Kirk Cameron Gapes Admiringly At Monuments

That seems to be the central motif of Kirk Cameron’s new propaganda film about the founding of America, Monumental.

Did you notice that the dominionist theology which likely underlies the entire film is subtly hidden. There are no facts here, just vague warnings about the “wrong path” which will take down our empire. Then there is the section where we learn about the Pilgrims to a rocking soundtrack—because the Pilgrims were so rock and roll. Then there is the completely vague promise of some good news (wink wink) about the secret principles of our founding which can save us. And not once in the video are the words God or Jesus or Christian or anything except for “good news” said. Because objective Kirk Cameron does not have any agenda here. He is troubled and brow furrowed to learn about how America is on the path to destruction but then amazed to discover the “good news” (wink wink!). It’s all pretty disingenuous, not just in its inevitable content but in its attempt to disguise itself in its marketing.


Your Thoughts?

Before I Deconverted: Christmas Became A Christian Holiday To Me
How to Criticize Religion. Part 1: Understand Why and How Metaphors Work in Practice
The Collar That Choked Open Hearts
How To Criticize Religion. Part 3: Address The Question of “True Religion” With Nuance
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • We Are Ing

    Christian cluelessly admires Masonic Symbols.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Monumental waste of time, it looks like.

  • Randomfactor

    Do they fit in a stop at Travel Town? :)

  • John

    I wonder if he realizes that real patriots don’t drag the flag on the ground like that? BTW Daniel, your blog has reawakened an interest in philosophy for me – Thanks!

    • Daniel Fincke

      Thanks for letting me know that, John! That’s gratifying to learn!

  • Ned Champlain

    If anyone is rewriting history, it is Kirk Cameron and the religious fundies like him.

  • pyrobryan

    I’d have to go back and re-watch it now that I’m firmly on atheist ground (I considered myself more along the lines of a deist when I first watched it), but I remember thinking that “Fireproof”, in spite of the heavy handed religious tone, particularly at the end, was an overall enjoyable movie.

    However, having since seen how Kirk has joined the Liars for Jesus campaign, I have a feeling that this “documentary” will be little more than Jesus propaganda full of historical revisionism.

    • Jon H

      My mother had me watch Fireproof and honestly, it’s not as bad as you’d think it is. Take that as you will.

    • Libby Anne

      You have to admit, the acting is terrible.

  • peterh

    Cameron goes all-over goosey-bumpy thinking of those Pilgrims – actually they were Separatists – and their black hats & buckley shoes. He should read the about “sacred orders [from the Bay Colony's General Court] to Master Malachi Huscott, of the brig Porpoise” to waylay the ship Welcome “which has on board 100 or more of the heretics and malignants called Quakers, with W. Penn, who is the chief scamp…” The aim of this was to sell the Quakers into slavery in “Barbadoes, where slaves fetch good prices in rum and sugar and we shall not only do the Lord great good by punishing the wicked, but we shall make great good for His Minister and people.” These quotes taken from a letter by Cotton Mather “To ye aged and beloved, Mr. John Higginson.”

    If Cameron wants to reconstruct such a society, I’ll follow the example of some ancestors who during the Revolution decamped to Canada.

  • grung0r


    Sorry for the off topic post, but I feel you should know that John Loftus made statements that could be interpreted as a threat to go on a shooting spree of atheists in one of your post’s comment threads(here: When I pointed it out, he double downed on the shooting spree rhetoric, and then double downed again.

    Maybe I’m overreacting, and he almost surly thought he was just being clever, but still, making jokes like that seems a bit…unhinged. I’m not really sure what to do, so I leave it to you. Your a philosopher, you figure it out.

    • Ace of Sevens

      I don’t see any doubling down, just a bizarre interpretation on your part that his guns are literal, rather than rhetorical, which you didn’t even bring up until this thread. Is this an attempt to combine concern trolling and thread jacking in one convenient package?

    • grung0r

      I don’t see any doubling down

      So, having pointed out that one can get in legal trouble for saying what he did, he said this:

      I’m serious. I just may turn my guns on atheists, really! At this point I no longer care. Some of them don’t care. Why should I?

      And then this:

      Actually I’ve already decided to do this. It’s just a matter of timing.

      You be the judge, I guess. I wouldn’t go near any atheist conventions with Loftus about, myself, but you can feel free to.

