Kirk Cameron’s Insidious Christian Patriarchy Connections

Kirk Cameron was recently asked on CNN Piers Morgan Tonight about his views on gay marriage. Given what I know about Kirk Cameron and his connections not only to evangelicalism but to the more extreme Christian Patriarchy movement, his replies didn’t surprise me in the least. Apparently they surprised a lot of other people, though. GLAAD has launched a petition to “tell Kirk Cameron it’s time to finally grow up.”

Cameron, who was asked by Morgan his views on same-sex marriage, said homosexuality “is destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization,” and “unnatural.”

“Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve,” Cameron added. “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. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don’t.”

The popular surprise and outrage at Kirk Cameron’s homophobic remarks shows the progress that has been made toward LGBTQ rights, but it also shows that people know very little about Kirk Cameron. In addition to ascribing to mainstream evangelical views with regards to things like gay marriage, Kirk Cameron has strong ties to Christian Patriarchy leader Doug Phillips, who has done much in the Christian homeschool movement to spread his ideas about women always being in complete submission to men. 

Click here to some pictures of Kirk Cameron with Doug Phillips, founder and president of leading Christian Patriarchy group Vision Forum, and Geoff Botkin, whose “200 Year Plan” details how his descendants will take control of New Zealand and make it into a theocracy, and whose daughters’ book So Much More and film Return of the Daughters has done so much to forward the Stay At Home Daughters movement.

Cameron has served as a speaker at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, where he won the 2009 Best Feature Film award for his 2008 film Fireproof. The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival is the brainchild of Doug Phillips, created in an effort to reclaim the movie industry from Hollywood. The festival’s stated goal?

To encourage the production of films which inspire the highest ideals, the clearest and most noble biblical values, and which do so with a commitment to holiness. To motivate the next generation of Christian filmmakers to create “epistemologically self-conscious films” — films that reflect a distinctively and presuppositionally biblical worldview. We want our applicants to strive to bring “into captivity every [frame] to the obedience of Christ.

This Cameron/Phillips connection is by no means a one-time thing, or accidental. Doug Phillips has also founded the Christian Filmmakers’ Academy, and Cameron has taught there alongside Phillips and the Botkins and remains a perennial speaker. Doug Phillips’ blog highlights Kirk Cameron and his work quite frequently.

Oh, and let me add this. Vision Forum, Doug Phillips’ organization, sells and promotes the books of influential dominionist thinker Rousas Rushdoony, who advocates restoring Old Testament law and stoning anyone who happens to be gay. Given these connections, Kirk Cameron speaking out against gay marriage is pretty much the least surprising thing I’ve read about this week.

I’m glad people are expressing their outrage over Kirk Cameron’s remarks. I just wish more people understood Kirk Cameron’s connections and the depth of his extremism more fully.

When Men Wax Poetic about My Womb
The Cold, Unforgiving World of Geoffrey Botkin
What Courtship Was for Me
When Marriage Looks Like the Only Escape
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • StevoR

    Message to Kirk Cameron via the sweetest voices in the world :

    Oh & also a BIG, a very big :

    NSFW language. But flippin’ heartfelt.

    Glad that homophobia is dying. Wish it would hurry up and expire.

  • fredbloggs

    A certain Cardinal in the UK has been expressing similarly moronic sentiments.

    But you are right, the only thing that is suprising is that people are suprised.

    Although, if they think gay marriage (or indeed any gay-related activity) is an abomination because it says so in their holy book, why are they only focusing on that aspect? Why are they not also out killing witches, slaughtering errant children, and eating prawns?

    Could it be that they are only selecting those aspects of the bible which reinforce their personal prejudices?

    Surely not!

    • Rosa

      Not to mention, on the topic of marriage, I don’t see Cameron endorsing marrying only clones (the way marriage was “created in the Garden” – she’s made out of his rib, after all.) or practicing polygamy, like the patriarchs of the Bible. It’s like he hasn’t even read his own holy book.

    • Twist

      Are you talking about the guy who compared gay marriage to the legalisation of slavery?

      You know, slavery, which the bible is A-OK with?

      And gay marriage, which is in no way comparable to the act of treating another human being as property?

    • Avicenna

      I actually wrote a letter to the Cardinal in question with regards to that article. It was a shocking piece of literature filled with strawmen and stupidity.

      ( – I posted the letter along with silly photos if you want a read)

      So far no mail back but it’s to be expected.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      People are surprised? Seriously, I don’t get why anyone bothers to ask avowed conservative Christians about their views on gay marriage anymore. Seriously, what do they think the answer’s gonna be? How many times can you hear “The bible blah blah blah Adam and Eve blah blah can’t make babies destroying civilization blah.” BOOOOORING! lol

  • Trying this again

    Pretty sure the only people surprised by it are ones who weren’t aware that he was religious at all, much less what flavor. You do actually have to be somewhat aware in what’s happening in Evangelical circles to know this about him, since most of this stuff doesn’t make it into the mainstream awareness. I’m aware of it because I read Slacktivist and Dispatches From the Culture Wars. But a lot of people aren’t.

    On the other hands, it doesn’t require being surprised by it to be infuriated or offended by it. It’s infuriating and offensive. It is when anyone says it. When a public figure — even one as minor as this, one who hasn’t been in the mainstream public eye in twenty years — says it, though, it becomes possible for the public to get some leverage. THAT’S what the GLAAD petition is about, not about being surprised that a far-right Christian said something offensive.

