Kirk Cameron’s Growing Pains

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In the spirit of “writing dangerously,” I’m tackling some controversial topics today, which I tend to shy away from. Gird your loins, everyone.

By now I’m sure you’ve head about what Kirk Cameron said to Piers Morgan about homosexuality and gay marriage. He called it “unnatural” and “detrimental.” Piers Morgan said if one of his own kids was gay, he’d say, “Great, as long as you’re happy.” Obviously Cameron didn’t share those sentiments, and insisted that God intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman, a concept “as old as dirt.”

You can watch a clip of the interview here.

Even Cameron’s co-star, Tracey Gold, spoke out against Cameron’s views on Twitter:

It’s funny how we think we’ve come so far. Like we’re all progressive now. You know what’s sad? When someone I idolized as a tween (had his poster up on my bedroom wall, as I’m sure many others did) still has this archaic way of thinking.

It’s not just about homosexuality. The hate, ignorance, intolerance, and disrespect don’t stop there.

I know people who still use the phrase “the help.” Yes. I. Do. And they’re not talking about the book or the movie.

What about people who use the words “retard” and “retarded?” I used to until I wised up, thanks to social media and blogs and Ellen Seidman. By the way, go watch her video and read her post about her son, Max. He had a stroke after his birth which left him with cerebral palsy and brain damage. Ellen continues to speak out against the use of the word.

What is wrong with everyone? I’m not perfect, but things have got to change. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep my mouth shut any longer.

 

p.s. my new post is up at Aiming Low: We’re All Just Girls in the End.

p.p.s. One of my recent posts was nominated for BlogHer’s Voices of the Year. I’m asking for you to go vote for me here. You can only vote once (and you have to be logged in/create a username & password), but every vote makes me happy!

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  • http://www.thekircorner.com Kir

    AMEN Erin! It’s up to us to NOT be quiet, to speak for those who can’t and to teach tolerance and acceptance to our children. I was shocked by Cameron’s words and saddened that in this day and age there is still so much exclusion and hate in our world, along with a disappointing misunderstanding of one another. it is posts like this that will start the conversations and hopefully open the minds and hearts of people.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Kir,

      Thanks for weighing in, sweets!
      I guess to me it’s not really surprising, but just incredibly sad and frustrating. That we’re in 2012 now…not the 50s & 60s, etc.

      How will we ever reach an understanding on this stuff?

  • Lovethatmax

    BRAVO. It’s shocking when celebs say insane stuff like that but, sadly, a whole lot of Americans do. It’s a reminder that the rest of us need to keep teaching tolerance.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Ellen,

      I wish we lived in a time/place where tolerance was a given, not something that had to be taught….

  • Frelle

    preach it.  Im glad you decided to write dangerously and risk rocking the boat :) 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Thanks, Frelle. Hey, I know we need to chat, but Dan’s been out of town and I am losing it, frankly. He gets back around midnight tonight. So maybe we can chat tomorrow or this week sometime? Girls are on spring break, but at least hubs will be around to help and maybe one evening we can talk? let me know. xoxo

  • http://misadventuresofmrsb.com/ Mrs. Jen B

    Wow, I hadn’t heard about this.  Doesn’t he know that homosexuality is as old as dirt too? I mean, seriously.  It’s not like some recent innovation.  How sad that there are still people who are so close-minded and hateful.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Jen,

      LOL re: homosexuality as old as dirt, too. Yes, I wish people could be more open minded. It really chaps my hide. I wonder if things will EVER change/get better?

  • http://twitter.com/momma23monkeys momma23monkeys

    I use to love his antics on Growing Pains…but now well I am just sick.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Momma23Monkeys,

      That makes two of us. I respect the right to freedom of speech? But this? Is just not cool. I don’t know. Thanks so much for coming by!

  • http://socialhospitality.com Debbie Miller

     AMEN! Thank you for writing this. It’s surreal to me this kind of bigotry still exists.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Debbie,

      Thank you for reading and leaving me a comment. It’s surreal to me, too. I don’t know how we can begin to change it. It’s frsutrating.

