It’s a shame when really harsh words spew forth out of such an aesthetically pleasing face.
Kirk Cameron finds himself under intense media scrutiny after an interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight last Friday night that was, according to him, supposed to be about his new docu-film Monumental. During the course of the interview, he was also asked about his views on various social issues including gay marriage and homosexuality as a whole.
It’s no secret that the former child star, now 41 with six kids, is a born-again Christian – and not the kind who speaks openly about it when it’s convenient or good for PR. It’s his daily life.
His appearances in the Left Behind movie series, based on the widely popular book series, weren’t just acting jobs. They were extensions of his own Christian walk. His widely distributed reality TV program called The Way of the Master, seeks to “save the lost the way Jesus did”. His Love Worth Fighting For marriage events take place all over the country to provide biblical insights for couples wanting to restore and strengthen their relationships. Camp Firefly, which he operates with his wife Chelsea Noble, provides week-long retreats for seriously ill children and their families as means of inspiring faith in God.
With this in mind, should anyone be all the surprised by his views on gay marriage as quoted on Piers Morgan Tonight:
"Marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve -- one man, one woman for life ‘til death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage and I don't think anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't."
I’m certainly not. Should we have expected a different response from him simply because, as Piers Morgan pointed out, seven states have now legalized gay marriage? Should we have expected a different response because society’s attitudes as a whole are changing? I certainly didn’t. Though I find his reasoning for being against gay marriage to be flawed, I certainly wouldn’t bother trying to discuss, debate or even argue this point with him because you can’t.
The basis of his views comes strictly from the Bible and you can’t argue that if your views come from personal experience or something far more logical than faith. When people hide behind the Bible to avoid having to think for themselves and risk the possibility that they don’t actually agree with what they’ve long since been taught to believe, you’re not so much arguing, debating or discussing one’s views as much as the theology behind those views. And that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
I don’t fault him for his views per se if this is the understanding he has come to have. I just hope this understanding comes from more than just the Bible. I hope he has gone to his God in prayer for clarity and confirmation or sat with loving homosexual couples to see their lives as it actually is as opposed to what he thinks they are. If this is still his conclusion, I can actually respect that. I’ll never agree with it, but I don’t have to agree with it in order to respect it.
If he doesn’t want to support two people loving each other simply because they are of the same gender, that’s fine. Perhaps he’d rather support a closeted gay man or an openly gay man entering unwisely into a sham marriage with a woman he cannot love in the same way he would love a man. Is that what he’d prefer or would he suggest an ex-gay ministry to help “pray out the gay” and get rid of the problem altogether? Good luck with that.
What happens when the gay friends he says he has invited him to their wedding? There certainly has to be some conflict there. Would he put his widely known beliefs aside to support these friends or would they not invite him out of deference to those beliefs?
I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know this: I certainly wouldn’t want anyone at my wedding who didn’t fully support what I was doing. Otherwise, why come in the first place?
Morgan then asked him if he thought homosexuality was a sin, to which he responded with the following:
"I think that it's - it's - it's unnatural. I think that it's - it's detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."
This is where Cameron went wrong. Once again, I’m not surprised by his position on homosexuality, but here it became an attack on an entire group of people who had no choice in the matter except to decide whether or not to live in misery. What standard of morality allows for this?
I have a hard time believing anyone with gay friends can actually say such things. I can appreciate not being able to personally understand homosexuality or what it’s like to be gay. What I can’t understand is speaking so negatively about something from which he is so far removed. It’s easier to be on Piers Morgan Tonight and say such things about a group of nameless, faceless people.
But it’s a lot harder to say those things when you’re closer the situation – when you have gay friends and you know the process they went through to come to accept the fact that they are gay. It’s a lot harder to say those things when you are called upon by your gay friends to support them through their process of coming out. It’s a lot harder to say those things when you hear about their fears of being out, of being ostracized or even of being bashed. And it’s a lot harder to say when you hear your friends talk about how they want someone to love who will love them in return and how hard it is to find such a person in a cynical, mistrustful world.
None of this would necessarily change his mind, but it should certainly prevent him from making such statements in such a way.
What do these gay friends have to say about all this? Are they actually gay friends or just friends he has who struggle with being gay and are trying to deliver themselves from such evil? There is a difference. I would have to question my friendship with a straight friend (or even a self-hating gay friend) over something like this – not because they don’t agree with my “lifestyle” or even that they don’t understand it. It’s not about agreeing, agreeing to disagree or even understanding. It’s about respect – of which such statements show none.
Naturally, GLAAD issued statements condemning his remarks. He was a Hot Topic on Tuesday’s The View. Celebrities ranging from Jane Lynch to Fran Drescher to Jesse Tyler Ferguson to former Growing Pains co-stars Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold spoke out against his him on Twitter (Ferguson’s being the best). And the press has been all over it.
