The Benham brothers, famed real estate moguls who found themselves at the center of controversy last year when their scheduled do-it-yourself TV program was canceled by HGTV following controversy over their beliefs on homosexuality, dropped by TheBlaze newsroom recently to discuss their faith, their new book and the important lessons they've learned over the past year.
In one of the more notable moments during the podcast interview, Jason and David Benham revealed the surprising way they reacted to GLAAD, Right Wing Watch and some of the other activists they believe forced the network's hand to cancel their show.
"We sent invitations to our home to GLAAD, Right Wing Watch, Human Rights Campaign — all to our homes for dinner," David Benham told TheBlaze, adding that the brothers even sent Edible Arrangements to staff at HGTV after the network fired them.
While no one took them up on the dinner offer, he said that they exchanged emails and had good conversations with some of the individuals — a testament to the Benhams' views about how people should treat their opponents.
"We tell folks, 'Don't open your mouth to speak until you first truly love the people you're speaking to,'" Jason Benham added, pushing back against the "false narrative" that he and his brothers are "haters."
Listen to them share their story below:
The Benhams also discussed the hard work and dedication it took to build their successful real estate business, explaining that they "lived off hardly anything" so that they could build a flourishing business, even moving their families in with one another to save cash.
"I remember Dave Ramsey once saying … 'If you live like no one else, then you can live like no one else.'" Jason Benham said. "So, we basically gave ourselves a $1,500 a month salary each for… about 2 and a half to 3 years. That’s what we paid ourselves, and, I mean, we lived off hardly anything so that we could build our business."
When asked what brought them such monumental success, both brothers credited their faith, noting that they were "raised to be biblical thinkers."
"The principles outlined in the Bible is what brought us to success," Jason Benham added.
The duo further addressed the controversy that erupted over their Christian views, noting that much of what was said about them was taken out of context. And based on their experience and what they see happening in society today, the Benhams said that they have fears about the current state of freedom of expression in America.
"Now is the first time, really in our nation’s history in terms of being a Christian, where you’re losing your job, you’re being called a hate-filled bigot, and I’m sure that that’s happened in the past," David Benham said. "But to the extent that it’s happening now, we’ve never seen this before in America."
He also detailed the roots of the brothers' new book, "Whatever the Cost," which he said they started writing well before the HGTV controversy made national news.
"We started writing the book about two years ago. We had already experienced business success, and a lot of folks were asking us, 'Hey, can you write down your business principles and all of those things?'" David Benham explained.
But then the TV network came along and wanted to give the brothers a show — a prospect that they were excited to parter with HGTV on.
"But then, no sooner did we pivot the book, they fired us. There was another pivot," he said. "And what we learned is that you have to live your faith whatever the cost."
Jason Benham added that he believes it's important to realize how spiritual warfare works.
"What we have discovered, through our own personal stories … is that when the devil wants to get somebody going in the wrong direction, he’s going to try to scare you away, or he’s going to try to lure you away," he said. "So, he’s going to come at you, and he’s going to tell you, 'Hey, be quiet. Don’t… speak about the issues of the day'… and he’ll get you so worried about perception."
But the Benham brothers said that they weren't willing to be silenced and have continued to stand up for their values — and they argue in "Whatever the Cost" that they believe others — including pastors, business leaders and politicians — should follow suit.
"Think about some of our political leaders. Why won’t they take a stand? They have too much to lose. Think about pastors. Why won’t some of them take a stand? You have too much to lose," David Benham said. "Why won’t business leaders take a stand? You have too much to lose."
He continued, "At one point in our nation’s history, we had statesmen that stood and based their political views upon principles that were unchanging. Today, we have politicians that base their views on the ever-changing tides of the political climate."
In the end, they believe public pressure from GLAAD, a gay rights group, over their views on homosexuality led HGTV to abandon the show.
David Benham concluded, "Jesus loves all people, but he does not love all ideas."
TheBlaze's Marissa Abbott contributed to this report.