So the other day former 80s star Kirk Cameron was on Piers Morgan and said the following about gay marriage and homosexuality:
"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till 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 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."
Well, obviously I don't agree with his points-of-view regarding homosexuality and gay marriage nor do I defend those particular remarks, but I do defend Kirk Cameron's right to say whatever he believes regardless of how I feel about it.
After he made his comments, several people verbally attacked him, calling him hateful and bigoted. Roseanne Barr called him "an accomplice to murder." Others made snarky comments about his acting career (or lack thereof).
I agree that Kirk Cameron's comments are prejudiced. Those prejudices are shaped by what he's experienced and has been taught and believes. We all have them. So in that respect, I suppose he is bigoted against gay people. The fact that he believes homosexuality to be unnatural, detrimental, and destructive belies a certain ignorance that I don't agree with. However, I do get a little annoyed when those who support gay rights automatically accuse those who don't support gay rights of hating gay people. Some do, but I don't think it's a blanket statement one can use to describe anyone who thinks homosexuality is wrong.
Do I think Kirk Cameron's beliefs regarding homosexuality and gay marriage are mistaken? You betcha! Do I think he hates gay people? I think it's a stretch, honestly. Certainly I think he has some prejudicial baggage that he carries around with him. Certainly I think his beliefs are based on a certain ignorance about who gay people really are and what they really want. But hate? I just don't quite buy it.
Let me give you an example. I suspect that my brother doesn't agree that a homosexual relationship is what God intends for me. I think my sister-in-law probably feels the same. But I also feel that they don't judge me for any choices I have made to be in one, and no one could ever accuse them of not being supportive of my relationship with Jonah. Do I think they ultimately think that my relationship is contrary to what they believe according to their religious convictions? Yes. Do I think they hate me or even disapprove of me? Not at all. They have shown (as have all my family members) a great deal of love and support for me and my spouse. They have welcomed and accepted us for who we are. I feel my family members, whether they agree that homosexuality is morally righteous or not, have treated me as they have always treated me: with love and respect.
It drives me crazy sometimes when gay activists demand tolerance from those who disagree with them when they often refuse to extend that same tolerance to them. i understand the anger, the annoyance, the refusal to accept anything less than equality; but I am not a fan of the barbs and snarky and sometimes hateful rhetoric that come from either side of the issue.
I certainly don't agree with all of this article, but I do get where the guy is coming from.
I watched a program about gay issues recently, and the commentator was blasting Christians, not recognizing that his own bigotry towards Christians was just as prevalent as the bigotry towards gays he was accusing them of and furthermore, not recognizing that some gay people ARE Christians.
Certainly there are those out there who decry homosexuality in a hateful, completely bigoted way. Then there are others who are prejudiced against gay rights, but aren't bad people; just misinformed, in my opinion.
Of the interview with Cameron, Piers Morgan said, "I felt that he was honest to what he believed, and I don’t think he was expecting the furor that it created… I don’t think I was- it’s been trending worldwide on Twitter for 25 hours.”
Kirk Cameron responded to the "furor" by saying,
"I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people.
"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 believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I've been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally)."
Again, while I don't support his beliefs about homosexuality and gay marriage, I think he has a point about being able to express what he believes without being maligned for it. Certainly I think he should expect that people are going to strongly and vehemently disagree with him (as well they should), but I think people can disagree with each other without being disagreeable.
I remember when the Prop 8 stuff happened, a Mormon in a high position in the theatre community was basically forced to resign from his job for donating money to support Prop 8. Even though I didn't agree with his view on Prop 8, I always felt bad that he was pushed out of his career because of the backlash simply for standing up for what he believed in. Yeah, I think what he believed was wrong, and yeah, his actions were going to have consequences, but I never got the impression he hated gay people. He worked with them all the time and got along with them and even loved them. And it's understandable that those people may have taken his decision to donate money to support a bill that would deny them certain rights as a slap in the face. But I still felt bad that two opposing sides couldn't still figure out a way to live harmoniously even while disagreeing.
I just don't think that everybody who disagrees with homosexuality is coming from a place of hate. Ignorance, perhaps. Prejudice, perhaps. But hate? Not always.
It's so easy to throw around the H-word. But it seems like a a huge jump to go from "You disagree with me; therefore you must hate me." It just doesn't compute for me.
I recently saw an episode of the Primetime show, "What Would You Do?"
For those of unfamiliar with the show, I find it a fascinating program. Hosted by John Quinones, the show sets up everyday scenarios with actors that reflect on how people react, why they react, and when they decide to. Usually the scenarios involve social injustices or potentially controversial or hot-button issues. It mainly looks at how people react when faced with everyday dilemmas that test their character and values.
For example, a scenario might be set up where a kid confesses to his father in the earshot of other people that he is gay, and the father reacts badly. Or another scenario might be a Muslim woman being verbally attacked by by prejudiced storekeeper. Anyway, actors play out the scenario in front of unsuspecting bystanders, and then how those bystanders react (or don't react) is the basis of the show.
The one I saw the other night was filmed in Utah. Some of the scenarios included a newly engaged LDS boyfriend berates his fiance when she confesses she's not a virgin; an abusive boyfriend mistreats his girlfriend; a son confesses his homosexuality to his dad; a girl shoplifts from a store; and a white father berates his daughter when he discovers her boyfriend is black.
In the last scenario the black boyfriend was actually played by an actor I know. During the scenario, at one point the boyfriend and girlfriend leave, and bystanders had a chance to speak with the father alone. A couple of ladies agreed with the father that a black boy and white girl didn't belong together. One of the women was an old lady clearly from a generation where those kind of prejudicial beliefs were commonplace. She believed what she believed, and while I completely disagreed with those bigoted beliefs, I also sensed that she didn't have a mean or hateful bone in her body. Misinformed bones and ignorant bones, maybe; bones that come from a lifetime of prejudiced beliefs, definitely; but hateful? I didn't sense that, nor did my black actor friend, who gave the woman a hug and by doing so, rose above what could have been something he could have chosen to react to more negatively, and perhaps rightly so.
I don't care for people who use religion as a way to oppress or disenfranchise others. I don't agree with people whose religious beliefs give them such tunnel vision that they forget to be loving and merciful and nonjudgmental. Kirk Cameron has said many things (not just in this instance) that I disagree with, and I think he can come across as bit overzealous with his personal belief system, but I don't find him hateful. Just wrong.