Kirk Cameron says he’ll continue hosting outdoor, mask optional, mass gatherings to peacefully protest California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After facing criticism for holding an event Sunday outside The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and another earlier this month with more than 500 attendees, the former Growing Pains star, an evangelical Christian, defended himself Wednesday on Fox News. The segment was juxtaposed with a California judge ruling that two strip clubs in the state can remain open amid the lockdown.
Asked about the Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña calling the gatherings “unchristian” for “ignoring all guidelines,” Cameron replied, apparently unaware the mayor is a woman, “Well, he’s no one to judge someone else’s faith.”
The former child star continued, “I’m looking around in my community and I’m seeing the devastation and suffering of people whose businesses have been bankrupted, people dealing with anxiety, depression, suicide is spiking, the abused being quarantined with their abusers and I can’t just ignore that. I love my neighbors and so I want to give them hope.”
He added, “We’re offering a chance for people to come sing songs of hope — and that’s exactly what people want to be doing at Christmas time.”
Cameron was asked just one other question in the interview and it was whether he’ll continue to host the “Sing It Louder” protests.
“Absolutely! People are just clamoring to come and be a part of them,” he said. “This is the land of the free and home of the brave and there are thousands and thousands of people in our community who would rather not suffer in isolation and come out to sing and express their gratitude. Because we believe there is immunity in community but there is desolation in isolation and I want to give people hope.”
On Sunday, mall security reportedly called the Thousand Oaks police to the scene, but officers reportedly encouraged the revelers to mask up and left. While there were many critics of the mask-less display, the gathering doesn’t violate any rules because people can still gather for outdoor religious services and protests despite the regional stay-at-home order.
Thousand Oaks is the second-largest city in Ventura County. Earlier this month, COVID-19 hospitalizations reached record heights in Ventura County — and on Tuesday only 1 percent of ICU beds were available, leading to the county’s public health officer to again warn residents about the consequences of not masking up or allowing for social distance.
“If a hospital were a car, it would be rattling right now,” Dr. Robert Levin told CBS Los Angeles. “The numbers are getting to be astronomical. People are going to die that don’t need to die.”
In nearby Los Angeles County, with 10 million people, fewer than 100 ICU beds remain. At the L.A. County+USC Medical Center, there were no ICU beds available.
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