  • http://mommynanibooboo.com/ Jenni Chiu

    Yes, baby! No one should keep their mouths shut.  Homosexuality is also old as dirt.  The most recent out of all three is bigotry.
    Thank you for writing this.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Jenni,

      I love you and your comment. Thank YOU for coming over to read & make your voice heard. I think of you often and imagine we are experiencing much of the same things right now…
      HUGS

  • http://crayonwrangler.com/ Crayon Wrangler

    Well done girl! It’s not really about whether or not someone agrees or disagrees with the issue…it’s all about the label that is put on a specific lifestyle, disability or behavior. We’ve all learned in writing about how important using our words are. There are passive and aggressive choices to use when we choose to write or speak. The words that were chosen were judgmental and aggressive at best. Christianity at its roots was about forgiveness, understanding and treating others as we would want to be treated…so how can hateful speech be tolerated among Christians?

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Alycia,

      Amen, sister. Thank you. You’re right about the labels. It’s the words that come out. You’re allowed to disagree, but sometimes people push those limits and it’s hard for me to understand the words used to describe different lifestyles…

  • http://terrisonoda.net/ Terri Sonoda

    Well said, Erin!   Bias and backward thinking isn’t just found in the ignorant, unfortunately.  Isn’t that scary?   Scares the hell outta me.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Terri,

      I’m scared, too. I don’t even know how to respond to some of these comments, but I’m glad to open up a conversation here….xoxoxo

  • Mindy

    I love the pledge to stop the use of the “r” word and replace it with respect. The use of that word has always bothered me and I admire how the campaign is about reaching out positively and encouraging people to reconsider how words matter. I really appreciate their thoughtful postings and their message. I will be honest and say that I think Cameron is the one speaking dangerously these days. Our culture is so polarized, it’s difficult to have a conversation about anything controversial without labels. I know people who believe marriage should be between a man and a woman who are not hateful bigots. I also know wonderful friends who passionately support gay marriage. Both sides appear intolerant at times. Even thoughtful people get tripped up in a sound bite culture of quick judgements and facebook “discussions.” But who am I to talk? It took every ounce of self control I had yesterday not to respond to yet another post about the authenticity of the President’s birth certificate by calling the question racist. Maybe Cameron is all these things. I don’t know or care really. What I want to know is how we can have a discussion that has meaningful results? Can we better different and respect each other without constant discord and divisive language? Maybe not and that saddens me. I think speaking up is important and a meaningful way to rally people to work for change. I admire your passion and that you use your writing to speak about things that are close to your heart. I have so many thoughts on this. Thus the random ramblings.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Mindy,

      Sigh. I know what you mean. I do wish we could all just respect one another. But the problem is the language, and in this case, the language Kirk Cameron used was hateful and demeaning. “Unnatural,” “detrimental,” and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Like the Lady Gaga song goes, we are “born this way.” A gay person can’t change over to straight, a black person can’t switch over to white, and I’m a Jew who isn’t converting to another religion. If Cameron had left it simply as, “I don’t agree with gay marriage,” this might not have snowballed. But it was all those vicious adjectives he tossed in.

      So the short answer is, I don’t know if we can all be different AND respect each other. Seems to be a tall order for a fair number of people.

  • http://twonormalmoms.blogspot.com/ Ally

    It’s a big, big world out there, full of all kinds of people. People who deserve the same respect, tolerance, love and appreciation as those that I expect. I am by no means perfect. I trip up. I judge without realizing. But I try. Kirk Cameron has disappointed a lot of old fans.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Ally,

      Me too, honey. I judge sometimes, too. But his language about this really affected me. He didn’t have to use those adjectives. He could’ve kept it simple. Sigh.

      • Morgan Dragonwillow

        But if people keep it simple then we really don’t know how they truly feel. Now we know how Cameron feels and we can choose not to watch his shows. Then again all of his shows these days are christian so unless you watch that type of programming you won’t be watching him anyway. 

        I am a lesbian. What he said did appall and disappoint me but it didn’t surprise me. 

        When people choose to use hateful words, it shows us how much work is still left to be done; how much compassion is still needed in the world.  

        Did you know marriage isn’t as old as dirt? Did you know that when the christian church started to be active they had a firm belief that people shouldn’t get married; they wanted them to abstain from having sex. They didn’t think it was necessary to procreate because the end times were coming and everyone should be doing all they could to not sin. Sex of any kind in their minds was a sin. The Christian church has been trying to tell people how to live, or rather how not to live, for centuries going on thousands of years. When they couldn’t stop people from getting married well then they tried to regulate it. It had to have their seal of approval and you had to promise to only have sex to create children and heaven forbid you should enjoy it. Isn’t it interesting now they are trying to say it should only be between a man and a woman; once again they are trying to control it. They didn’t create marriage, they only want to control marriage. God loves each and every one of us. He/She doesn’t care what we do in our bedroom. All He/She cares about is that we love each other.

