Chip Gaines: ‘In times of trouble, you’ll find the Gaines family at church’


As we discussed last week, Chip and Joanna Gaines got a rare spot of bad press. The Gaineses are this year’s huge reality show breakout couple, with a hit HGTV show Fixer Upper, and more work and good press than they know what to do with. But last week, Buzzfeed did some digging into Chip and Joanna’s lives in Waco, Texas, and Buzzfeed learned that their pastor has a history of making offensive statements about LGBTQ people. The basic gist of the story was “The Gaineses go to a church that preaches gay conversion therapy and the sins of gay marriage.” Fixer Upper has also never featured a same-sex couple, and some wondered if the Gaineses believed everything that their pastor preaches. Of course, other people thought that Buzzfeed was “attacking” Christians for “going to church.” Again, no one is doing that. They can belong to any church they want. But they can’t discriminate against gay people on HGTV.

So, what’s new? Well, here’s something nice – I guess? Chip Gaines tweeted on Saturday:

Those are the Twitter handles of the two journalists who initially reported about the Gaines’ church. Part of me thinks he was just trying to tell his fans to go easy on the journalists, because this has become a hot-button pop culture BS moment just like that Duck Dynasty mess a few years ago. Another part of me thinks that he was actually making it easier for his fans to target those journalists on Twitter by posting their handles. You decide.

Then on Sunday, Chip tweeted this:

So this is the message he wants to send: they will not give up their church or their faith. They will continue to go to the same church, even when their pastor preaches gay conversion therapy and anti-gay marriage crap. Again, that’s fine, and their personal choice. But are they discriminating against LGBTQ people in their personal and professional lives? Have they rejected potential clients because of the clients’ sexuality? Do they refuse to work with gay crew members? And on and on. Those are still the questions I have.


Covers courtesy of Parade and People.

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63 Responses to “Chip Gaines: ‘In times of trouble, you’ll find the Gaines family at church’”

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  1. lisa says:

    specifically, they will be down the road at the gay hating church

    • Pix says:

      People need to refocus their energy away from these people. Their pastor is a jerk. Please don’t forget that we have an actual sexist, racist, internet troll coming into the office of the president. We have an incoming vice president that has openly talked about his beliefs in gay conversion therapy. These two men will create and enforce policies that will truly affect the LGBTQ community, women, people of color, everyone! When you use your good energy demanding answers from two “reality stars” from Waco, who most people don’t know or care to know, then you take away from the very real issues that we will all face in just six weeks. Demand answers from Trump and Pence. Demand that they speak to their real agenda for the marginalized people of this country. Demand that they denounce the hate speech from their supporters. Priorities people!

      • lisa says:

        i can dislike more than one person at a time thanks

      • Biting Panda says:

        It’s extremely assumptive of you to think that we the pissed off people are not doing both. Being a vocal ally is about calling out the BS whenever and wherever it is found.

        It is the normalization of such abhorrent beliefs, that leads us to the place where millions of HGTV watching Americans vote in these vile monsters. Because the idea to support these beliefs with your time, money, and influence is a-okay, even if you personally do not believe such idiotic and cruel ideals. Or worse, if it doesn’t hurt you personally, no harm/no foul.

        As long as 10% of their sizable income is going to a church that could use those dollars to support thins like conversion therapy, then I don’t want to be a contributor to that income. Not as a fan, a Wayfair customer, or any other product they endorse.

    • MorningCoffee says:

      Come on. Let’s recall the controversy surrounding Obama’s pastor a few years ago, shall we?

  2. Sam says:

    Do gay couples live Waco, Texas? If they’ve rejected a gay couple, doesn’t that make HGTV just as guilty because surely they knew about it? Also if they’ve rejected a gay couple, wouldn’t it have come out by now? These are the type of questions that I have. Now a days nothing stays hidden. Everything comes out. Surely if they discriminated against a gay couple on their show, we would know about it and HGTV would be under fire for being hypocrites by continuing to support the Gaines. If they’ve discriminated on their show, HGTV doesn’t get a pass either. I don’t watch their show so I could care less about this couple. However what they do in their personal life….i can’t say for sure. But I think if they discriminated in a professional setting we would have known by now. I won’t make a comment on what they do in their personal life because I just don’t know and I’m not going to “assume.” But that’s just me.

