Kirk Cameron’s ‘Unnatural’ Controversy

The born-again actor set off a media firestorm when he condemned homosexuality during an interview on CNN. When it comes to public debates about moral behavior, are Christians called to focus on issues or people?

SPEAKING OUT: Actor Kirk Cameron during his infamous March 2 appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

To everyone who’s gay, was gay, has gay friends, supports gay rights: Christians don’t hate gay people. Or, despite those who actually feel that way, hatred is not an official Christian position and doesn’t appear in the WWJD handbook.

I know the rhetoric suggests otherwise whenever some religious personalities appear on TV. But please understand that the message from the loudest seemingly self-appointed Bible expositors on your nearest conservative broadcast affiliate aren’t telling the whole truth.

I don’t necessarily put Growing Pains actor Kirk Cameron in the same vitriolic category as some others, despite headlines from his March 2 interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. I read the entire transcript to confirm my assessment; though, initially, I was annoyed at what I thought was yet another loudmouth misrepresenting what it means to follow Christ. I didn’t get the sense that “Michael Seaver” was trying to browbeat anyone or trumpet an idea for the masses to bow down and accept. He was simply answering the question he was asked as honestly as he could. Still, something was missing from his now-infamous declaration that “[homosexuality is] unnatural … detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

(For the record, you know what else is unnatural? That sugary orange drink in the indistinct plastic container. I could probably make a biblical case for why it and others like it should be forbidden. But I digress.)

Make no mistake: I know what the Bible says about homosexuality in Leviticus, Romans, and 1 Corinthians, albeit in translated versions. However, my experience as a Christian who’s constantly stumbling reminds me that grace is the determining factor of how I got to this point of trying to honor God in all my thoughts, words, and actions. A part of that means extending the same love and grace that I’ve received to everyone else — regardless of what others believes or how they behave.

Anything less than that offends my Christian sensitivity to all people, all who are equally subject to doing things that would offend God. The Bible has a whole list of those things spanning across the Old and New Testaments. I’ve committed my fair share of sin, and with help from several friends, family members, and associates, we’ve likely got a majority of them covered – and that list, unfortunately, includes murder. I bet the same is true in every social circle worldwide. So, who are we to cherry pick one offense for an opportunity to don a white wig in judgment?

But that’s exactly what happens when someone wages any variety of anti-gay campaigns that distort the universally extended love of Christ. The most vocal “broadcast Christians” don’t seem to have campaigns against arrogance, envy, severe anger, laziness, lust in all its forms, greed nor gluttony. Those are the deadly ones. Other documented abominations — translation: things God hates — such as cheating, adultery, lying and creating drama (biblically known as sowing seeds of discord) seem minor.

I’m not sure why homosexuality is singled out and made into a determining factor for goodness or depravity, and it is not my desire to argue for or against it. While for some people homosexuality may be an embraced choice, for others it is natural — much in the same way it might feel natural for a married man to “check out” a woman other than his wife. Feelings happen, but acting on them is another story.

Recognizing my own weaknesses  — as well as the fact that I’m not God — I’m in no position to judge. I’m also in no position to say what is or what isn’t so in the mind of someone compelled to be someone that I’m not, or do something that I wouldn’t.

As Christians, we’ve received and continue to get too much grace, forgiveness, and abounding love from God to condemn anyone else. In light of that, I often have to wonder, Where is the love?

I didn’t see it in the One Million Moms’ attempt to have Ellen DeGeneres fired as spokeswoman for J.C. Penney. I don’t see it in any of the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. I certainly don’t hear it in the Christian conservative discourse of the current political season.

And I am sick of not seeing it from people professing to be my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Perhaps it’s popular to protest the existence of gay people to prove you’re really Christian. It has to be. Otherwise, why would strong language against gay people keep coming up? News flash: We as Christians are not known by how vehemently we target other people. We are not known by how we vote. We’re not even known by the cool Christian T-shirts that we wear. And we definitely shouldn’t be known as a right-wing, hate-mongering club of sinless holy rollers.

We’re known by the love we show to others. And if those among us haven’t mastered that love, it’s up to the rest of us to speak just as loud and proud about what Jesus would really do.

About the author, DeVona Alleyne

DeVona Alleyne is a senior copy editor at Urban Ministries Inc. Writing is the one tangible thing she can’t live without. Singing is a close second, and she does that in part as a member of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. She studied practical theology at Regent University and received a B.A. in journalism and in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her 10 years as a newspaper journalist didn’t change the world much, but with help from her husband, she’ll keep working on it.
  1. I told my homosexual cousin that while I disagree with his lifestyle, I don’t hate him. And if he would love God with all his heart, God will change what needs changing (including and maybe primarily all the “7 Deadlies”) if-and-when it needs changing…and he (my cousin) will agree with God’s viewpoint before it’s changed. That’s the best I could do while God works on my own human, stupid stuff.

