'Monumental' Mischief: In His New Movie, Kirk Cameron and His Religious Right History Boys Peddle Religious Extremism

By Conn, Joseph L. | Church & State, May 2012 | Go to article overview

'Monumental' Mischief: In His New Movie, Kirk Cameron and His Religious Right History Boys Peddle Religious Extremism


Conn, Joseph L., Church & State


Kirk Cameron is an actor best known to the general public for his role in the '80s TV sitcom "Growing Pains." Today he's a fundamentalist Christian best known for appearances in low-budget Christian-themed movies and for his outspoken ultra-conservative viewpoint.

Cameron sparked controversy in March when he went on CNN's "Piers Morgan" to promote his new film "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" and wound up bashing gays and gay marriage. In response to a Morgan question, Cameron said homosexuality is "unnatural.... It's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."

His remarks produced a strong rebuke from the LGBT community and its allies, but largely overlooked in the discussion was the broader theocratic agenda Cameron seems to be peddling.

The film was released March 27 in a special nationwide event at over 500 theaters. Although Cameron tried to pitch the documentary as overlooked history, the production involved a cavalcade of far-right "experts" that push "Christian nation" revisionism.(It also received a boost from former Fox News ranter Glenn Beck, who appeared in a special livestream introduction beamed into theaters before the film.)

Among those appearing in "Monumental" is David Barton, the notorious fundamentalist myth-maker whose Texas-based WallBuilders out-fit has made a fortune selling Christian nation books, brochures and videos.

Another featured expert is Herb Titus, a law professor so extreme that TV preacher Pat Robertson had to push him out as head of Regent University Law School. (In more recent times, Titus has distinguished himself as a luminary in "birther" circles that question whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.)

A third participant in the film is Marshall Foster, founder of the World History Institute (as well as the now apparently defunct Mayflower Institute). Foster thinks that America should be a "Christian republic," that public schools should be shut down and that all of life must be governed by a "biblical worldview," just as in the days of the Pilgrims and Puritans.

Foster is "cowriter" of the "Monumental" script. According to online sources, he met Cameron in an airport and the relationship developed from there.

The theme of the movie is that the Pilgrims came to America seeking religious liberty, and they organized a model Christian community that we ought to emulate today.

Legitimate historians note, however, that the Pilgrims and Puritans came here seeking religious liberty, but set up a regime that gave freedom only to themselves. In keeping with its religious viewpoint, the Plymouth Colony prescribed the death penalty for adulterers, homosexuals and witches, whipping for those who denied the scriptures and fines for anyone harboring a Quaker.

Observes Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, "The Pilgrims played an important role in the history of America, but we don't want to emulate their 17th-century theocracy today. That approach to government is exactly what America's founders repudiated when they gave us our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The United States is based on principles of church-state separation, individual freedom, equality and fairness, not anyone's religion."

Journalists and bloggers who monitor the Religious Right are particularly troubled by Cameron's warm relationship with the Christian Reconstructionist camp, the most overtly radical faction of the Religious Right.

Unlike most fundamentalist Christians, adherents of this harsh theology aren't expecting the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Instead they want to take "dominion" and impose a draconian version of biblical law on modern-day America for the next thousand years or so. …

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