Kirk Cameron: 'It's my life's mission to love all people'; GLAAD calls his recent statements 'harmful'

kirk-cameron.jpg Kirk Cameron, who has found himself at the center of controversy following his recent remarks in which he called homosexuality "unnatural" and "detrimental," is responding to charges that he's engaging in hate speech.

In a statement provided to ABC News, Cameron says, "I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people."

"I should be able to express moral views on social issues, 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," Cameron continues.

He concludes, "I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect," and added, "I've been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally)."

These comments did nothing to mollify GLAAD. The organization has chided the former "Growing Pains" star for his comments.

Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs and Communications, says in a statement, "Saying that gay people are 'detrimental to civilization' might be 'loving' in Kirk Cameron's mind, but it's gay youth and victims of bullying who truly suffer from adults like Cameron who espouse these ideas."

"Obviously, Cameron has the right to recite his anti-gay talking points, just like fair-minded Americans have the right to tell him that his views are harmful and have no place in modern America," Graddick adds.

In addition to GLAAD, Cameron's remarks have drawn fire from many in Hollywood. Most notably, he's been criticized by two of his former castmates, Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold.

Thicke, who played Cameron's TV dad on the long-running sitcom, writes on Twitter, "I love Kirk but I may have to spank him...'tho not in a gay way!"

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images