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May 8th, 2012
02:02 PM ET

Pastor who sparked outrage over hitting gay children speaks out

By David Mattingly and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Fayetteville, North Carolina (CNN)– A pastor who advocated hitting boys who display effeminate qualities is expressing regret for the sermon he delivered in the midst of a controversial marriage amendment battle.

"Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist," Sean Harris, the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, told his congregants in his sermon on April 28. He continued, "Man up, give them a good punch, OK. 'You're not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you're going to be a male.'"

This week Harris said, "I was telling them in strong words that were not careful. What did I learn this week? Be more careful with your words."

Harris' comments came in a heated environment in the Tarheel State. On Tuesday, voters will cast ballots on Amendment One, which would amend the state constitution to say that "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

While North Carolina already has a law banning same-sex marriage, the passage of the amendment would effectively ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Churches across the state have taken opposing sides on the issue. George Reed, the head of the North Carolina Council of Churches, which is opposing the amendment, says the support breaks along traditional battle lines. He says many Catholic and independent evangelical churches support the amendment and many mainline churches oppose it.

On Sunday, a full-page advertisement from the world's most famous evangelist, long-time North Carolina resident Billy Graham, ran in 14 newspapers across the state.

The ad featured the 93-year-old evangelist's picture and read, "I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage." It continued, "The Bible is clear - God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”

Graham has shied away from other hot-button political issues in the past. His spokesman, A. Larry Ross, noted he had kept silent when similar ballot issues appeared in 30 other states but felt compelled to speak up this time because the debate was raging in his home state.

“For him it’s a timeless message, not a timely issue. He’s preached this for 60 years. He was reinforcing the positive message he has been preaching," Ross said. “For him it’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.”

Harris' controversial sermon was focused on the amendment debate and he is encouraging his members to vote for the marriage amendment.

Harris said he preaches a biblical interpretation at the Berean Baptist Church - that homosexuality is a choice and that the Bible teaches it is sinful behavior.

The church is an independent congregation that began in 1967 after members left Grace Baptist church "in reaction to the liberal influence in the Southern Baptist Convention," its website says.

When Harris' sermon hit the Internet, it became a flashpoint for the statewide debate. Harris says he became the target of angry, hateful messages filled with profanity and multiple death threats after telling parents how to deal with children and effeminate behavior.

"You know, it's amazing how 'punch' has been equated to inciting violence against gay youth. That's not what I meant," the pastor said.

Instead, he said, the reference should be interpreted differently: "A shove, an affirmation. You see coaches give their players a good punch, a good slug. It's a way of affirming the gender distinctions between a male and a female," he said.

Anyone looking for a sweeping apology will be disappointed.

"I was apologizing for failing to say the right thing, for failing to be more careful, to make sure that no one thinks that Sean Harris is suggesting, as was said - although I never said this - ... 'Beat the gay outta children.' Those weren't my words, I didn't even believe there is such a thing as gay children. So I wasn't saying that. I was dealing with effeminate behavior, and instructing parents to affirm the manhood or the womanhood in their children," he said.

Congregants have stood by and supported their pastor. Prior to the service on Sunday, Harris received a standing ovation. Police kept watch outside the church. Demonstrators were kept at a distance.

"He always has a little levity into it and that's why we all laughed. We know our pastor," one member said.

Harris said he won't apologize for for what he called doing his job.

"No, I don't think that I need to apologize for preaching to my people what the word of God says. That's my responsibility."

See the full interview with Harris on Tuesday on "AC360."

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

soundoff (1,109 Responses)
  1. Aki

    This have been going on for way to long, and I doubt this will ever be solved. The South, I should know because I live in Texas, through out history always had a hard time accepting things. I don't care if your a guy in love with another guy, because a couple is bewteen two people. Not three. Same applies with girls in love with another girl. What right do any of us have to tell them that you aren't allowed to get married? Seriously, if suddenly straights were not allowed to marry others people would boycott saying its against their rights. Its pointless to fight when no matter what you say half of the people here probably wouldn't stand up and actually do something.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  2. HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

    CASE CLOSED.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Like It Is

      Oooh, well researched. I'm surprised the pastor-haters here aren't jumping on board with their rash decision making abilities.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  3. Worehammer12

    The governmental plan has been all along to create more gays so they can't reproduce for volume control because if there are more of "their kind" in the country they can't have babies. They are doing it to thin the population out so that the country is easier to control.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Primewonk

      How would the government create more gay folks? Be specific and support your contention with peer-reviewed science.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Like It Is

      Wore, is that you, Prime, trolling?

