LOS ANGELES _ Kirk Cameron, who has drawn gales of criticism for comments against homosexuality made to Piers Morgan on CNN on Friday, spoke his mind again Tuesday, calling on those demanding tolerance from him to exhibit tolerance of their own.
"I should be able to express moral views on social issues," he told ABC News via email, "especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years _ without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach 'tolerance' that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square."
He called for learning how to debate such issues "with greater love and respect."
In addition to homosexuality in general, the former "Growing Pains" actor had expressed his views against gay marriage and abortion. Of homosexuality, he'd said, "I think that it's unnatural, I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."
Piers Morgan, speaking with TMZ, said Cameron was "pretty brave to say what he said. ... It's, many would argue, an antiquated view about many of these issues.
"I felt that he was honest to what he believed, and I don't think he was expecting the furor that it created."
Celebs coming to Cameron's defense have been few and far between, though fellow evangelical Steven Baldwin on Saturday tweeted, "GREAT JOB Kirk !!! Let's pray one day Piers Morgan finds true Salvation, God Bless!"
Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck, conservative voice on "The View," noted that "I don't agree with him there at all" before adding, "I do believe that the beauty of this nation is that he can, upon being asked, or of his free will, stand up and say what he believes." Co-host Joy Behar finally agreed that Cameron had a right to free speech, but said she thought he should "just shut up."
Cameron's rep told ABCNews.com Monday that the actor was "thankful for thousands of emails and comments that he's received from those who value the freedom to express one's beliefs."
comments on this story
On the other side of the argument, former co-star Tracey Gold, sister Carol Seaver to Cameron's Mike Seaver, was plain about where she stands, tweeting: "I am a strong supporter of the #LGBT Community, and I believe in equal rights for all. #NOH8 #LOVE"
"Growing Pains" dad Alan Thicke and openly gay actors Neil Patrick Harris and Jesse Tyler Ferguson expressed their views with a touch of humor.
Thicke made it a family affair: "Survey says: Seaver opinions represent 100 percent of Americans, differences included. Just like a real family. But of course, 'Father Knows Best!' "
"The only unnatural thing about me being gay," Ferguson said, "is that I had a crush on Kirk Cameron until about 24 hours ago."
Said Harris? "That Kirk Cameron is hilarious!"