September 2012 – In September 1620 a small band of about 40 British Christians who had separated from the Church of England and had been living in Holland sailed to North America hoping to lay a foundation for a nation unlike any other in human history.
Nearly 400 years later, actor and Christian activist Kirk Cameron - motivated by a sense that America is headed for a moral and economic collapse - set out on his own transatlantic pilgrimage to find out what had become of the Pilgrims' dream.
In retracing the Pilgrims' escape to freedom, Cameron discovered a history very different from the one he had been taught in school. In a residential neighborhood in Plymouth, Massachusetts, he also stumbled upon the National Monument to the Forefathers, a largely forgotten granite structure that illustrates in symbols the founders' blueprint for preserving liberty in America.
Cameron documented his journey in the film Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure. The film premiered in March in select theaters and is now available on DVD at afastore.net.
"I am not a politician," Cameron explained to AFA Journal. "I am a husband and father of six children who cares very deeply about the kind of nation we are leaving our children."
Cameron, who grew up an atheist, came into the national spotlight in his role as Mike Seaver in Growing Pains, a popular television series that ran from 1985 to 1992. At 17 and the height of his popularity, Cameron became a Christian.
At 41, he continues to act, primarily in Christian-themed movies such as Fireproof and the Left Behind series. He also uses his celebrity to share the gospel of Christ through speaking engagements and various ministry projects.
Cameron recently spoke to AFA Journal about Monumental and his own Christian pilgrimage.
AFA Journal: What has been the response to Monumental?
Kirk Cameron: The overwhelming response has been: "Wow, I never knew that. No one had ever told me that before." People are just excited, surprised and inspired to learn of our nation's true Christian heritage.
AFAJ: How has the making of Monumental changed your views and how do you hope it changes the views of those who see it?
KC: I would like people to come away from Monumental with both excitement and indignation. That's certainly what I felt after I completed this journey.
I was excited to learn that our nation was founded by a group of heroic people with a biblical worldview. Their purpose was to advance the Christian faith and, through that effort, bless all the people of this nation.
I was also filled with a sense of righteous indignation over the fact that our nation's history has been rewritten. We have not been told the truth about our heritage.
Imagine if your grandfather had fought in the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, and then someone painted a caricature of him to his great grandchildren telling them that he was just a silly old man who had some dreams that he tried to pursue, but his efforts really didn't amount to much. You would say: "Who do you think you are to rewrite the history of such a hero?" In essence, that's what many of our textbooks have done with the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers.
AFAJ: Do you feel a kinship to these people?
KC: Absolutely, because they were ordinary people like you and me. They were courageous mothers and fathers who, for the first time in their lives, had the opportunity to be free. They got the owners manual for life, the Bible, which taught them how to be free. It showed them the source of their freedom, and they were crazy enough to believe that with God's help, and if they would covenant with one another and obey God's commands, they could see freedom in their day. And I'm not talking about just personal freedom from sin, but freedom as a nation.
AFAJ: A week before the release of Monumental, you were interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN. When Morgan asked about your views on same sex marriage, you said: "Homosexuality is unnatural." That comment caused quite a media firestorm. What has been the aftermath of the interview and how do you see God's hand in the timing of it?
KC: The timing certainly was interesting. There was no way that we could have purchased that kind of visibility and advertising time. But it was interesting that there was so much controversy surrounding that comment, because I didn't say anything that was not consistent with a Christian worldview. What would have been truly newsworthy was if I had said something that contradicted the teaching of the Bible.
But, clearly, CNN used that comment to drive up the ratings of Piers' program. Piers brought it up with nearly every other guest after me. "What did you think of what Kirk Cameron said?" "What do you think about homosexuality?" "What do you think about gay marriage?" "Did you see the Kirk Cameron clip?" He seemed to be milking that for all it was worth.
But it started some great conversations and brought to light an issue that people need to be discussing. Namely, Piers is pushing a worldview that is consistent with his beliefs. He is doing it on national television. So, why can't Christians be doing that effectively? I think it's because we don't own the microphones. But, I'm hoping for that to change.
AFAJ: Your autobiography is titled Still Growing. What's growing in your understanding of God and His call on your life?
KC: When I look at these words in the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name," one of the things that I am learning is how easy it is to deceive ourselves into working a lifetime so that our own name would be hallowed as somebody who did something great or somebody who really stood out from the crowd and made a difference. That may be true of great men and women of God. But that wasn't their goal. Their goal was to see the name of Jesus Christ hallowed.
The next phrase, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," makes me want to see families, churches, businesses and nations reflect more of heaven than hell.
Sometimes as a Christian, I have had a dualistic way of looking at the world. My heart, my marriage and my family may reflect something of heaven. But I would often think that business, science or media was always going to reflect hell because those things belonged to Satan. I don't think that way anymore.
I want to be part of advancing the gospel, setting people free spiritually and having that begin to permeate not only the private areas of their lives, but the entire society.
Monumental is available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.
LEARN MORE about America's founding
The Complete American Heritage Series Set by Wallbuilders is 16 DVDs with 39 episodes. Discover the forgotten and remarkable story of our nation's foundation, from the heroism of our Founding Fathers to the building of our nation's monuments; the separation of church and state, the civil rights movement and more. This series will inspire every American to reclaim the godly, true story of our nation. Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.
Lessons on Liberty: A Primer for Young Patriots by Peter A. Lillback and Judy Mitchell. Colorful illustrations and a simple alphabet poem are employed to guide the reader through the fundamental principles of American liberty. Available at www.providenceforum.org.
George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter A. Lillback. This highly acclaimed biography of George Washington leaves no doubt that America's first president was a Christian. The author is president of Westminster Theological Seminary, where he is also professor of historical theology. Available at local and online book sellers.