      May 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  4. Primewonk

    This moron advocates beating kids because "they might be gay". This is wrong on so many levels.

    Beating another person is NEVER an acceptable response. It only shows that you are a sick sadistic cretin.

    You cannot "beat teh ghey" out of someone – adult or child.

    Being born gay is a natural variant of sèxual orientation. It is no more wrong, or immoral, or a sin, than being born left-handed or green-eyed.

    What is just as sad as this cretin being in a position of power and influence, is the number of cretins in his congregation who support this putz. Each and everyone of these "good christians" should undergo investigation for possible child abuse.

    What is also just as sad, are the posters on here who support this cretin.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Bob

      Primewonk, I completely agree with you. Glad you said all those things.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Incorrect. It is in fact a choice.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Like It Is

      Please provide proof that being gay is genetic, Prime. Also, please stop misrepresenting the pastors words. The pastor never said "beat the gay out of children".

      May 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Mark

      When did you choose to be straight?

      Also, if it is a choice, SO WHAT?!! This is America b itches, land of the free.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Where in the constitution does it say you have the choice to be gay?

      Everyone is born straight. People CHOOSE to be gay. Period.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • momoya

      @like it is

      Who cares if it's genetic or not?!? The color of clothes you wear ain't genetic; should parents beat on children for selecting clothing of the "wrong" color?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • momoya

      @ Mark

      You dipsh!t moron.. Just because the const.itution doens't address an issue it doesn't mean it's a choice.. You didn't have a choice of where to be born and the const.itiution doesn't address that, either.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      By your reasoning, you think it's ok to make the choice to bang animals too right? How about murdering people? You think that's ok to make the choice to do?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • momoya

      @Mark

      Your posts here make it clear you have no idea what is or isn't a rational argument.. What parts of their personality people choose or don't has nothing to do with the const.itution.. I was born with brown eyes, and the const.itution had nothing to do with it.. I make a choice to wear green contacts, and the const.itution has nothing to do with it.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Mark & Like It Is – seriously – do any of you ignorant fundiots know how to construct a simple MESH query in PubMed?

      The neurodevelopment of human sèxual orientation.
      Rahman Q.
      Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29(7):1057-66. Epub 2005 Apr 25. Review.

      Biological and psychosocial determinants of male and female human sèxual orientation.
      James WH.
      J Biosoc Sci. 2005 Sep;37(5):555-67. Review.

      Fraternal birth order and the maternal immune hypothesis of male hômosèxuality.
      Blanchard R.
      Horm Behav. 2001 Sep;40(2):105-14. Review.

      The neurodevelopment of human sèxual orientation.
      Rahman Q.
      Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29(7):1057-66. Epub 2005 Apr 25. Review.

      Fluctuating asymmetry, second to fourth finger length ratios and human sèxual orientation.
      Rahman Q.
      Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2005 May;30(4):382-91. Epub 2005 Jan 13.

      The biology of human psychosèxual differentiation.
      Gooren L.
      Horm Behav. 2006 Nov;50(4):589-601. Epub 2006 Jul 25. Review.

      Finger-length ratios and sèxual orientation.
      Williams TJ, Pepitone ME, Christensen SE, Cooke BM, Huberman AD, Breedlove NJ, Breedlove TJ, Jordan CL, Breedlove SM.
      Nature. 2000 Mar 30;404(6777):455-6.

      A biologic perspective on sèxual orientation.
      Pillard RC, Bailey JM.
      Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1995 Mar;18(1):71-84. Review.

      Androgens and sèxual behavior.
      Pardridge WM, Gorski RA, Lippe BM, Green R.
      Ann Intern Med. 1982 Apr;96(4):488-501. Review.

      Hormones and psychosèxual differentiation: implications for the management of intersèxuality, hômosèxuality and transsèxuality.
      Meyer-Bahlburg HF.
      Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1982 Nov;11(3):681-701.

      Sèxual orientation and handedness in men and women: a meta-ànalysis.
      Lalumiere ML, Blanchard R, Zucker KJ.
      Psychol Bull. 2000 Jul;126(4):575-92.

