Chip and Joanna Gaines returned to HGTV this week.
(With new episodes, that is. As any loyal viewer of this network knows well, Chip and Joanna Gaines never really leave HGTV. There's almost definitely an old episode of Fixer Upper on TV right now.)
The season premiere of their wildly popular renovation and design show brought in 3.4 million viewers on Tuesday night, "topping every other non-news telecast on cable for the night," per The Hollywood Reporter.
And yet it isn't this massive number that folks are talking about at the moment.
It's the question of where Chip and Joanna Gaines stand on the topic of homosexuality.
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed ran a detailed article that took us inside the church Chip and Joanna attend with their children.
It centered on the pastor of the Antioch Community Church, Jimmy Seibert, who is accused of being “against same-sex marriage and [who] promotes converting LGBT people into being straight."
Because HGTV appears to be so gay-friendly (both Property Brothers and House Hunters have featured same-sex couples over the years), many viewers are now asking:
Might Joanna and Chip be against gay marriage?
To be honest (and stereotypical, we admit), the couple does hail from the conservative region of Waco, Texas.
It would not come as a shock if they are, indeed, against the concept of men marrying men or women marrying men. Nor would it make Chip and Joanna any different than about 40-45 percent of the population.
But what about the idea that those in the LGBT community can be converted into being straight?
That is a far more controversial and disturbing stance.
Seibert has urged compassion for the sinners, because he claims "statistics say that 90% of people who are in a full-blown homosexual lifestyle were abused in some way. Physically, sexually, mentally.”
This is patently ridiculous, of course.
He also believes that certain kinds of pornography has essentially made many people gay.
“We have people and young people that never had any intention of a same-sex attraction et cetera, who have seen sexuality up front in pornography and now are trapped in the addiction of it," Seibert says.
The pastor does not come out and fully endorse gay conversation techniques, which are forms of physical and mental torture meant to "turn" homosexuals into heterosexuals.
But he does say the following:
"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."
What does any of this have to do with Chip and Joanna Gaines?
Maybe nothing. They simply attend Seibert's church. They may very well not agree with all of his viewpoints.
Or maybe nothing because you simply don't care.
Perhaps you tune in to Fixer Upper to marvel over Joanna's design tastes and ability. Or maybe to chuckle over how goofy Chip can be.
Or to see the chemistry between two people who are very clearly in love, with each other, with their jobs and with their kids.
Why should you care what religious views they espouse, right?
Is watching a show - and thereby helping its ratings, which boosts profiles and bank accounts - that stars people with whom you fundamentally disagree on important topics ethically irresponsible?
Are you indirectly giving their viewpoints a blessing?
These are actually fairly interesting questions. There may not be any easy answers.
It's worth noting that neither Chip nor Joanna has said anything since this controversy broke out.
Where do you stand on it?