NASHVILLE, Tenn. When Kirk Cameron went on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" to discuss his upcoming patriotic-themed documentary "Monumental," he didn't expect to get pulled into a national debate over homosexuality.
But in hindsight, it may have been a good thing, particularly for getting the word out about the movie, which is in theaters nationally for only one night March 27 and then in select markets March 30.
"It seemed that perhaps the Lord was in this," said Cameron.
In Monumental, Cameron follows the footsteps of America's founders first the Pilgrims (he travels to England) and then America's forefathers, interviewing experts and historians along the way. His goal is to find the source that inspired the founders and to explore whether America can be turned around economically, morally and spiritually. He thinks it can. Publicists have promoted the movie with the catchy phrase: "Sometimes the only way forward is to go back."
The documentary gets its title from the National Monument to the Forefathers, a Massachusetts monument built in the late 1800s to commemorate what the Pilgrims believed.
Cameron had hoped to discuss his documentary in detail on Morgan's program, but the questions instead mostly focused on gay marriage and abortion, with a discussion about the movie seemingly tacked on at the end. None of those issues are specifically mentioned in the documentary. But Cameron's opposition to gay marriage and his labeling of homosexuality as "unnatural" caused an uproar in Hollywood and the mainstream media.
Cameron talks about Monumental and about the CNN interview. Following is a transcript:
Question: How did you get involved in Monumental, and what motivated you to do it?
Kirk Cameron: I began on this journey about two years ago, as a father. My wife and I have six children, and I'm thinking about their future and the world that they're growing up in. You turn on the news, and you realize that all signs say "panic." Economically we're $16 trillion in debt. Morally, you can go down to the mall or public school, sit down and just be terrified by what you see; what used to be called shameful is now celebrated and normalized in the culture. Spiritually, we've got "In God We Trust" written on our money but the government is going around erasing anything having to do with God or Christ or Christian faith from monuments. The separation of church and state is making teachers feel like they're breaking the law if they mention anything about the faith of our forefathers. I am very concerned where the world will be in 10 years, 20 years, for the sake of my kids. I decided the best thing I could do was to go back and talk to the men and women who built this country, and since I didn't have a time machine, I did the best thing I could, and I bought a ticket to England and began retracing the escape route of the Pilgrims. I went on this journey to understand who they were and what drove them to do what they did. What was the secret sauce what was the rocket fuel that pushed them to risk their lives and their children for the sake of their future? What principles did they use to ultimately wind up with a nation that has received more blessing, security and prosperity than any nation in the history of the world?
Question: Some Christians believe America is hopelessly headed in the wrong direction and that there's no turning back. Do you disagree with them?
Kirk Cameron: I think America is headed in the wrong direction on so many levels. It's obvious. If you have a spirit of discernment, you are keenly aware that we are not moving toward God nationally but away from God. But it's not hopelessly moving in the wrong direction. There is always hope. Christ is our hope. And to the extent that we are walking in faithfulness toward God and we're obeying His precepts and we're trusting His Word and we're teaching these things to our children, we can expect the protection of God the blessing of God and the healing of our families, of our nation. We know this from Scripture and we can see this in history. But to the extent that we walk away from that and abandon God, just like in Romans 1, God will hand us over to our foolishness and give us what we want until we choke on it.
Question: You end the movie by saying that the solution to the nation's problems, economically and morally, "lies in my hands" or lies in the viewer's hands. What did you mean by that?
Kirk Cameron: We live in a world now where most people look to the government to take care of all of their needs. They profess trust in God or trust in Christ, but then in practice, they are really trusting in Washington take care of my health care, take care of my education, take care of my finances, take care of my overall happiness and well-being. As Christians, God tells us to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, not the government. Our hope is in the Gospel, working in the hearts of people. The human agent that brings the Gospel change to the world is courageous moms and dads who teach these things to their children, when they're sitting down and when they rise up, when they wake up in the morning and when they go to sleep the Shema, Deuteronomy 6. Change does not start at the Oval Office. It starts at the kitchen table.
Question: Are you calling on Christians to get more involved with the political process, or for Christians to get more involved with family life? Or both?
Kirk Cameron: I want to learn from the forefathers. So what does the monument say, what did they leave us? This was the Gilgal stones that they left for us, so to speak. And what they said is it must start with faith. So I'm calling people back to the monument, and the monument is calling people to say, "It's the Shema, folks. It's the same strategy that Moses used with the Israelites: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and honor His world." We must get involved with taking a real responsibility with our family life, particularly in the worldview that we teach our children. And then, yes, get involved in the process of electing leaders who are men and women of character. You don't want ungodly leaders, because they will lead your nation astray.
Question: That is similar to what you said at the end of the movie, when you said the "seed that grew this nation is faith in God."
Kirk Cameron: Yes.
Question: This movie will be in theaters only one night. How do you see it being used after that?
Kirk Cameron: March 27 is our big event. That's the giant stone that we're dropping into the pond to create all of the ripples. So it will be 500 theaters, one night tens of thousands of families watching simultaneously on that night. And then after that, we will have a traditional theater release. So we'll be in maybe 50 theaters around the country that weekend, and then the movie will continue to tour around the country in select markets. It will be more difficult to find it in theaters after March 27, so we're recommending everyone go out March 27. If we can sell out 500 theaters on that night, that will send a giant ripple out, all the way up to July 4, when the DVD comes out, together with curriculum and study materials for schools, homeschooling families, small groups, churches.
Question: The Piers Morgan interview seemed to put you in the spotlight for a few days. Did this help draw attention to the movie and end up being a good thing?
Kirk Cameron: Absolutely it did. I was actually very careful not to bring up any politically explosive questions or topics in Monumental. But it seemed the Lord had other plans. Piers was disingenuous with me and told me that we would speak of the movie, and in fact he refused to talk about it. He asked me several different questions: What do you think of gay marriage? Do you think homosexuality is sin? What do you think of abortion? Would you still force your daughter to carry that baby?
Question: So there was a major silver lining.
Kirk Cameron: There was. It seemed that perhaps the Lord was in this. As much as I as a follower of Christ try to model love and respect and kindness for everyone and hold to convictions of faith and truth and morality this just blew up in the press. It was trending all over the world. What some people mean for evil, God means for good. My hope is that this will embolden Christians to stand for truth in the context of loving people, like Christ did. People are trying to characterize me within the movie as being some kind of bigot. I can take that, but I hope it sends a message to the rest of the body of Christ I'm just a representative of who they think you all are. We need to stand together in the body of Christ and say, "We don't hate anybody. We love everybody, even our enemies. We will love you, but we won't allow you to bully us into silence."