NBC Hypes ‘Growing Backlash’ Against Kirk Cameron for Stating Biblical View on Marriage

On Monday, NBC’s Today hyped liberal outrage against conservative Christian actor Kirk Cameron for daring to adhere to a traditional Biblical view of marriage. Teasing the story at the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, co-host Matt Lauer declared: “Kirk Cameron controversy. The Growing Pains actor under fire after saying women should be submissive to their husbands. What he's now saying about the growing backlash.”

Introducing the report minutes later, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: “Kirk Cameron is in the headlines this morning because of some controversial things he's saying about marriage.” Correspondent Hoda Kotb touted his comments “igniting a social media firestorm” and announced: “This morning, new uproar over Kirk Cameron's views on marriage. His controversial message, women should be submissive to their husbands.”

Kotb quoted Cameron telling The Christian Post: “Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband's lead, not to tell a husband how he ought to be a better husband.” She then recited a series of nasty social media attacks against him:

And the backlash on Twitter was quick. “Can someone please slap some sense into Kirk Cameron?,” one woman tweeted. Another, “Kirk Cameron isn't qualified to give anyone advice on anything. His wife isn't allowed to tell him this. That's why it's up to us”....Men chimed in online, too, going so far as to call Cameron “a piece of trash.”

A sounbite ran of Liz Plank, senior correspondent for the left-wing news site Vox.com: “In this case, I think he's using religion, in a way, as a shield, as a way to justify or validate what are sexist beliefs and not take responsibility for them.”

Kotb briefly noted that “some supported the controversial actor, saying his advice came straight from scripture” and that “Cameron's spokesperson says his comments were twisted and taken out of context. Telling Today, ‘Husbands should love and protect their wives.’”

She also made sure to hit Cameron for his views on gay marriage as well: “This isn't the first time the '80s heartthrob has come under fire. The evangelical Christian speaking out against gay marriage in 2012.” A clip played of Cameron telling then-CNN host Piers Morgan: “It's unnatural. I think that it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

Kotb asserted that Cameron later “clarified his comments” to her on the March 20, 2012 Today show when he explained: “I love all people and I have hatred toward no one. I'm also a man of conviction, and if you press me, I'll give you my perspective on a social issue if you ask.”     

Earlier on that same broadcast, then-host Ann Curry grilled Cameron: “Many people are suggesting that this is hate speech. Are you encouraging people to feel hate towards gay people?”

Here is a full transcript of the May 2 segment:

8:07 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Anyway, actor Kirk Cameron is in the headlines this morning because of some controversial things he's saying about marriage. And Hoda’s here, she’s following that story. Hey, Hoda, good morning.

HODA KOTB: Good morning, guys. Good morning, everybody. Kirk Cameron is currently on tour for what’s called “A Love Worth Fighting For” event. It's designed to strengthen marriage. But what Cameron is saying about a woman's role is igniting a social media firestorm.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Kirk Cameron Controversy; “Growing Pains” Star: Wives Should Follow Husbands]

This morning, new uproar over Kirk Cameron's views on marriage. His controversial message, women should be submissive to their husbands.

KIRK CAMERON [GROWING PAINS]: There’s nothing wrong with being a nerd.

KOTB: The one-time Growing Pains star, who tours churches nationwide speaking about marriage, tells The Christian Post, “Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband's lead, not to tell a husband how he ought to be a better husband.” He goes on to say, “When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.”

CAMERON: Our marriage is really something that fits into the much bigger picture of God's love for his bride, the church.

KOTB: And the backlash on Twitter was quick. “Can someone please slap some sense into Kirk Cameron?,” one woman tweeted. Another, “Kirk Cameron isn't qualified to give anyone advice on anything. His wife isn't allowed to tell him this. That's why it's up to us.”

LIZ PLANK [VOX.COM SENIOR CORRESPONDENT]: In this case, I think he's using religion, in a way, as a shield, as a way to justify or validate what are sexist beliefs and not take responsibility for them.

KOTB: Men chimed in online, too, going so far as to call Cameron “a piece of trash.” But some supported the controversial actor, saying his advice came straight from scripture. “If you're a ‘Christian’ wife, you better heed Kirk Cameron’s advice cuz [sic] that is exactly what your Bible commands you to do. Hate to break it to you.” Cameron's spokesperson says his comments were twisted and taken out of context. Telling Today, “Husbands should love and protect their wives.”

CANDACE CAMERON BURE: It is meekness, it is not weakness.

KOTB: His sister, actress Candace Cameron Bure has stated that she prefers a more submissive role in her own marriage.

KIRK CAMERON [GROWING PAINS]: Hey, Dad, what's another word for election?

KOTB: This isn't the first time the '80s heartthrob has come under fire. The evangelical Christian speaking out against gay marriage in 2012.

CAMERON [CNN]: It's unnatural. I think that it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.

KOTB: Weeks later, he clarified his comments right here on Today.

CAMERON [TODAY, MARCH 20, 2012]: I love all people and I have hatred toward no one. I'm also a man of conviction, and if you press me, I'll give you my perspective on a social issue if you ask.

KOTB: With his “Love Worth Fighting For” tour now underway, the married father of six telling The Christian Post, "A lot of people don’t know that marriage comes with instructions. And we find them right there in God’s word,” referring to the Bible.  

PLANK: The conversation that is following on social media right now, I think, is even more important than the actual comments that he made.

KOTB: And he goes on to say that couples, you guys, shouldn't have heated arguments because they say if someone wins, someone has to lose. And he talks about how they shouldn't fight in front of the kids. But the other stuff’s really getting a lot of attention on social media. By the way, I noticed he hasn't been on Twitter since, I think, a year and a half ago, so maybe he's not aware of all the tweets.

NATALIE MORALES: Maybe a good thing to stay away from it now.

MATT LAUER: May be off it for a reason.

KOTB: Yeah.

GUTHRIE: Hoda, thank you.

NBDaily Culture/Society Conservatives & Republicans Religion Anti-Religious Bias Christianity NBC Today Video Hoda Kotb Kirk Cameron

Sponsored Links