  2. Well said. We should be known by our love and the love we have for others.

  3. If my child keeps running out in the busy street and I don’t do anything to stop them because it makes them happy then I am not a good parent. In the same way, it is not love to neglect someone’s destructive and yes sinful behavior. If I truly love someone who is in the homosexual lifestyle I will tell them that it is wrong and displeases God just as I would tell someone I love not to lie or steal or cheat on their spouse.

  4. The reason it keeps coming up is because they want to make it where they have the right to marry, I would presume they would force those who do the marrying to perform the ceremonies, i.e. priests, pastors, even though its against God. If that is allowed to happen, then relatives who want to be married would start trying to push legislation, and people who want to marry animals. An abomination is an abomination. I’m fine with them being married in a courthouse or a non-Christian church (Buddhist, etc) but God does not condone it. Don’t ask God to bless a marriage based on sin, but LGBT should be welcomed into our arms in church and society. Christ said love your neighbor as yourself even if they wish you ill will.

    • um last I checked my opinion not God didnt create myself dont know for sure what God said but have feelings opinions and beliefs…. I think sometimes gotta check ourselves before we check others…. Just a thought… Oh and last time I checked couldnt figure out what is exactly a sin but do have my opinions and do take the bible that it could be Gods word… Dont study but um just trying to check myself…

  5. It is plainly written that homosexuality is a sin. Christians are suppose to uphold the Word of God. If I told a homosexual that homosexuality is a sin and I did it in the most friendliest and loving way anyone could ever relay it, do you think the homosexual he/she would not be offended still? Would I not still be labeled a homosphobe bigot and intolerant. It seems to me the ones who are intolerant are the ones who areintolerant of the truth.

  6. Ms. Alleyne, as you stated in this article, Mr. Cameron was responding to a question he was asked. How should he have answered it? I keep hearing people referring to other sins that we Christians conveniently overlook, but there’s one hole in this argument. No one is trying to convince the world that lusts of all kinds, adultery, murder, etc are okay to commit. That’s the difference. Even if I am guilty of one or more of these other sins, as long as I know they’re sins, then I can repent of them, be forgiven, and walk away whole and complete in Christ. But if I refuse to call sin, sin, then I’ll never repent of it. Then I can never be forgiven and receive the love that Christ has for me. This has eternal ramifications attached to it. No one who refuses to repent of their sin will enter into God’s kingdom. That is clear in the Scripture. There’s only one alternative destination and that’s hell. If we refuse to warn the sinner, how will they have the opportunity to avoid hell? And by the way, where is the love in that?

    I will never excuse hateful behavior by Christians towards homosexuals or anyone else, but Kirk Cameron did right. He called sin, sin. If he had done anything else he would be guilty before God of denying His word.

  7. Just below the video, the author of this article asks, “Why is homosexuality singled out?” The answer is because the interviewer, Piers Morgan, makes it the issue. Kirk replies as truthfully as he believes.

  8. Pierce, your an idiot. Read the Bible, it is a sin, but one that can be forgiven.

    • ok wait he does have his own thoughts and feelings too and um i think this might be judgement on a person but the question was given to Kirk Cameon and he answered it based on his beliefs.. I feel that he didnt single anyone out and I feel that because of what he believes he himself was singled out…. I think he wasnt asked about the aspirations of his children or new movies he may be doing and its just my opinion but I believe it was to verbally crucify his beliefs…. Well I guess that would put me next in line because i belive the same…. Kirk im sorry you might have felt attacked but some how I think something good will come of it… Take care and I love you as your sister in Christ…..

  9. Well said Devona. Ironically what bonds the gay rights community is that they’re fighting to “love” one another. That love is something that Christians are supposed to be experts in, being that we are redeemed through the love God has for us. If a Christian anit-gay movement is built on anything outside of love (hate, tradition, ridicule, etc) then it gives the appearance that the gay community is better about love than the church is.

    • Delvin, are you saying that if a Christian believes what the Scripture says concerning homosexuality that means that Christian is not loving and anti-gay?

