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May 28th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Pastor's comments about gays draw protesters

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–Hundreds of protesters gathered this weekend in Maiden, North Carolina, to voice their displeasure with a pastor's statement that gays and lesbians should be rounded up behind electric fences.

Sheriff Coy Reid estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 protestors came to the Catawba County Justice Center for a peaceful protest on Sunday. He said only two citations for noise violations were issued and there were no arrests.

The protest was organized by the Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate in response to a Mother's Day sermon by Pastor Charles Worley at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden.

"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," Worley said to his congregation on May 13. A video of his comments went viral on YouTube.

"Build a great big, large fence - 50 or 100 miles long - and put all the lesbians in there," Worley said. "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."

Protestors chanted, "Love not hate," as the lined the road outside the Justice Center, which is 12 miles from thechurch.

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Organizers of the protest said they wanted to counter what they called the pastor's hateful words with love and stressed prior to the event that "our Peace Keepers will respond quickly and vigorously to any behavior that detracts from the peaceful, non-violent plans of this event."

On Friday night, vandals targeted the Providence Road Baptist Church, Lt. Daryl McCarty of the Catawba County Sheriff's office told CNN. "It appears that someone tried to set the air conditioning unit on fire in retaliation about his remarks against homosexuals and lesbians from the pulpit."

McCarty said there was "no extensive damage or anything. The incident appears to have happened on Friday night. It wasn't a big enough fire. It only burned the cover off of some wires."

An electric company easily repaired the damage Saturday, according to McCarty.

Sheriff Reid said trash was lit under the air conditioning unit to start the fire. The unit is up against a brick wall and he said it did not seem like the vandals were attempting to burn down the building, saying, "It appeared they were trying to disrupt the service."

The local fire marshal and a sheriff's deputy are investigating the fire further, Reid said.

He also noted that Worley had received death threats after his comments and his department was actively following up on them.

Repeated calls by CNN to the church and to the pastor's home for comment have not been returned. When Worley was approached outside his home on Sunday by CNN's Gary Tuchman and asked whether he would take back any of his comments, the pastor declined to comment.

The church's website has also been down, but it had described the house of worship as independent and fundamentalist. It represents a Baptist tradition self-described as "old-time religion" and the website said church members consider the 1611 King James Version of the Bible to be the "inerrant Word of God."

The church appears to be unconnected with any broader denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Baptist group, noted the Providence Road Baptist in Maiden is not affiliated with its 16-million member denomination and condemned the pastor's comments.

Last week in Maiden, members of the church vigorously defended their pastor, who has been at the church for more than two decades.

Some church members, who declined to give their names, said his words had been taken out of context. "He said he would feed them!" some church members told CNN, referring to the Worley's idea for rounding up gays.
Worley "takes a real firm stand on the Bible and what it says about different things," said church member Joe Heffner. "Whether I like it or not or whether anybody else likes it."

Another church member, who declined to give his name, said that "being gay and lesbian or homosexual is wrong according to the Bible. ... It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

The sheriff said his deputies will be paying extra attention to the church building in the wake of the vandalism and threats. The church has about 300 members, he said.

Reid, who has been with the sheriff's department since 1979, said the area had never seen anything quite like this.
"We hope it's over," he said. "The protestors have had their say now, so we're hoping it all dies down."

-CNN's Dan Gilgoff, Ismael Estrada, Gary Tuchman, and Rick Martin contributed to this article.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (1,365 Responses)
  1. ReclaimMarriage

    Mr. Kodi from TLC's sister wives has made noises about getting recognition for his deviant troupe coz 'the gays have it'. There's a precedent for you.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Drew

      That's totally fine by me

      May 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • ReclaimMarriage

      See? The p e d o f y l e s and b e s t i a l i s t s will be next

      May 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Patrick

      First of all, what are you talking about, incest???

      May 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Drew

      nope, because animals and children can't consent

      May 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • ReclaimMarriage

      @ Drew, they said the same about women 100 years ago. Women got the right to vote. Social norms can change.. the new norm can be that "This goat turned its head right when it saw me, thats consent".

      Better lock the barn doors NOW, not after all the horses are gone.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • ReclaimMarriage

      @ patrick im talking about Polygamy

      May 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Drew

      ReclaimMarriage, can a goat testify in a court of law? Then no, it can never give legal consent. YOu people are too stupid

      May 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Monitor

      I have noticed a trend with you.
      You post some garbage, and when people respond
      you move on to other garbage.

      You are not here to discuss anything,
      you get your jollys from bashing gay people.
      Best bet for everybody here is to get you banned.
      You are a waste of time and space,

      May 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  2. DSI

    Why do christians pray to know gods will in one moment and then claim that they do know gods will in another? Weird nonsense.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  3. Me

    A true man of God would speak love and tolerance, not hatred and division. That is the work of the Devil disguised as God. A true man of God would not misquote scripture to cause suffering and pain to his brothers and sisters. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  4. shawnr80

    Hurrrahh for this pastor. Someone that is not afraid to say what is right. I salute this guy!!

    May 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      I'll pray for you.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Drew

      He's right that gays and lesbians would die off if they were prevented from reproducing (which they barely do anyway)?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • shawnr80

      One can only hope they die off....

      May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Drew

      But Shawn, do you not see the basic fallacy of the preacher's premise? It wouldn't surprise me if you aren't much more intelligent than him

      May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ignorant.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Robairdo

      Drew It is important to understand that Christ did away with the Old Testament with the exception of the ten commandments which he recited in his own words as the the requirement for eternal life. This is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is important to note that the new testament is made up of the Gospel & Covenant of Jesus Christ, which is all those things Christ did and said prior to his crucification. The later part of the new testament is the "claimed" writings of his apostles, I say claimed because not all have been verified to this day.

      The really important thing to remember is that the Covenant or new law that applies to Jew & Gentile alike is exclusively from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, again all those things Christ did and said before his Crucification. And the really important thing here is that Christ NEVER said anything about hom ose xua1ity and many believe he actually approved of it in the story of the Centurion and his "Servant". This is because pagan Centurions often kept live in male "servants" This servants handled all of the centurions needs, you get the drift. The centurion loved his servant and begged Christ to save his life all along saying in an ashamed way that he is not worthy and is a sinner. Christ answered to him that his faith is strong then anyones in Israel and went forth and save his servant. A very odd thing for a Jew "Christ" to say to a pagan, yet he did say it.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      And the infertile would die off if the infertile stopped reproducing them? Right.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • ReclaimMarriage

      Amen Brother.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • shawnr80

      I am college educated, I work in healthcare and I believe that our country is in a downward spiral due to lack of morals and the "acceptance" of everyone. Do you know how many fat, smoking, digusting people I see everyday? They live to accomplish nothing and suck the life out of society. This is not so much about gay people but the general downward spiral of people in general that is "accepted and tolerated"

      May 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Robairdo

      @shawnr, how do gays cause a downward spiral. As a gay male, I do not smoke, I am a vegetarian, have a Master degree in Engineering with a six figure ++ salary and have been in a monogamous relationship for over two years.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • atheist fred

      @ Robairdo

      Where does christ do away with the old testament?

      May 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Robairdo

      @atheist it is predicted by God in the old testament and fullfilled by Christ in the Gospel. Christ also rebikes Moses many times in the new testament when asked about divorce, stoning adulterers, working on the sabbath, etc. Christ rebukes Moses throught out the Gospels.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Monitor

      Shawnr80 and drew are playing tag team on the gays.
      The are here to troll.
      Ignore them and they will go away.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Robairdo
      if christ did away with the old testament, then there was NO reason for him to die on the cross for our sins right? THink about it. U said:
      1. Christ did away with the old testament. THis means that what God said thru moses and others in the old testament was WRONG if christ had to rebuke that, agree? If gods work 'changed', then he is not god.
      2. The reason why christ came to earth was to die for the sins first committed by adam and eve. BUt we know that adam and eve never existed, and even christ himself has rebuked the old testament.
      3. Therefore chirst died for nothing... a fairy tale of adam and eve.
      4. How can christ be the son of god if he came to die to two mythical characters in a story? shouldn't a son of god know what's true and what's myth?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  5. sparknut

    Jesus is embarrassed by this "pastor".

    May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Drew

      What did Jesus ever do to deserve so many lousy, redneck followers?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  6. Randolph

    If there is a god, why did he make the atheists so intelligent and the Christians so dumb? I'm not atheist, but I have to tell you, they are always the smartest kids in class and the Christians are always the kids who couldn't follow science and math.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • jim

      They aren't the smartest kids in class because they are atheists. They are atheists because they are the smartest kids in class.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jess

      I hung out with the geeks in high school. We pushed each other academically, and were some of the smartest in class.
      We are a mix of atheists, agnostics, and Christians. Some of us excelled in science and math classes, others held our own but preferred history and language arts. I am a special education major, however I also am taking computer classes so I can get my A+ certification and jump into the tech field.

