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May 31st, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Church videos with harsh words for gays go viral online

By Richard Allen Greene and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

First it was a Christian pastor in North Carolina who told his congregation on Mother's Day that the way "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers" was to put them behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out.

That video went viral, fetching more than a million views on YouTube.

On Sunday, Pastor Curtis Knapp of Kansas preached that the government should kill homosexuals, in another videotaped sermon that drew lots of online attention.

"They won't, but they should," Knapp said, according to a recording of his sermon posted online.

Since that sermon, another church video with harsh words for gays has caught fire online. This one shows a young boy singing an anti-gay song while the congregation cheers him on in what appears to be a church in Indiana.

"I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong,” the boy sings near the pulpit of a church. “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven."

As the boy repeats the line “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven," congregants from the pews rise and cheer.

The video, which was anonymously posted online and has received more than 300,000 views on YouTube, appears to show a service at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana.

Calls to the church this week went to voicemail, with an automatic message saying the mailbox is full. But a message posted on the church’s website on Wednesday appears to address the controversy, offering no apology for the video.

“The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives,” the statement says.

“We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible,” said the statement, which did not explicitly refer to the video or mention homosexuality. “We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.”

The viral videos have drawn criticism from gay and lesbian groups and their allies.

Charles Worley’s sermon at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, sparked a protest that drew more than 1,500 people last weekend.

In Kansas, Knapp's voicemail at the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca was filled with messages saying "things you don't want your kids to hear," he told CNN affiliate KTKA.

An official with the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists issued a statement to CNN on Thursday saying that Knapp’s church had left the Southern Baptist fold in 2010.

“Obviously, he has taken a radical and unbiblical stand in regards to homosexuality,” said Tim Boyd, communications director for the convention.

“We look at homosexuals as we look at all sinners,” his statement said. “God loves them. Christ died for them. The Gospel calls them to repentance and salvation. Therefore, we as Christ-followers should hate the sin and love the sinner.”

But Knapp is not backing away from his comments.

"We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things. It's only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption," he said.

He cited the Biblical verse Leviticus 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They shall surely be put to death."

But he said gay people had nothing to worry about from the government or from him.

"I don't believe I should lay a finger against them," said Knapp, of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas. "My hope is for their salvation, not for their death."

Preaching against homosexuality the same day, another pastor appeared to wrestle with how conservative Christians should respond to proposals that people should literally mete out biblical punishments.

"What about this guy down in North Carolina said build a big prison, a big fence and put them all in there and let them die out?" Dennis Leatherman asked in a sermon at the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church in Maryland.

"Listen, I don't know that fellow. As far as I can tell, he seems like a decent guy, but he is dead wrong on that. That is not the scriptural response," Leatherman said in his sermon "Homosexuality & the Bible," according to a cached version of the transcript posted online.

The audio of the sermon does not appear on his church's website.

In the sermon, he floats the idea of killing homosexuals, whom he refers to as sodomites, then backs away from it.

"There is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea," Leatherman said.

"But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong," he added immediately.

The Southern Baptist Convention distanced itself from Worley's remarks.

The nation's largest Baptist group said Providence Road Baptist in Maiden is not affiliated with its 16 million-member denomination and condemned the comments.

But the influential head of the giant movement's seminary does argue that homosexuality "is the most pressing moral question of our times."

In a comment piece for the Belief Blog in the wake of Worley's sermon, R. Albert Mohler Jr. dismissed critics who say conservative Christians focus on homosexuality while ignoring other things the Bible prohibits.

He contends that laws about keeping kosher, for example, do not apply to Christians, while commandments about homosexuality do.

"When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible's teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel," he wrote.

"Christians who are seriously committed to the authority of the Bible have no choice but to affirm all that the Bible teaches, including its condemnation of homosexuality," he said.

A member of Worley's 300-member church defended him in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"Of course he would never want that to be done," Stacey Pritchard said of the proposal to put homosexuals behind a fence and leave them there to die out. "But I agree with what the sermon was and what it was about."

CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (4,073 Responses)
  1. Mike in NYC

    Last time I checked the New Testament tells us that Jesus is the new law and is the mediator of the New Covenant with G-d. So why is a protestant minister preaching the violence of Leviticus from the Old Testament when Jesus clearly says that we are to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" in Luke 6:31? I'm guessing preacher man has decided to ignore THAT part of tbe Bible?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • n8362

      In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that the Mosaic Law is to be upheld.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • WhtRULuknAt

      Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.

      (Genesis 38:8-9)

      May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Mike in NYC

      Perhaps, however, Jesus does say that no one will get to the Kindom of G-d except through him. And his entire message was about loving others .... don't forget when asked by the Pharisees which was the greatest of the Commandments Jesus replied "You shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Upon this two commandments depend all of the law and all of the prophets." Mat 22:37-40 I don't see anything in there that even remotely sounds like Jesus would support killing gays.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  2. Hold on now....

    These imposters are pastors of evil. Their purpose...to make others lose faith in God and look down on those who try to follow Him.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Ron in California

    Once again it's Bush's fault!!! This pastor is an idiot. No matter what his explanation that he personally doesn't advocate killing gays the sermon was inappropriate. He make himself out to be a religious nut.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • WhtRULuknAt

      Wonder if his extremist position gets him on BO's kill list?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  4. Rabid Doug

    Most importantly – who gives a crap what the bible says??? Its a dusty old relic of a distant age, full of nonsense. Only a damn idiot would think (or NOT think) like this.

    A better solution – take all the idiot bible-thumpers and put them behind a fence, preferably in North Carolina.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Hold on now....

      Surely you are above judging an entire State by the actions of one evil man. NC is beautiful and remember...we voted for Obama.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  5. orly?

    well how christian of him....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • n8362

      At least he knows what the Bible says.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • PDX James

      Well, at least he knows PART of what it says. He seems to have skipped a few chapters.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  6. Gary

    Sad, sad little people. Not sure if these people want to make a name for themselves or they truly believe what they say. Either way it doesn't matter, they are the ones dying out...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  7. mo

    poor ho-mo-s-ex-ua-ls .. u want to live in sin and want everyone to accept your wayward ways but fail to look in the mirror.
    you are quick to lambast anyone who speaks the truth to you
    you rebuke god and procalim atheism simply because god does not condone your deviancy
    face it, not everyone is caught up in your wayward ways
    there are those of us out there who know the truth, and no amount of lies will convince us that there is anything right with your lot

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • tb63

      I hope there is reincarnation and you come back gay.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • PDX James

      tb63, well played, Sir.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      mo: you have no authority to speak about "sin". now, get back on your knees, jesus is coming

      May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bleh64

      The Spanish Inquistion called, they need you back there count de Sade

      May 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • charles

      Could care less about the gay thing. Not gay so it doesn't effect me, but I also don't believe in your Bogey man in the sky.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Dan

      No. I advocate atheism because I have an education in science. How about you?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  8. Alex

    Who cares what this guys says? There are extremists in every religion, and every ideology. There are extremist gays who want to take away people's religious freedom by forcing public schools to teach things against a parent's religion, without that parent's permission. There are extremist atheists who want to ban freedom of religion all together. Who cares? What this guy wants won't come true, and neither will the desires of most any extemist group. Non-story here.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  9. Ryan

    the biggest question in my mind is why aren't these people being arrested and jailed for hate crimes/speech...
    land of the free indeed, free to bully and persecute glad kids are the only ones who get defended for bullying...
    what a crock glad i'm not some stupid american.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  10. Brian Larabee

    Its funny that he wants to kill off gays and lesbians but its straight people who birth the gays and lesbians.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  11. PDX James

    Bob Dylan is clearly a devout Old Testament Christian, as he proves with his wonderful piece of music "Eveybody Must Get Stoned."

