Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 11/17/21

Kirk Cameron’s very public faith journey has included Growing Pains that have led to current Takeaways. Takeaways, of course, being the name of the ’80s-’90s era teen TV star’s new talk show which airs Mondays at 9:00 PM (ET) on TBN.

JWK: So, how’d the talk show come about – and what do you hope people take away from it?

Kirk Cameron: Just now you said “What do you hope people take away from it?” That’s why we call it Takeaways because that’s so often what counts – what you take away from an interview, not just being entertained by a good conversation but what are some action steps that we can actually put into practice to make a difference. So, that’s why we called it Takeaways.

Let’s see, how did it get started? Well, you know, John, I’ve felt for a lot of years that I’ve had the opportunity to meet really smart, thoughtful and wise people but, often, they’re in backstage rooms that other people don’t get to be a part of. I’ve always loved interviewing people and wanted to do an interview show that combined the topics that people say you shouldn’t really talk about – and that’s politics and religion. So, I talked with my friends over at TBN and said “Let’s give it a try.” So, we started with the first four episodes and they turned out great and now it’s become a whole season of 52 episodes. It’s once a week. Our leading guests were Dennis Prager and Dinesh D’Souza. We were talking about atheism, Critical Race Theory and education. Then we talked with Charlie Kirk and Mike Huckabee about religious liberties in America. We’ll be talking with and ABC News anchor and a top-selling singer/songwriter about the power of story to shape our culture. Then we’ll talk with my sister Candace Cameron Bure about being a Christian in the entertainment industry.

JWK: Have you taped that interview yet? If so, what was it like interviewing your sister?

KC: I’ve done all those interviews. Interviewing my sister was great. It was lots of fun.

JWK: How do you choose your guests? Outside of Fox News, most of the people you’ve mentioned probably wouldn’t be booked on most so-called mainstream media shows. Are there other potential guests you’d like to talk with?

KC: We’re gonna see. I mean I’d love to talk to people that are on the shows that everybody watches. Sometimes people are afraid to talk about faith and their afraid to talk about politics. I would love to talk about both of those things in the context of my worldview. We’ll see. A lot of these people are people that I know, people that I’ve met over the years and I’m hoping to get to meet a lot of new people.

JWK: Preparing for this, I came upon a conversation you recently conducted for TBN with your Growing Pains TV siblings Jeremy Miller and Tracey Gold. I found it interesting that you all have kept a good relationship after all these years.

JWK: Considering how many of your public positions are not particularly popular in Hollywood, I could imagine that they might want to keep you at arm’s length – but, refreshingly, that’s not the case.

KC: Yeah, I’m really thankful for that. We’ve maintained a friendship over the years. Jeremy’s great. Tracey’s great. Joanna (Kerns) also. Even Leonardo (DiCaprio) and others from the cast – the producers, writers – it was really like a big family all of those years, so we’ve kept in touch.

JWK: What I liked about that conversation was the insight you all expressed about using the real-life challenges that confronted each of you to lift others up.

KC: I think, deep in the heart of all of us, we love an underdog story. We love a comeback story. We love when people use the challenges in their lives to help others get through there’s. I think that’s part of what we’re here for.

JWK: How do you feel about the way the culture has gone since your Growing Pains days?

KC: I think it’s gone exactly the way that we can expect it to go the further and further that we move away from the Judeo-Christian worldview that our country – and the laws in this country and the values in this country – were built on…So, all of this is going in a predictable way. I think it follows the influence – or the lack of the influence of the family of faith upon the culture.

JWK: You’ve done several faith-themed movies over the years but I guess this is your first regular TV show since Growing Pains ended. I actually think Growing Pains is a bit of an underrated show. It had an overall kind tone and a theme song that was sort of uplifting and inspiring. It was the kind of show that brought you up as you wound down the day. It seems to me that television has gotten a lot darker over the years.

KC: Yeah.

JWK: Do you have any thoughts on that or am I going down a wrong alley?

KC: No, no, no. I’d be happy to talk about it. I don’t have too much to say because I’ve become so uninterested in television that I watch hardly any. I’ve been busy raising six kids and trying to make a positive difference in the world, like a lot of people. People just sort of tune out because they feel that so much of Hollywood and the things that are being made are so out of touch with the values that many people want which I think is really sad.