        That’s my two cents worth.

  • http://twitter.com/galitbreen Galit Breen

    I love your dangerous voice, and I’m appalled at who I used to have up on my bedroom walls.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Galit,

      I love YOU. I understand he has the right to his views, but his language about it all was what really got under my skin. *frustrated sigh*

  • http://www.babesrockinmami.com/ stephanie

    I hate that there is still so much of this out there.  And..congrats on the nomination, you deserve it.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thank you, Stephanie!

      Yes, I really hate that there’s so much of this STILL going on, too. That sentence about us thinking we’re all progressive? The sarcasm was just oozing out of me, you know? And like I said, I don’t claim to be perfect. But this stuff needs to stop. It’s 2012, people!

  • Christi Garcia

    I really am tired of this issue.  You’re right…it’s not just about gays.  As you may remember, half of my family was booted out of my life for their refusal to see that using hate words HURTS PEOPLE.  “Oh, well…I wasn’t talking about THEM.  I was talking about all the other in the world.  They aren’t the same thing.  See, there’s good and there’s bad .  I was talking about the bad ones.” 

    Stupid ignorant people.  That was my experience, anyway.  It is terrible…ugly…hateful…ignorant…senseless.  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Christi,

      I know, I know! I do remember your telling me about your family and those issues. I am really sorry about all of that, but I’m so grateful you stopped by to read and comment. ;-)
      Hope you are having a great weekend!

  • Paulette Watson

    Hmmm, how to say this and not get all jumped on or offend anyone? It’s probably best to keep my mouth shut but sadly I cannot.

    Lots of people share the same opinion as Kirk Cameron. I get his side of it. I also get the other side. But if both sides are drawing the line and refusing to see that others have a different way of life is that not the same thing essentially? The same kind of hate you are talking about being aimed at gays is basically the same as those that ridicule Tim Tebow. Why should he have to be talked about like that? Wouldn’t people acting the same way towards conservatives, Christian or not, also be guilty of hate? 

    I am a Christian. I do not like that others would read that sentence and fill it with stuff it is not or I did not say. By the same token if I were to say “I’m gay,” I’d get all kinds way to go be who you are. Should not everyone be able to freely be who they are and not be jumped on for it? It is not my place nor that of any other human to place judgement on another for their lifestyle choices.

    Please do not read this the wrong way. There are a lot of people I’d say don’t fit in this discussion. Like child abusers, women beaters, and such. 

    As for the “R” word. I’m all for banning it. I am shameful I ever used to use that word while growing up. Or any other hate word. Cause words can cut deep even if you use them jokingly. 

    Really, we are all just people. We are all different yet the same. We all are capable of making up our own minds on what we think and we believe. We are all human and all have the same need to be loved and accepted.

    I hope that this comment is not taken for hate or ill intent or ignorance. Really, it’s just a different view point. In the end, I feel that is all Kirk Cameron did. He stated his view point. I might add, that he did so without any hateful comments. Matter of factly stated his belief and what he’d tell his kids. That’s it. Plain and simple.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Paulette,

      I respect your opinion and appreciate your comments; however, Kirk Cameron’s  views are precisely that. Gay people, just like Jewish people, African American people, people with disabilities? They are all born that way. They cannot change who they are (well, you can change your religion I suppose, but that’s beside the point).

      For Cameron to SAY that gay people and gay marriage are”unnatural,” etc. IS hateful and offensive. Gay people can’t switch to straight, black people can’t change their skin color (unless they bleach it), and I am Jewish and I’m not converting.  We were all born this way (Lady Gaga song in my head).

      We can all agree to disagree. But if Cameron had simply said, “I don’t agree with gay marriage,” perhaps I wouldn’t have written this post or been so upset by his comments. It was the adjectives he used and the way he spoke about it.

      If Cameron wants to be loved and accepted, then he needs to watch his word choice.

      • Paulette Watson

        I can see how the actual words he used could be considered hateful. But you can read anything into any number of words. As was already said most religions believe just what Kirk Cameron said, that it is unnatural and detrimental to society. 

