Kirk Cameron, 41, is far from his days as TV teenage heartthrob Mike Seaver in Growing Pains. But he has not left the media world behind, nor has he been idle. Cameron starred in several of the Left Behind movies, and more recently in the Christian film Fireproof. He is also co-host (with Ray Comfort) of the TV-and-radio ministry The Way of the Master, and is the father—with his wife of 21 years, Chelsey Noble—of six kids.
Busy guy. But not too busy to make a new documentary—or to make the news, as he did recently with his comments about homosexuality on CNN.
Cameron's new documentary, Monumental, traces America's founding back to the Pilgrims. It releases Tuesday (March 27) as a "live event" in more than 550 U.S. theaters, and due to demand, more screenings being lined up for the weekend.
Cameron came under fire for comments in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, where he defended traditional marriage and said homosexuality was "unnatural" and "destructive" to society. Cameron has since clarified his views on the Today Show, saying he's not a bully and that he loves "all people."
CT spoke with Cameron about the release of Monumental, the history (and current state) of America, and the firestorm surrounding his comments on CNN.
What got you started on the Monumental project?
I approached this film not as an actor or a politician, but just as a dad with six children. The world they're growing up in is rapidly changing, and it's heading in a direction that is not good. Financially, we're $16 trillion in debt. Morally, spiritually we're spiraling downward. We're in the vortex and we're about to get flushed down the drain. I turn on the news and say, "What can we do about this?"
Everyone's playing the blame game. The church blames the media for all of the wickedness that gets pumped into our homes, and the media blames the church and religion for all of the wars. I say, wait a second. Maybe we've simply forgotten what made this country the freest, richest, most prosperous nation in the world. And if only I could go back and talk to the men and women who built this place. Who are they? Why did they do what they did? Where did they get their ideas from? How did this whole thing come together? That's why I went to Europe and began retracing the escape route of the Pilgrims to understand who they are and why they came here. The film is like going on a journey, and it's taking you with me. It's telling you the stories and putting you in the shoes of the Pilgrims.
What do you hope to accomplish with Monumental?
I learned that the problems that we have are not solved by blaming somebody else, and that our hope is not in who governs us as a nation. It's not in Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or Ron Paul. Our hope is in the power of God and his gospel working in the hearts of people. But that gospel is not limited to just getting you and me out of hell. It is all-inclusive and permeates every aspect of God's world. That means when I live out his principles, my marriage begins to be reconciled to God and it begins to reflect beautiful, godly things. And then my family is being reconciled to one another and to God. The Pilgrims believed it would work itself out right through your church, your business, your society, your nation, and the world, so that ultimately you would have filled the land with the glory of God.
Why did you focus on Plymouth instead of Jamestown as the true roots of America?
The true roots of America go all the way back to the ancient Hebrew republic. You can trace those roots at Jamestown back to Europe as well. This is the trail of freedom that leads us all the way back to the ancient Hebrews under Moses where he first delivered those laws of liberty—when he told them to elect leaders, men of character that you willingly submit yourself to, to self-govern rather than have a king. To me, the most inspiring demonstration of those principles was found in the Pilgrims. That's why Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address to the nation "Remember the Pilgrims. Never forget the Pilgrims."