Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – When former TV heartthrob Kirk Cameron chose to pursue faith-based film making instead of a more traditional Hollywood career, he gave up a lot. But he couldn’t bring himself to part with his principles.
This was made abundantly clear during a recent interview with Piers Morgan on CNN when Cameron was asked about his views regarding homosexuality. To his credit, Cameron didn’t qualify his answer with platitudes and disclaimers. He calmly stated that he believed homosexuality was “unnatural” and “ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”
If there’s anything that our popular culture finds more offensive than honesty, it’s someone who is unwilling to pretend that right and wrong no longer exist. Now Cameron stands accused of hate speech; the only real sin left in American culture today.
But before we grab the pitchforks and torches, there are two points worth pondering.
First, Cameron was asked about his thoughts about homosexuality, not homosexuals. This is a critical distinction because his answers reflected his opinions concerning a behavior and not about the individuals who might engage in that behavior. A person can strongly condemn alcoholism or drug abuse without being accused of directing hate speech at alcoholics or addicts.
When detractors level the accusation of “hate” against Cameron, we are left to draw our own conclusions of what exactly that word means. Critical thinkers will recognize this as the bogus or unspecified predicate that appeals to the audience’s emotional associations rather than describing a clearly defined offense. About the only thing we can safely assume about Kirk Cameron is that he is accused of holding unpopular opinions.
Cameron was asked his honest opinion and he gave it, without malice. Why this should be intolerable to the most tolerant among us is not clear. Those who see things differently than Cameron are free to advance their own points of view. So why the scorched earth denunciations from those who disagree with him? Milton showed great faith in the power of free speech in “Areopagitica” when he declared, “Who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”
Uniformity of opinion has always been the hallmark of a dictatorship. Only in this case, the emerging dictatorship is cultural rather than a political one. Cameron’s critics seem to have forgotten how to disagree in a civil manner. Any good points they might have to make are lost in vitriol and the desire to punish him for his opinions. Rather than persuade him to their point of view, they seek to intimidate him into silence.
The second point is that Cameron’s depiction of homosexual behavior being “ultimately destructive” to society’s foundations is not without merit.
In 1934, a British anthropologist named J.D. Unwin published a book titled “Sex and Culture” in which he studied the rise and fall of 86 different societies. They included the Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Moorish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations and spanned hundreds of years of history.
Among the most remarkable findings of his study, Unwin discovered that, without exception, societies flourished during those times when they valued sexual fidelity and declined when sexual mores loosened. Cultures that gave priority to sexual pleasure over self-control lost what Unwin called their “expansive energy” and dwindled.
These findings are even more extraordinary considering that Unwin was not writing from a religious perspective and applied no moral judgment to his discoveries. In Unwin’s own words, “I offer no opinion about rightness or wrongness.” Likewise, Unwin made no distinction between heterosexual or homosexual permissiveness. He simply called the patterns as he observed them.
Those who accuse Kirk Cameron of singling out homosexuality as a detriment to society are forgetting that his answer was reflective of the question he was asked. Cameron’s films like “Fireproof” and “Courageous” have given no free pass to heterosexual misbehavior. They have been powerful yet loving invitations to men of faith to eschew immorality and to live up to the standards of fidelity and personal integrity that their beliefs require.
It is impossible to stand for one’s beliefs without encountering opposition. A person who refuses to abandon their personal convictions in order to gain approval from others deserves respect, whether we agree with them or not.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.