Speaking at a city council meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, David Benham and Jason Benham spoke out against allowing the city to issue a permit for a gay pride parade. When the LGBT community wants to access its constitutional rights — be they marriage, or even free speech — the Benhams want to deny them those rights. But the religious right comes to their aid when a private entitity — HGTV — deems their actions unworthy of their company’s programming.
The Benhams, of course, are the twins and business partners whose HGTV reality show pilot was canceled this week after news broke of their hate speech against LGBT people. HGTV has not said why thy canceled the show, but the religious right is claiming the Benhams are victims and were fired for merely observing their religious beliefs.
Curiously, almost all the testimony before and after the Benham brothers’ includes phrases like, “I was there with a group of Christians who were peacefully and lawfully bringing a gospel message to the attendees,” and, “I also attended that event, not as a participant, but as a witness for Christ,” and, “I am 17 years old and was at the Gay Pride event to share the love of Jesus with these people,” and this one:
“My motivation for going to the Bank of America, Charlotte Pride Gay Lesbian Festival at Marshall Park on May 1 of this year was to offer help, hope and deliverance in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Men and women are trapped in this lifestyle that leads to destruction. There were several people that day that I was able to speak with.”
Here’s the complete testimony from the Benham Brothers (we’ve excluded their home addresses):
David Benham said I would agree 100% that this type of activity is destructive, and a tragedy. If you will look in your packet you will see one of the shems, his name was Steve the Drag Queen. He described some of the acts he witnessed and feels the Council has had the wool pulled over their eyes because the permit says for celebration and fellowship for the lesbian, gay bisexual transgender community. I saw first hand what celebration and fellowship was all about. This is filth, this is vile and should not be allowed in our City. I have a one-year old, a three-year old and a five-year old and I want them to grow up in a city that will honor the folks that are in it.
Jason Benham said I have a 6-month old daughter and a 2 1⁄2 year old little boy and when I stood out there in Marshall Park and heard the comedian say I am an out lesbian, I love 4-year old girls and I call them “dykes on triks, they are hard to come by but, boy are they good.” I stood out there crying in my heart that only 40 or 50 of us Christian men went out there to try to give these homosexuals another answer. We were not there to bash them, we were there to tell them that Jesus loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. They have a right to apply for this permit, but you have a right and responsibility to deny it. I employ you not to be governed by the fear in which you feel. If you deny them this permit you will open a can of worms but you in your leadership position have to take that responsibility and you have to not allow the fear of making this homosexual community mad. You have to accept that responsibility and deny them every permit that they ask for.
In fairness, the same speakers who mentioned they were there, “bringing a gospel message to the attendees,” also claimed there was lewd behavior and nudity at the previous parade, but the objective should not have been – as the Benhams demanded — to deny “this homosexual community…every permit that they ask for,” the objective should have been to enforce the law.
Gay pride parades are “filth,” and “vile,” the Benhams say. “Jesus loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way,” they say of gay people. “Homosexuals” need “another answer.”
This is how the Benhams “love homosexuals.”
Constitutionally-protected free speech and freedom of religious expression for radical Christian extremists, but no constitutionally-protected free speech or freedom of expression — nor marriage rights – for the LGBT community. That’s the religious right’s true goal.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.