It speaks to why I’m doing Takeaways. I want to be able to talk about these kinds of things. I want to encourage people. Instead of cursing the darkness, I want them to shine a light. Instead of decrying a degenerating culture, I want them to step up and begin to support the things that they love and even create new things that are gonna reflect the kind of tone that they want.

JWK: If you could book anyone to speak on Takeaways, who would that be?

KC: That’s a good question. You know who I like listening to is Joe Rogan. It would be great to talk with him.

JWK: That would be interesting. That also brings us a bit into the area of the Culture War. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the current debate over Critical Race Theory.

KC: I don’t buy into CRT at all. If anyone really wants to understand Critical Race Theory, they really have to understand Critical Theory – ideas put forth by a guy named Karl Marx. The whole idea of restructuring society by dividing (people) up into separate groups and then getting them to fight each other and tear each other down is the classic Marxist means of reordering and restructuring things with all-new power structures. It’s terrible. It’s destructive and it never works. Most people don’t understand what that’s really all about but, if you look at our culture, you see the divisions happening everywhere. All in the name of tolerance and safety, you’ve got people divided over whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, whether they’re black or white, whether they’re rich or poor, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, whether they’re male or female, whether they’re gay or straight. The dividing influences are not helping us. You know, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I’m working on trying to put forth ideas that can unite us and help us come together as a country – or we won’t have a country for very long.

JWK: You’re married for thirty years to Chelsea Noble, an actress you met on Growing Pains. I believe you have six kids.

KC: Yeah, six kids!

JWK: So, how’s life?

KC: My life’s awesome, John. It’s really great. My daughter just got married…I walked her down the aisle and (as an ordained minister) I married her and her husband. That was a challenging dual role – the hardest role I ever had to play – the father of the bride and the minister! It was like “Who gives the bride to this groom?” and I said “I do!” Then I helped them say “I do” and they went off on their honeymoon.

JWK: How long would you like to keep doing the talk show and what else do you have coming up?

KC: This show is brand new. We’ll see how people like it. I hope that they’ll like it a lot.

I have a few other projects going on. I’ve got a documentary about the homeschooling movement that’s gonna be released in the movie theaters in May – and then a feature film that I produced and acted in with the Kendrick Brothers. Those are the guys that made Fireproof, Courageous and War Room. We just made a brand-new movie on the value of life in the womb and the beauty of adoption…It’s a scripted drama. I’m producing it with the Kendrick Brothers and I’m also acting in it.

JWK: When do you expect that to come out?

KC: That’ll come out in the fall, like September (or) October.
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Big Bird weighs on COVID vaccines for kids and SNL‘s Goober the Clown yucks it up on fetuscide.

As Forbes.com points out, Sesame Street has a long history of producing segments on childhood health issues, including urging kids to get vaccinated. COVID may be a bit different since there is a serious debate afoot about the risk-benefit equation regarding kids. A lot of concerned parents aren’t too thrilled about being pressured by the Muppets on the issue. As Connor Boyack, author of Tuttle Twins kidlit book series and Executive Producer of the Tuttle Twins animated TV show sees it “The Big Bird controversy is the latest example of how the left works hard to indoctrinate our kids. That’s why parents are now pushing back, both at the ballot box, and in turning to trusted entertainment and curriculum for their kids that teaches the values they support.”

Personally, I don’t feel qualified to weigh on the risk-benefit calculus of vaccinating young children for COVID but there does seem to me to be room for legitimate debate about it – but the media, like it does with climate change, election issues and a host of other matters, files the subject in its ever-burgeoning “settled” file. Bottom line is I see Connor’s point on the issue.

Of course, the corporate media isn’t just indoctrinating kids. It’s indoctrinating all of us. For instance, according to the comedy geniuses at SNL, fetuscide is a laugh riot and any attempt to restrict isn’t to be debated. It’s to be insensitively mocked. Here Goober the Clown – who had an abortion when she was 23 – tells us “(Abortion) is a rough subject, so we’re gonna to fun clown stuff to make it more palatable. Whee!” There’s the strategy in a nutshell. Look at this…

not this. Don’t think about the clear science of what’s actually happening in a woman’s womb during pregnancy. Instead, laugh it up with, Goober. It’s certainly easier to deal with pregnancies among the poor by wiping away the fetus than it is consider alternate policy ideas that would make it easier for financially struggling women to choose life. Considering that  statistics cited by the NIH show that African-American women have gone through nearly four times as many induced abortions as white women for at least three decades now, it seems racist not to seek another way. And, certainly, it’s no laughing matter.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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