Thought Catalog

Open Letter To Kirk Cameron

  • 0

Dear Kirk,

This is hard for me—because, in a way, we are like brothers. (Cain and Abel kind of brothers, but brothers nonetheless.) You see, I was raised by my grandparents, who were old and cranky and brought me up in the best way they knew how: by outsourcing me to be raised by the television and the families that lived inside it.

I had a lot of families to choose from — the Huxtables, the Taylors and the Bradys — but I chose to be a part of yours. This was partly because, as a pre-pubescent band geek who, one day, hoped to blossom into a secret swan, I identified with Carol, the kind of girl whose glasses were always too big, who gave herself extra homework, who wasn’t popular among her peers but beloved by an audience of adoring fans at home. I, too, wanted to be admired for my pre-pubescent nerdiness and my esoteric taste in British Literature; I wanted a Mom who would kick up her feet with me and talk about the future, just like Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment. When I took a year off from Columbia University to pursue my Working Girl dreams, I wanted her to be there with me, supporting me every step of the way.

And I always wanted a brother like you. In the show, your Mike Seaver was the Ferris Bueller surrogate, the mischief with the heart of gold, and I loved the way you always stuck up for Carol when she needed it most. Because of your God-given looks and effortless charm, you were born to be one of the popular kids and you knew how powerful that was, using your wiles and way with people to get out of class and cheat on tests. However, every once in awhile, you could be so giving toward those around you — the bullied and disenfranchised — and you always stuck up for Carol when she needed it most. We knew you cared, or you wouldn’t have kept that dweeb Boner around for so long. Most especially, you never would have convinced your family to take in that homeless kid who lived in the janitor’s closet of your school — that one who just happened to grow up to be Leonardo DiCaprio.

For someone who stuck up for people who were bullied, this is why it pains me so much to see what’s become of you, to see the washed-up bigot that you’ve become. This week, you’ve stepped into a firestorm of controversy regarding your recent comments about LGBT people, and I can’t say I’m surprised by it. Kirk, you’ve been crazycakes for a very long time; if not, you would have never made any of those ridiculous Left Behind films or agreed to be the heartthrob of TV evangelism.

This isn’t a knock on your religious beliefs, Kirk, because I know a lot of wonderful, affirming Christians, and you don’t deserve to represent them. Whenever I hear someone attack religious people for being anti-gay, for being crazy, for being idiots, I remember that people like you exist, people who send a terrible message about what it means to be religious. Whenever we see people like you on TV, they are always espousing messages of exclusion and hate, and it’s easy to believe that Christianity is only here to divide us, to say that some are worthy of love and others scorn, to say that God reflects our own biases and discrimination.

Kirk, I don’t believe in God, and I especially don’t believe in your God, a God that could inspire people to espouse such venom, a God that could teach people to publicly demonize people they have never even met. Last year, I was the token queer atheist in a religious co-op; I lived with nine Catholics, and from my housemates, I discovered a love that confounded any previous notions I’d had of religious people, a love that taught me what God is. God is the community that surrounds you: that which challenges us to awe at the wonder of life, to be greater than ourselves, to achieve what we cannot possibly fathom. God is so much bigger than anything you can possibly imagine, bigger than your hatred, bigger than your sexual preoccupations.

Faith and spirituality can be forces for such good in the world, ones that unite us and empower us, and I don’t have to believe in God as a person to know that you are not doing anyone’s God concept justice. In your response to the backlash against your hateful, hideous comments, you mentioned that it’s your “life’s mission to love all people,” but I don’t see how calling 5-10% of the population “destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization” furthers the cause of love, especially when you feel our love is “unnatural.”

I know your remarks technically don’t matter — because who gives a flying nun what you think about anything? — but as someone who has dealt with bullying because of their sexual orientation, who battled thoughts of suicide for most of their life, who still struggles with issues of low self-esteem because of those inflicted wounds, it matters to me. It matters because I grew up looking up to you as a brother, a friend and a role model, someone I thought would have my back when the bullies came after me at the playground, when the other kids at school made fun of me for the way I walked, for my “weird” fashion sense and for my “girly” voice. I always thought that you would protect me.

However, you’re just another bully, and that matters. It matters to the estimated 34,000 LGBT youths who commit suicide every year; to the kids who face discrimination, bullying and violence; and to those who struggle just to exist. In March 2011, the Trans Murder Monitoring project reported that over 500 transgender persons had been murdered globally in the past three years, largely due to cultures that promote discrimination and intolerance of trans people; 38 of those murders were from the U.S.

Kirk, I know that you aren’t personally responsible for those murders. However, the comments you’ve made and the mindset you represent reflect that hatred and help perpetuate a culture of intolerance. Even though we think no one is listening to what you say about LGBT people, there are people listening; there are people who still care what you think, or Fireproof wouldn’t have done weirdly well at the box-office — for a Christian-themed film, anyway.

