Former Growing Pains heartthrob turned evangelical Christian Kirk Cameron tested the limits of California’s regional stay at home order Sunday evening by hosting an enormous crowd in the parking lot of the Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks to sing Christmas carols sans masks.
Although footage of the festivities was published by TMZ, there’s no official estimate of how many people showed up, but Cameron did say in a promotional video for the event that he and the event’s cosponsors, Sing it Louder U.S.A., hoped to double the turnout for a caroling sesh at another location the previous weekend, where approximately 500 people turned up.
According to TMZ, the Oaks lot was “absolutely packed” and “literally swarms of people were huddled up, not wearing masks and singing their hearts and lungs out…breathing up a storm.”
The one-time Tiger Beat cover model, who slipped his teen idol image to star in such films as Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas and the Left Behind apocalypse trilogy, says the gathering—where lyric sheets and candles were handed out—was aimed specifically at Governor Gavin Newsom and the state’s most recent stay at home order.
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“Have you ever sung Christmas carols by candlelight at a time when your state Governor has prohibited you from doing that?” Cameron, who also boosted the sing-along on Instagram, asks in the video. “In America? Well, this is something that is truly happening. You can’t make this up. It is such an uplifting, inspirational, and encouraging time, we want you to join us.”
Billing the evening as “part town hall meeting, part worship service,” Cameron promised, “If you love God, if you love Christmas, and if you love liberty, you’re not going to want top miss it.”
Despite Cameron’s stated desire to melodically rage against Newsom’s machine, it’s doubtful that he and his fellow songsters actually violated any rules. The regional stay at home order, which currently applies to Ventura County, prohibits gathering with people from other households, but makes an exception for religious services and protests. (As the order states, “Worship and political expression are permitted outdoors, consistent with existing guidance for those activities.”)
Mall security did reportedly call the Thousand Oaks police to check out the scene, but responding officers merely encouraged the revelers to mask-up and left.
Cameron’s religious awakening—which began during the final season of Growing Pains in 1992—caused tension among the cast that lasted even until their 2000 reunion with The Growing Pains Movie. At the time, Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, and Tracey Gold revealed that Cameron had not invited them to his mid-90s wedding, and they hadn’t invited him to any of theirs.
“If I’d invited him, he probably wouldn’t have come,” Gold said at the time. Cameron countered, “I totally would have come—I wasn’t invited.”
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