To his credit, he did not apologize for his remarks. After similar situations surrounding Tracy Morgan and Brett Ratner, this was not only refreshing, but also respectable. Say what you mean, mean what you say and accept the fallout.
He did, however, make the following statement on his Facebook page Tuesday:
I recently was asked to join Piers Morgan on CNN for an interview about my new film “Monumental.” During that discussion, I was asked to express my views about homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. While that was not the agreed-upon purpose of the interview, I was pleased to answer Piers’ questions as honestly as I could.
In some people’s eyes, my responses were not sufficiently "loving" toward those in the gay community. I can only say that it is my life's mission to love all people, and that I expressed the same views that are expressed clearly and emphatically throughout the Judeo-Christian scriptures. As a Bible believing Christian, I could not have answered any other way.
I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally) in the wake of condemnation by some political advocacy groups. In the case of one of my gay friends, we regularly talk and have healthy and respectful debate. We learn from each other, and serve others alongside one another. I thank God for all of my friends...even when they hold very different views on issues of faith and morality. I do not, however, believe that the right way to advance our views is to resort to name-calling and personal attacks, as some have done to me.
I also believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.
I hope more than a few people could see the large volume of secularist morality being imposed on me. In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It's inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect.
I have to agree with him on one thing: we do need to learn how to debate with greater love and respect. Of course, the love and respect has to be there to begin with and it didn’t seem to be when he was on Piers Morgan. There was no Phelpsian hatred in his heart and I don’t believe he bears ill will toward gays, but there was very little love and even less respect for them as people in what he said.
I grew up in church. I understand Judeo-Christian principles upon which he is using to justify his views. I also know that there needs to be real world application to some of those principles. I had to face that myself. And it altered my belief system. It’s a scary thing for some people.
The reality of this situation is that calling homosexuality detrimental and destructive is just as destructive to those who are struggling with it – especially if they are young and this is all they hear at home and at school. It continues to breed hatred in others who support those views but see this as approval to take it one step further into retribution and even eradication.
His words may have come from an apparently very fervent faith, but there was a wisdom that was lacking in the words he chose. Words have power and he should know this. After all, the power of the tongue is a Biblical concept.
We are living in a tenuous time for many young people who are killing themselves because they are gay and surrounded by such talk. There is a better way to express such views without doing damage to young people. That better way is love. Love has to come behind it and it didn’t. It often doesn’t. Love was not in those words. Doctrine was. And from my experience, they don’t go hand-in-hand.
In his defense (and there is one), there is an element of a set-up to all of this. If Cameron was in fact brought on to discuss Monumental, why were such third rail social issues brought up within the context of the conversation? His views are widely known and no one is going to change his mind. So why would Piers Morgan bait him with questions about gay marriage and homosexuality in the first place?
I like spirited discourse as much as the next person, but I also know with whom to have what conversations and with whom to avoid certain topics that will lead to arguments, anger and animosity.
It may make for great television and great controversy but if I had him on Talk About It with Terrence Moss, I certainly wouldn’t ask him about his views on homosexuality or gay marriage. I already know what they are and I don’t agree with them. He would know what mine are and he wouldn’t agree with me.
I would, however, ask him about his gay friends and ask him how they feel about all this. I would ask him to tell me to my face that how I live my life is unnatural, detrimental and destructive. Then I would want him to qualify his statements: What’s unnatural about it? What’s detrimental about it? And what are these foundations of civilization that are being destroyed?
I would then share my life with him and tell him about how being gay has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I would tell him about the great people I’ve met, the fun times I’ve had and the sense of freedom with which I live my life openly, honestly and unapologetically.
I don’t think he would be able to say it – not to my face. No one with a truly godly heart would be able to. Not in those words. Of course, there have been worse things said about gay people by so-called godly people and worse words used to describe them – especially during a political campaign. But it’s unfortunate that a man’s interpretation of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian principles within it allow for such terms as “detrimental” and “destructive” to describe fellow createes.
As far as I’m concerned, he need not bend his beliefs or his moral standards. I wouldn’t want to impose my “secularist morality” on him any more than I’d want him to impose his religious morality on me. It’s not about that. It’s not about apologies. I wouldn’t want him to apologize for his views any more than I would want to have to apologize for who I am. It’s unnecessary. I would never want him to espouse anything he doesn’t truly believe and I truly believe he believes what he is saying in his heart of hearts. I just want him to be mindful of what is being said and the hurt those words could be causing. I want him to know names and see faces, not people he can look down upon from his mountaintop of salvation as sinners simply for honestly and openly living lives on their terms in a way his Judeo-Christian principles won’t allow him to understand or seek to do so.
At the end of the day, I’d invite Kirk Cameron to take a seat at my dinner table anytime. Despite what may come out of his face, it’s still a nice face to look at from across the table.
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