Indeed, you are correct in asserting that you are allowed to say whatever you want about whatever minority group you choose; it’s your choice to be a bully. However, I am encouraged by the number of celebrities who have stood up to criticize you for it, some of which include your own on-screen family. Your ex-sister, my beloved Tracey Gold, affirmed her belief in “equal rights for all.” However, it was Josh Charles, of TV’s The Good Wife, who said it best: “I know Growing Pains was only a TV show, but I have to think both Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns must feel they failed as parents.” Both of those “parents” stated that they don’t feel like dealing with you, and Kerns hasn’t spoken to you in years.

But I’m speaking to you now — brother to brother — because I believe that, as someone in a position of relative power, you have the ability to affect change, to make the lives of LGBT persons better by using your celebrity for outreach. You can start practicing the love that your preach by taking a stand against your own hate. Just ask yourself: what would have Mike Seaver done? I think he would have expected better than this.

Cheers,

Nico TC mark

image – Gage Skidmore

Read This

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos


    • Darren

      eh.  free speech.  why do you get to say what you want to but he can’t?  I don’t I agree with what he said at all – BUT, I’m getting sick of how 99% of all media is bitchin’ about what other people say…. c’mon grow a pair and let people hvae thier free fuckin’ speech.

      • Hatersgonnahate

         As for “bitching about what other people say,” would you like to be the pot or the kettle this time?

        • Darren

          haha, I realized that after I posted it…just adding to all the irony… ;)

      • Kev

        I don’t think you understand what free speech is. His First Amendment rights are in no way inhibited by other criticizing him. They’re exercising their rights.

    • macgyver51

      We made it so far without them I thought the age of the “Open Letter” was over. Grow a pair and write what you think of the guy, the cause of Equality doesn’t need you being all cute and sarcastic.

    • StopBullingForever

      I thought this was beautifully written.  Bullying needs to stop! 

      • Dannshafer

         I don’t think he was bullying, just staing his principles. Bullying would be grabbing the person and beheading him/her or stoning them to death as they do in IRAN.

        • Akgardne

          No bullying is not physical violence, although it can be physical.  Bullying in this instance is making people think that there is something wrong, sinful, evil about who they are.  It’s finding fault with a whole group of people because of something they have no control over.  The opposite of bullying is not necessarily love but it is acceptance.  No one is asking him or any other homophobe to embrace homosexuality, just to accept that it exists and take responsibility that his beliefs cause harm to people.  This is in direct conflict with his message of love and Christianity.

    • Neil Kurtz

      Darren, I think you missed the point. Nico is saying that he has no problem with what he’s said. But rather as a role model for so many youth, he should be supportive, not destructive. Nico’s also trying to point out that Cameron is a hypocrite. Granted, the person he played on TV two decades ago might not actually reflect his personal believes of today, but when he says his “life’s mission to love all people,” and turns around and has an opinion like he does, it doesn’t stand.

    • Dannshafer

      Like you said you don’t believe in his God, which means you don’t have to abide by the same rules. I don’t think he is espousing venom as you state. It’s just stating right and wrong. Why is it that when people like you get into discussions, and because you don’t agree with someone else s internal moral code, you clam it to be hate. It in fact is just a different set of rules. Now if he was a Muslim and kidnapped you  and killed you because you were gay, or Christian for that matter. That would be hate and is going on all around you. No one is pouring out shouts of anger at the poor pastor that is being executed because he is a Christian. Kirk was very logical, soft spoken, humble, and in fact made his own claim of his sin and need of a savior. We all need a savior, and all have fallen short. Bad behavior, is still bad behavior and does not go away just because you call it hate.

      • TJ

        It’s not stating right and wrong.  It’s not just a different set of rules.  It’s using your religious beliefs to affect legislation to prevent everyone from having the same rights.  None of these “rules” or “beliefs” would be a problem if the people who held them didn’t try to control others’ lives with them.  It’s absolutely fine for him to believe what he wants; if he wants to tell the world how he thinks homosexuality is ruining our country, he’s free to do it.  I just don’t want him and his deity telling me what I can’t do.  This may be the 4-year-old in me, but I really really don’t like being told what I can’t do, especially when it’s not harming anyone.

        Also, no, we don’t all need a savior.  Just because you seem to be unable to cope with life without believing in a higher being doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

      • LazyReader

        Whoa Dannshafer! It is NOT stating “right and wrong”, as you claim.  It is hate speech. (BTW, nice of you to refer to the author as “people like you”.  Good Job, bigot.)  
        Cameraon referred to the LGBT community as “destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization”.  That my dear IS HATE SPEECH.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=849905262 Christine Schioppo

      I have to comment here.

