Actor and Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron is under fire for a recent interview with CNN in which he described homosexuality as “unnatural” and “detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.” On the issue of gay marriage, he responded: “I would never attempt to redefine marriage and I don’t think anyone else should either.” Cameron defended his anti-gay sentiment, saying that he’s been accused of hate-speech and his opinion is being suppressed. He continued to say that his moral values have been “underpinning” Western Civilization for the past 2000 years, and that he shouldn’t have to bend his beliefs to the moral standards of “those who preach ‘tolerance'” or be silenced in the public square.
Is Mr. Cameron deserving of the immense criticism he has acquired over his comments? Is all this media attention necessary? One thing is for certain, he does have the right to say what he said even in the public square. The freedom to criticize religion also provides the freedom to express religious doctrine, a compromise we must all accept. In fact, to complain that his views are being suppressed is essentially a mute argument, since his comments can be easily accessed on sites such as Youtube for all to see and express their opinion. His critics also have every right to express their apprehension toward his beliefs; they feel that what he said was morally repugnant and frankly it is understandable. But then comes the ultimate question: who is right?
Parallel to the Southern States using the bible to justify slavery before the Civil War, Mr. Cameron believes he can biblically advocate why homosexuals should be denied the right to marry. The problem is that if you’re basing your morals on an ancient book that describes a certain group of people as “abominations” and “unnatural”, it’s not a good book to follow. Logically, a god who is concerned with your sexual orientation to the point where you will be tortured forever for practicing the wrong kind isn’t an all-loving god. Furthermore, there is no evidence to show that homosexuality is detrimental to an individual’s health or well-being, raising the question as to why we should ban it at all.
He even goes so far as to say that it will destroy civilization, even though ancient societies such as Greece and Rome were quite acceptable of homosexuality and would become the most powerful and influential civilizations in Western history. In Rome’s strict patriarchal structure, it was acceptable for privileged males to engage in same-sex practices with those of a lower social rank as long as they were in the dominant position. In the Greek city-state of Sparta, “man-boy love” was encouraged as a means of military bonding. There also existed the island of Lesbos which was believed to be inhabited by masculine women who pleasured other women (hence the term “lesbian”).
The principles of democracy originated in these ancient times as well, not during the span of 2000 years that Mr. Cameron spoke so highly of. Much of those 2000 years were ruled by theocratic regimes that ultimately led to The Dark Ages, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, and The Salem Witchcraft Trials to name a few. Later on came the Renaissance and the Enlightenment which gave rise to science, secularist values, and the belief that religion has no place in government. It is this social phenomena that led to the values of our society as we know them, not Christianity.
The fact of the matter is prejudice is never a good thing, even when supported by a relict compilation of writings revered as a holy book. What rational and practical reason is there for homosexuals not to marry? Why should it even matter what they do since according to Christian theology they are going to Hell anyway simply for being who they are? These are the questions that people should take into consideration about gay marriage. A case against it will always be welcome as long as it provides a good argument, while ignorant and uneducated statements deserve to be criticized and ridiculed, publically or otherwise. Such was the case for Kirk Cameron.