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • T.L.O'Connell II

      stoned is meant to be used as high.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • PDX James

      TL, really? So God really just wanted us all to smoke some pot and hang out? Awkward...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • T.L.O'Connell II

      i was referring to the song

      May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • PDX James

      Oh, so God did just get off on killing and ritual sacrifices. I think I preferred him during those few seconds where I thought he was a hippie.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  12. n8362

    Religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  13. nullity

    It's time to stop pretending that Christianity is a peace-loving religion. The Bible advocates killing and torture, and should be treated like the hate-speech that it is. Christian churches should be considered terrorists groups just like Musilm extremist mosques. Put them all on the no-fly list and freeze their bank accounts.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  14. ChuckK

    The goivernment should kill all pastors named knapp.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  15. WhtRULuknAt

    All the priest who fondle little boys should be left behind that fence too. Lets sing a song about them bot getting into heaven either.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  16. Redfour5

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. Our Republic is much more fragile than people realize. Watch Syria closely. It could be us in the not too far future. People's ignorance will be exploited. They will vote and because those of us in the middle do not see the dangers as immediate or dire we will stay home. And by the time the danger is realized it will be too late. And civil war will be just around the corner. People like this used to be marginalized. They now feel empowered. Next they will be and you will be saved whether you want to be or not. And if they feel they need to speed you on your way. No Problem.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  17. Vito70

    "Men of God" (??) condoning killing? What happened to the Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Should we ask God to amend this Commandment to: "Thou Shalt Not Kill – Unless The Person Is Gay". I'm sure He would jump right on that one (right). All these extremist "pastors" are closed-minded morons looking for publicity and donations.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • PDX James

      God didn't even follow that commandment. He killed children for the acts of their parents. He once killed a man just because he didn't like him. He killed all inhabitants of 2 large cities, including babies and unborn fetuses. He killed the entire human race except for Moses and his children's families, who he then told to rebuild the human race through mass incest. Terrible, murderous being, this God.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • PDX James

      Oops, I meant, Noah, not Moses. Moses just killed people whereas Noah slept with his granddaughters and daughters in law.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  18. SammyD

    All fair-minded people, religious/spiritual or not, whether you support marriage equality or not, must stand up and let their voices be heard that as Americans we do NOT tolerate hate speech. It is as if these so-called men of god are yelling fire and when people react and the outcome is violence or death they disown their words and take absolutely no responsibility for their actions. Fortunately, it is this type of overt action that will propel LGBT people and their allies out of their comfort zones and into the streets demanding justice and equality based NOT on any religious platform (remember separation of church and state??) but on fairness and loving kindness. The continued comparison to horrific and unspeakable actions of truly sick people (e.g. pedophilia, bestiality, etc.) must be confronted, as does all of the lies and half-truths about LGBT relationships and parenting. Candada is looking really good about now, even with their restrictions on free speech the one thing they don't tolerate is hate-mongering!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I gather no one on this blog has any functioning gray matter left to have listened to Pastor Knapps video until completion, yet, you'll post your babble not knowing what you do.*

      May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Gail

      I think the pastor clearly said he wasn't going to kill them. so it's not illegal and hate speech is allowed. Why do you want to become a dictatorship? Banning unpopular speech takes us down that path. I wonder how long it took CNN to find these people for their propaganda purposes? Now you're supposed to rush out and vote for Obama because he's now pro gay marriage. Tools.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Diogenes Dan

      HeavenSent, since I am unable to see the video, I guess you aren't as smart as you think you are.
      Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
      I seek honest people, but somehow always run into people like you instead.
      Your hubris will be your undoing in more ways than one if history is anything to go by.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  19. Yo

    The education level of those who listen to this idiot is obviously low. To believe these words and not recognize that the preacher is recommending MURDER as a solution to the gay epidemic makes the preacher himself worthy of hate as well.

    What the hell is going on with AMERICANS? I'm serious....you are all losing your mind...and ability to think. Following a this guy...wow...sad times for america

    May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      ... asks the spiritually dead, well without water, no gray matter left to watch his video to completion. Lazy is what I see. Souls burning in the lake of fire, no turning back.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jen in Texas

      Er, what gay epidemic? Last time I checked we were still only 3% of the human race.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Hilo

      Did you say Gay Epidemic? I don't know about epidemic...What I really wonder about is HOW MANY PEOPLE are still in the CLOSET...Now that is the million dollar question...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. T.L.O'Connell II

    Another Rev. that should follow the path of Rev. James Waren "Jim" Jones.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      TL, did you even bother to watch the pastors video to completion? I bet you are too lazy too.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • T.L.O'Connell II

      sadly i did watch

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
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About this blog

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.