    • Timbuktu says:

      I think it’d be hard to prove that they rejected the couple because they were gay. I’m sure they found another pretext, even if that were the case. And I’m sure the selection process is inherently subjective to some degree, so…

    • KB says:

      Of course gay couples live in Waco, are you joking?

  3. Layla says:

    Am I supposed to know who these people are?

    • detritus says:

      If you watch HGTV they are inescapable.

      While I have never watched Fixer Upper, or Holes to Havens or whatever the crap it is, I am very concerned about her eyeliner habit.
      Her and Waity need an intervention group.

    • Tate says:

      Lol, let me know if you figure it out. I have no clue.

  4. Belle Epoch says:

    What about the rest of the time?

    Their silence is deafening. A statement about “respecting” LBGTQ would have been nice.

    • detritus says:

      Its true, just a ‘we respect everyone from all walks of life, and we find out solace in church’. I dunno I’m sure there’s a PR person out there who could craft something saying the same damn thing, but also supporting LGBT communities.
      It makes me think that they do not, because it is conspicuously absent.

      Next question is, how long until they have a gay couple on the show?

  5. sherry says:

    If any of that had happened, someone would have come forward by now in the midst of this firestorm. No one has spoken up and said, “I wanted to buy furniture from them and they wouldn’t sell it to me because I’m gay” or “I wanted to be on their show, but was rejected, because I’m gay” or “I was working on ‘Fixer Upper’ as a cameraman, but was fired because I’m gay.”

    Until those stories come out, this is a lot of commotion over speculation instead of facts.

    • Bonbon says:

      Agreed. I will tell you I am a strong LGBTQ advocate, (my son is gay, also a dear friend of over 20 years etc have certainly educated and influenced me.). If anyone discriminates actively or attempts to influence others to do likewise with their public stances….I’ll rip them a new one. But I also believe in someone else’s right to their own beliefs. I don’t get the hate on this couple who hasn’t done a damn thing to harm others to our knowledge. They don’t owe us an explanation of their choice of church. And all this speculation or fear mongering about what might could happen is silly. We have bigger issues….like are Jen and Ben back together or not ?😩

      Seriously I’ve never watched their show tho.

      • sherry says:

        Our family is Orthodox Christian. My daughter may be gay, or at the very least, bi-sexual. We go to church every Sunday. We pray together as a family every night. She knows the church’s position on marriage between two people of the same sex. I have shared with her an article written by an Orthodox priest which states that gay people may very well be born that way. It may be their particular sin they must struggle with (as we all have sinful natures we struggle with). She is secure in the knowledge that I love her unconditionally and I have told her that when she finds someone, that person will be welcomed into our family with open arms.

        I have a BFA in Theatre and have several gay and lesbian friends. My cousin is a lesbian and has been in a relationship with her girlfriend for as long as I’ve been married (20 years). I shared a video on Facebook of Trump saying at the GOP convention that he would “protect the LGBTQ community” and was cheered for that statement, because I know many of them, including my daughter and her friends were frightened at the prospect of a Trump presidency (as are many of us who did not vote for him).

        There are real things to be concerned about in the coming years without “Chicken Littling” two home remodeling hosts on a LGBTQ-friendly cable channel.

      • whatevs says:

        You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say how your daughter loves is a sin and then say you love her unconditionally. No matter what you personally say to her, you are supporting a church that teaches people to hate her, and that action speaks louder than words.

        I’m not coming for your religion. I’m coming for the hatred is espouses.

      • sherry says:

        In what way is that hate? There is not a single person in my church that hates people who are gay. Not one. Just because Christianity does not condone something does not equate hate toward a person.

