The disease of Bartonism hasn’t been defeated simply because Barton’s book of lies was recalled. Kirk Cameron is proving an able Barton disciple as he goes about his master’s work. Unfortunately, his master is the Father of Lies. No, not Barton. Satan, that Father of Lies. Fundamentalists talk a lot about truth but they can’t seem to find it with both hands.
Back in March of this year, Kirk Cameron made his infamous appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight and told the world how he felt about homosexuality:
“Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don’t think anyone else should either,” explains Cameron. “So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don’t.”
We will forget for now about the argument Cameron made for incest. After all, that is how Adam and Eve’s kids perpetuated the human race. Deliciously ironic, isn’t it, how evolution is so much more in line with Christian morality?
Cameron went on to say that, “I think that it’s – it’s – it’s unnatural. I think that it’s – it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”
Nothing we haven’t heard before, certainly. Hardly even surprising, given the source.
But as Right Wing Watch reminds us, Kirk Cameron “compared the backlash to the anti-gay statements he made on Piers Morgan Tonight to the persecution of Puritans in England and being “drug out to the public square and stoned so to speak.”
This is more of the Religious Right’s idea of religious freedom: where they have the freedom to say and do what they want and we do not have the right to be offended or to reply.
RWW updates these stories by relating Cameron’s appearance last week at Liberty University. Here he told students that “blasphemy laws are still alive and well in America” and that his critics tried to “crucify me” because he had “blasphemed the God of Political Correctness.”
Watch the video from Right Wing Watch:
Some of you may have seen the interview I did with Piers Morgan on CNN. And you know, sometimes when a Christian is asked a question and has a conviction about not backing down and wussing out, and being honest about who he is and whose he is, it can get you into some hot water. And it seems I hit the side of a hornet’s nest when I answered a question…here’s a tip: if you ever get the opportunity in your life…to go on a worldwide television program and sit across the table from someone with a diametrically opposed world and life view and stare into the barrels of 5 loaded questions…you should go for it.
Loaded questions? They’re not loaded at all. Aberrochristians like Cameron are, after all, feverishly trying to legislate their beliefs into law. But it’s a loaded question to ask about these beliefs…? I mean, we have to live by them and we can’t even ask about them?
Right. We get that, Kirk. We get that religious freedom only applies to you. But being asked questions does not make you a martyr. Neither do your answers. Nobody has tried to stop you from believing what you believe. Nobody has tried to silence you or to ban your religion. All they have done is given their reaction, guaranteed by the First Amendment just as your original statements were.
I just don’t see the martyrdom thing. I mean, stoning? Really? Get real, Kirk.
Cameron asks the gullible students,
What will you do? Will you try to change the subject? Will you worry about being political correct or will you stand up and bear witness and testimony to the God who loves you and has saved you? And will you speak the truth in love? Because the truth is always love speech. It’s not hate speech. The truth communicated with compassion, with a desire to see people in a right relationship with God, helped, and healed, and whole, is the most genuine form of love speech you can give to anyone.
He calls what he said about gays love speech? But Kirk is not only being hateful and disingenuous; he is being dishonest.
Dr. James Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and self-styled ” biblioblogger” addressed a sort of counter-question at his blog the other day: “Can a Christian be a historian?” This is a question, he relates, that was asked by Notre Dame theologian Philip Devenish in 1979. Devenish’s answer to that question was “no.” Religious dogma, according to Devenish, cannot be the “stuff of historical investigation,” as Tabor puts it.
And this feeling is widespread on the Religious Right. Tabor points to the experience of “the terrible purge of some of the finest academic professors at several Southern Baptist seminaries a couple of decades ago or any number of other denominational attempts to demand that faculty swear allegiance to Christian creeds while maintaining that they continue to be ‘accredited’ academic institutions.”
Tabor says the last chapter “in this sort of heresy crackdown” centers around Chris Rollston, who teaches at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Johnson City, Tennessee. Tabor says Rollston is “one of the finest scholars in our field of biblical studies” but knowledge isn’t what the institution is looking for. They want their professors to uphold their theological stance.
Cameron talks about being stoned? Rollston wrote a piece for HuffPo on the “Marginalization of Women: A Biblical Value We Don’t Like to Talk About.” As Tabor points out, this could “hardly be seen as a violation of any creed-Christian or otherwise. Rollston is being attacked by what he said and from various quarters.
Kirk Cameron wants to pretend “stoning” is directed only at Christians who speak out about their faith but the real victims of stoning are academics who have the courage to speak up in defense of academic integrity. Kirk Cameron won’t lose his job for speaking his mind. Few Christians, if any, do. The people who lose their jobs are those who stand up to bullies like Kirk Cameron. They are the real martyrs, if martyrs are to be found at all.
Martyrs, ironically enough, for truth, the truth of which Cameron dishonestly claims sole possession.
Look, historically it isn’t secularists who have banned and burned people who disagree with them: it’s been Christians, all the way back to the day Christians took over the Roman Empire and instituted the Theodosian Code, all the way down to Colonial times in America.
To quote Tabor again, “The English Parliament passed the law ‘On the Burning of Heretics’ which condemned all heretics to death at the stake on March 2, 1401. It was the first law in England regulating Dissenting religion and was not abolished until 1677.”
And as Brian Tashman wrote at Right Wing Watch,
Unfortunately for the students at Liberty University, founded as Liberty Baptist College, they didn’t learn that under the Colony’s law those who “openly condemne or oppose the baptizing of infants,” a central doctrine of the Baptists, “shall be sentenced to banishment.”
So while Cameron holds the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a model for the contemporary U.S., the colony’s Puritan government held that “Idolatry, blasphemy, heresy . . . are to be restrained and punished by the civil authority.
And as Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes on Virginia:
By our own act of Assembly of 1705, c. 30, if a person brought up in the Christian religion denies the being of God, or the Trinity, or asserts there are more gods than one, or denies the Christian religion to be true, or the Scriptures to be of divine authority, he is punishable on the first offense by incapacity to hold any office or employment, ecclesiastical, civil, or military; on the second, by disability to sue, to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor, or administrator, and by three years’ imprisonment without bail. A fathers right to the custody of his own children being founded in law on his right of guardianship, this being taken away, they may of course be severed from him, and put by the authority of the court, into more orthodox hands. This is a summary view of that religious slavery under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of civil freedom.
That’s right. Even when Christians were being condemned to death, it wasn’t secular authorities doing the condemning. It was other Christian authorities. When people tried to speak out before there was a First Amendment to protect them, it wasn’t secular authorities who throttled them: it was the authorities of the state-sponsored religion. The simple fact is that when Christians are the victims at all in the Western world, it is other Christians who are the oppressors. Kirk Cameron completely misrepresents the historical record.
Kirk Cameron isn’t a victim of stoning. He is the one holding the stone.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.