    Oh, and I can’t seem to post under my usual handle, MadGastronomer. If you’ve blocked me intentionally, Libby Anne, I’ll just go away, but if not, then why can’t I post?

    • Libby Anne

      I haven’t blocked you and have no intentions of doing so. I have no idea why it would be giving you problems. Maybe a temporary glitch? Let me know if it keeps happening and I’ll ask the tech guys about it.

      • MadGastronomer

        I didn’t really think you had, but I wanted to allow for the possibility.
        Hm. Let me try it with the same handle but a different email.

    • fredbloggs

      He’s extremelly well known around the world as the Boy Blunder to Ray Comforts Bananaman. I suppose of you never looked at a YouTube video you could possibly miss him.

      • MadGastronomer

        I would never have seen it if it hadn’t been linked off Slacktivist.

      • Sarah

        Yes, I think the banana video went viral.

    • Janey Q Doe

      I had heard of his evangelical stuff before I got into the online atheist community. I’m not sure exactly where I saw them, but I know I’ve watched some TV stuff profiling his Christianity and it frightened the bejesus out of me, so it’s not entirely unknown outside of interweb circles.

  • ibelieveindog

    Nothing new here. He is, however, promoting a movie and his remarks will get fundamentalists to the box office. He knows his potential audience, and knows that he needs the publicity. Because Kirk Who?

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Although I’m not surprised at all that Kirk holds these view, I am very glad that they are sparking outrage the way they are. I highly doubt that his view would have been challenged so publicly and loudly 10 or 20 years ago. This shows a great amount of progress.

  • Steve

    The really surprising thing is CNN giving these morons a platform for no reason at all

    • fredbloggs

      I’d happily give them a platform…over a shark-infested pool.

  • Judy L.

    The Bible does not define marriage as ‘one man and one woman’. Adam and Eve had no parents, just one father-creator, which technically means that they were siblings, and I don’t recall God ever performing a marriage ceremony for them.

    I have to wonder, and Libby Anne perhaps you can answer this as someone who grew up in this insular culture, doesn’t all the literature and movies and other entertainments created by Vision Forum et al get a little boring after a while? The themes seem fairly homogeneous, and even the exciting stuff in the bible is ultimately a finite source of material. It baffles me that imagination and expression is so restricted within a community whose very existence is based on fictions. (Although to be fair, the Left Behind series is, while being really terrible books, technically science/speculative fiction, which I can only assume was designed to satiate the cravings for the kind of imaginative and speculative fiction that is denied and denounced by these sorts of people…it’s like Zombie lit for Christianists.)

    • oldebabe

      Judy, re: your first paragraph; exactly my immediate thoughts, i.e. what did I miss, i.e. marriages going on in Eden? who, when, how? Maybe this guy needs to read the Bible that he has taken as his authority for what he believes, yes?

    • Anat

      Also in Jewish tradition Adam first married Lilith, divorced her and then married Eve.

  • Twist

    He’s against same-sex marriage because it’s unnatural, which is why he’s also against laptops, lightbulbs, nylon, open heart surgery, telecommunications satellites, processed cheese and the internal combustion engine.

    Oh, wait.

    • kagerato

      Yes, the naturalistic fallacy. As though we haven’t heard that one ten thousand times before. (insert :eye-roll: smiley)

  • Incongruous Circumspection

    Kirk should be for gay marriage with the way Doug Phillips is looking at him. They are more in love than me and my wife – and that is a damn hard thing to be.

    Anyway, great sleuthing to find these pictures. Mention Fireproof or any of those church’s movies and I puke.

    Also, what the hell does the story of Adam and Even have to do with marriage until death? Um…nothing. Sheesh! He should have gone with the whole Benjamite tribe thing. It’s a lot more fun to hide in the bushes, jump out, steal a dancing woman, and then force her to have kids with you until death. That beats sewing fig leaves for lingerie.

    So many better stories in the Bible to illustrate that foolish point.

    • Ace of Sevens

      That was my thought. I can see how someone could look at those pictures and end up completely surprised that Kirk Cameron wasn’t for gay marriage if they didn’t know who Doug Phillips was.

  • Blue Duck

    Libby Anne, I find the ‘Adam and Eve’ obsession of fundies odd – after all, there are so many stories throughout the OT of men with multiple wives and concubines. And the creepy Abraham – Sarah – Hagar story. So far as I know, no where in the OT or NT is polygamy explicitly rejected – monogamy just happened to be a Greco-Roman norm two millenia ago that has carried on to us as a cultural norm. SO what do fundies give as the biblical excuse for no polygamy?

    • Incongruous Circumspection

      A little thing they call “progressive revelation”.

      Yeah, it’s problematic for fundies because progressive revelation is, after all, extra-biblical.

      • Ace of Sevens

        So is sola scriptura, for that matter,

  • amhovgaard

    Awww… look at them making eyes at each other. So cute!

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The three guys in that top picture are respectively on the left, the right, and the other right … ?

    And Judy L @ # 7 – as its whole premise centers on supernatural events and being(s), the (indeed terrible) Left Behind series qualifies as a disgrace to the fantasy field, not science fiction.

  • Nessa in the house

    Isn’t marriage supposed to be between two people who LOVE each other?!
    IMHO it’s a much nauseating and disturbing fact that many “regular, 2 gender” couples marry for
    - money
    -because it’s time
    -out of revenge
    -because the “accidental” *cough cough* kid is coming

    and these are just a few reasons that have nothing in the world to do with LOVE! Which is supposed to be the glue in marriage!

    So Cameron dear… SMURF that noise and buzz off!