interaction that you don't get in real life.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          The same can be said about you militant fundie atheists.

          May 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • fintronics

          I know you are but what am I??? what a moron!

          May 13, 2014 at 7:50 am |
  12. realbuckyball

    Human se'xuality is not chosen. Humans are born with the orientation they have. If in the ignorant South they still buy into the nonsense that se'xuality is a matter of choice, it's their problem. People who say se'xuality is "chosen" are saying THEY chose to be straight, and THAT means they are all saying they could have gone either way.

    Ho'mose'xuality as an "orientation" was unknown in the history of human ideas until the late Nineteenth Century.
    There was no, (supposed), "lifestyle" until the Twentieth Century. The idea of "orientation" arose when Psychology began to develop as a science. All men were as'sumed to be straight, and only straight, all women straight, and only straight.
    There was also no notion of a continuum of s'exual behaviors, (bise'xuality), as science recognizes today.
    Any "different" behavior was seen as "deviancy" from an absolute inherent norm, which the person was as'sumed to inherently possess, completely by virtue of birth gender.

    In Ancient Israel class and status distinctions were extremely important.
    The injunction in Biblical times, (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), was against (as'sumed), STRAIGHT men, (and only men), (as they ALL were as'sumed to be straight), engaging in same-se'x behaviors. (There is a mistaken use of the Sodom and Gomorrah myth in this context also, which is misguided.)

    Why ?
    It had to do with class structure, and male status. A male, who held the highest position in society, and held the highest class status, was seen to be "feminized" by penetration, and designated as a social inferior, (female), by a male of lower class status, and thus his status was lowered, to that of a woman. THAT is the reason the culture forbade it. It had NOTHING to do with s'ex. It was status, and only status. This concept remains very much, (subliminally and overtly), in place today. This law code, in Leviticus, (the latest law code to be written), is the ONLY place this appears in the Old Testament. The author of Leviticus was very interested in the "equality of all" before God. It was that author's agenda. He also said strangers, and others from outside Israel were all to be treated with equal rights and dignity, which was a departure, from other texts and codes. It is ironic, indeed, this equality has been turned on it's head, to treat gay people, less equality. The author of Leviticus WANTED all people treated equally, and that is why he wrote the injunction into the text, in the first place, to PREVENT inequality. The ideal society for this author was classless, and that could not happen if a male penetrates a male, and makes him thereby, a lower class. It's about class, not se'x.

    This cultural origin was true in the Old Testament culture, as well as the New. That is the reason it ended up in the Bible, and the ONLY reason it was there.

    The law in the Old Testament : "You shall not lay a male as with the laying of a woman, it is an offensive thing". (note: the correct translation is NOT, "it is an abomination"). (The word "toi-va" is used, and in archaic Hebrew, EVERYWHERE else is translated, "an offensive thing").

    Why is this important ? Because there are levels of "offensive things", and levels of meanings of "offensive things".
    There were a number of levels of offensive things in the Old Testament.

    #1. was something which was offensive to God, and this was the worst.
    #2. was something which was offensive to other peoples and cultures, (for example the same word is used with reference to some foods being "offensive" to other cultures, (as hagas might be to Americans), or for example the Egyptians didn't eat, with non-Egyptians, as that was "offensive", or in today's language, "bad manners".
    #3. was something which was just generally "offensive", with no further relational attribution.

    So it can be "offensive" to some people, but not everyone, and is relative to the situation, or to god, or just in general.
    The injunction against male same se'x behavior is the third kind of offensive. It's not related to either God or anything, or anyone else. (There are other verses around it that are stated to be offensive to God, but not this one).
    So in this text, it is offensive to the authors of the text, and that specific culture, (only).

    Same-s'ex behaviors (upper class man penetrated by same class or lower class men), was forbidden, for class reasons. Equal class men, doing non-penetrating activity, or women together was not forbidden.
    ( Woman with woman, in general, was not addressed, and the class issue was not important.)

    So what does this tell us ?
    It tells us the laws were written into the Bible by HUMANS, for human culturally relative, and internally referenced reasons. The laws in the Bible REFLECTED their OWN culture, of the times, and did not "inform" the culture.
    The direction of information flow is crucial. Every Biblical scholar knows this. The Bible was informed by the culture, NOT the other way around. There are no "ultimate" claims possible from culturally relative, historically rooted, human local customs.

    The other main text used to justify the fundamentalist nonsense about ho'mose'xuality, is the Sodom and Gomorrah myth in Genesis. Hospitality of Abraham : In Genesis 18, there is a myth about the hospitality of Abraham, (he welcomes two strangers, who turn out to be angels), as that was an important cultural value, in a society where a wandering desert dweller could get lost, and die. The myth is followed closely by it's counter example of in-hospitality in the Lot myth, (Sodom and Gomorrah). It is not about se'x. It's a counter example to the hospitality story, of in-hospitality. The context is important.

    The great irony is that some religious fundies use the Bible to keep gay people away from their "table", and feasts, using the very texts that the Bible intended to teach hospitality, to do the opposite.

