Kirk Cameron’s July visit to Jersey Shore represents ‘growing pains’ of homophobic bigotry

Coming soon to the Jersey Shore — a former child TV star turned born-again bigot to tell all gay people why they’re ruining the Earth.

This is commentary from political blogger and cartoonist Rob Tornoe.

Coming soon to the Jersey Shore — a former child TV star turned born-again bigot to tell all gay people why they’re ruining the Earth. 

Kirk Cameron, an actor best known for his 1980s TV sitcom “Growing Pains,” will speak at the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in Ocean Grove at the end of July, and some residents are understandably upset about it.

Back in March, the born-again evangelical told Piers Morgan on CNN that he believes homosexuality is “unnatural” and went on to say, “I think that it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many foundations of civilization.”

Obviously, his remarks provoked a well-deserved rebuke from nearly everyone in the LGBT community. I wasn’t even going to waste time writing about it (considering Cameron points to the lack of a “Crocoduck” as proving God’s existence). But as I read local coverage of the controversy surrounding his upcoming Ocean Grove appearance, one thing kept cropping up again and again — a defense of Cameron’s right to speak and a refusal to call him out on his repugnant remarks.

“If Ocean Grove is truly ‘tolerant,’ the community would be hypocritical by not allowing him to speak on whatever he truly believes,” wrote talk show host Ray Rossi on his blog. Just one look at the comments board on the Asbury Park Press Web site will reveal scores of similar responses.

Strictly speaking, I agree with Rossi. The constitution protects Cameron’s right to spew his vile nonsense regarding gay people the same as it protects those Westboro Baptist Church bigots who protest at the funerals of dead soldiers.

However, what comments like these presuppose is that members of the community are wrong to protest and attempt to exert their power to prevent him from speaking. Don’t they have as much a right to their opinion as Cameron? After all, Cameron has the right to speak his mind, but the constitution doesn’t protect his ability to be given a microphone and be paid for it.

Cameron is a poster-boy of a Christian Reconstructionism movement that would set the clock back centuries on the freedoms we’ve developed as a society. His new movie, (if you can call it that) “Monumental” tries to make the case that America should be set up like the model Christian community the Pilgrims created nearly 400 years ago. 

We think of Pilgrims today in a romanticized light, which is why many people probably don’t realize that back in the good ol’ Plymouth Colony, people were whipped for denying the scriptures and fined for harboring Quakers. They also prescribed the death penalty for adulterers, witches (sorry Christine O’Donnell) and — you guessed it — homosexuals.

So yes, people of Ocean Grove — protest! Let them know that you don’t want to hear the hateful rhetoric of someone who pretends to love everyone while seeking to take dominion and impose a draconian version of biblical law on modern-day America. 

I would simply add that Cameron, and any religious zealot that doesn’t like homosexuality, have a single choice — don’t be gay. Anything else should remain safely out of their jurisdiction, pilgrim hat or not.

 

Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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