One if my favorite things to do is watch HGTV. If I’m alone and I need background noise, that’s what I put on. And sometimes, Catie joins me. (And Paul cringes because he knows we’ll be getting ideas–hahaha.) The shows I prefer best are the ones where they buy a beaten-up house and then remodel it into a gem. So, Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It, etc… I don’t know why. Maybe I like the idea that something old and broken can still be beautiful.
Anyway, today’s show of choice was Fixer Upper. Now… rumor has it that they’re “Crazy Christians.” (I put that term in quotations because it doesn’t apply to all Christians. I love a lot of Christians–my bff is a Christian–so their faith doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how they treat others.) The “crazy” part comes from their view of the LGBT community. According to the internet (and you know if it’s on the internet, it must be true!) there was an article written about them attending a church where the pastor “takes a hard line against same-sex marriage and promotes converting LGBT people into being straight.” (Feel free to research and fact check. I stopped rather quickly.)
This is a hot button for a lot of us. And it caused some passionate conversation in this house, as well.
Bina and I had a strong conversation about it before Catie got home. I tried to tell her about a funny scene from the show, but when Bina heard “crazy christian” followed by “don’t like LGBT,” she shut down. Nothing else–beyond how they viewed the community–mattered. So I told her that she shouldn’t be that way. People aren’t all good, or all bad. (Except Trump. He’s a POS and I will celebrate his death of gonorrhea when he goes.) And to treat others like they’re all good/bad is to act like the very people she hated. “Don’t be like that, be better,” I tried to tell her. “Just because someone says it, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Be open to get all information before you jump to conclusions.”
Her response was, “I’m ending this conversation. I have homework.” At that point, I let it go. I’ve taught her that an argument is an invitation she doesn’t need to accept. And she’d just used what she’d learned on me.
Fast forward a bit. I did some research on the all-knowing internet, found that they (the Gaines) hadn’t said/done anything, and I opened the conversation again, just as Catie was arriving home from work. “Yes, I understand their choice of place to worship is indicative of their beliefs, but it doesn’t mean they automatically accept everything. There are a lot of reasons people go to church.” Back and forth we went…
Bina and Catie both believe that I shouldn’t “support” them by watching the show. By supporting them, I support the church and their treatment of the community, even if indirectly. I argued that we didn’t have the full story. Just because someone attends a church, it doesn’t mean they believe everything that the pastor says. Also, there was no true evidence that they hated LGBTs. Then Catie pointed out that I was only arguing because I liked the show. I had to stop and consider it, then admit that she was right.
(Bringing this blog back to poly life, I need to mention that this is what happens when you have two. You get twice the points of view …)
Had circumstances been different, I would have said, “Screw ’em. They don’t want my money, I’ll give it to someone else.” (I do fall into the B part of the LGBT family. And no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me.)
But I do enjoy the show. I love how dorky Chip is, and I love how in-love he is with his wife. It makes my romantic heart happy. Watching it is like reading the epilogue of a romance novel. Combine that with the house-remodel aspect, and I’m as happy as a pig in mud.
I also understand that the show is staged and most conversations are scripted in some way, but they just don’t seem like they’re evil people. They’re so warm and fuzzy and loving. Again, I’m realistic enough to know they’re coached to be that way for television, but it can’t all be an act, can it?
Hours later, I’m still thinking about it. Both how Bina was strong enough to stop an argument before it started (and how I wasn’t, considering I didn’t let it go,) and how I tried to teach her not to believe everything at face value.
Everything around us is just a clip. A tiny piece in space. A glimpse of time. There’s so much more that we don’t know. Using Chip and Joanna as examples, no one but they know how they really feel. I’ve gone to places where I accept only parts of what is taught. Maybe they do, too. (And if they truly do believe that LGBT should be tortured into “going straight,” then I hope they reconsider. Conversion “therapy” isn’t therapy; it’s torture.) The point is, we don’t really know for sure.
Even this blog is just a glimpse into our family. In person, there is so much more to us. But I can’t capture how funny we are. For example, Catie says, “Paul hit me!” And I reply, “Did you say ‘thank you’?” And then I hear Catie say (to Paul), “Thank you!” Yes, this is a little funny, but it’d be so much better if you could see Bina as she shakes her head at our antics. Or better yet, Paul’s satisfied grin.
Keep it open–be it your relationship, your mind, and/or your heart.
Hi there, Catie here! Once again I have to disagree with Helena.
As much as I love how open Lena is to other points of view and how she’s willing to still like people while disagreeing with some of their beliefs, happily living in that gray area, it’s just not something I can do or agree with. I’m much more black and white. I was raised to be careful about who and what I allow in my space. I do judge people by what church they go to, what political party they belong to, how they parent and any number of other personal decisions. I’m fairly open about this. When I found out some Facebook friends supported Republicans, I unfriended them. When I found out my eye doctor was happy that Trump won, I decided to find a new eye doctor. If I find out someone is religious, I’m polite but keep them at arm’s length, don’t worry, this applies to all religions. These characteristics speak to who they are as humans. I’m well aware that my decisions speak to who I am, as well, and I’m totally fine with being thought of as intolerant.
Intolerance has worked well enough for the conservative side for long enough. It’s a tactic that Liberals should employ, too. Plus, some things simply should not be tolerated. For me, belonging to a church that believes being LGBTQ (even if you don’t believe that part of the teachings) isn’t okay. Chip and Joanna belong to one such church, therefore I don’t want anything to do with them. I won’t watch their show, I won’t buy their products, and I won’t click the link with the latest story about their miracle baby. I’m not letting them into my space because their actions do not meet my criteria of “acceptable.” They aren’t the only ones. I don’t watch anything Chris Pratt, Tom Cruise, John Travolta and more, because I find their beliefs offensive. I also don’t shop at Wal-mart because they treat their employees terribly and are generally evil.
So, as much as I can appreciate Lena’s openness and love of a 40-minute rom-com + renovation show, I won’t be joining her in watching, and I will be supporting Bina in her decision to think Joanna and Chip are wrong. Because they are, even if their on screen personas and HGTV-written press releases are lovely. Where they spend their Sunday’s tells me more about who they are than their press releases ever will.
Lena here. Another poly benefit: Multiple parents with different viewpoints. When one parent disagrees with you, there are two others who might agree. Either way, Bina has support. 🙂