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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. terry

    This nut and his followers are just PIGS, PIGS, PIGS. North Carolina strikes again. Jessie Helms must still be alive there somewhere. What about it people from North Carolina? Do you support nuts like this?

    May 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  2. DSI

    The day a church gives up their tax exempt status, thereby charitably lightening the tax burden for the rest of us, is the day I will start to believe that churches are not just another form of business (a business of professional confidence men who exploit the weak of mind and spirit).

    May 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Josef Van Brown

    Does anyone here know what they're talking about? Seems not. Dumb monkeys.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  4. grumpymedic

    Just remember: "believers" are quick to admit that they're merely sheep.

    Let's see if they like being rounded up in a pen and sheared of their fleece, much like this moron suggests.

    Oh wait...it's already been done. Ask Hitler and the Jews how that all turned out.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Steve

    The First Amendment: Freedom of speech: Only valid if you agree with the left wing nut progressives. What hypocrisy, I know discus won't allow me to list the names Govenor Sara Palin was called on this station and several others, and I could list hundreds of sick remarks coming out of the mouths of the left wing. If you don't like what this Pastor said, Don't go to his Church.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • alabamarama

      The First Amendment also protects those who are protesting outside of his church.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      The First Amendement doesn't protect those who incite violence and promote the trampling of other people's rights. Wake up.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Derigible

      Another nut case..........

      The First Amendment: Freedom of speech: Only valid if you agree with the left wing nut progressives.

      How is it not valid ?
      He had his say, nobody stopped him from saying it, right ?
      Now that he has had his freedom, i have mine,
      I also have the freedom to disagree with what he said.
      It goes both ways.

      What you just said was that we are not going to let him speak
      unless he agrees with us.
      He has spoken.
      You are in my opinion.....an idiot.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Thomas

      No one is spotting him from speaking. We're only pointing out the vile nature of his words and ideas. You know....using OUR right to free speech.

      May 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  6. DSI

    Whatever happened to the good old days when dissenters were thrown to the lions?

    May 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      Humans have killed almost all of the lions. Throw them to the mosquitos.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • DSI

      I am informed that the lion throwing stopped when the crusaders realized it was more expedient to hack people up with swords.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      The crusades. Yet another high point in religious history.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • DSI

      The only reason we're not victims of a modern day crusade is because the church does not have the blessing of the government or the power derived therefrom. You can bet that if they had the power, they would use it against all who believe in a realistic interpretation for the natural world.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  7. josef

    dont understand why people keep quoting the bible. it is a book of myths . fairy tales and out right lies. nothing in it is real.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • DSI

      I don't understand why anyone would put any stock in a book written by people who understood less about the natural world than the average 6th grader does today.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • celestiahamm

      i feel sorry for you every word in the bible is true from genis to revalation read romans 1

      May 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Josef Van Brown

      Troll

      May 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Lora

      The Bible has a lot of truth in it. Read what scholars say about the historical value in it. I don't understand why people can make such wide sweeping broad statements about it. I'm not one to believe it is 100% accurate, but I won't say it is all false mythology either. There is actually a lot of scientifically validated historical information in it as well as spiritual wisdom.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • MRS

      Christians don't need your pity. We have no need for it. We have a saviour who has paid our sin debt. He has paid yours too. I hope you can see your hopelessness without Him before it's too late.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Derigible

      Josef,

      I dont understand why people quote the bible, after i have told them i dont believe in it.
      If i dont beleive it, what could they possibly say that would change my mind.
      They seem to feel "hollier" if they get on that soapbox.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Robairdo

      @celestine, exactly which translation is accurate? Because it was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and translated many times with different translations of the various Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words. So which translation did God tell you was accurate?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Derigible

      *** MRS

      Christians don't need your pity. We have no need for it. We have a saviour who has paid our sin debt. He
      ----------------------------------------------
      Your church tells me that i am born with sin.
      Then your church tells me that Jesus died for my sins.
      You people cant even get that right.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Robairdo

      @MRS, so called "Christians" should actually follow the words of Christ and try to walk in Spirit with him.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      MRS
      Christians don't need your pity.

      ------------------------

      But we could use a brain.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  8. Alisha

    If you don't like the gay population, blame the straight people as they are the one's who keep having gay babies. Also, as one knows, gay parents must raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children. Get a grip people, stop the hatred, it's ugly. And we all know, God don't like ugly either.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      That's like saying black people only have black kids and only white kids can be brought up by white parents.