      Quantîtative and theoretical ànalyses of the relation between older brothers and hômosèxuality in men.
      Blanchard R.
      J Theor Biol. 2004 Sep 21;230(2):173-87.

      Linkage between sèxual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females.
      Hu S, Pattatucci AM, Patterson C, Li L, Fulker DW, Cherny SS, Kruglyak L, Hamer DH.
      Nat Genet. 1995 Nov;11(3):248-56.

      Neuroendocrine mechanisms and the aetiology of male and female hômosèxuality.
      MacCulloch MJ, Waddington JL.
      Br J Psychiatry. 1981 Oct;139:341-5. Review.

      Hormones and psychosèxual differentiation.
      Giordano G, Giusti M.
      Minerva Endocrinol. 1995 Sep;20(3):165-93. Review.

      Neuropsychological development of cognitive abilities: a new research strategy and some preliminary evidence for a sèxual orientation model.
      Sanders G, Ross-Field L.
      Int J Neurosci. 1987 Sep;36(1-2):1-16. Review.

      Fraternal birth order and the maternal immune hypothesis of male hômosèxuality.
      Blanchard R.
      Horm Behav. 2001 Sep;40(2):105-14. Review.

      Sèx steroids and human behavior: prenatal androgen exposure and sèx-typical play behavior in children.
      Hines M.
      Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec;1007:272-82. Review.

      Androgens and sèxuality.
      Hutchinson KA.
      Am J Med. 1995 Jan 16;98(1A):111S-115S. Review.

      Biological and psychosocial determinants of male and female human sèxual orientation.
      James WH.
      J Biosoc Sci. 2005 Sep;37(5):555-67. Review.

      Neurobiology and sèxual orientation: current relationships.
      Friedman RC, Downey J.
      J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1993 Spring;5(2):131-53. Review.

      Genetic and environmental influences on sèxual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample.
      Bailey JM, Dunne MP, Martin NG.
      J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Mar;78(3):524-36

      May 9, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • sam stone

      The main thing to take from this blog is that Mark from Middle Finger is a moron, and could not come up with a rational argument to save his life.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • sam stone

      Like It Is: There is no proof that it is genetic. There is no proof that it is a choice.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  5. SRV

    I agree with the pastor.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      Why?

      Do you think you can beat "teh ghey" of kids?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Marci

      Shame on you and shame on the pastor. Ignorant jerks that you are.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  6. Sleeping Dogs Punch You In The Face

    Let me tell you something.

    NEVER pull out. Ever.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • I-cannot-believe-this-drivel

      Huh? What are YOU talking about???

      May 9, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  7. Mopery

    I'll bet that preacher tries to beat the gay out of himself nightly. Probably leaves him out of breath with a sore wrist..

    May 9, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Like It Is

      And I bet you cry yourself to sleep at night because you're really a closet Christian. Yours is like the nazi argument, only meant to insult and shut off open-minded conversation.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Mopery

      Nice try, must you always invoke Godwin's Law in an attempt to win your shallow arguments?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • momoya

      like it is

      What a mamby-pamby milquetoast christard, you are.. Either man up and be in favor of beating kids who act gay or man up and stand against it.. Frankly, either position is more respectful than this silly defense of a hate-filled individual in his advocation of parental violence towards certain children.. Your position is disgusting

      May 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  8. mary

    even if his words were misinterpreted he fails to recognize that his god has created gay and straight people – it is he who is trying to change that – you can not bully a child out of his 'gay' orientation. You might cause him to revolt or kill himself – I'm sure that would make him happy – he should do some research – go out and speak w/young gay people – they will tell you they've known they were gay from a very young age – they will tell you no one would ever choose to be gay – life is hard enough when you're straight. They will tell you no amount of resistance from the right will change that – and the fight will go on.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Like It Is

      Fails to recognize? Can you point to the definitive scientific study that proves gay is genetic? If not, then I would say he is still perfectly within rational territory.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • sam stone

      like it is: there is no definitive proof that it is genetic. nor is there any proof that it is a choice.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  9. Worehammer12

    The church of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been in league with the Vatican for three decades and has been responsible for the AIDs epidemic that has plagued the world recently. Before the Vatican became involved, Michael Jackson was targeted by the Mormon church and is known to be responsible for his skin color change. People close to Mr. Jackson who were known members of the church were poisoning his food with skin bleaching products that were later responsible for his demise. The Vatican and the Mormon church murdered Freddie Mercury with AIDs. They have been targeting gays and blacks in order to cleanse the human gene pool of all liberalism. They are in bed with the world government illuminati and this is the reason why Bohemian Grove exists. http://www.infowars.com/bg1.html Information has recently been unearthed that proves that the Masonic faith was founded by the Catholics and later incorporated the Mormon church.