    May 10, 2014 at 1:29 am |
    • James XCIX

      realbuckyball – "People who say se'xuality is "chosen" are saying THEY chose to be straight, and THAT means they are all saying they could have gone either way. "

      Interesting, and good, point.

      May 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  13. realbuckyball

    In 2014 the standard in the US is inclusion and tolerance. If they need to be private bigots, they can go ahead.
    If they're so stupid they did not think about their public image, they can reap what they sewed.

    May 10, 2014 at 1:10 am |
  14. tallulah131

    Their religion was not the problem. Their very visible behavior was the problem. When a business makes it's money by selling personalities, they cannot afford to hire personalities that openly engage in activities that support bigotry. HGTV has every right to protect their product from the negative publicity that these brothers would generate.

    May 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
    • James XCIX

      Well said.

      May 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
  15. idiotusmaximus

    Twin brothers David and Jason Benham have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.....

    Lolololol...I think I read the slogan somewhere that was used during the 2nd world war....LOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS...but of course in this day and age it's television shows.....oh and good riddance boys.

    May 9, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  16. likklehero

    Let me get this straight...

    Corporations are people and have free speech rights, so businesses should be able to deny services to gays because of their beliefs, but if another corporation doesn't want to enter into a business venture because they found out their future partners are anti-gay bigots that is somehow wrong?

    Another example....

    Donald Sterling was a member of a legal cartel and in exchange for the govt sponsored monopoly he agreed to abide by the bylaws of the NBA, which like most public facing enterprises has rules about appropriate conduct. It also included an agreement that he could be forced to sell his team if 75% of his fellow cartel members voted against him.

    We in the USA have the broadest possible free speech laws in the world, and we should be proud of that. But what you say has consequences, and you have to deal with that. In many countries you can be jailed for hate speech, and a lot of the fundamentalist preachers in this country would be jailed for what they say – why do you think they go to places like Africa with their hate and not to Canada or Europe?

    Along with your right to say hateful things, comes the fallout of others' right to ridicule or even offend you and/or whatever deity you claim to speak for.

    But lets face it, bigotry and capitalism have always had a "strange bedfellows" relationship. In some cases bigotry sells, in others not so much.

    May 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  17. Alias

    You have more than one long string going on the previous page.
    If I understand correctly, you are saying it is moral to discriminate against gays because it is against your religion to be gay.
    Do I have the right ideas here?

    May 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • tallulah131

      That appears to be a fair summation of his argument.

      May 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Tallulah....Russ already said that he believed every word of the bible, including the old testament. I don't think he needs to explain himself further. He believes that eating shellfish is a sin, that if he catches his neighbor wearing a shirt made of 2 different materials that said neighbor can be stoned to death. He also believes that he can sell his daughter into slavery, but only to Mexico or Canada (our immediate neighbor). He believes that a good stoning is in order for anybody that dares plant two different crops in one field (although, I am not sure how you identify what one field is). Oh...and, he doesn't care much for h-omos-exuals either.

        May 10, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • tallulah131

          You have to pity someone who is unwilling or perhaps unable to exist in the modern world.

          May 10, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Tallulah....I don't pity them at all. I pity the rest of us. Their utter refusal to accept scientific knowledge that flows in the face of their religious dogma is completely unacceptable. If, there is no other reason to despise religion, this one is the best.

          May 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I guess I hate the ignorance, not the ignoramus.

          May 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I despise the ignorance, but while I don't hate the ignoramus, I don't feel sorry for them either.

          May 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • fintronics

          I feel sorry for someone that, for example, lost a limb, has an incurable disease, someone who has no choices.

          The deluded religious? not so much. I don't feel sorry for someone who denies evolution... they have chosen to be ignorant.

          May 13, 2014 at 7:58 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Fin....I do believe that is the saddest aspect of religion. In order to protect their dogma, they must deny both physical and verifiable scientific evidence of any new discoveries. And when brilliant minds eventually discover the cute for cancer, they will proclaim that god guided the scientists minds. Pathetically sad, really.

          May 13, 2014 at 8:05 am |
  18. crittermom2

    You know, one thing about this disappoints me. I never got the chance to take the Demonic Ideologies 101 class when I was in college. How could I have missed it if it's taking over? Darn.

    May 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The fact you have missed it is the proof it is true!

      May 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • Alias

      you should check the "online" section of any modern, respectable university's class catalog.

      May 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      happy mother's day crittermom

      May 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    If the Belief Blog were a TV show, this would happen:


    May 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "They're having quite a disagreement and it turns rather ugly."

      Have a good weekend dear Belief Bloggers.

      For those of you that celebrate the upcoming Hallmark Holiday on Sunday: "Happy Mothers Day".

      May 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • workingcopy12

        And for those of you who don't celebrate it...shame on you (usual exceptions to the rule apply).

        May 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • flightfromfrostmtn

      LMAO – true:)

      The Belief Blog im sure is operating as was intended.

      May 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.