Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the hit HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” have been under scrutiny this week because of their pastor's views on marriage.
A BuzzFeed story from Tuesday focused on Jimmy Seibert, who is the pastor at Antioch Community Church, which the Gaines attend, and his stance on same-sex marriage. But the story itself, written by BuzzFeed's chief Los Angeles correspondent Kate Aurthur, is facing scrutiny of its own.
Aurthur described the position of the pastor and his church on same-sex marriage as "severe" and "unmoving." The story quoted a sermon in which Seibert said, “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. God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”
Seibert also told the congregation homosexuality is a sin and that, in many cases, gay pornography is to blame for it. Aurthur quoted him as teaching that he has "seen hundreds of people personally change their direction of same-sex attraction from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle."
One critic of the article was Brandon Ambrosino, who wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post. Ambrosino began by writing that he is planning his wedding (a same-sex marriage) and believes that "God brought me and Andy together and that God celebrates our love."
It’s unfair, however, for BuzzFeed to criticize conservatives for their feelings about same-sex marriage, Ambrosino wrote.
“I do not think these conservatives should be shamed or mocked. I do not think they should be fired,” he wrote. “And I certainly do not think they should be the butt of a popular BuzzFeed article.”
Ambrosino pointed out that there are lots of Americans — about 4 in 10, according to the Pew Research Center — who are opposed to same-sex marriage.
He also said this story fits President-elect Donald Trump’s accusations about the media.
“Another concern I have with the story is that it validates everything that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying about the media: that some journalists — specifically younger ones at popular digital publications — will tell stories in certain deceitful, manipulative ways to take down conservatives,” he wrote.
Similarly, Hans Fiene of The Federalist wrote that the article is a ploy by BuzzFeed to “destroy” the Gaines family for their popularity. He said it’s possible other liberal media organizations will similarly look to dig up dirt on both the couple and their pastor, especially now that this is trending article.
BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith tweeted that HGTV should answer questions about whether LGBT people are banned from the show.
Fiene suggested this could be a teaching moment for liberal media companies. Instead of following in the footsteps of BuzzFeed and other organizations that have attacked TV shows for their Christian beliefs, media can realize conservatives aren’t all bad.
“This could be a great teaching moment for the crusading Left,” he wrote. “It would be great for them to learn, via Chip and Joanna Gaines, that not all opponents of same-sex marriage are evil, just as I learned that not everyone who gives his kid a weird name is an idiot.”