    There is a wealth of information on the subject here:

    http://mormonconspiracy.com/

    May 9, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • I-cannot-believe-this-drivel

      Okay, I should know better than to read the comments... but you are definately borderline insane. A Mormon-Vatican Conspiracy? nah... it was Elvis and the Sasquach in a UFO, on orders from the Star Chamber of the Gnomes of Zurich. I've been reading science fiction for forty years, and most of these "Fact-based" rants are less believable than anything I've ever read...

      May 9, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  10. Worehammer12

    Satan is in the blood of these children and they need to be struck by the pastors!

    May 9, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Like It Is

      Troll

      May 9, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  11. boyamidumb

    Just watched a video about another teen who hanged herself because of bullying. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?????
    You haven't bothered to read ALL of your own bible, just the parts that suit your personal prejudices and your fears. It would be my guess, that deep inside you have thoughts that reflect who you really want to be. People generally are angered by something in themselves that they see in the people they direct their anger against. Just come out of the closet and you might find your place in life.

    Your Jesus is ashamed of you. Your god will certainly condemn you.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Trixi

      We should probably just save our breath. His wee little mind is closed and has been since sometime in the 50's.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Like It Is

      And we can assume your brain is so open that it leaked out sometime in the 60s? LOL

      May 9, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How noble an argument you make, Like it Is. What's wrong? Is this guy your dad?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Like It Is

      No, I'm yours rebel Tom. 😉

      May 9, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  12. ellid

    He apologized once the video went viral. I pity any gay child in his congregation.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Like It Is

      What need did he have to apologize for anything before activists twisted his words into something he didn't intend? Considering he said in that same sermon that any family who has a child considered gay should still treat that child with the love of Christ, I think that would be the best place for that child. At least they would receive love rather than the hate of people who are condemning and threatening this poor pastor.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • momoya

      LOL, you think that if a child is beaten out of "love," it's better than a child who is not beaten by someone who doesn't like another person's words..

      May 9, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Like It Is

      Please provide the exact minute in the pastors video where he said "beat the gay out of the child." Please provide evidence from this pastors church that anyone believes he was actually suggesting anyone harm a child. Please provide the dictionary definition of hyperbole.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Primewonk

      "any family who has a child considered gay should still treat that child with the love of Christ"

      So the love of your christ involves beating children who might be gay? You cannot spin this cretin's words to mean anythiong other than what he said. Which was to beat kids who might be gay to toughen them up.

      You folks never did answer how beating a child who might be gay, makes them straight. I've been asking and waiting foe the scientific evidence that supports this idea, but none of you fundiots will post it. How come?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • momoya

      LOL, like it is wants to argue that because the pastor didn't say words in a specific order they don't mean what he intended.. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Like It Is

      No, M., what I'm trying to educate you on is the meaning of hyperbole, that is, exaggerating to make a point.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • momoya

      Okay, so what interpretation of his hyperbole did the media and every other person miss?. What action was the pastor actually telling the parents to do when they see their child with a bent wrist??

      May 9, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  13. Truthbetold

    Yea, lets just beat the gay out of him!!! Jesus would be proud!

    May 9, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Like It Is

      It is comments like this that distort what the pastor actually said that should be taken as hate speech and encouraging hatred and violence. This pastor said nothing of the sort.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Truthbetold

      Like it is, why don't you enlighten us all on what the pastor "really said". He said if your son shows a limp wrist then you should crack that wrist. Don't pretend like there isn't a segment of the population that believes being gay is a behavior that can be altered....by physical means or otherwise.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Like It Is

      T., why should I have to enlighten you when you can actually educate yourself by listening to his sermon online for yourself instead of assuming what the pastor said or meant.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Like it is – again, how will punching a child and cracking their wrist change their innate sèxual orientation? Be specific. List citations to peer-reviewed scientific research that supports your contention.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Like It Is

      Prime, it was hyperbole. Go look it up. Nobody is going to punch their boy (unless it is a good-humored shoulder punch that even supposedly gay sports figures engage in), nor are they going to "crack" their wrist (which I suspect was poor wording simply try to get them to stop acting limp-wristed). Finally, for you, prove that being gay is "innate", please.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • momoya

      @like it

      Just because the pastor knows a synonym for 'exageration,' and you looked that word up this morning doesn't mean that it actually was hyperbole.. When a person uses hyperbole the actual meaning is usually implied: "Wow, that yard work today just about 'k.i.l.l.e.d" me!!" –We know that the person worked very hard in the yard and got very tired..