        And yes, I do love all three of my children unconditionally. They all know this. There is nothing any of them could ever do that would change my love for them. I have gone so far to tell them they could grab a knife out of the kitchen and stab me 100 times and with my dying breath I would tell them I forgive them and love them.

        That is unconditional love. Not telling them that a sin is not a sin and that they can just ignore what the church has stated is sin.

        You want the church to conform to the world. It doesn’t work that way.

      • pinetree13 says:

        “I have shared with her an article written by an Orthodox priest which states that gay people may very well be born that way. It may be their particular sin they must struggle with (as we all have sinful natures we struggle with).”

        They may be born that way but it’s still a sin. But if they were born that way, then God made them that way. So God made them with an inbuilt sin?

        Man Religion makes no sense to me. I’m so pleased it’s on the decline worldwide.

      • sherry says:

        @pinetree – We are ALL born sinners. All of us. We all struggle with our own sinful nature and pray that God’s grace will help us live up to Christ’s example, the chief of which is love for our neighbor.

      • Rapunzel says:

        @sherry- yes, we are ALL born sinners. But who you love is not a sin. It is not a lifestyle choice either. It is who you are. Being gay is no more a sin then being born black, or Chinese, or redheaded, or cross eyed. It is something that cannot be helped. Ergo, it is not a sin. Sin can change and go away– you can stop sinning. Your sexual orientation cannot go away; you cannot stop being homosexual. That mentality leads to horrible things for LBGT people.

        You claim to love your daughter while at the same time equating her natural born identity with sinful choices– like murder, rape, thievery, etc. This makes zero sense. If you truly love your daughter, her natural qualities would never be sin to you.

        The notion of “original sin” doesn’t make your hateful (and it’s hateful to your daughter, whether you know it or not, or whether she shows it or not) attitude any more acceptable. It does not apply to this.

      • shura says:

        I’m not Orthodox Christian but to be fair they’re (meaning Christians) are advised to hate the sin not the sinner. ie You may reject greed, arrogance, sloth but you don’t hate those who are struggling with these things.

      • Mikeyangel says:

        So if your child is an addict you can’t hate the addiction but love the addict? I believe Sherry and anyone else for that matter have a right to a personal opinion on LGBTQ relations, and still unconditionally love her daughter. My mother hates my brother’s addictions, but unconditionally loves him. And before anyone starts with the ‘drugs are a choice, being LGBTQ isnt’, maybe in the beginning doing drugs is a choice (being LGBTQ is NOT), but as these choices progress the user has less and less of a choice. So yes, people can dislike the choices and still love their people. I personally choose to believe that God does not care one little bit who any of us choose as bed partners or significant others, so long as it doesn’t hurt our soul. I choose to think that God made people gay and doesn’t care if they ‘act gay’ as long as they are soulfully happy which is exactly the same way he regards us all regardless of whom we love. My God, which really is the only one I care about, loves us so much we could never understand. He isn’t sitting there picking us apart, in my head, like so many people I know seem to believe. But hey, maybe someone would like to chime in and yell st me about my interpretation of God😂

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        @Sherry: Spreading the belief that our desires, attractions, romantic feelings, sex lives, and relationships are ‘wrongdoing/wickedness/sins’ (a category that religion also assigns to things like theft and murder) just because of the gender we’re born as and because those relationships and attractions aren’t all heterosexual ones is still prejudice that leads to (and has always lead to) discrimination, hate, and inequality. It only matters a little bit that not *everyone* who internalizes this prejudiced belief is out there behaving, voting, and policymaking in ways that are hateful, abusive, and discriminatory against gay and bisexual people because too many of the ones that are doing those things, were already taught that the people they’re acting against are doing something wrong. People have the right to believe whatever they’re taught, but prejudice doesn’t stop being prejudice just because someone chooses to use ancient or modern quotes and teachings from religious leaders to defend their stance. That’s just as true of any Christians who don’t actively hate people of other races but who spread the message that interracial dating and marriage shouldn’t happen because it’s ‘not part of God’s plan’.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        @MikeyAngel: The other reason why the drug addiction vs. being gay or bisexual comparison is (an insulting) false equivalent is because you’re comparing something that’s disapproved of for actually being harmful, destructive, dangerous, and life-threatening to something harmless being disapproved of because men who lived and died thousands of years ago wrote their disapproval of it in scrolls.

