Kirk Cameron Asks Fans To Put Themselves And Others At Risk On New Year's Eve, Citing Christianity & 'Freedom'

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kirk cameron on a step-and-repeat

Like most women my age, I had a mad crush on Kirk Cameron when he was on Growing Pains in the 80s. That crooked grin! Those dimples!

These days, Kirk Cameron is best known for his conservative Evangelical Christianity. This past month he has been using that platform for something much more nefarious — arranging potential superspreader events in Southern California for people to pray, sing Christmas carols, and protest stay-at-home orders.

Yes, he's been asking people to gather without masks and sing in public during the peak of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, where ICU capacity is at 0% and death rates continue to climb.

Despite the fact that local hospitals are preparing overflow Covid units, Kirk Cameron has planned yet another public gathering on New Year's Eve — this time on a yet-unnamed beach in Malibu. 

He does all of this, somehow, in the name of Christianity.

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Kirk Cameron's first terrible idea like this was for a big group of people to meet, without masks, in the parking lot of The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, CA to sing Chrismas carols. 

In his December 11th Instagram post, Cameron called his December 6th Christmas Caroling Peaceful protest [sic] turned out to be "such a blessing" that they scheduled another one for the next Sunday. 

Cameron's timing couldn't have been worse.

In Ventura County, where the original caroling events were held, Covid-19 rates climbed rapidly throughout December, with death rates up 414% in the last two weeks.

Kirk Cameron's gatherings violate nearly every piece of guidance doctors, the WHO and the CDC have offered to help slow the spread of the virus. 

Yes, they are outside, which is considered safer than being indoors, but he is discouraging the use of masks and social distancing while leading others in song, which is known to encourage the spread of the virus through the air.

In a later Instagram video, Cameron justifies these gatherings by saying that the isolation of lockdown has killed people, too.

Yes, there are awful consequences to lockdowns. People feel isolated, alone, cut off from society. People are losing jobs and their homes. It's awful.

What Kirk Cameron seems to forget that there are significantly safer ways to help people feel less alone. They could gather outside, socially distanced, and sing and pray while wearing masks. Telehealth appointments with doctors, therapists and even with your trusted clergy member can help, too.

But I guess taking reasonable measures like that wouldn't create enough of a spectacle to gain him the notoriety he seems to be seeking with these protests. 

Now Christmas has passed, but it seems Kirk Cameron isn't ready to step out of the spotlight just yet. 

According to Malibu Patch, Cameron posted an announcement on his Instagram account that he would be holding a prayer event on New Year's Eve on an undisclosed beach in Malibu, the small and relatively isolated beach town known for its celebrity residents.

Malibu Surfside News reports that the specific location of the event, "New Year's Even Sunset Singing & Prayer For Our Nation By Candlelight", wouldn't be announced until just a few hours before.

Cameron appeared to have deleted the Instagram post on Wednesday, but not before people weighed in with their own opinions.

The Surfside News reports that, "[c]omments on his social media about the events run the gamut, with critical voices saying things like, 'You may not be intentionally trying to hurt people but you’re being willfully blind about it' and 'You are a disturbed, sick person … Desperate to stay relevant.'"

There were reportedly plenty of supporters in his comments, too, echoing his statement that people are suffering and need prayer in order to heal. 

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So why can't officials just kick them off the beach?

Patch reports that due to the religious nature of Cameron's events, there just isn't much law enforcement can do to shut him down, despite LA County's Department of Health's regulations against gatherings including members of more than one household. 

Counter-protests may seem like a great idea, but that seems to encourage more public gathering, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, given the context. 

They just have to let him do it. 

To me, the real mystery is how Cameron can use Christianity to justify these events. 

As Cameron himself stated, approximately 99% of people who contract Covid-19 will survive. 

The strange and horrifying dark side of this argument is the wholesale dismissal of the 1% who will die from the disease. 

In the USA, that 1% has meant more than 300,000 human beings dead in just ten months. 

Three hundred thousand people dead, with December death rates rising sharply in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, where Cameron's events are being held.

How, in the name of Christianity, can anyone ignore the risk to 1% of people: senior citizens, people with diabetes and heart disease, people recovering from cancer (including children, teens and people in their 20s)?

How, as Christians, can we consider these, the most vulnerable members of our society, disposable?

There are countless examples of the teachings of Jesus that directly counter that.

Jesus touched and healed a man with leprosy whom everyone else was afraid of. Jesus invited the unwanted membes of society into his inner circle and treated them as equals, earning scorn from outsiders.

So how can any Christian justify asking large groups of people to take unnecessary risks by saying, "it's only 1% of people who die" — especially now that we know that 1% has already claimed 300,000 people's lives?

These are people's fathers, mothers, grandmothers, spouses, and children are dying by the thousands each day.

Doctors, nurses, grocery and farm workers alike are dying. And every single one of their lives counted. Every single one mattered. 

Certainly, Kirk Cameron has every right to gather to sing and pray in this country, even if he refuses to do it safely, with masks and social distancing. 

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But we have the right to do all sorts of hurtful things. We can insult people, we can hurt people's feelings, we can spread gossip and break confidences, we can cheat on our partners and lie right to people's faces. 

Every single one of these things is a protected right.

But that doesn't mean they're right. That doesn't make them ethical. 

Just because you can, Kirk, doesn't mean you should.

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Gathering hundreds of people together to sing and pray in public right now, without masks or social distncing, is simply an unethical thing to do. 

I'd like to ask Kirk Cameron to remember Mark 12:31:

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Can you love your neighbor — 100% of your neighbors, not just 99% — as much as you love yourself? Can you love all your neighbors as much as you love and value the attention you're getting for these prayer protests?

I'm of the opinion that you cannot say you value human life and encourage people to gather in a group, maskless and close, to sing and pray together during the deadliest pandemic in recent history.

Remember, God can hear you just as easily when you are alone as when you are in a crowd.

I think, instead of organizing a maskless protest on the beach, Kirk Cameron should stay home this New Year's Eve and dedicate this evening to prayer, and ask his fans to do the same.

Because God can hear your prayers from your living room as easily as He can from church.

And God can hear our prayers through masks, too.

Tonight is a great night for Kirk Cameron to sit down and ask God to help him see the value in every single live here on earth, not just the 99% of those who will survive Covid infections. 

If we want to pray tonight, perhaps we should ask God to teach us how to honor Him in 2021 by showing how much we value the lives and safety of others. 

I cannot presume to know what God will tell him, or what guidance any of us will receive. But I can tell you that staying home is a heck of a lot more loving to your vulnerable neighbors than hosting some public display of disrespect for the lives of our first responders and the most vulnerable members of our communities.

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Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and media critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Esquire, Vox, and more. Follow her on Twitter for more.