Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have come under scrutiny after a BuzzFeed story resurrected an anti-same-sex marriage lecture by their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, of Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas.
In the lecture, which is available to view online, Seibert reaffirmed Antioch’s position on homosexuality after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June 2015.
“God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I,” Seibert told the crowd. “Truth No. 1: Homosexuality is a sin. The lie: Homosexuality is not a sin.”
Seibert also said that members of the LGBT community have a choice and can change their sexual orientation. “Truth No. 2: God is able to give us power over every sin, including homosexuality. Lie No. 2: I am a homosexual in thought and action, and I cannot change,” he said. “We can change, contrary to what you hear. I’ve worked with people for over 30 years — I have seen hundreds of people personally change their direction of same-sex attraction from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle. It doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with feelings, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting, it doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. But they have chosen to change. And there has always been grace there for those who choose that.”
The Antioch Community Church’s website also states that marriage should be between a man and a woman. “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime,” the website says. “[A husband] has the God-given responsibility to provide for, protect and lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”
The reality TV personalities, who have yet to feature a same-sex couple on their hit HGTV show, are Christian and attend the nondenominational, evangelical church founded by Seibert in 1999. The Gaines’ company, Magnolia, and HGTV have not yet responded to requests for comment by Us Weekly or BuzzFeed about whether the couple’s beliefs align with their church’s.
Fixer Upper viewers have started calling for Chip and Joanna to clarify their stance on same-sex marriage. “If Chip and Joanna Gaines end up being anti-LGBT, I am cancelling my mag subscription and ignoring their show,” one tweeter wrote, while another added, “As a Fixer Upper fan, I would love to know @joannagaines and @chippergaines’s thoughts on their pastor’s hateful, anti-LGBT beliefs.”