        I see the point you are making about religion, race, or color. I have a what is considered to be a special needs son and am forever fighting some family members to understand that it is something he was born with and not something he learned. I really don’t know if I believe or not that people are born that way. That said, I can see the case for it. Why on earth would so many choose to live that way if it was not so? It’s for sure not an easy path. So more and more I lean towards that some are that way. I think the point I failed to make is that the backlash he is getting may be a bit much. Worse words towards Kirk Cameron and his statements or any others who have made similar statements have been used from those opposed to those views. That is not right either. You cannot counter hate or perceived hate with hate. That is what makes this and many other issues so difficult.I see a lot of gray areas. I think any opportunity to have a discussion/dialogue is a good thing. And those that can discuss varying sides w/intelligence and without resorting to name calling or any other sort of hate is a good thing. And in the end if people still differ that is where agree to disagree comes in. I find myself torn on this particular issue. I don’t usually discuss my views because I don’t like feeling attacked for my views or making others feel bad because their views differ from mine. I do agree that same sex couples do need and deserve some of the same rights as we that are straight have. I’ll leave it at that because I am not sure this is the time or place to discuss that. If you know what I mean.I must also admit that I was pretty emotional when I wrote my first comment. I should just have waited but hindsight being 20/20…Why I was so upset is that I feel like those of a more Conservative belief are constantly attacked. That is really nothing unusual. It just seems more and more that it’s ok to mock those of us with this sort of belief. Not necessarily on gay issues but on just being Christian/Conservative. Like Tim Tebow and all the jokes about Tebowing. Yet if we were to give tit for tat we’d be jumped all over. Forget that giving tit for tat is fundamentally wrong and a great way to lose the fight. Good example of that point might be Tom Cruise giving Brooke Shields grief over how she handled her depression. But that is a whole other issue.Hopefully I worded this comment much better. My BFF and I have these sorts of discussions all the time. She may be the reason I started to give these sorts of things more thought and find what I myself believe and the bravery to discuss it.

        • Morgan Dragonwillow

          Tit for Tat…. hmmm well in this country, LGBTQ have been beaten and killed for just being who they are. All I want is for all people to be allowed to live a peaceful, safe, productive life. Christians have been hurting, killing and destroying lives in the name of God for eons. I am sorry I don’t have any empathy for them or the conservatives that have continued to try and make my life hell on earth when I haven’t done anything to keep them from living a peaceful, safe, and productive life. How I choose to live isn’t hurting anyone.

    • Morgan Dragonwillow

      The thing is I believe that most gay people (and I am one) would live their lives without hate toward Christians or anyone else if they would just be let alone to live their lives. But there are those filled with hate, that think it is an abomination for someone like me to even live let alone have a family. If the Christians and others that think this way would stop acting like we are child molesters, sinners, perverts etc. I believe their wouldn’t be any animosity on the GLBTQ side. I just want the same rights as every one else. That is all I have ever wanted. I am not trying to stop Christians or anyone else from having the life that they want; to live how they want. Peace, Love, Compassion… these are what I believe. If I am wrong then let God decide, not the Christian church and not the government.

  • http://twitter.com/hotel_goddess Angela Rafuse

    love the gay coalition’s comments “his views are as old as his 1980s sitcom”. Shocking view of not respecting and accepting others. Love who you love and be happy. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Angela,

      “Love who you love and be happy.” SAY IT, SISTER! That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for reading & leaving your mark here. ;-)

  • Paul McConaughy

    I’ll add my pet peeve… and I’m not really the most religious person around here.  I hate when people say “There but for the grace of God…”  What makes them think God’s grace isn’t big enough to embrace all people.  Are they seriously saying that whoever they’re talking about doesn’t qualify for God’s grace.  Why do they feel they have to claim they are better than “those people” because they got God’s grace…  There, I said it.  That’s what I hate.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Paul,

      Thank you so much for jumping in here. I agree with you completely about God and his ability to embrace ALL people from ALL walks of life.

      I’m glad you felt able to speak your piece here. I wanted this to become an open conversation and I want people to feel comfortable talking about their views.
      :-)

  • http://twitter.com/saving4someday Sara Hawkins

    I feel for Kirk Cameron. He was asked a loaded question and answered honestly. He was in a no-win situation. If he answers the question of what he believes and how he’d deal with his own child, he’s going to take a lot of heat. If he doesn’t answer the question, the silence will be interpreted as   his not being strong enough to answer/stand upon his values/be honest and others will attach a viewpoint to his silence.

    It’s not only Christians that have this view of homosexuality being ‘unnatural’ and ‘destructive to civilization/society/marriage’. Many religions do, even my own. And while I disagree with my own religion on this matter, it is purely a religious view. A view overlaid upon civil society long after the creation of man. Religious persecution, though, has been the basis of ridding the world of people who disagree. It’s been happening for centuries (and still happens in 2012). 

