Since I was too old to obsess over Mike Seaver, I never got caught up in the whole Kirk Cameron switcheroo from teen idol to Christian activist. My first encounter with him occurred in 2007 when I caught a live taping of the first ever “Nightline Face Off.” During this episode, Cameron and evangelist Ray Comfort debated the existence of God with an atheist group called the Rational Response Squad (RSS). Very quickly this creationism vs. evolution debate devolved to the point where I felt I was viewing a second rate sketch comedy group, instead of an actual news program.
Hence, I find myself mystified that Piers Morgan would not treat Cameron as though he were a credible and newsworthy guest but also feign surprise when Cameron proclaimed that “homosexuality” is “unnatural, detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.” One would think that a news professional such as Morgan would arrive on set equipped with the necessary background research needed to conduct an interview that will be seen by CNN’s international audience. A quick Google search would have unearthed videos like Comfort & Cameron’s Way of the Master series that contains a section on “How to Witness to Gays.” Their view of “homosexuality” proves to be more abrasive than the “love the sinner, not the sin” mantra espoused by Joel Osteen.
While former actor and born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin thinks Cameron did “a great job,” other celebrities including his former Growing Pains’ co-stars Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke disagree. For those who consider television celebrities to be a viable news source, most ‘80s era child stars favor LGBT equality.
As expected, religious right “pro family” groups quickly came to Cameron’s defense. For example, Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council, a group designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, cited a survey by the Alliance Defense Fund in his quest to prove the majority of Americans believed that “marriage should be defined ONLY as a union between one man and one woman.” This data produced by an group that describes itself as “a servant organization that provides the resources that will keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel through the legal defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family” runs counter to the data produced by Gallup, a professional polling organization, that indicates the majority of Americans (53 percent) now support marriage equality.
When I survey the ensuring buzz generated by Cameron’s appearance, I wonder if Piers Morgan Tonight chose to troll for media attention and ratings by booking a guest with a propensity for sound and fury that really signifies nothing. Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) aptly notes how “Cameron seems even more dated than his 1980s TV character.” So no Morgan, your guest was not “brave” when he made his anti-gay remarks. Rather Cameron was simply repeating a well worn mantra that has as much relevance today as Pac-Man, parachute pants and pop rocks.
As a counter to Cameron’s bigotry, why not check out the voices speaking out on sites like Believe Out Loud? Here one will find a rising tide of Christians speaking out in support of fulfilling the baptismal covenant whereby those who profess to follow Jesus Christ are to welcome all as full members of the body of Christ. This radical welcome includes granting LGBT folks equal access to the same rights and rites granted to everyone else.
(This article was originally posted at Washington Post's On Faith column.)