On the March 2nd edition of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, former Growing Pains actor Kirk Cameron talked with Morgan about social issues, including same-sex marriage. Cameron, an evangelical Christian, has partnered with Ray Comfort to promote an evangelization ministry called "The Way of the Master" (see www[dot]wayofthemaster[dot]com). He has also starred in Christian films such as Fireproof and Left Behind. Cameron created controversy in 2009 for his distribution of altered copies of Origin of Species as part of an anti-evolution campaign.
During the interview, Cameron asserted that God defined marriage in the Garden of Eden and that he disapproves of same-sex marriage.
"Marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt and it was defined in the Garden [of Eden] between Adam and Eve. One man and 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."When Morgan asked him if he considered homosexuality a sin, Cameron said that homosexuality was "unnatural" and "detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." Morgan then asked him how he would respond if one of his six children came out as gay, to which Cameron gave this convoluted response.
CAMERON: I wouldn't say 'that's great son, as long as you're happy.' I'm going to say, you know, there's all sort of issues that we need to wrestle through in our life, and just because you feel one way doesn't mean you should act on everything that we feel.According to Huffington Post, Morgan admitted that Cameron was "brave" and "honest" for freely sharing his views, but other observers were less forgiving. Cameron's comments drew the ire of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which launched an online petition at Change.org entitled "Tell Kirk Cameron It's Time to Finally Grow Up." In a statement at GLAAD's website, Senior Director of Programs Herndon Graddick claimed that Cameron was "out of step with a growing majority of Americans," including pro-LGBT people of faith. The statement laments that Cameron "joins former TV stars Victoria Jackson and Chuck Norris in desperately trying to remain in the public eye by using anti-LGBT rhetoric."
MORGAN: And yet, some people would say that telling kids that being gay is a sin, or getting married is a sin or whatever, that in itself is incredibly destructive and damaging, in a country where seven states now have legalized it.
CAMERON: Yes, but you have to also understand that you yourself are using a standard of morality to say that telling people such-and-such of a behavior is sinful. You're using a standard of morality to make that statement and say that that is terribly destructive, so everyone is going to have a standard ... You're speaking to a man who's a Christian and I believe that all of us are sinful. I could stand at the top of the list and say that I need a savior and I need an overhaul of the heart more than anyone, and so that's what I teach my kids."
Homophobes need to stop hiding behind religion to justify their intolerance. In calling homosexuality "unnatural" and "destructive" to civilization, Cameron tried to delegitimize the LGBT community and depict it as a deleterious force in society. He is certainly not the first right-wing Christian to do so, nor will he be the last, but that doesn't mean we should ignore his statements. As more people, including pro-LGBT Christians, reject homophobia and demand accountability from homophobes, Cameron may find himself on the receiving end of much public criticism.
To read additional commentary, visit the following links.
The Atlantic Wire: Kirk Cameron Finally Weighs in on How Gays Will Destroy Civilization
Towleroad: Kirk Cameron Doesn't Like Gays
Daily Kos: Kirk Cameron: "Homosexuality Unnatural, Destructive"