      • Read the Bible. Read Jesus’ words. He came to heal the broken. His harsh words were reserved for the arrogant and self-righteous believers. When he told us the last would be first he meant it. As Christians we should reGard ourselves as far worse than the gays, because we have the truth and still we rebel.
        Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. But he did talk a lot about pride. How dare we fight the very lost we were commanded to love and care for? We cant even convince our own kids to follow Jesus… And why? Because we refuse to repent.
        Nowhere in the Bible does ot say if you ask Jesus into your heart you go to heaven. Our souls destination is determined by whether or not we loved the “sick” and spiritually imprisoned as Jesus did.
        See the story of the sheep and the goats.

        • Are you trying to separate Jesus from what His Father had to say and do concerning homosexuality in Leviticus and how it was judged in Genesis 19? Are you putting forth the premise that Jesus and the Apostle Paul are opposed to one another on this subject (See Romans 1)? For your information sir, I do read the Bible. Jesus saves from sin, not in sin. If you want to talk about sins Jesus didn’t mention, how about rape or incest? Jesus never talked about pornography either. Does His silence on these things mean that they’re okay? You can try to reason away God’s stance on homosexuality all you want by pointing to pride and other sins but the truth is the truth. It is the truth that sets you free. When I acknowledge my sin, then the grace of God is free for me to receive. But as long as I call sin anything other than what it is, that is when pride has truly set in and James tells us that God opposes the proud.

          Also, if homosexuality is truly sin, then how dare you not love the homosexual enough to point out their sin so they can repent and be delivered just like you would for the adulterer, the thief, the liar, the prideful person, etc!

          • Your gospel is not Jesus’. You think you are saved because of your repentance – but was it not the holy spirit who moved in you to convict of your need for forguveness? You seem to be under tge impression that you dederve salvation…
            Second – i did say it was a sin but i would argue that a Christian who looks at porn is to be held more accountable because he has the holy spirit and knows the truth.
            If your heart were really in the right place you would see that you and the homoseual are no different because your sin and his share the same roots. By calling out gays you are not loving them.
            Jesus came to set the captives free from the sin that imprisons them. But he did not condemn the lost, he befiended them, loved them and healed them. If we call ourselves disciples, shouldnt we be doing the same?
            Homosexuality is a symptom – not the disease itself.
            Be careful of the pharisee’s yoke. Who are you to be so offended at the idea that we follow the words of Jesus rather than the modern day culture war created by men and which contradicts His entire mission?
            People don’t love by pointing fingers. A hug and a convo and prayer are much more likely to show them our Savior. Leave the convictions of sin to God. Were Jesus’ disciples without sin when he called and befriended them? No. And i bet he didnt spend the first week of their time telling them all the ways they had sinned and needed to repent.
            He loved and served them, those sinners.
            He washed their feet.

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  11. Devona, thank you for your well articulated point of view. I really appreciated reading your thoughts especially when there are so many poorly thought-out perspectives smattered across the internet. In response, it seems to me like for the most part, Christians spokes-people are not targeting homosexuals or their behavior but instead are being targeted by gay activists interested pushing a pro-gay political agenda in the media. They ask Christians what we think about these issues and when we tell them, we’re labeled as proponents of hate speech. It’s like when the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trap Jesus by asking him politically hot questions in his day. They were interested in his answers only as much as they would get him arrested and killed. Honestly, I’m tired of Christians being villanized for honestly answering questions that they are asked. And to answer dishonestly would be just as unloving as acting without the abundant grace that we are shown Almighty God. That’s just my two cents.

  12. The author got it right. She could even have gone further. What Christians in their arrogance have done by singling out homosexuality (which is something the majority of them will never struggle with and is often tge result of a tragic childhood) Christians have decided to be the judge instead of following Jesus’ commands.
    By turning this issue into a cultural war Christians have done extreme damage to those who struggle with this particular vice. How many of them will ever take an honest look at our savior, our healer, after the way we have demonized them? Jesus came for the sick not the healthy, and he taught of the dangers of spiritual arrogance far, far more than he did about homosexuality.
    As Christians we have the truth so we will be held far more accountable for our disobedience. Right now we are the man who’s debt had been forgiven and then went out and demanded recompence from someone who owed him far less. When did Jesus ever yell at someone before he healed them. He pitied the blind, and that includes the spiritually blind.
    I could go on about the enormous log that is sticking out of our eye. I could tall about greed, lust, pornography, and pride. I could talk about gossip and envy and the worst sin of all, the lack of understandinh concerning our own brokeness, which has led so many to secretly believe they did something or are somehow more deserving of their salvation.
    I fear for this nation, not because of the homosexuals, but because of the Christians who have turned their back on the gospel of our Lord and have instead chosen to be little judges, little Gods.
    Lord have mercy.

