Former teen star and Christian entertainer Kirk Cameron stood in a Florida airport terminal as Hurricane Irma buzzed across the Atlantic and told his 2.4 million Facebook followers what the storm was really about.
“One thing we know about hurricanes and all weather is that this is not mother nature in a bad mood, this is a spectacular display of God’s immense power,” Cameron explained in a live video in Orlando Thursday morning as Floridians by the hundreds of thousands fled their homes and the state girds for Irma’s direct hit on the southern coast early Sunday morning.
The episode is the latest reaction from celebrities stepping into the public eye as first Harvey and now Irma, Jose and Katia dominate the news cycle and conversation on social media. Other celebrities have used the moment to amplify humanitarian efforts, with some wading into political fire as debate swirls over the role of climate change in the recent mega storms.
The “Growing Pains” star sough to connect the storms to a Bible passage in the book of Job where storms are used to announce God’s displeasure.
“When he puts his power on display, it’s never without reason. There’s a purpose. And we may not always understand what that purpose is, but we know it’s not random, and we know that weather is sent to cause us to respond to God in humility, awe and repentance,” Cameron said, in a video that has garnered more than 400,000 views.
Cameron’s video has earned flashes of criticism on social media for connecting religious lessons to twin hurricanes that have brought historic damage and destruction from Texas to the Caribbean. At least 70 deaths have been reported in Texas following Hurricane Harvey and 22 from Irma, according to the Associated Press.
And then there is Jose, roaring in from the east and a storm that could threaten the British Virgin Islands by Saturday night.
On Wednesday, actress Jennifer Lawrence, on a media tour to promote her new film “Mother!,” discussed with British network Channel 4 the election of President Trump and the charged politicization of climate change, a prominent discussion among people concerned that human-driven actions have destabilized and irreversibly damaged the planet.
“You know, you’re watching these hurricanes now, and it’s really hard, especially while promoting this movie, not to feel Mother Nature’s rage and wrath,” Lawrence said, adding that recent political upheaval has led to a “new language” across the United States.
Lawrence is onto something here. Antifa and the alt-right, kompromat, fake news and other terms have stormed the American lexicon, all anchored by the political decisions and sometimes miscalculations of the Trump administration.
Fox News seized on the discussion and connected Trump, climate change and hurricane activity into one critical barb, saying Lawrence suggested “electing Donald Trump and not believing in man-made climate change.”
A public relations representative for Lawrence did not immediately return a request for comment. Cameron’s public relations house did not return a question asking if there was a lesson Cameron was missing as he boarded a flight out of Irma’s path to calmer Arkansas.
Some celebrities affected by the storm have injected their influential names into relief efforts. Actor Robert De Niro, who owns a resort on the devastated island of Barbuda, announced Thursday he would lend a hand into the rebuilding.
“We are beyond saddened to learn of the devastation in Barbuda caused from Hurricane Irma and look forward to working with the Paradise Found Nobu team, the Barbuda Council, GOAB and the entire Barbuda community to successfully rebuild what nature has taken away from us,” De Niro said in a statement obtained by the New York Daily News.
Singer and Barbados native Rihanna, Queen Elizabeth and others have also spoken about the storms.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has won the celebrity philanthropy deathmatch, with $29 million raised for Hurricane Harvey relief and accolades from the beleaguered state on a long road to recovery.