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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. Heaven no more

    Such malicious guy under the facade of Christianity spread hatred. He is no different from those terrorists trying to justify his action with his biased view of the Bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      according to the bible, his views ARE justified.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  2. Guest

    Most of these relegious extremist are closet case anyway.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  3. You Decide

    Well here we go again, Religion once more preaching murder in the name of:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMUqhbOacQU&w=640&h=360]

    May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  4. fdorothy

    "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."

    It seems that this man is interpreting "Shall surely be put to death" as "must be put to death". Simply stating that something shall surely happen does not indicate approval of the action. The verse, as translated, does not actually condone violence against gay men, it is simply stating an observation that society always persecutes gay men. It's a very accurate statement.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it says "put to death". that means executed. you're trying to interpret the bible in a way as to make it more palatable because you know how disgusting a statement like that is. sorry, be a little more honest with yourself. the bible calls g.ays an "abomination".

      May 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • fdorothy

      I think you need an example. I could say "you shall surely crash if you drive too fast" but that does not indicate that I desire such a situation to occur.

      God does not make grammatical mistakes. God understands the difference between 'must' and 'shall'. If you're going to literally translate the Bible you should at least do it right, and not change verbs to fit *your* own needs.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Mark

      fdorothy- "God does not make grammatical mistakes" I've got potentially shocking news for you. God did not write the bible.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • fdorothy

      @Mark, that's exactly the point. If God wrote this verse then he would not be condoning violence against gays, because God would know to use the correct verb. If you admit that this isn't verbatim from God then you can't know for sure what God really meant. Whether you interpret it literally or figuratively, God hasn't stated his opinion on what should be done with gay men.

      In either case if you look at the rest of Leviticus it is very clear about who should do the punishing and how (stoning by the community, God's wrath). Such details are missing from Leviticus 20:13. That makes me think that Leviticus 20:13 more a statement of how to live happily without having your neighbors put you to death.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Mark

      fdorothy- "Whether you interpret it literally or figuratively, God hasn't stated his opinion on what should be done with gay men." OK, we agree on that. Unfortunately, there are conservative christians who don't agree with us on that point.

      It just bothers me when people point to the bible as the literal word of god. God didn;t write the bible, which we both agree on as well. Why then are there so many people claiming to have a direct line to god's will through the bible?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Mark

    It kind of sounds like this guy is trying to score points with Republicans. Scary to think about that for a second, that this kind of hate is what fuels segments of that party.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Joebob

    This is inciting violence against a minority. Islamic clerics that incite violence against people are considered terrorists – sounds to me that we need to list this fellows church and followers as enemy’s of the state.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  7. rousch15

    I have $5 which says that either he is gay or he has a kid who's gay. It kind of reminds me of Cotton Mather and how he changed his position on depression after he saw his wife in the stocks.

    Ban religions.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  8. tim

    this guys obviously a major closet case

    May 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Phil Wynn

    The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Jesus knew that false prophets would preach in His name, and cautioned that we would know them by their fruits. Since the spirit of Christ is love and compassion, and since the fruit of the words cited here is divisiveness and hatred, it's a no-brainer to see that what is being preached here, regardless of the building it's done in, or the denomination posted on its walls, that what's being preached here is not Christianity.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      not christianity? he's quoting the bible.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Phil Wynn

      @Bootyfunk, Yes, I know, religions are all bad and irrational, blah blah blah. Please, let's not replace one species of ignorance with another. Centuries of spiritual and theological writers in all the major religions are not all stupid, and have, believe it or not, addressed all the major issues directed against their respective faiths, whether rational or not. All are welcome to question those arguments - do not slander all religions in ignorance of them. Not all who cry, Lord! Lord! speak in His name. Why would that not be true of Christianity? Is it not true of ANY belief system?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      wow. you assume a LOT. where do i even begin... you like to answer questions as if i asked them. it's hard to even follow what you're saying. sounds like you drank a lot of cough syrup.

      i merely pointed out that he quoted the bible. yes, a lot of christians embarrassed by the vile views and instructions in the bible, like to kill g.ays, make excuses in an attempt to make it more palatable, to bring it up to date with the ethics in a modern world. but if you actually read the bible, which most christians have not, it's very clear on some issues. putting g.ays to death is one of them.

      sounds like you practice christianity light. make more excuses please.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      spirit of christ is love? jesus supported slavery. doesn't sound that loving to me.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Phil Wynn