      Dumb is your strong suit, isn't it?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • puckles

      "God don't like" ....bad grammar either.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • The Flamingo Kid

      grumpymedic:

      I think she was being sarcastic.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • DSI

      Maybe god do like bad grammar. After all, he knew Aisha was going to make this statement before he created her, right?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • BT

      I do hope they use 10,000 Volts, like the fence in Jurassic Park. Hate love, love hate. lol.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Gary

      I am surprised she hasn't used the "gay/lesbian alien theory" to impregnated unsuspecting hetros

      May 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Alisha

      Hey geniuses....I was being sarcastic

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • firenze345

      Well Said Alisha...perhaps your critics missed the point. Religion should be helping us forgive, unite, tolerate, LOVE, be compassionate, in all be better people. Funny how many interpret that as weak...it is anything but. Easy to hate...difficult to forgive. If you really need organized religion to teach you this...it's been sadly lacking in all forms for many of us.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Derigible

      Alisha, good post.
      Some people dont get "Sarcasm".

      May 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Wannetta

      II had a wild thought. Knowing how Jesus loved children, what if one of the reason God created gay people was to take care of orphan children? Have any of you noticed how many gays and lesbians fill nurturing roles? Nursing, teaching, EMT, police, fire and rescue? And others who are in the Arts? There is a list a mile long of famous artist the world would be so much worse without. God had a plan, and it was a good one.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  9. NukeTim

    Probably in the closet himself....

    May 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      Actually, that wouldn't be too far from the truth. See: Jim Bakker and a whole host of other hypocrites.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      But not Ted Haggard.
      He went to straight camp for 6 weeks and has had a complete gayectomy.
      Plus, he makes his meth dealer/masseuse sign a non-disclosure agreement these days.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  10. farrico7

    Your "God" as defined in the book of all mother gooseries (the bible) is a load of garbage. It was written by man who at the time didn't know where the sun went at night or what a germ is......Religion will be the end of us......

    May 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • The Flamingo Kid

      Actually, narcissistic, polluting humans will be then end of us.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • CARL47

      Burn in Hell buddy

      May 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      CARL47
      Burn in Hell buddy

      -------------------–

      Are you a professional debater?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  11. grumpymedic

    Look at him shaking his fist in the air. Apparently got body language tips from Adolf.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      He's talking about rounding up minorities and putting them behind fences so that their population dies off. Body language isn't the only thing he's borrowing from Hitler.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  12. Frank

    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.

    Oh...then...nevermind. My bad...I thought he said that when he would round them up and put them behind electric fences until they died out that he would not feed them at all. What a guy!

    May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  13. Honey Badger Dont Care

    “God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.”
    ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      RIGHT ON! Dr. Tyson is not only the current reigning space science rock star, he's also one of the sanest, best-thinking people on this planet!

      May 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Rick James

      My favorite quote from him. Sums up all of history between believers and non-believers.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Josef Van Brown

      Tyson. Yeah, when you're in trouble, pray to him.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      Josef Van Brown
      Tyson. Yeah, when you're in trouble, pray to him.
      -------------------------------
      When you're in trouble, pray to god. See how much good it does you.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. John

    Many of you are you still at it...fighting the Truth that is. Biology 101: They can not reproduce with each other! Even the science you put above my Father proves it takes an egg (female) and a sperm (male) to create life.

    I do admonish the pastor's call for an inhumane act. Admonishment is the responsibility of the Church...not you! Judgment belongs to the LORD...not you!. You are welcome to join. With that said, that doesn't change the Word concerning _____ (fill in the blank. Better yet. read the Word yourself).

    Why do you fight against Him who created you? Rage on!

    May 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Him who created me? That's B S in itself. My parents crated me. Not some magic sky fairy.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Robairdo

      John, life is not about reproducing anymore. There are 7 billion people on the earth, we would be better off with a whole lot more gays and whole lot less breeders.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • terry

      Hey John – As you say, judgment belongs to GOD, so shut up !!

      May 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • CARL47

      AMEN

      May 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      Honey badger takes what he wants.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • JWT

      While there is nothing inherently wrogn with believing in god, there is equally nothign wrong in not believing. But people need to get one simple little fact straight: What is written in a religious text is intended only for those that follow that narrow band of religion and noone else. There are many different groups of christians for example/

      May 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Tower Of Babel

      My straight dad took his sperm
      and applied it to my straight moms egg
      and got me.
      A gay child.

      Somehow you idiots dont get this.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  15. A Serpent's Thought

    @ Edwardo, "You're such a martyr.. Your god created all things, including evil. Somehow you're convinced, he no longer does that. What makes you so sure, that you can trust him now, or in the future... if you couldn't trust him back then?"

    Evil, like all by-products comes into being thru all things being trued! God's imparted wisdoms come from our portayals of naturalisms and fundamentalisms and even one's egoim! Our technologies can only be advanced by searching the atomic structurizations and learning their characteristics and traits! Soon, maybe in my lifetime, machines will meld with mankind in bio-genetic ways unfathomable just a scores length passing! As many unfortunate people take on bio-genetic-mechanicalisms to walk without crutches and use their once dead arms by bio-genetics and outrightly use their fingers that too were once dead, our lives will see the miracles of mankind's technological and bio-genetic wonders come to light!

