House-flipping celebrity Chip Gaines encouraged people to “lovingly disagree” in a blog post on Monday.
“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,” Chip wrote.
The blog post appears to refer, at least in part, to the controversy that sprang up in November 2016 after Buzzfeed published an article attacking Antioch Community Church of Waco, Texas and its pastor Jimmy Seibert for taking a “severe, unmoving position” against same-sex marriage. HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna attend Antioch Community Church and have long been vocal about their Christian faith.
“So are the Gainses against same-sex marriage?” Buzzfeed writer Kate Aurthur asked of the married couple.
Since the teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman is a basic tenet of Evangelical Christianity, and since Chip and Joanna had never spoken about the issue themselves, many criticized Buzzfeed’s piece as a “non-story.”
HGTV responded to the controversy at the time with a statement saying the network doesn’t “discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows,” and moved forward with airing the fourth season of wildly popular Fixer Upper (the November 29 premier garnered 3.4 million views).
Chip and Joanna initially refused to make a statement, with Chip turning to Twitter to request “respect” for Aurthur and tweet about the family’s faith.
— Chip Gaines (@chippergaines) December 3, 2016
In times of trouble.. you'll find the gaines family at church.
— Chip Gaines (@chippergaines) December 4, 2016
In Monday’s blog post, Chip still didn’t address the Buzzfeed article, or same-sex marriage, head-on, writing:
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. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand …
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.
Chip went on to say that he and Joanna “feel called to be bridge builders.”
“We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike,” he wrote. “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.”
Chip ended his post by asking people to work together.
We propose operating with a love so real and true that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside the very people that are most unlike you. Fear dissolves in close proximity. Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side. This is how a house gets unified.