Kirk Cameron is facing backlash for hosting mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Growing Pains star corralled hundreds of people together on Sunday night to sing Christmas carols outside The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Many attendees were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, according to Instagram videos posted by Cameron, as COVID-19 cases surge in Southern California and capacity at intensive care units are at dangerously low levels.
“God Bless America!” Cameron captioned one video. “Joy over Fear.”
Cameron is an evangelist Christian who is active within a ministry based in the Los Angeles area. He has partnered with the group Sing It Louder USA and is leading peaceful protests against California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Sunday’s caroling event was the second Cameron has hosted this month. The first on Dec. 6 had “over 500 people” singing in protest.
“We want to double the size of our local gathering and sing Christmas songs, Christmas carols at the top of our voices,” Cameron told his followers last week, urging people to attend Sunday’s protest. “It is such an uplifting, inspiration and encouraging time. We want you to join us.”
Judging from Cameron’s videos, they had a large turnout.
Cameron was called “disrespectful” and “selfish” in his comments section, with thousands of people expressing disappointment.
“As a fellow member of your community this is a slap in the face to all those nurses picketing our hospital right now because they're exhausted,” one woman wrote.
“So does love thy neighbors mean you love them so much you’re gonna give them covid?” added another Instagram user.
According to KABC-TV, Cameron and other carolers said they wanted to celebrate their God-given liberties. But the mayor of Thousand Oaks doesn’t see it that way.
“Liberty and freedom are very fragile and they come with great responsibility,” Claudia Bill-de la Pena said. “Continuing to hold large gatherings and ignoring all guidelines, I feel, is unchristian.”
Thousand Oaks is the second largest city in Ventura County. It was announced on Tuesday ICU capacity has fallen to 1 percent in Ventura County while nearby Los Angeles County, with 10 million people, had fewer than 100 beds available.
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