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Will Anti-Gay Actor Kirk Cameron Say Yes To A Lunch Invitation From Bullied LGBT Youth In New Jersey?

UPDATE: You can read Mr. Cameron’s response (through his spokesperson) here — and no, he’s not going to meet with them. They are told to go watch his interviews online, where Cameron says being LGBT is “unnatural,” “detrimental” and “destructive to our civilization.”.

Non-cognitive elite,” 80s former teen idol Kirk Cameron, Champion of Marriage and spokesbot of NOM’s Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance has been invited by 17-year-old Corey Bernstein, a victim of anti-gay bullying, to meet with a group of LGBT teens. Garden State Equality sent this via press release:

Emotionally devastated by actor Kirk Cameron’s public statements that being LGBT is “unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to foundations of civilization” – and that health and happiness come uniquely from opposite-sex marriages – bullied LGBT teens have invited Cameron to meet them over lunch this Saturday, July 28, on a weekend when he will be in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.   Cameron will be delivering an allegedly “pro-love” and “pro-marriage” talk this Friday night before the Camp Meeting Association in Ocean Grove, whose booming LGBT community has led the town’s revitalization.

The bullied teens wanting to meet Cameron are members of the Youth Caucus at Garden State Equality, the statewide organization for LGBT equality.   The co-chair of Garden State Equality’s Youth Caucus, Corey Bernstein, 16, emailed a heartwrenching invitation to Kirk’s manager Mark Scott last Friday afternoon.   As of now, Tuesday morning, neither Cameron nor Scott has responded.

Kirk Cameron
c/o Mark Craig
Mark Craig Productions
1383 Callens
Ventura, CA 93003

Friday, July 20, 2012

Invitation to Kirk Cameron to lunch on Saturday, July 28 in Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Dear Mr. Cameron:

I am Corey Bernstein, age 17, a resident of New Jersey and co-chair of the Youth Caucus at Garden State Equality, the state’s organization for LGBT civil rights. I endured brutal bullying at my former school because I am gay.

Mr. Cameron, I understand you are visiting Ocean Grove, New Jersey from Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29 to speak to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. When you are in town that weekend, I would like to extend this invitation for you to join me and other members of Garden State Equality’s Youth Caucus – many of whom are also teenagers who have been bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In fact, I would like to invite you to meet us for lunch at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 28th in Ocean Grove, along with leaders from the local organization Ocean Grove United and from Garden State Equality. The lunch would be at the home of the co-chairs of Ocean Grove United.

In a kind, respectful and constructive way, we’d like to talk to you about the pain your words about being LGBT have personally caused me and other LGBT youth. If you can’t join us for lunch that Saturday – when we youth will be meeting regardless – but can meet us at another time that weekend, we will do everything to make the timing convenient for you.

Mr. Cameron, words casting negative judgments about LGBT people not only perpetuate prejudice in our wider society, but also hurt LGBT youth in particular. Some of your public comments about being LGBT have devastated us LGBT youth. We yearn to grow up in a world that provides us dignity and safety. That is our simple, most heartfelt dream.

The problem is not just that you oppose marriage equality – a view we disagree with, but to which you are entitled in our free nation – but that you did so with such disregard for how we youth would perceive your words. Your statement that being LGBT is ”destructive to our civilization,” when millions of LGBT people like me try our very best every day to make our world a better place, was like a knife in the heart. Many LGBT youth struggle with coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Hearing statements such as yours are extremely hurtful and dangerous to these youth.

Haven’t my teen colleagues and I endured enough hurtful words at school? What kind of lesson might you, as a public figure, be giving to would-be bullies about how to treat other LGBT people? I must give you the benefit of the doubt when you say love everyone, including LGBT people. But saying that being LGBT is “destructive to our civilization,” as well as some of your other comments – calling being LGBT “unnatural” and making clear your belief that only certain marriages provide appropriate happiness – run counter to the loving person you no doubt are.

And I don’t know that such words are necessary to expressing one’s faith. Millions of God-loving people of many faiths hold different views from yours on being LGBT.

When I heard your comments, I personally felt you hated me – as did many other LGBT teens I know – without your having even met us. Please, Mr. Cameron, won’t you meet us when you’re in Ocean Grove at the end of the month? Although it may be tempting to call me and say you’re busy and that you’re taking our concerns seriously and did not intend to cause us pain, I really want you to meet us in person so we can talk with you face-to-face about the pain your words caused us.

You or your representatives may reach me via this email or on my mobile phone, .

Corey Bernstein
Co-Chair Garden State Equality Youth Caucus

The lunch with members of Garden State Equality’s Youth Caucus, to take place this Saturday, July 28 at 1:00 pm at the home of members of the local organization Ocean Grove United, will proceed whether or not Cameron accepts the invitation.

In addition to joining Saturday’s Garden State Equality Youth Caucus lunch, Ocean Grove United is hosting a peaceful protest against Cameron – open to the public without any RSVP required – this Friday night, July 27, the night Cameron is giving his talk.   Ocean Grove United will gather at 85 ½ Cookman Avenue to walk in peaceful protest to the Auditorium in Ocean Grove.   At 7:00 pm, Ocean Grove United will host a block party on Cookman Avenue.  The theme, a counterpoint to Kirk’s talk oddly titled “Love Worth Fighting For,” will be “ALL Love Is Worth Fighting For.”   The block party, too, is open to the public without any RSVP required. The press contacts for Friday’s night’s peaceful protest and block party are Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster at Ocean Grove United, mobile (732) 672-9739.

* National Organization for Marriage hires ‘non-cognitive elite’ celebrity spokesbot: Kirk Cameron

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Pam Spaulding

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