Televangelist and former 1980s teen icon Kirk Cameron went on NBC's Today Show to promote his latest Christian film and to defend his recent denigration of gay relationships and homosexuality.
Today Show host Ann Curry grilled him lightly about the remarks he made on CNN earlier this month. He did not apologize nor did he back down from his labeling of gay marriage and homosexuality as "sinful," "unnatural," "detrimental" and "destructive." Rather, he blamed the "firestorm" of reaction on editing.
Curry asked Cameron if he were enrouaging hatred of gay people:
"Absolutely not, of course not. I love all people, I hate no one. And, you know, when you take a subject and you reduce it to something like a 4-second sound bite, and a check mark on a ballot -- I think that that's inappropriate and insensitive. The truth is, these are issues that are very personal. These are things that need to be discussed in the context, I believe, best in a personal friendship with someone who's asking the question. So, when things get edited down to that, it doesn't reflect -- certainly didn't reflect my full heart on the matter....
"Nobody should mistreat anybody. Homosexuals should not be mistreated. Heterosexuals should not be mistreated. Bisexuals should not be mistreated. So, um, you know, what I think this reveals is that --. The interviewer that asked me these questions even used the words, 'I think your views are destructive.' So, what that shows me is that all of us who really think deeply about social issues like gay marriage and abortion, and homosexuality have convictions on issues.... [My convictions] are informed by my faith. They're informed by the word of God.... When people start bullying one another and calling each other names for those different convictions, than I think you get into problems. And I've also been on the receiving end of that....
She then asked Cameron why he repeatedly discusses gay people's issues and causes a lot of alarm with his negative comments. He replied:
"I was surprised, frankly, that people were surprised by the things that I'd said. Because I have been consistent for 15 years as a Christian. I'm a bible-believing Christian. What I would have thought was more newsworthy was if I had said something that contradicted the word of God, if I had contradicted my faith."
Piers Morgan took to Twitter after Cameron's morning PR blitz to point out the facts surrounding his earlier appearance on CNN:
Kirk Cameron is moaning everywhere today that I stitched him up by releasing a 4-second 'soundbite' re his comments on gay marriage....
These are the 4 seconds: homosexuality is 'unnatural..detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.'
Mr Cameron 'stands by the comments', despite his whining. So I'll let others decide if he was stitched up...or just a bigot.
Re #KirkCameron, I respect his religious beliefs - just don't respect his use of bigoted, inflammatory language re homosexuality. End.
Kirk Cameron should come back on my show, live and uncensored, and we can debate this properly. Your call, Kirk.
Cameron appeared on Piers Morgan's CNN talk show back in early March of 2012. He was asked by the host what he thought of same-sex marriage, if homosexuality was a sin, and what he'd tell a son if he came home and said he was gay. Cameron replied:
"I would tell my children what I believe myself ... I believe that 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, till death do you part. So, I would never 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 [homosexuality] is unnatural. I think that its detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization....
"I would not say [to my child, if he said he were gay], 'That's great son as long as you're happy.' I would say, 'Uh, there's all sorts of issues that we need to wrestle through in life. And just because you feel one way doesn't mean you should act on everything that you feel....'
"You also have to understand that you're using a standard of morality to say that telling people that 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....
"Piers, 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 that I need an overhaul of the heart more than anyone.... All of our laws, ultimately at their core, are going to based on a moral evaluation."
GLAAD and many others immediately pounced on Cameron's anti-gay rhetoric. Morgan took the controversy and ran with it for several more editions of his talk show. He asked several conservative political figures for comment, like Cindy McCain (who said she was "horribly offended"), and Michelle Bachman (who called Morgan rude for calling her judgemental in the past) and Rick Santorum (who had no knowledge of the interview but claimed that gay marriage opponents are not bigots or haters.)