    • Also Erick, I would like to point out again, that Mr. Cameron was about this. How should he have responded?

      • Mr Cameron should have informed Mr. Morgan that he is himself a sinner, saved by a loving and merciful God. He should have said that Jesus is more concerned with healing the broken than he is with regulating their lives. He should have said, as Devona did, that he has enough sin in his own life to be judging an entire segment of the population. He should have said that God gave man free will and that includes the freedom to disobey Him.
        He should have said that all sin, whether honosexiality or materialism, or lust, or pride seperates us from the only source of joy and life man will ever find, and thatvhe is praying for them to be reconciled to their loving father, just as he hopes they will pray for him, because without the Grace of God we all would be hopeless.
        Jesus didn’t come to fix our morality. He came to heal us and to give us what we need. Himself.

        “Anew commandment I give you. Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

        He loved the world ao much he died for it. If the best we can muster is “I love you enough to tell you that you’re living in sin” than we are not drawing them to Christ, we are pushing them away. And how dare we judge them, when we need God every bit as much as they do?

        • First of all Erick, for you to say what Mr. Cameron should have said shows a little arrogance on your part. Secondly, this issue, for the most part is one that has been laid in the lap of the Christian. The reason it’s an issue at all is because we currently live in a world that is trying to convince believers that we should change our stance on homosexuality. We have to respond by telling the truth. By pointing out what God’s word says isn’t condemning the homosexual anymore than pointing out an adulterer’s sin. It’s only letting them know that we are all sinners apart from Christ, but the Good News is that Christ can set us free from all sin and turn us from sinner to saint by His blood. Sometimes you love a person by telling them you’re wrong or are going in the wrong direction.

          • Erick, I want to apologize for the first part of this reply. I did ask you how Mr. Cameron should have replied and you stated your opinion. That wasn’t arrogance. I stand by the rest of what I said though.

          • Oh I take no offense at all! I think you are right that Christians must not become soft on sin – my conviction though is that we ourselves are living in sin and not seeking God with our whole hearts – if we were our message would be bearing more fruit in the form of changed hearts. By fighting our adversary on his turf (the media) and with his tactics (condemnation) we are impotent in our struggle. I believe Jesus would have done things differently. Instead of standing outside the gay bar with a sign and a megaphone, He would have been inside drinking a beer and offering the truth in love.

  13. Truth is truth. It doesn’t matter if i or our whole society says something is right because the majority of people say it’s right, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Our society is broken. I am so thankful that a few brave souls have the courage to stand on truth. It’s not hate…’s truth. We must love people. I don’t see a lot of love for Kirk from those who accuse him of hate speech.

  14. Kirk is a good guy who got put in a sticky situation. But it does not change the fact that we have an entire generation of Chriatians who are more concerned with lording the truth over hurt and broken souls, than praying for and engaging with them. Jesus went to the slums to seek out the lost. Not only are we not seeking them out in love and friendship, i can imagine they would feel pretty awkward walking into most churches on Sundays. I challenge you to examine yourself and see how you are fulfilling our commision as a follower of Jesus. Men cannot be change apart from the gracebof God, but you seem to want gays to become perfect first and then accept Christ. I wonder at the level of arrogance and pride. Did you do anything to deserve forgiveness. Are you any better than them?

  15. DeVona:

    I’m so offended by the tone of your column. Why? Because I’m a former journalist—copy editor, initially—and if you’d have written this for me, I’d have vehemently challenged you on its efficacy.

    To lump Cameron in with so many other right-wing hate-mongers, as you’ve broadly brushed them, is to miss the context of the Piers Morgan interview entirely. I, too, abhor gay-bashing Christians who do more to harm the name of Christ than to advance his kingdom. But I also detest writing that implies facts that are not in evidence, as you’ve done here.

    Cameron struggles with Morgan’s questions. It’s clear he’s trying to answer with truth—and grace—but there are no “easy” answers to questions like these. DeVona, and many commenters on this board, seem to think Cameron should not have answered the question at all. That is, he should have said, “Well, Piers, I think we’re all sinners. I think I’m broken. I think my marriage has issues, too.” Or some such mumbo-jumbo. But how does that answer Morgan’s question: “What’s your view on gay marriage?” And the answer is, it doesn’t. Morgan asked Cameron what he believed, and Cameron told him. And the problem is becoming that we Christians are as offended as the homosexual community by the answer.