    • Ace of Sevens

      You said nothing about legal trouble. You said he was a coward for throwing out vague accusations where it wasn’t clear who he was accusing of what. He promised to write about it in the future. You came to another thread, clutched your pearls, and fainted.

    • grung0r

      You said nothing about legal trouble.

      Except where I said this:

      Even if you meant it metaphorically(which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense frankly, given that argue with us atheists all the time), it sounds REALLY bad, especially after complaining that people are cowards for hiding behind anonymous names. You could get in serious legal trouble for that comment.

      To which Loftus doubled down by saying(once again):

      I’m serious. I just may turn my guns on atheists, really! At this point I no longer care. Some of them don’t care. Why should I?

      But don’t let the actual course of events change your mind. Reading comprehension ain’t worth a wit anyway. It’s a lot more fun to just make shit up.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Thanks, grung0r. I saw it and I let the rest of FTB know they’re being “gunned for” but I don’t personally hear any death threat connotations and I don’t get the impression any of the rest of the “targeted” FTB bloggers took that connotation either. I’m not going to pursue that particular line of speculation about the meaning of his rhetoric unless he says something unequivocal, which is not just a familiar metaphor for criticizing someone. So much of our language for debate uses violent metaphors, we talk about attacking people or “going after” them, etc. None of it’s meant violently and I don’t have any reasons to think it is here.

    • grung0r

      It wasn’t about the metaphor, so much as it was his response to my suggestion he not use it, specifically the “Actually I’ve already decided to do this. It’s just a matter of timing.” and saying that he was ” really” going to do it. Those seem incredibly threatening things to say given that I was questioning weather he meant he was going to rhetorically or literally turn his guns on atheists.

      If you people honestly think he didn’t mean to be threatening, that’s fine. I won’t make any more hay out of it. I only brought it up here as when I asked on pharaygula, I wasn’t the only person who saw “threat” in what he said.

    • Daniel Fincke

      I do appreciate the concern, I just didn’t feel it myself.

    • echidna

      Loftus was not targetting the bloggers. He had just been arguing with me in comment 2 of that post, calling me ignorant, uncivil and accusing me of hiding behind a pseudonym. Then he made the comment to Grungor, and it seemed to me that he meant more than arguing, because he was already doing that. That second comment, where he used the words “seriously” and “really”, and left a note on his blog that he would do something in a couple of months time, which could be construed to mean the GAC, when pseudonyms become real people. It was only after PZ appeared on his blog that he used the phrase in a clearly metaphorical way.

      I grew up around people who had grown up in war torn places, and let’s just say bad things happened when they started to use a pattern of evasive and dehumanising language and started using words like gun, kill and so forth. Loftus was falling into that pattern, using words like vile, uncivil, intolerable and so forth, without providing any other context that the word gun would fit into.

      I certainly heard a threat.

    • The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

      This isn’t a freaking metaphor. This isn’t ‘rhetoric’. This is a threat.

      At best you could argue that he’s not serious and just trying to ‘psych us out’, but to write it off as metaphor and rhetoric?

      I don’t like to tell people what to do on their own space, so I won’t, I’m just gonna say I’m very VERY uncomfortable to see this kind of thing so lightly dismissed.

    • Jon H

      You heard it as a threat because you read at the 1st grade level.

    • grung0r


      I don’t get the impression any of the rest of the “targeted” FTB bloggers took that connotation either.

      I know I said I was done, but this statement sticking in my craw. Why is it you think that if he was threatening anyone, he was threatening Freethought Bloggers? He didn’t say it to any of you. He said it to me. And he didn’t mention FTB bloggers as those he was going to turn his guns on. Just “atheists”. I don’t get it. Was it just a bit of egotism? Or perhaps there is an untold story regarding why he left.

    • Daniel Fincke

      No, I interpret the comment to have followed after his saying specifically that “a few” FTB bloggers were mean-spirited that he was intent on exposing some of those mean-spirited FTB bloggers. Because of privacy concerns that’s all I’m going to say about that.

      He may well have meant you and I missed it. But egotism is not the issue. If anything it may just be the way I read the comments (which is not on the site itself but in the site’s “dashboard”, which may have altered my sense of context. I didn’t read his remarks as closely tied to who they were directly responding to but instead as a series of interconnected statements. The first one about “mean-spirited atheists” was about “a few FTB bloggers” so I took that phrase to consistently be about FTB bloggers.

