UPDATE 12/2 2:23 P.M. ET: The pastor at the center of the controversy, Jimmy Seibert, denied to Fox News that Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, is anti-gay.
"Absolutely not," said Seibert, though the church's website still notes under its "Belief" section that "Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." "Not only are we not anti-gay, but we are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He has made them to be."
"For us, our heart has always been to love Jesus, preach the word of God and help people in their journey," he added.
Seibert also told Fox News that he was surprised by the controversy that his sermon against gay marriage and homosexuality, which was first resurfaced by BuzzFeed, stirred up.
HGTV released a statement Thursday, December 1, amid reports that Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a church that is firmly against same-sex marriage.
“We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows,” the network’s statement read. “HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.”
As previously reported, the couple came under scrutiny after BuzzFeed posted a sermon from their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, of Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. In the video, Seibert affirmed the church’s position on homosexuality after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, stating that “God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I,” and that “homosexuality is a sin.”
The Gaines, who are Christian and attend the nondenominational, evangelical church founded by Seibert, have yet to publicly comment about the controversy.
During a recent interview with Fox News, Seibert denied the church is antigay.
“People don’t know what the Bible says anymore on issues of sexuality,” Seibert said on December 1. “People don’t know what God says on homosexuality or any other issue. I felt the need to say we are all a mess -– but the fixed points were set by God –- not us. We are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He has made them to be.” (The church’s website still states that marriage is between a man and woman.)
Fans of Fixer Upper, however, were quick to state that they would abandoned the show if the Gaines are against 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 shared.
Fixer Upper airs on HGTV on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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