    In America (and many other countries), religion was the foundation of civil laws. Historically, women had very little role in Christian society. Men worked, men went to war, men disciplined the children, men supported their families. Women birthed children and cooked and cleaned. These were the foundation of the USA. “Christian” values (despite the fact that many other religions hold highly these same values). Every other religion, race and nationality has had to fight to overcome these deeply held beliefs, and not just in the USA.

    Today there is very little middle ground. It’s difficult to be someone who sees both sides of an issue and find a solution that will work for everyone. We’ve become a polarized society where only right and wrong exist and tolerance is seen as pandering, weakness and having no conviction.

    Words of judgment flow easy when someone says or does something with which we disagree. What truly saddens me is that because of all the backlash Kirk Cameron has taken for saying what he believed, others will keep silent. And it is that silence that is worrisome. 

    We now know where Kirk Cameron stands. We can work with what we know. We can make informed decisions regarding our interactions with him. But for those who will now remain silent, do we just assume the worst?

    If we can’t have a discussion, but instead dismiss anyone who disagrees with us as wrong we have little possibility to find common ground. We’ve become very polarized and those left in the middle are getting very lonely.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Sara,

      I understand everything you’ve said, but on some issues I find it difficult to see a “middle.” Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” keeps running through my head. People are born into a race, religion, a sexual identity. You can’t change the color of your skin or whether you’re gay or straight.

      I also agree silence is worrisome. ANd assumptions may be made. But for the life of me, I cannot understand why we’re still battling this issue. Who are we to tell certain people they can’t get married, or that their lifestyle is “unnatural?”

      My dad is gay, my brother-in-law is gay, and my husband’s uncle is gay. I stood up in my dad’s civil ceremony in Vermont in 2001. It wasn’t easy and I’ve never claimed to have adjusted to it quickly, etc. But ultimately it’s his life, his choice, and it’s not up to me to deem it “unnatural.” They’re not bothering anyone, they’re not trying to force their lifestyle on other people, they just want to be together and be happy.

      And I have three daughters. I am guessing the odds are one of them might end up being a lesbian. And like Piers Morgan said, I would just want her to be happy.

      I suppose part of the issue with this is that I see it in more black and white, while you see shades of grey? I tried to open up a discussion on my blog about this—that is what the comment section is all about. I feel sorry for Cameron. I know he was put on the spot, but honestly I cannot comprehend why he has to put these LABELS on things….just like Ellen Seidman who talks about ending the use of the r-word. Labels suck.

      I am always happy to have a dialogue about it, but I disagree with the things Cameron said. That being said, I also think we should all learn to agree to disagree.

      I really appreciate your taking the time to weigh in here and give us your thoughts!
      xoxoxoxo

      • Sara at Saving For Someday

        I don’t agree with what Kirk Cameron said, but I believe he has the right to say what his personal views are when asked. What I disagree with are those who use their religious/cultural beliefs to suppress others.

        It is the Christian view (and many other conservative religion’s beliefs) that marriage is between a man and a woman. For as many scholars can cite the bible to support that, an equal number can point out why that interpretation is in error.

        The problem is that many think there can only be one interpretation, and that others can’t be invited to the table. I believe that it’s possible to sit among people who look and think differently than I and still be respectful toward them. Others don’t see that as an option.

        There are those who see sexual orientation as a choice. As if it’s like a religion, where you can choose where you are on a continuum. Until that single belief is changed, the discussion will remain as divisive as it has been.

        At some point we all have to agree that it’s possible to get along and work toward that. Sadly, those who believe their view should be the only view will prevent this.

  • Anonymous

    What a wonderful conversation you’ve started here Ms. M.

    If my brain was function on full capability, I’d chime in with some well thought out comment. Instead you’re going to get this…

    While I agree with other comments that freedom of speech means Kirk is allowed to speak his opinion, I also believe we’re living in a time where we must be very careful of our public words and how they might impact others. We live in a time with blogs, twitter, facebook, and a 24-hour news stream. We live in a time when children who are influenced by those words turn around and repeat them to children struggling with their sexuality.
    As a parent, I’m teaching my children that love is love and there’s no reason to hate love. It’s that simple. I wish others could see it the same way.

  • http://janasthinkingplace.com/ Jana A (@jana0926)

    Way to write dangerously! I’m getting there. ::sigh:: I just want to say that I’m nodding with all the comments. Every single one of them. Love you and your voice.