By Victor Ochieng
Some of the things that hurt Ben Higgins during his span on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were the many heartless and inconsiderate accusations and derogatory statements against his faith. “He’s not a Christian. Look at what he did.” He was shocked at such comments even as people were outraged with his role on the show. “The community I thought would have my back the most was the community that was hurting me the most,” he says.
Higgins, now 28, worked for a church and started a 100-person Bible study program while he was a student in Indiana. He’s currently serving on the board of the Humanity & Hope United Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit focused on bringing sustainable change in the Central American country of Honduras.
Higgins gained fame as a result of his participation in the 11th season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, in which he was a contestant before he was selected to be the titular star for the 20th season of The Bachelor. Over the 10-week span of the reality series, Higgins dated 28 women, something many Christians were against.
He went on the show a Christian and that raised eyebrows. That’s why the Relevant Magazine asked him why he thinks it’s okay for a Christian to be a Bachelor.
“Mostly, that as a Christian, you just can’t do the show. You’re dating multiple people at once. You’re kissing multiple people at once. You’re leading people on,” he said, adding, “And then—and I totally agree with this—only one name should be famous, and that’s Jesus. When anybody puts themselves in a situation where fame is going to result, the Church reacts. I think that’s fair. But if I can get a platform from The Bachelor and make Jesus famous through the way I live life, what’s the problem?”
But for someone presenting himself strongly as a Christian, it was quite difficult for him when fellow Christians disowned him because of his act. “The hardest ones for me were always when my character would be questioned. People would say, ‘He’s not a Christian, look at what he did. He’s not a Christian, look at what he said.’ That hurts. You’re throwing stones at the most important piece of my life.”
As for him, he says he had to exercise some control in the show so as not to compromise his Christian values, and he says he did so also considering that “there are real people involved, and real relationships can come from it.”
Higgins says he did his best to ensure that all the women involved knew his faith. At the same time, he did his best to have every woman feel appreciated even for those he had to send home.
“And granted, I wasn’t always perfect in that. I messed up. But it was something I thought of often.”