    • Daniel Fincke

      (Plus, he was talking in the third person, which seemed to be about other people besides you who he was directly addressing.)

    • Alethea H. Claw

      Are you American? Some of us in other countries take threats of guns rather more seriously. Also, I remember this was not widely condoned as “just rhetoric”.

    • Daniel Fincke

      I remember it well, and if you read this link and the post I link to and quote within it, you will see that I did not take the “targeting” of Gabrielle Giffords lightly at all.

      Such issues of threats of violence are extremely important to me—as is civil dialogue in general.

      But I just don’t hear any violent connotations to John Loftus. Unlike the Gabrielle Giffords scenario, Loftus is not participating in a political movement that is routinely involving literal gun fetishizing with literal talk of revolutions with rhetoric of legal illegitimacy to the President, etc., etc., all of which made for a hostile revolt-threatening political atmosphere that I found personally threatening.

      Instead Loftus, a man with no violent history I know of and no pattern of physically intimidating political opponents, simply said a perfectly familiar phrase, that he would “turn his guns” on his critics. I just don’t hear anything violent and am not convinced by anyone here’s arguments that I should.

    • Ace of Sevens

      Is no one here familiar with common metaphors? If Daniel Fincke posted that next week, he’s setting his sites on William Lane Craig, would you figure he was outside the guy’s house with a sniper rifle? Grungor, you didn’t ask if he was literally going to gun for atheists. You just asked a question you thought meant that. I didn’t even get that meaning and I’d read this thread first.

    • Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

      I actually buy it that Loftus was using a metaphor, although “turn my guns on someone” is not a familiar or common phrase to me (could be regional or something?). But the fact remains that he didn’t actually say “my rhetorical guns” or “my guns, so to speak.” (So it’s not a matter of reading skills.) I don’t know Loftus well, and I’d bet a lot of posters who are concerned by his phrasing are in the same position. Maybe this is the sort of rhetoric he uses often and knowing him would make it clearer that he is not being literal. Unfortunately, though, as his wording stands it’s ambiguous, and I think everyone would feel a lot better about it with clarification from him.

    • grung0r

      I didn’t even get that meaning and I’d read this thread first.

      Well Sven, seeing as you already proved beyond a doubt you didn’t read carefully enough before throwing accusations about(see above, Re: Legal Trouble)I find your claims of failure to comprehend what you are reading entirely believable. Meaningless, but believable.

    • Ace of Sevens

      I’m nto sure it’s even a metaphor. It’s definition 12b here.

      I’m also still unclear on how he’s going to get into serious legal trouble. He identified no one in particular, the statement was clearly opinion, not a claim of fact and it caused no actual damages. That’s three out of the six elements of defamation missed already and malice is iffy.

    • Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

      Ace of Sevens, the legal trouble aspect would come in if the phrasing were taken literally – it would be considered a death threat, which would be illegal. I don’t think defamation is involved at all.

    • Ace of Sevens

      Ah. That makes sense. Grungor seemed to be claiming that Loftus mentioned turning his guns on atheists in response to the serious legal trouble line, but it’s the other way around. I was looking in the wrong comment for a mention of legal trouble.

    • echidna

      It’s easy to say that it must be metaphorical because surely JWL wouldn’t really literally mean he would turn his guns on pseudonymous atheists. But, honestly, JWL has not given any way of allowing us to disambiguate between a real death threat and a metaphorical interpretation. The sequence of posts as I saw them (realtime, time given is the timestamp):
      Comment 2:
      I was in a heated discussion with JWL (I said he was dishonest about censoring posts, and backed it up with screenshot evidence), where JWL calls me reprehensible me for hiding behind a pseudonym (2:09 pm). Also called me ignorant and uncivil, and told me to take a critical thinking class. He presents no argument or evidence, just slurs.

      At 4:14 pm, Loftus said to grungor, who also annoyed him by asking questions about why he left FTB, that he will turn his guns on these atheists [those who hide behind anonymous names] (who make vile and reprehensible comments).

      4:43 pm Grungor makes it clear that JWL’s words read like a death threat, and that a metaphorical reading doesn’t fit in the context, since he is already arguing with atheists. Death threats, of course, are illegal.

      4:51 pm JWL: “I’m serious. I just may turn my guns on atheists, really! At this point I no longer care. Some of them don’t care. Why should I?”

