Kirk Cameron responds to backlash, says he has gay friends
Kirk Cameron says he "spoke as honestly" as he could when he expressed his opinion about homosexuality in an interview last week, which spurred criticism from former "Growing Pains" co-stars and LGBT rights group GLAAD.
The former teen idol, who played Mike Seaver on the 1980s sitcom and is a born-again Christian, adds he has gay friends himself.
Cameron, 41, had said on the CNN show "Piers Morgan Tonight" he thinks homosexuality is "unnatural" and "detrimental" and added that he does not support same-sex marriage.
The actor said in a new statement posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday: "In some people's eyes, my responses were not sufficiently 'loving' toward those in the gay community. I can only say that it is my life's mission to love all people, and that I expressed the same views that are expressed clearly and emphatically throughout the Judeo-Christian scriptures. As a Bible believing Christian, I could not have answered any other way."
"I've been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally) in the wake of condemnation by some political advocacy groups," Cameron added. "In the case of one of my gay friends, we regularly talk and have healthy and respectful debate. We learn from each other, and serve others alongside one another. I thank God for all of my friends ... even when they hold very different views on issues of faith and morality."
Tracey Gold, who played Seaver's sister on "Growing Pains," said on Twitter: "I am a strong supporter of the #LGBT Community, and I believe in equal rights for all."
Alan Thicke, who played their characters' father on the show, Tweeted on Monday: "I love Kirk but I may have to spank him...'tho not in a gay way!"
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had said Cameron was "out of step with a growing majority of Americans."
Cameron has often preached the gospel in public. He appeared on Morgan's show to promote his documentary "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure."
He said in his recent statement he does not believe "that the right way to advance our views is to resort to name-calling and personal attacks, as some have done to me."
"I also believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America," he said. "I should be able to express moral views on social issues - especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years - without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square."
"I hope more than a few people could see the large volume of secularist morality being imposed on me," he added. "In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It's inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect."
GLAAD rep Herndon Graddick said on Tuesday: "Obviously, Cameron has the right to recite his anti-gay talking points, just like fair-minded Americans have the right to tell him that his views are harmful and have no place in modern America."