  6. BearcatLawyer says:

    We Texans don’t call it “Wacko” for no reason. It is the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, for heaven’s sake!

    I doubt they have interacted with many members of the LGBTQ community. But I also suspect that if they had, say, refused to hire a gay man at their store Magnolia (which by the way is overrated – went once under duress and found it and the crowds annoying), it is unlikely that he would say anything if he wanted to continue to live peacefully in Waco.

    • sunnydaze says:

      Ugh, I checked out their website once and holy crap….crazy expensive for stuff that looks like it was dug out of a junkyard.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    For the Christians on my FB, this isn’t an attack on “Going to Church”. They see it as an attack on the “Christian” idea that being gay is wrong.

    I think it should not be underestimated just how much Christian people think reJecting homosexuality is their right and duty. If people continue to harp on Chip and Joanna for this, they’ll Just go up in favor with Christians, like the bakery who wouldn’t bake a gay wedding cake, or that idiot woman in KY who refused to approve licenses for gay weddings.

    • M4lificent says:

      They won’t go up in favor with this Christian. Please don’t paint us all with such a broad brush. Not all Christians belong to ultra-conservative churches in the Bible Belt.

      Of the last 5 pastors in my church, two were straight women, two were out gay men, and one was a straight man. Approx. 20% of our congregation is LGBTQ, we have a booth at the annual pride parade in our city, and do other outreach with the LGBTQ community. We also share our church building with a smaller congregation that is exclusively LGBTQ.

      We are by no means a perfect community, but many of us take the call to love thy neighbor very seriously. And we love our friends, family, and neighbors because of, not in spite of, who they are. You just don’t hear about us because we’re not all up in your face about our faith.

      • Rapunzel says:

        M4lificent- you’re right, of course. That’s why I said I was specifically talking about the Christians on my FB feed. Sorry if that wasn’t clear enough. I’m Catholic, so I know how you feel, and wasn’t trying to generalize, just point out a reaction I hadn’t seen mentioned.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I do find it interesting they haven’t made a statement. They could certainly say their faith is personal, and they respect all people and treat them equally. But…nothing.

  9. Talie says:

    Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how they answer those questions because they still haven’t said a damn word. I’m mixed on this story though…but on the flipside, conservatives had no problem tarring and feathering Obama over Rev Wright.

  10. Angel says:

    I find it interesting people want to know what they stand for. They’re obviously Christians and home renovators … Not agreeing to a “lifestyle” is not hating the persons, by the way. Christians also don’t agree with premarital heterosexual sex as a lifestyle. Doesn’t mean we hate the people engaged in it. We just believe there’s a better way that produces a safer and better outcome in your life.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Except being gay isn’t a “lifestyle.” And even if it were, “lifestyles” aren’t a matter for “agreement.” We agree or disagree with opinions, not with lifestyles. This is like saying Christians are allowed to “agree with” or “not agree with” whether people have blue eyes or naturally curly hair. And being gay is neither a lifestyle nor an opinion. It’s who someone is. It’s how some people are born. Though if being gay is a lifestyle, then being straight is a lifestyle too. After all if we can choose our sexuality so freely, then obviously we can choose either — or both!

      Plenty of Christians engage in premarital sex, by the way. And plenty of Christians are fine with that, and plenty of Christians even believe in premarital (and postmarital) contraception and abortion. Catholic women often choose abortion, as was even recently acknowledged by the Pope.

      Christianity appears to embrace a fairly diverse collection of beliefs and behaviors.

      By the way, believing there’s a “better way” to live … apply it to your own life all you wish, but in a country that is not yet governed by your church, you are not allowed to dictate or determine what you think would be a “better outcome” for anybody else.