      When someone advocates a physical response to another person's physical response, there's no hyperbole because there's no alternate and clear meaning; thus, we MUST conclude that he was serious and NOT using hyperbole.. If it had been hyperbole, you'd not be arguing that it was hyperbole but that we should all see the true meaning behind his exaggeration.. The people who claim that pastor used hyperbole can't demonstrate what the obvious, non-hyperbolic intent was.. You fail.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  14. Bob

    Sorry, this country was founded on religous freedom. How long are we going to listen to this drivel from a few. When churches start espousing political change, ir is time to remove their tax-exempt status. Let their donation be what the are, political donations.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • EmDo

      Thanks, Bob! That is the real issue here and its always turned into something more complicated. Keep church and state separate, plain and simple.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  15. Rational Libertarian

    "You know, it's amazing how 'punch' has been equated to inciting violence against gay youth."

    Oh I get it, in Pastor Sean Harris' house, punch means treat equally and respectfully. I guess that's this problem sorted.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • naomaforeman

      I have no respect for anyone who thinks hitting a child is a GOOD THING. Our daughter was raised (now an adult) without one smack, slap, or hit. And, in the Talmud it says that "if you must hit a child, use nothing stronger than a shoe string." Sort
      of makes a different pronouncement, doesn't it?

      May 9, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  16. Dana

    Words are often misunderstood; ignorance never is.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Like It Is

      Too true. Those who misinterpreted his words are ignorant.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Trixi

      Oh, he was crystal clear. Violent and innapporpriate, but crystal clear.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can his words possibly be misinterpreted?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Like It Is

      How can his words be misinterpreted??? Guys, seriously, look up the word hyperbole. If you've ever read the Bible, do you assume Jesus really wanted his followers to "pluck their eyes out"??? Yes, misinterpreted.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • momoya

      @like it is

      You A.SSUME it's hyperbole to feel more comfortable with what the pastor condoned.. You're like a christian who claims that the creation accounts in Genesis are "allegory" because now that science has provided the answers you know that the creation accounts are not literal, but if science had evidenced one of the bible's creation accounts you'd be saying the opposite.. Same deal here.. If the pastor was receiving praise and accolades you'd be singing a much different tune right now than "It's just hyperboleeeeee.../... There's no need for mockeryeee../... Why can't you all seeeeee.../... It's just hyperboleeee..."

      May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Like It Is

      M., I don't have to assume like you do because the pastor stated that he was using hyperbole. If you don't believe him, that's your call, but the interviews with his congregation show that they understood hyperbole. Why don't you?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • momoya

      You moron.. Anybody can claim that what they said was hyperbole after the fact..

      May 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Like It Is

      M., and it's an arrogant and angry assumption on your part not to believe the pastor intended what he said as hyperbole. His congregation took it that way according to the interviews. If they didn't, why would they say so? I assume you believe they're all liars and are going to go home and beat children? Oh, the profound ignorance of Christian-haters.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • momoya

      LOL hyperbole for what action, then?? What action was the pastor advocating if not the "hyperbole" that he stated?. The pastor cited a specific action on the part of the child (wrist bending), and suggested that parents physically strike that child's bent wrist.. Why would anyone a.ssume he was speaking hyperbole, and if they did a.ssume that, what did they think the pastor was actually suggesting that they do when their child's wrist was bent in that manner?

      Please answer the questions.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  17. Mark frmo Middle River

    Why are atheists building temples?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/26/alain-de-botton-temple-atheism

    May 9, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Alain de Botton is a pretentious idiot who sees himself as some sort of atheist spritualist. Almost every atheist I've discussed this issue with agree that de Botton is a fool.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Like It Is

      Ah, the no true Scotsman fallacy. LOL

      May 9, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No, my response has nothing to do with the No True Scotsman fallacy. I'm not saying de Botton isn't an atheist, I'm just saying he's a pretentious idiot.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mark, what does this have to do with anything?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Like It Is

      Because he doesn't think like you do? Can you point to the atheist standard by which you condemn him?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Like, do you think that one self-proclaimed atheist claiming he's building a temple is significant proof that atheism is a religion?