      I by no means agree with Kirk Cameron’s view on most anything.  I’m an atheist.  I’m a huge supporter of equality.  I’m a straight woman, for the record.  My personal opinion on Mr. Cameron is that he’s batshit crazy.

      However, after the shitstorm that erupted over this interview, I read a ton of hate-fueled articles by gay advocacy groups and those who support equality towards Kirk Cameron.  And I can’t help but deem them all extremely hypocrtical.  They preach tolerance and acceptance and love for all men and women, but the moment someone’s moral compass points in a different direction from yours, he (or she) is deemed a bigot and a someone filled with hate.

      I then watched the interview.  It was blown into something it should not have been.  The fact is Piers Morgan asked an evangelical Christian his thoughts on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion.  What did he think his answers were going to be?  The questions were asked because he KNEW the answers would spark controversy thereby bringing attention and publicity to his show.  Kirk Cameron was never outright disrespectful, hateful, or self righteous.  He answered questions that were asked of him and he answered them based on his personal belief system.  

      This is America.  You cannot demand freedoms of your own while begrudging the freedoms of others.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think the concern is so much the fact that he’s opposed to homosexuality, as much as he described homosexuality as “unnatural”, saying “I that it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

        I don’t care if he thinks being a homosexual is “sick” or whatever colorful word is used to describe it – that’s his opinion, and I don’t have to interact with him. What I care about is his need to claim that it’s “unnatural”, as if it were fact. That delegitimizes those who consider themselves homosexual both in the eyes of society and under the law. It’s not fair.

        That part – coupled with the fact that the ONLY reason that this washed-up 80s sitcom star is on television is because of his hyperbolic tone – is what frustrates most people. It’s what frustrates me. He’s akin to the Rush Limbaughs, Tucker Carlsons, and Glen Becks of the world. Their opinions are legally protect, fine. But let’s be honest – the only reason why they’re being heard is because their rhetoric is inflammatory.

      • Kev

        Freedom of speech =/= immunity to criticism. Disagreement is not censorship.

        Also, tolerating intolerance is not tolerant, because it facilitates intolerance. That’s the paradox of tolerance, which seems to escape so many people: the tolerant must not tolerate the intolerant, lest tolerance be consumed by intolerance.

        It’s funny, people only ever seem to bring up the whole “if you want to be accepted, you have to be accepting of others’ bigotry” bullshit when LGBT rights come up – I don’t see it when we talk about hate towards any other group.

    • Anonymous

      Catholic Community FTW. It makes my heart so happy to hear you lived with a few of the good ones. 

      Kudos for an interesting perspective on a relevant & important topic. But for what it’s worth, I always though Mike Seaver was a douche anyway. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      my initial reaction to picture: WHOA I DIDN’T KNOW NEIL PATRICK HARRIS HAD AN UGLY BROTHER

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        Nah, he’s still cute.  I’d throw it in him.  Plus, he’s crazy…so I’m sure it’d be great. 

        • Alvy

          …How do you throw it in someone?? I mean, I know I’m naive about sex things, but that just sounds dangerous. YOU COULD PUT AN EYE OUT.

        • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

          I don’t know.  I’m naive.  I just assumed something was thrown.

        • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

          …like my dignity…the last shred of that just went out the window with these comments.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

          this is wonderful

    • Emallthetime

      Not every one has to sign up to be an advocate for something they do not believe in and saying that they do not believe in it does not make them a bigot.  Treating people with love and respect should be upheld regardless of your moral code. Than being said, being gay does not have to be celebrated more than being straight it should be accepted like people that wear pants, the fact that it rains some times, it is a part of life. We are duty bond to honor people for what they are, but an open letter to a fictional character is not the way to make this point. Expecting some one to change their beliefs for you is misguided. 

      • Emily Anne

        …Kirk Cameron’s a real person. Just saying…
        That being said though, I think you have a point in saying that expecting someone to change their beliefs for you is misguided. However, I don’t think that was necessarily the point of this. The likelihood of Kirk Cameron actually reading this post is slim, but the point of writing this letter, it seems, was to say that spewing hate (like Kirk Cameron is doing) isn’t the right thing to do – everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but does there have to be this culture of hatred surrounding social issues on both the right and the left?

    • Kev

      If I hear one more person espouse an “agree to disagree” point of view when it comes to my rights under the Constitution and my dignity as a human being, I will explode. What other minority groups are asked, in 2012, to have such a blasé attitude towards those who malign them in the public sphere?

    • csaxspam0

      This is a wonderful piece of writing. I was happy to share this on my FB wall!

    blog comments powered by Disqus