      As for safer, ask all the young Christian girls not taught about sexual health who contract STDs or become pregnant before they are ready … sometimes resorting to attempts at abortion that will sterilize or kill them. Safer? Better? They might disagree.

      There’s a reason the English language has the saying, “Holier than thou.”

      • Evie says:

        *Applauds wildly* THIS!

      • Locke Lamora says:

        Exactly. Being gay is certainly not a lifestyle. And not all Christians are lunatic fundentalists.

      • Mikeyangel says:

        @who are these people
        Your comment about people being born gay being the same as blue eyes or curly hair is so spot on. Thank you so much for your analogy. I have never thought of it quite that way, but I will from now on.

    • Soup2Nuts says:

      Why do straight people call LGBTQ+ identities a lifestyle?

      Because straight people have no lives or style! *Badum tsssh*

      In all seriousness, I hope you can understand why this word choice is offensive.

  11. Melody calder says:

    I strongly suspect most people have a belief that many people would have issue with. Listen to the person next to you at a restaurant or standing near you in line sometime. If this just came out due to investigative reporting, then clearly their pruvate thoughts on this matter aren’t being pushed on their viewing publicso who cares what they do in their private life. If affects me in no way.
    I come from the south, many years ago, most people I know from there are not a huge fan of gay marriage either, but most keep their mugs shut about it in public and don’t infect my kid with it. That’s all I care about.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      The thing is, there’s a difference between belief and behavior. If the Gaines’ profits from their show are supporting a church that preaches bigoted BEHAVIORS and discriminatory ACTS, then they are actively supporting the promotion of bigotry and discrimination. The promotion of ‘conversion therapy’ is the promotion of torture. It is a violation of human rights.

      We can talk about the privacy of beliefs all day long, but the reality is that people in public life, from preachers to politicians, are promoting hateful and illegal behaviors that grow out of those beliefs. The result is hate crimes and other acts of discrimination. It’s important to root out these beliefs and drain them of support. And it’s important to actively work against discrimination and hate crimes.

  12. Evie says:

    Honestly, if they didn’t hold those beliefs, why wouldn’t they just come right out and say, “Are you kidding me? Of course we don’t support that!” But since they haven’t, I’m taking that to mean that they are in support of them.

    Instead of watching their show until they come out and say they agree with conversion therapy, I’ve just stopped watching and will resume when (if) they come out and explicitly state they aren’t supportive of it.

    I respect their right to practice their region and hold their beliefs, but I also have the right to not watch their show if my beliefs clash with theirs.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Terrific. The thing is, unless you’re a Nielson (ratings monitored) household, your not watching won’t affect them. However, contacting HGTV along with other viewers to express your discomfort and displeasure might.

      Where do these cable networks find these people anyway? Or is religious extremism so deeply rooted now in American culture that these churches and belief systems seem normal?

    • Emily says:

      I mean, the show is cute but it’s not that cute. And I agree with WATP above. If anything, HGTV should have come out and said that they don’t engage in discriminatory hiring practices, or how much influence “stars” have over who is featured on TV. To stay silent on all of this is gross.

  13. BendyWindy says:

    I find that quote so odd. I don’t go to church, because I’m nearly Jewish (I’m converting), but you won’t just find me in synagogue in times of trouble, but also in times of joy and doubt, confusion, and, you know, regular times. Basically, I’m there through everything in my life. Not just when it’s bad and I want to pray for better stuff.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Thanks BendyWindy, and also welcome to Jewish life! What a lovely sentiment.

      I took what he said as an indirect admission that they’re worried about the future of their show and also that they’re doubling down with their church. This will probably appeal to more religious extremists and they’ll lose some viewers but gain others. People who are ‘born again’ (which is different from conversion) tend to go whole-hog.

