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Bobby Jindal criticizes HGTV's cancellation of show over hosts' views

In a commencement speech, the Louisiana governor criticized HGTV's decision to cancel a show featuring brothers with a history of social conservative activism.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., March 6, 2014.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., March 6, 2014.

Picking up on the energy that transformed "Duck Dynasty" from a show about a family of rural duck hunters into a culture war hot-button, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday decried "another demonstration of intolerance from the entertainment industry" in HGTV's cancellation of a reality TV show about flipping houses for profit featuring two men with histories of social conservative activism.

HGTV "cancelled the show this week, allegedly because they learned that one of the brothers protested at the Democrat [sic] Party Convention, and the other had protested at an abortion clinic," Jindal said in a commencement speech at Liberty University, according to excerpts of the governor's prepared remarks. "Think about that for a minute. If these guys had protested at the Republican Party Convention, instead of cancelling their show, HGTV would probably have given them a raise."

The twin brothers on the show "Flip It," David and Jason Benham, are graduates of Libery University, the Christian college in Lynchburg, Va., founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. A report by RightWingWatch earlier this week revealed the brothers' anti-choice and anti-gay views.

In his speech to students, Jindal expounded on what he called a "war on religious liberty" in modern politics and popular culture.

"Today’s world is increasingly hostile to matters of faith," Jindal said. "American culture has in many ways become a secular culture. At a minimum, it is safe to say that you are going into a world that is far more secular than the one your parents entered."

He added, "This war is waged in our courts and in the halls of political power. It is pursued with grim and relentless determination by a group of like-minded elites, determined to transform the country from a land sustained by faith — into a land where faith is silenced, privatized, and circumscribed."

Jindal singled out the Obama administration as especially hypocritical on freedom of expression.

"Under the Obama regime, you have the protection of the First Amendment as an individual, you see – but the instant you start a business, you lose those protections."

Jindal was a fierce defender of embattled "Duck Dynasty" patriarch, Phil Robertson, came under fire over anti-gay comments in an interview with GQ magazine.

"Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana," Jindal said in a statement last December. "The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended "