May 22nd, 2012
11:23 AM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Video of a North Carolina pastor preaching that gays and lesbians should be rounded up inside an electric fence is going viral on the Internet, two weeks after North Carolina passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama voiced personal support for legalizing such marriages.
"I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it past the Congress," Pastor Charles L. Worley can be seen telling his Providence Road Baptist Church congregation in the video, which had more than 250,000 YouTube views by Tuesday.
"Build a great big, large fence – 50 or a 100 miles long – and put all the lesbians in there,” Worley went on to say in his May 13 sermon at his Maiden, North Carolina, church. “Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
The video had initially been posted on Providence Road’s website but was recently taken down, according to CNN affiliate WBTV-TV in Charlotte.
The phone line at Worley’s church was busy on Monday night and on Tuesday, as was Worley’s home number on Tuesday.
The church’s website was down Tuesday morning, but it had described the house of worship as fundamentalist, meaning it represents a Baptist tradition that's more conservative than the Southern Baptists.
Worley’s sermon was posted on YouTube by a group called Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate, which is organizing a protest at the Providence Road Baptist Church on Sunday.
Addressing his congregation last Sunday, Worley referred to his earlier controversial sermon.
"I talked a little bit, I believe it was last Sunday, on the homosexual lifestyle, and there was a whole lot of people who didn't like what I said," Worley told his congregation Sunday, according to WBTV. "I want to read it out of the Bible, and then we'll go from there."
“Listen, all of the Sodomites, the lesbians, and all of the ... what's that word? Gays – I didn't wanna say 'queers' – that say we don't love you, I love you more than you love yourself,” Worley said, according to WBTV. “I'm praying for you to be saved."
Worley’s initial sermon was partly framed as a response to Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, which he made in a TV interview a day after North Carolina voters passed a state constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of such marriages and other types of gay unions.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, was working Tuesday to gather criticism of Worley’s comments from other North Carolina pastors.
“I am angry and sick at heart over Pastor Worley's comments,” said the Rev. Dennis Teall-Fleming, pastor at Open Hearts Gathering in Gastonia, North Carolina, in a statement distributed by GLAAD.
“Nothing he says has anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Teall-Fleming, who leads a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation. “I call on all Christian and Baptist organizations that have any connection with him to condemn his comments as strongly as I do, including Providence Road Baptist Church of Maiden.”
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.