      My biology professor, one of the smartest faculty members I encountered (holds a Doctorate), is Episcopalian. I was born and raised Episcopalian. Did I mention I had an A in that class?
      Our church does not prohibit birth control, nor does it deny evolution or preach hatred against the LGBTQ community. This gentleman taught evolution and expressed his frustration with the anti-science Christians out there.

      Why did God make us so intolerant?
      There are those in the Episcopal church who do not believe in rights. Yet just as many (or more) that do. Ann Hathaway and her family converted from Catholicism after her brother came out. We have an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The beauty of our church can also be the challenge. We see God as a guide, but also believe that he gave us an internal conscience for a reason. Therefore, if you support reproductive rights, marriage equality, and agree with evolution, you are a-okay by our book. Everyone is welcome to the table for communion, and while we may not always agree, we learn from one another. If it were not so, I would've left long ago.

      Some of us chose to believe in a higher power, some do not and others are unsure.
      By assuming that all of us who believe in a higher power lack intelligence you are as bigoted and foolish as this pastor.
      I am as annoyed by the backwards religious folk as you are. Maybe even more so because when I am brave enough to disclose my beliefs, I fear that I will be judged. All because of a vocal minority who preach hate.

      God said "judge not lest ye be judged". If we followed that (or karma, or the golden rule, if you prefer) the world would be far more peaceful. He also taught us to "love thy neighbor as thyself", and I don't recall any asterisks that said "Some restrictions apply." Therefore, I love all of my friends and neighbors, no matter who they love, no matter what they believe.

      True Christians want that as much as anyone. Don't be fooled by the fakes who preach hatred. Please do not assume or paint us with a broad brush.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  7. ReclaimMarriage

    Im against gay marriage and no fault divorce. Marriage should be literally 'till death do us apart'

    We can have excpetion for adultery and abuse.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Drew

      Well not all of us are Xtians, and we shouldn't have to live according to someone else's faith

      May 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Aren't the Gays and Lesbians just asking for "exceptions" as well? Why are your "exceptions" any different than theirs?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Patrick

      However Jesus and Paul and no one else in the bible mentioned an exception for abuse.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Patrick

      I can pretty much guarantee though, if Jesus spent a few days volunteering at a DVIS shelter, he would have mentioned an abuse exception.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • about time

      you are stupid

      May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • DSI

      I dated a woman who was excommunicated from her church for divorcing her husband for molesting their children. When, under pressure from her pastor, she decided to divorce him while he was in prison she was excommunicated and made a pariah in her small home town. Thanks for giving us two exceptions though I guess this one doesn't apply.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • SPOT THE MORON

      You are might high on yourself.
      You have a right to your opinion.
      I have a right to mine.

      You are an AZZHOLE !

      May 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  8. Judy

    I knew a man once who detested gay people. He would even quote scripture to back up his hatred. I found out years later from his daughter that he molested her. Why am I not surprised?

    May 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Patrick

      That's how he felt better about what he was doing. In his opinion he and the ho mo $e xuals were probably both garbage, but he was higher up on the garbage heap.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • DSI

      You are not surprised because it is so common place

      May 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Patrick

      The truth is though, that ho mo $e xuals aren't even on the garbage heap.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • jim

      It's a good story, a little too good! Have you found anyone yet who believes it?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Drew

      Everyone believes it JIm. Everyone knows that the people who are most vocal about their beliefs are usually the biggest hypocrites

      May 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Patrick

      @jim – Rigghhht.

      ht tp://stopbaptistpredators.or g/index.htm

      ht tp://w ww.mormonabuse.co m/

      ht tp://w ww.bishopaccountability.or g/

      ht tp://w ww.republican $ exoffenders.co m/

      May 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Derigible

      ***jim

      It's a good story, a little too good! Have you found anyone yet who believes it?

      I do. My uncle Martin hated gay people.
      He never went to church, but he could spout any scripture off the top of his head.
      Uncle Martin had to be watched at family functions, after a few drinks
      he would get all fondly with young girls, you know....
      touchy feely.
      Whenever he was approached about it, he would just quote from the bible.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  9. DSI

    Just because an organization doesn't currently espouse perpetration of violence against non-members doesn't meant they don't have a propensity toward violence. I think history informs us who does and who does not have a propensity to violence. I personally could never be part of an organization who has a history of violence.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  10. Keith

    To all the haters: Why don't you just shut the f*&% up and leave it to Godt? Matt. 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” Stop sinning by hating and judging!!

