Last month, CFC reported on how the hosts of the popular HGTV show, Fixer Uppers, came under fire from several national media outlets for attending a church that preaches the Biblical view of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Many came to Chip and Joanna Gaines defense, calling the articles a “witch hunt,” but the Gaines didn’t immediately respond to the controversy.
But as the New Year started, Chip Gaines posted a kind-hearted response on the couple’s blog saying they “refuse to be baited into using [their] influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world,” and pleaded with people to treat those with differing opinions with love and respect.
“This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can’t recall humanity being more divided,” Gaines wrote. “Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgement, fear, and even hatred…. 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. 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. 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 concluded the post calling on others to join them in “building bridges” with those they disagree. “We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike. 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,” Gaines wrote. “Our family wants to fight for a world that knows how to lovingly disagree. We believe it starts when we operate from a position of love in all things.”
The Gaines’s post received praised from Christian organizations like Focus on the Family, who posted a blog stating that, “Chip’s words echo the heart of God toward humanity,” and from non-Christian publications, like Country Living, who called Chip’s message “inspirational.”
But the Gaines’s message still didn’t resonate with some of their harshest critics from LGBT community. One of those is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post’s Queer Voices, Noah Michelson, who responded to the Gaines’s post by writing he wasn’t willing to agree to disagree on the issue of his sexuality.
“The bottom line is: My humanity is not something you get to disagree with,” Michelson wrote. “You don’t get to tell me that I’m morally corrupt or sexually deviant or unworthy of the same rights that you enjoy and then look me in the face and tell me that you still love me. That’s nothing remotely close to resembling love.
What those like Noah don’t realize is they don’t have a problem with the Gaines and their church as much as they have a problem with Jesus and the moral teachings of the Bible. Jesus came to the earth to preach love and acceptance, but he also came to save ALL of humanity from its moral corruption. That message of truth isn’t tolerated among a larger and larger segment of American society, as the Gaines have discovered. But their example of grace and love under pressure is an example to us all.