    DeVona, as a journalist in Chicago in mainstream media, I worked with homosexuals everyday. Homosexuals who were, and are, friends. People I loved just as much as the fornicators, lushes, idolaters. I didn’t bash any of their lifestyles. I just tried to live a life worthy of the name of Christ and hope my friends noticed. If they did, and they asked questions, I told the truth. And when someone knows you really do care about them, they can handle the truth. Even if they disagree with it.

    To suggest, by inference, that Cameron is “vehemently” targeting gay people or thinks of himself as a “sinless holy roller” is quite a reach. And every bit as unkind and ungracious as you accuse Cameron of being.

    One more thing: You’re really equating homosexuality with a sugary orange drink? Yeah, I know, a joke. But a copy editor, of all people, should know that words have meaning. And to even humorously suggest that they’re on par may not be unnatural, but it’s certainly unnerving.

  16. Yes. I think he should deflected the gay marriage question. He should have deflected it into tge direction of offering hope and freedom for the captive through Jesus. He should have pointed out that in a country where Christian marriages have essentially the same rate of divorce as secular ones it is a bit of a stretch to act as if we are the tireless defenders of Gods chosen relationship status. The Bible talks a lot about marriage, but it’s used metaphorically to illustrate our broken covenant with our Lord. We are the adulteress who God, our husband forgives over, and over, and over again.
    We think we have the right to fight a culture war because we feel compelled to stand up for God’s laws – that is, except when it applies to out own lives. If the church had not grown so arrogant and full of hypocrisy you would see a diffeferent nation today. The truth is we look just like the rest of the world, only much more judgmental.
    Too little too late, church. If you had loved the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength and placed nothing before Him in your lives we would not be where we are today.
    But don’t go full on Pharisee without first considering that Christ’s harshest words were reserved for these religious types, “who honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
    It’s not the gays who most need to repent. It is the American church.

    • Erick, if Mr. Cameron had been asked about the adulterer, the fornicator, or the pornographer, should he have deflected the issue? If not, what makes the above-mentioned any different from the homosexual since all are sin?

      • Sin both outward and inward has the same result – seperation from God. We tend to think those who sin don’t know that they are in need, but they do – that is why they follow after sinful desires – to fill the God shaped hole in their life.
        When Jesus healed the possesed man he wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus told him to go into his town and “tell the people what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.”
        This is – or was supposed to be – our message to the world, that God is a healing God and no sin is too great for Him. All men who live in sin suffer the consequences of their sin. But Jesus condemned those who scatter the lost, who make it harder on them to come to Him. He hurts for the lost and broken, all of us. We must not let our love grow cold in these evil days.

        • Erick, you really didn’t answer my question. Also, the very first thing John the Baptist preached was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Soon after John the Baptist went into the background, Jesus began to preach. What was His message? “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (See Matthew 4:12-17) Repent from what? Sin! In at least one instance, after healing a man of some sickness or disease, Jesus sees him again in the temple and warns him not to sin lest something worse come upon him. Warning people concerning sin doesn’t scatter them. Preaching repentance of sin will have one of two reactions. It will either draw them to the Cross of Christ or it will repel them. Telling folks that homosexuality is sin is the same as pointing out the other sins you have no problem laying at the feet of other Christians. All of it needs to be repented of. Yes there is healing in Christ. It is for the sinner who repents. I received the same healing. Nobody beat me over the head with my sin, but there was no hesitancy in pointing out that I needed to repent.

          Should Christians go out of their way to condemn homosexuals? No. But when asked about it, the truth needs to be told, just like you would for any other sin.

  17. Thanks for the wonderful discussion, everyone. It’s important to have these conversations, particularly within the body of Christ. I usually don’t address comments, but I feel led to make an exception for Brett.

    First, let me say, we have a lot in common. I too have worked in mainstream media, and I’ve done so my entire professional career minus a few months. I’ve also done so in Chicago as well as other parts of the country alongside some of the best newspaper writers, editors, designers, photographers and photo editors who are gay. To this day, I count many of them as friends.

    I agree with you that words have meaning; I’m sure you know tone also plays a part and conveys a certain meaning in itself. Meaning is sometimes quite clear as is the case with my characterization of Kirk Cameron. Reread my words carefully. However, in the case of the ubiquitous orange drink, some unmentioned comparisons might be necessary. “Orange drink” is a concoction that likely began with sugar in its natural state before being turned by man into something unhealthy and ultimately destructive to the body. Yet, it’s readily available, cheaply purchased and deemed OK to drink. Why isn’t somebody protesting that over, or alongside, other things?

    Hopefully that answers your questions or simply makes you think.