    May 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Hey, we'll shut up when you live in the 21st century and not in accordance with a 2000 year outdated book. You're the ones hating, not us...we're only standing up for equal rights, you on the other hand use a book that written by sheep herding, uneducated men to back your hatred for all who don't agree with you. Only children and schizophrenics have imaginary friends that speak to them...which category are you under?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  11. apostate

    Congrats pastor. You do great work for atheism.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • WyomingGrandma

      Articles like this make me ashamed that I was raised Baptist. Please remember there is a LARGE difference between a Christian and a Baptist

      May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      A Baptist is just a Christian who wasn't held under long enough. :p

      May 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  12. Colin

    They should outlaw teaching Christianity to children until they are old enough to have the ability to spot nonsense. Can you imagine trying to teach an educated 18 year old, for the first time, the supernatural cra.p from the bible. They would laugh at you.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Patrick

      It wouldn't sound any different to them than that mess about Zeus and Apollo.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Drew

      It is no different than that mess about zeus and apollo

      May 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Patrick

      Wrong. Zeus and Apollo weren't that barbaric.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Drew

      True, and the worldview of an ancient Greek pagan is more nuanced and less dualistic than that of a contemporary american Christian

      May 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • DSI

      Greek mythology is not presented as fact

      May 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      I teach Christianity to people over 18, over 40 even, with great success. It is easy when you have such good material.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  13. Patrick

    Why is it the fundie teabaggers who claim they want less government, who are issuing bans against gay marriage? And why aren't they concerned with topics that Jesus actually spoke about, like divorce and remarriage?

    Matthew 19: (Jesus Speaking) 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for $e xual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    Why aren't they trying to ban remarriage when the divorce was due only to irreconcilable differences??? Why aren't they trying to ban no fault divorce? Could someone from their side please explain how that isn't hypocrisy?

    May 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Rapp

      I am a christian and I agree with your statement. Jesus had some tough things to say about hypocrites but we tend to "forget" that. It's easier to bash others than focus on the sin in our own lives.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Rapp – That was a truly Christian response if there ever was one.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Johnny Yuma61

    He won't apologize. Oh my. Everybody apologizes. He won't whatever shall we do?

    May 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Drew

      It's alright, he and his ilk will look really bad in the history books, no better than the segregationists of 50 years ago

      May 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  15. Keith

    Historically, people's misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Colin

    I tend to be able to make up my own mind on moral issues. I don't need to be told how to think every Sunday morning by an otherwise unemployed cross dresser who bases his views on 2,000 year old Palestinian mythology. But then again, I'm not a Christian.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  17. GAW

    Even though this pastor's sermon was deemed hate speech I would be foolish to assume that he really wants to build a literal fence. However he has succeeded in building an ideological one.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • DSI

      The TONE of his speech makes it pretty clear that he was being literal. He doesn't seem like someone who has a strong grasp of allagory or metaphor.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Lisa

    People have been brainwashed to hate certain groups. It is not right or just. And not very smart, either!
    (Ever wonder why college educated folks are more likely to be accepting?)

    May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Drew

      Now watch all the members of the religious right on this message board conveniently ignore your post

      May 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jess

      It is the educated Christians that face an uphill battle. Due to the vocal minority that are hateful, we are all assumed to be the same. Sometimes, the religious conservatives aren't the only ones who think one can't be religious and educated. It's really sad.

      If you are educated and choose to believe, the Episcopal church is one of the best places to go. We really believe in "love thy neighbor" and regularly put it into practice. :)

      May 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  19. Lee Smith

    Geez... I bought a blow-up doll the other day, and her electronic voice mechanism informed me she was lezbo.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      Did you try to return her? Did you even keep the receipt???

      May 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Lee Smith

      Patrick: Did I try to return her? No. She said she would kick my male ass if I tried. I'm supposed to "feed" her, and give $20 / mo. to the lezbo action foundation.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Lee Smith – You should really take that one to Judge Judy. I think she's the only one who could handle it.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  20. Drew

    Maybe this guy should be crucified like his savior, I bet he would really get his rocks off on that

    May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
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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.