    May 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  16. Gary

    Enough already! Just put the pastor behind an electrified fence and drop some food down via a copter. If his theory is correct, he should just die out. Oh yeah, you can place all the other believers in his punishment/solution as well. Don't forget the other man of God who wanted to burn the Koran, be a good place for him as well.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Evangelical

    I'm 100 percent in favor of this pastor. It's about time that somebody spoke thier mend. It takes courage to be a follower of Christ.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Alisha

      That is a sincere shame that you are supporting this pastor. As a Christian, ours is supposed to be a religion of forgiveness and acceptance, love and mercy; not rounding up people who don't believe the same exact thing as we do. Shame on you for calling yourself a Christian and preaching hatred....shame

      May 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Christopher Corkill

      Maybe Christians like you should be locked away in an electric cage for being moronic idiots who believe in fairytales and a bible that was probably written by people that are high.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • pn

      Your definition of "courage" makes me feel sick.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      It takes a completely delusional state of mind to be a follower of christ.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Love and mercy are to be shown to repentant people. That's the whole problem with the ho-mos-exual agenda – they don't want to repent but instead want to continue to sin and want to silence those who dare speak out against them.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      It also takes 100% ignorance of history and logic.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • DSI

      I am 100% in favor of this pastor too. He openly admits to what many believe but are to cowardly to admit. Now we can all more easily see the truth.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      The problem is that it is xtians who have created the idea that sin even exists at all. And then you go about pretending that you have the cure for that sin. How arrogant is that?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      @Evangelical: We've previously determined that you are a hate-filled bigot. It takes pure laziness to be a follower, not courage. If you got your head out of that buybull and lived in the 21st century, you might understand that what this preacher did was immoral but we won't ask that of you considering your support of him shows your own immorality. Taking these people out of society will not stop gay people from being born...it doesn't work like that. We have attempted to explain this to you before, people are born gay...even one of your children could be gay. People of your mindset and of this preachers mindset are the ones who need to be taken out of society in order not be a danger to the rest of the world who wish to move forward. They have nicely padded rooms at the asylums for people like the two of you.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      Hey, envangelical...ever notice that Hitler said and did the very same thing to religious folks (Jews)? And he himself was a professed Anglic Christian seeking to do God's work by bringing "purity" to the world?

      You people make me vomit.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Robairdo

      You are not a follower of Christ and neither his he. Christ would NEVER say such horrible things or support his pastor.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • CARL47

      YOUR SO RIGHT

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tower Of Babel

      Hope you "mend" well.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  18. scary

    Take away his tax exemption. Bet he back tracks once his hate cost him.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • grumpymedic

      Yep. Why big, fancy churches and their rich pastors get away without paying taxes is beyond me. Especially at a time when they spout "we all must make sacrifices".

      May 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • DSI

      If they really wanted to be charitable, they'd reject tax exempt status and lighten the load on the rest of us thereby leaving us more money to contribute to the charity of our own choosing. TAX EXEMPT STATUS IS CHARITY FOR CHURCHES. UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARD.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  19. LookAndSEE

    The fact is that the Bible does not endorse Gay relationships and neither would Jesus excuse it.
    Jesus has more mercy than this pastor.
    The fact is (Romans 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
    Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
    Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done
    Matthew 19: And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’
    The truth is 'SIN = sin' To some, certain sins may look larger but to God, He wants us to be FREE from sin all together!
    Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    May 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • jp

      Jesus, mohammad, and all your silly prophet were just men.....weirdos....

      May 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Brooklyn718

      Oy!

      May 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • old golfer

      And even the devil can quote scripture to suit his own purposes. Your book has a lot of holes in it. No, I am not gay, but many that are do more good than either you or me.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Alisha

      sin is sin is sin, if you believe that being gay is a sin, then, as a Christian, shouldn't you be the first one to forgive and love this person. I am a Christian also and am so sick of people using the religion as a means to promote their own hatred and bigotry. Preach and live love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Let God himself be the judge, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone" John 8:7

      May 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Robairdo

      Completely wrong, Christ NEVER condemned hom ose xua1ity and in fact condoned it in the story of the Centurion and his "servant"

      May 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • PDX James

      The Old Testament is the story of a deity who lived behind a curtain in a tent demanding constant ritual sacrifices because he loved the smell of scorched flesh. Yuck.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      *** The fact is that the Bible does not endorse Gay relationships and neither would Jesus excuse

      So it comes to this.
      You have decided what Jesus would or would not do.
      Thats pretty arrogant.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  20. jp

    Im confused.....isn't it hetro couples that make gay kids?.....i don't see how putting gay fenced in would stop the world from having gays....

    May 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • sunshine

      Exactly. If all gay and lesbian ppl would cease to exist because they don't reproduce then we shouldn't keep getting new ones. That pastor is full of DUH!

      May 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Josef Van Brown

      Are you willing to take a sausage up your rear-end?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      **** Josef Van Brown

      Are you willing to take a sausage up your rear-end?
      -----------------------
      Lots of straight couples do.
      Its only bad if your gay.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:11 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.