      When you figure that out, be sure to clue in the Piddler.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Like It Is

      Tom, so then you believe this atheist is just fine in his beliefs? If not, by what standard do you condemn him, and why should any other atheist agree with you?

      May 9, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You people need to shut your holes already. Atheism IS a religion. Get it through your thick skulls.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're right Mark, just like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Like It Is

      LOL. I'll just go right down town and join my local not-collecting-stamps group.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  18. JT

    How can people blindly follow such a complete idiot?

    May 9, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • guy

      Its religion, you are supposed to blindly follow it.
      Also this is what the bible teaches. People still follow a religion even though they never truly practice it... so why be a part of it if you don't like it?

      May 9, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  19. Robert

    Just one more example of the tyranny of religion.
    And Harris, if you feel the need to punch someone I'll be happy to provide my address, I'll of course be punching back.
    Cowardly little man.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Like It Is

      How cowardly to go on national television after being threatened and continue to state his beliefs and explain himself.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  20. Kate

    So she he slap his daughter upside the head if she likes to play basketball? If she is 6foot tall and plays volleyball and eschews boys? (not necessarily lesian but just not interested say?) ignorance is so profound in NC and the south it's scary. Next up at bat? Unmarrieds? next mixed race? Jews? so where is the line that 'christians' have for what their god preached? Love, tolerance? I guess death camps.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • thinking clearly now

      Oh yeah sure Kate, from a smack to the death camps! Dont get me wrong thats no good reason to strike a child but do you have to be so dramatic? You lump all Christians together, you do realize how many different denominations there are dont you? And that most Christians do not teach hate or violence at all!

      May 9, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • Like It Is

      Kate, how 'bout the ignorance of not actually listening to what the pastor said? He said it was fine for girls to play sports. Much of what he said was intentional hyperbole. It's just that some people are apparently too stupid or biased against Christians to get it, or to want to get it.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what you've written, Like, shows you think smacking a kid who's gay is fine. Good to know.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Like It Is

      Tom, your comment shows that you judge people before getting to know them. No, I would not strike a child, and as evidenced by those interviewed in the pastor's congregation, they wouldn't either. Some people actually have the intelligence to understand hyperbole. Only activists want to twist the pastors words and make others think he was truly advocating violence. If even the members of his church come out and say that's not what they think he meant and they don't believe it, then why are some still making a big deal of it? I'll tell you why. Because some activists will twist the truth to condemn others who disagree with their immoral views.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you twit. It's because we've seen what kind of violence is perpetrated against gays. You're defending that very thing. Excusing this sort of language as nothing more than hyperbole is beyond absurd. I don't give a crap what people in this turd's congregation say-they're stupid enough to go to a church where a minister would voice such hatred. Apparently, so are you.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Like It Is

      Only a moron could misinterpret such hyperbole. That is in evidence in these threads. Only a moron would jump to conclusions about whether this pastor thinks gay children should be "beaten" without knowing more of him and his beliefs. Only morons would say this pastor is spreading hate, in spite of him actually telling families to love those children, and then pestering his church with hateful and threatening phone calls. What hypocrites!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • momoya

      @like it is

      Only a moron WOULD misinterpret the pastor's words as hyperbole.. That is in evidence in your posts.. Only a moron would jump to a conclusion that this pastor was not advocating beating children with certain hand gestures.. Only morons would say that this pastor is not spreading hate in spit of the other bullsh!t he says all the time.. What stupidity on your part.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      @like it is: So the following line "Man up, give them a good punch," does not indicate the pastor advocating child abuse to you? You are the one misreading that and I'm certain numerous child service workers would agree, not just those advocating for the equal treatment of all in this world. What this pastor did was to say that if the parents believe that their children have the potential to act on something that we know to be purely natural, it is okay to beat the gay out of them. He had no right to give advice to anyone. This is his congregation, not necessarily his family (although some might be), it is not his business how people raise their children. How absolutely morbid on the pastor's behalf! He should lose his job and never be allowed near children again.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.