Kirk Cameron was once an atheist — proving that people, and society, change.
The former “Growing Pains” heartthrob is now an active Christian evangelist, but the anti-gay remarks he made earlier this week on Piers Morgan Tonight were out of line and outdated.
In a free-thinking world, it’s only right to support every individual’s First Amendment rights — but it isn’t anyone’s obligation to support prejudice. It isn’t anyone’s obligation to support ‘hate speech’ in today’s society, and hiding behind religious beliefs to conceal discrimination shouldn’t be acceptable.
During the interview, the born-again Christian called homosexuality “unnatural” and “detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilizations.” He said marriage, as defined by God between one man and one woman, is almost as old as dirt and should never be redefined.
Immediately after the show aired, many took to social networking sites to speak out against him, and one organization, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, heavily criticized his remarks and asked for an apology.
This isn’t the first time a celebrity has been under the microscope for making anti-gay comments. In 2011, Tracy Morgan made homophobic jokes during a stand-up act in Nashville — and even went as far as saying he would stab his son if he told him he was gay, according to a Huffington Post article.
While celebrities such as Morgan, Jay Leno and Kobe Bryant apologize soon after, others, such as Cameron, have not.
Four days after his appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight, Cameron defended his comments again.
“I should be able to express moral views on social issues … 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,” he said in an email to ABC News.
In the email, Cameron said debating these types of issues should be done with greater love and respect.
“To some, my responses were not sufficiently ‘loving’ toward the gay community,” he said in the email. “I can only say that it is my life’s mission to love all people, and I expressed the same views clearly and emphatically expressed throughout Judeo-Christian scriptures.”
Regardless of whether he believes his response was loving enough, there are others who would wholeheartedly disagree. Alan Thicke, one of Cameron’s former “Growing Pains” co-stars, joked on Twitter about Cameron, tweeting “I’m getting him some new books. The Old Testament simply can’t be expected to explain everything.”
According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans views homosexuality as socially acceptable today, compared to the 46 percent that accepted it in 1994.
Twenty-eight percent of American adults surveyed in a separate Pew Research study said they left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another, or no religion at all. The number of people unaffiliated with any faith today is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any religion as children, according to the findings.
While federal law has not legalized same-sex marriage, seven states have legalized it and a handful of others have legalized some form of civil union between same-sex couples.
Take religion out of the equation and all that’s left is an argument without a backbone. If Cameron were still an atheist today, he wouldn’t have any “foundation” to stand on. His statements would be considered discrimination, not belief.