      • Mltpsych says:

        My customer service submission to HGTV:
        Hello, I would like to know if the Gaines family does not support gay couples/marriage. Until such time that you have a statement about this issue from them I will assume they agree with their pastor. I am an avid HGTV watcher since the beginning and I will stop watching until they make their opinion clear. I am shocked an amazing, open minded channel would support people who believe in conversion therapy which has been rejected by all mental health organizations as dangerous.
        Thanks for your consideration.

  14. Grant says:

    I have no doubt in my mind that these two believe that homosexuality is a sin. I’m sure they probably make themselves feel better by subscribing to the “hate the sin, love the sinner” mentality.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Maybe, but it’s hateful to support a preacher who believes it is okay to torture people for being who they are. That’s what conversion “therapy” is: torture. Listen, I come from a long line of people who either endured forced conversions or they were tortured, killed, expelled or forced to live in a ghetto. My belief is this is wrong. And if we can’t see it for what it is, then it means we still see homosexuality as still a category of “difference” or “other-ness” or “less than” – and don’t get as outraged and active as we might for other people. All because some people go to some churches that harbor some hateful beliefs under the ‘sheltering’ cloak of religion. It’s just a power trip: These churches use their hatred of homosexuality to consolidate control over their followers, give them a focus for group action, and collect their tithing every month.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Grant, I didn’t mean to attack what you said, just to be clear. I would think they do compartmentalize somehow. I used what you said as a launch point for something else.

  15. Josefina says:

    Conversion therapy is basically concentration camp for gay teens. But hey, if they wanna believe in that they dont have to explain anything to me. Approving the torture of gay teens is the same as prefering blue over yellow. I’m the intolerant one for being mildly upset. I just have to respect the fact people loathe my keen over the teachings of some book about talking snakes and ghosts laying with virgins.

  16. Rufusrz says:

    Having lived in TX my whole life, can tell you that Waco has a rep for being ultra conservative. It’s the home of Baylor Baptist College, now called Baylor U. Cannot watch this show, not just because of Chip/Chipper’s (what a name for a grown man) unbearable zany husband schtick. Long suspected there’s a big crack in the carefully cultivated facade. Time will tell…it always does.

  17. Ashamed 2 b a Fl girl says:

    If I was a member of a church that “preached” basic ideals to which I did not subscribe…I would go to a different church. It’s simple. These people are not commenting because…$$$. Releasing the names of the journalists is a passive-aggressive ploy to throw them under the bus.

  18. Voldielocks says:

    Sigh… they just bother me. They really do. I know next to nothing about the Gaines’ & even less about their church. But it has been my experience that people who talk a big game about being “good” Christians & how much work they are doing for the Lord, usually… aren’t. It saddens me that this is the face of Christianity being shown to the world. Please know that this does not represent what Jesus represents. If anything it’s the very opposite!

  19. Pandy says:

    America needs to stop promoting these “Christian” families. They ALWAYS end up being the opposite of the wholesome family image they promote. Also: WACO???? Cult land Waco????

  20. Elleno says:

    I was fine with watching them but now its fading. Too much Jesus turns me off.

  21. Toxic Shock Avenger says:

    And at church time, you’ll find the Gaines family in trouble.

  22. Mae says:

    It should really be called what it actually is at this point: gay conversion torture. Doesn’t qualify for the term therapy.

    I dunno how churches propagating and funding hate towards gay people isn’t considered an imperative reason to break from that church and its teachings. Being anti-torture seems like a low bar but OK.

  23. shura says:

    Gay conversion “therapy” is horrific. No way around that. But I take a keep it to yourself approach to religious practice. Lets face it, the mainstream religions arent going to embrace homosexual acts anytime soon. Even the Dalai Lama considers it “sexual misconduct. ” I dont believe it’s the place of those outside the church to alter thousands of years of religious tradition, if for no other reason than I can’t reasonably expect them to stay out of my business (secular politics and policy) if I don’t stay out of theirs.

  24. Amanda D says:

    They really haven’t had a same sex couple on their show?? That seems so strange to me as I hadn’t noticed. Well, they can believe what they want, but *I* believe I’m going to stop watching their show 🙂 Honestly, it’s overrated anyway.