      The next comment, out of place at 4:59 says “Actually I’ve already decided to do this. It’s just a matter of timing.”
      Any doubt to the context is resolved by looking at JWL’s blog, where he says the same thing, “Yes, I am vilified almost every single day by either Christians or atheists. At some point I may turn my guns on these atheists. It wouldn’t take much.” with a remark that “I’ve actually decided to do this. It’s just a matter of timing at this point. It may be a couple of months though, so stay tuned.” at 4:57pm.

      I can construe this without any stretching at all to refer to a situation at a convention where real people are associated with their pseudonyms. I find it hard to believe that JWL didn’t intend at least some people to take him literally, unless he is blithely unaware, even now, that a literal interpretation is possible.

  • Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    1)The US may be the richest country, but it’s definitely not the freest

    2)there are 6 mini-camerons? O.o

  • Al Stefanelli

    What a fucking idiot… Kirk Camoron

  • george.w

    “Fireproof” was a very entertaining movie, though perhaps not as Cameron intended. This doesn’t look as if it would be half as fun.

  • peterh

    Fireproof was a cliché-ridden piece of trash.

  • george.w

    Indeed it was; that is what I found so entertaining. In an MST3K sort of way.

  • grung0r

    Instead Loftus, a man with no violent history I know of and no pattern of physically intimidating political opponents, simply said a perfectly familiar phrase

    A perfectly familiar phrase apropos to what? I think you need a bit of context, that may not be readily apparent to you. I’ve been arguing with Loftus for YEARS. Many other atheists of my stripe have also been arguing with him for YEARS. Loftus’ persecution complex knows no bounds(as FTB bloggers have discovered), and often, he sees mean ole atheists as his primary enemies. For him to say that He’s going to say that he’s going to “turn his guns” on atheists simply makes no sense as a metaphor, given his history.

    To give you an analogy, imagine that 37 posts in to the Eric Steinhart experiment, I had come out and declared, apropos of nothing, “I may just turn my guns on these Wiccan apologists. At this point, it wouldn’t take much”. Would that make sense, given that I had already been arguing with him for 36 fucking posts? Let’s then say That Eric saw a threat, and told me to rescind it, to which I replied: “I’m going to turn my guns on these Wiccan apologists, really!” and “I’ve Already decided to do it, it’s just a matter of timing”. I can’t possibly see how that could taken as anything other then a threat of violence.

    • echidna

      From someone who taught college level critical thinking, we can assume that sustained ambiguity is deliberate, even if you believe he would never act on it. I don’t think we ever know anyone that well.

      Ambiguous threats can always be deflected with “It was just a figure of speech”, or if followed through, “I warned you that this would happen”. Ambiguity is part of the process of instilling fear, which you may recognise if you have seen it in action.

    • echidna
  • sc_76274f6b44f777ea26a3898ac0191398

    I’ve got a quick question. Obviously the climax of the documentary is Cameron finding that one particular monument, the one pictured in the poster and that Cameron seems befuddled more people aren’t visiting. Anyone know what monument that is? I assume it must be Pilgrim related, but it’s not one I’m familiar with.

    • ScoPi

      Never mind, it’s the National Monument to the Founders, in Plymouth. Apparently Cameron is shocked to discover that the there was a religious component to Mayflower Pilgrims (well, half of them, anyway), and that in the late 19th century someone might want to lionize that. Talk about a bunch of nothing.

  • Aaron

    Frankly, it blows my mind that anyone would take JL’s words as intimidation, let alone an a violent threat. Do we really have that much of a victim complex or demand for orthodoxy?

    • John Morales

      Your mind is easily blown, I see.

      And no, since you ostensibly don’t, clearly we also don’t.

  • Libby Anne

    Thanks a lot Daniel, you made my blood pressure rise for the day. :-P

    This stuff is just par for the course now, but what bothers me is the national stage Kirk Cameron is able to gain, and the number of ordinary evangelicals who watch his stuff and are influenced by dominionist and patriarchal ideas.

    You may or may not know this, but Kirk Cameron’s films have regularly won Vision Forum’s San Antonio Film Festival. There are pictures of Cameron with Doug Phillips, Vision Forum’s founder and probably the most prominent defender of Christian Patriarchy in the country. The man doesn’t believe women should vote, for crying out loud!

  • t.h.gray

    Yup, thinly veiled scare piece. I also commented on it at my blog