That is what Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan would have you believe, anyway: Chip and Joanna Gaines are the problem, not the solution.
The Gaineses, an evangelical couple that attends an evangelical church in Texas, are under fire because their pastor preached sermons articulating the sinfulness of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Now, the two outlets are demanding that Chip and Joanna, a couple beloved for their ultra-popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” answer for their transgressions. The mainstream media wants this couple to repent of believing that marriage is between one man and one woman, the cardinal social belief of the Christian church for two millennia, and a view that most Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and Protestants hold across the array of cultures and locations. (Perhaps four billion people, by one rough count, give or take a few hundred million.)
This is silliness. Here’s how I put it over at the Center for Public Theology:
We are in a strange moment as a nation. The Muslim attacker at Ohio State is defended by public leaders for his religious views while an evangelical couple that builds houses for single mothers is under fire for believing what billions of people hold. This is wrong, and unfair, and citizens should oppose this illogic as it picks up speed.
I stand by this. Let’s pray for the Gaines family. Surely they are going through a lot as they weather this attack, which could tank their enterprises, and is clearly meant to smear and marginalize them. We need a better way than this (I can think of at least one, personally.)
Actually–you know what? Hang on a minute. For all my certitude, maybe the culture is right. Let’s think this through. Maybe Chip and Joanna, a very happily married couple who are devotedly raising four children who seem to adore them, are a cancer in American society. Sure, the nuclear family is suffering as never before, but you know what–this cherubic couple in Waco stands for all that ails us today.
Maybe Chip, a loving father, really is a pox on our house. Yeah, it’s true that 1 out of 4 American children have no dad in the home, but you know what? This Chip guy, who seems steadfastly devoted to his wife and kids–he’s the real problem. What a loser.
Maybe Joanna, a wife and mom who uses her talents to bless her family and many others, is precisely what we need less of in American society. After all, we could use far fewer happy marriages, and far fewer mothers who clearly value their children and want to strengthen the American home.
Let’s follow this logic to its rightful end. In a world of dissolution and nihilism, what could be worse than a religious congregation that preaches from the Bible and encourages people to follow God? It’s not like society is fraying all around us and ordinary citizens are cursing one another out in public places in a fractured political climate. You know what we need less of? We need less of these religious people who believe that they are accountable to a transcendent being, who seek to be responsible citizens, and who are commanded to love their neighbor.
Yes, now we’re on the right track. We need way, way less of these evil, vindictive people. They start their soup kitchens and they take their mission trips and they give away hundreds of millions a year, even billions per year, but you know what it’s all motivated by? Pure, unfiltered hatred. That’s how you can sum up the entire religious enterprise, the whole thing. You know what we should do? We should attack these religious communities, and especially the evangelical communities, the same ones that take in the needy and pour out a never-ending stream of philanthropy. We should skewer them in the media, and write hit-pieces against them, and subtly plant the idea that religious folks–but mind the talking points, especially the evangelicals!–are embodied evil.
Yeah, the evangelicals are truly the worst. Sure, they commit precious little in the way of violent acts, and yes, it’s hard to argue with their historical track record of public-mindedness, but that’s all a front for their campaign of quiet terror. Even if they–like the Gaineses–have said nary a public word about sexual ethics, every last one of them deserves to be publicly taken down simply for going to an evangelical assembly that believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Yes, it’s accurate that American communities are currently coming apart at the seams. Sure, the mainstream media is helping to tear the fragile fabric of the body politic with its endless whipped-up coverage of which politician said what about the other. But you know what is really dividing America? The efforts of Chip and Joanna Gaines in Waco, Texas. Yeah, it’s widely-acknowledged that their familial industry is blessing Waco in the extreme, empowering artisans and creating jobs and bringing tourists to this once-embattled city. Sure, Chip and Joanna are likely living what so many folks today only talk about–actually being part of a community for the long-term and seeking its good–but in truth, the Gaineses are the absolute worst. America may be ripping apart before our very eyes, but the socially-connected and others-minded Gaineses are the obvious target, don’t you think?
And think about “Fixer Upper,” too. It’s true that television and film are absolutely drenched in filth and violence and gleeful unrighteousness, but you know what is the veritable scourge upon the American entertainment industry in our time? It’s this happy little show, with its bright colors, smiling children, amusing outtakes, aforementioned happy marriage, and strengthening of the local community. In an age when shows race to the bottom and seek to feature the most depraved entertainment content humanity has ever known on a mass scale, it’s “Fixer Upper” that deserves to be shoved off the air, stampeded by the crowd, and silenced by the pink police-state. Makes perfect sense.
It does make perfect sense, doesn’t it?
That’s what the talking points say, don’t they?