Faith Costs More than a TV Show

Our persecution complex is turning into professional martyrdom.

A few years ago, HGTV ended their plans to produce a show with two Christian brothers. David and Jason Benham had run a successful real estate company for over ten years and were set host their first show, "Flip It Foward", in the fall.

But in the spring, Right Wing Watch reported that David had led a prayer rally outside of the Democratic National Convention years earlier where he condemned the gay agenda and other "demonic ideologies". HGTV responded the next day:

HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series.

As the persecution alarm sounded, evangelicals made an impressive show of solidarity. Faith Driven Consumer launched a #FlipThisDecision petition that garnered over 20,000 signatures. Ralph Reed hashtagged the decision #AntiChristianBigotry, and Laura Ingraham called the decision-makers "Stalinists".

The Benhams have since responded with two books. The first one, Whatever the Cost, details the story of becoming millionaire businessmen before having to "die to their dreams". The second one, Living Among Lions, uses Daniel as an archetype for how to live in a world "increasingly hostile to people of faith". But the key phrase they used right after fact is the one that has come to define their image as well as adorn their website:
"If our faith costs us a television show then so be it."
And it makes we want to vomit every time I read it.

It makes we want to vomit because of the Christians in North Korea, "being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges and trampled underfoot".

It makes we want to vomit because of the Christian parents in the Middle East finding plastic bags on their doorsteps filled with the body parts of their daughters and videos of them being raped and tortured.

It makes we want to vomit because, despite the mass beheadings of Christians in Libya, David and Jason think America is persecuting Christians.

In a 2015 blog, the brothers wrote that while they viewed their own story as pressure rather than persecution, "we're beginning to think that pressure is turning into all out persecution – and fast!" They went on to say that the persecution is not just of religion but of "timeless freedoms" thus confirming their acceptance of the American syncretism Fox News pundits call Christianity.

Assuming that Christians are losing their freedoms in the United States (absurd), there is a gruesomely bloody difference between a loss of liberty and a loss of life. But the claim rings even more hollow from two good ol' boys lamenting the fact that they couldn't compliment their fortune with fame.

If Christians are privileged in America (not absurd), the millionaire Benham brothers are dripping with it. Not only are they white evangelical males, their father is a well-known pastor who ran an anti-abortion lobby for twenty years with no shortage of media exposure. They were born into more privilege than most American Christians will ever know and here they are making a career out of persecution complex pageantry.

They "died to their dreams" and lived to tell the story. "Their faith cost them" and they persevered. They are poster boys for the malignant corpse of American Christianity, and they shame the savior who left an example of suffering.

Faith doesn't cost fame, fortune, or any other finite frivolity. Faith costs your life.

The paltry sacrifices of the Benhams are nothing more than the meaningless offerings of Cain. Perhaps they hold virtue in the American religion where the individual is the object of worship, but Jesus has no use for self-involved people who imagine that giving up dreams of affluence is pious.

The Benham's faith didn't cost them a tv show. Their hermeneutic did. Their party affiliation did. At no time was their belief in Jesus threatened. Unlike our suffering brothers and sisters around the world, David and Jason didn't stand up for their faith in Christ; they stood up for their social views.

It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an American to enter the kingdom of God. We are so blinded by our privilege that we think people like the Benham brothers are role models for Christian sacrifice. How pathetic. If faith costs as little as a tv show, then God's kingdom is worthless.

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photo credit: slworking2 Nothing good on TV anymore via photopin (license)

Comments

  1. Thanks for the post. I've never watched the show. But I think you may be making too much of this. To be fair, I'm sure the brothers would agree that what they went through pales in comparison to what a lot of Christians around the world endure.

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