      @Bootyfunk. Pardon me for going all-knowledgeable on you. You seem to think Bible = Christianity. This simply is not true. Slaveish and literal adherence to the Bible is not only literally impossible, it violates the injunction in the Ten Commandments about idolatry. Your opinion as to what is "true" Christianity and Christianity Lite is just that, your opinion. The things of the spirit are love and compassion, not any word, anywhere, whether in the Bible or in Bertrand Russell (yes, I've read him, and agree with a surprising amount of what he said). We see here the letter killing, not only that of the gay haters, but that of those who smear all believers with the same, simplistic brush, and God forgive me for joining in that violence, if only in word. Even if you aren't religious, and I wouldn't dream of asking you to consider it, can you not admit that hearts moved by love and compassion find these "preachers" as disturbing, if not more so, as anyone motivated by reason alone? Since Jesus said it's not my place to judge anyone, who am I to say that anyone so moved is not a true Christian? And quite apart from things of the heart, by reason alone, who set you up a judge over me, or anyone, as to whether I'm a true Christian or not?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  10. topgod

    he's gay and is drowning in guilt, or his boyfriend dumped him, or he's just not good enough to be gay

    May 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  11. rousch15

    China and the Soviet Union were ahead of their time as pertaining to the idea of religions-ban them all.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • TC

      Gee, what a lovely thought. You want to create the "thought Police" and destroy freedom of religion as a response to another great evil?

      Better to real allow freedom OF and FROM religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • rousch15

        Those who believe IN religions do not want you to practice freedom FROM the same. Religions poison everything they touch-including freedom.

        June 11, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • rousch15

        Freedom o f religion has nearly destroyed America, or do I need to remind you of George W. Bush and his loony beliefs?

        June 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • rousch15

        Move to Iran or Saudi Arabia, they'll love you.

        June 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
      • rousch15

        Religions a r e the thought police.

        March 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    he's being a good christian. the bible is very clear on it's instructions to kill g.ays. along with non-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend. christians embarrassed by the vile commands found in the bible try to worm their way around them - but the bible is very clear on these heinous instructions. the bible also demands a woman that is r.aped marry her r.apist. the bible also supports slavery. the bible is disgusting.

    few christians ever take the time to actually read the book they supposedly lead their life by. christians today practice what i call "christianity light". thankfully. anyone that actually followed the bible to the letter would be among the worst serial killer/mass murders to have ever lived.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • blahblahblah

      I am a Christian who does read his Bible. In fact, I read it enough to know that you're taking things completely out of context, just like the fellow referred to in this article. You're not reading the Bible either, you're likely reading little snippets taken from it and posted on some atheist's blog or written in his book.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  13. Peace2All

    @Colin

    Hey brother... ! I hope that all is well. I see you are still here keeping the fundies in check, yes...? 🙂

    Regards,

    Peace...

    May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. midav

    Those of your crazy nut jobs that believe into mythical creatures and scream that the other fairy tail known as Islam is a terrorist one, look at yourself in the mirror again.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  15.  

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

    According to Jesus, to this day, Christians may not wear cotton blends or eat shell fish, must murder gays and non-virgin brides, stone their disobedient children and women must marry their rapists.

    If the pastor takes seriously what the Bible says about homosexuality he must also take seriously what the Bible says about not eating pork.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • clarify

      You might want to look up the definition of "fulfill".

      May 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bill

      Or perhaps we can all realize the bible and all other religious books are silly relics of our past that keep us enslaved to outdated and dangerous ideas. After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan I have no tolerance for any religion – they are all bad and have no place in a civilized society.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Hello? Are You Listening?

      The New Testament does not negate the Old Testament, rather it teaches that certain rulings no longer apply in the age of grace. That does not nullify the OT, it merely states that some rules no longer apply.

      For example, the OT ruling for adultery is stoning. Yet Jesus Christ himself showed us how to act when he said "let him with no sin cast the first stone." There are many similar verses (for example the verse "it is not what goes into a man's mouth that defiles him, but rather what comes out" which shows that the deitary laws of the OT no longer apply in the age of grace) that tell us which parts of the rules in the OT no longer applicable.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and on some issues, like slavery, the OT and NT match up perfectly in their support of it.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  16. SC

    These are the very same people screaming there is too much government in people's lives and they want small government. Let me suggest something. Why not let the government do to you first what you've suggest it to do to LGBTs.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Mark

    It is amazing to me that there are so many people in this day and age who still perceive everything that the bible says as the word of god and absolute law. These people seem to forget that the bible was compiled by a group of politically motivated clergymen in the dark ages- at a time when the church was arguably more concerned with gaining political power and real estate than they were with saving souls. Even before that, the books of the bible were written by people- imperfect people like the rest of us, several thousand years ago. Isn't there any possibility that those people were wrong about some things, or had other agendas in mind?

    If nothing else. I wish people would interpret the bible for the true spirit of what it has to say, and what Jesus said- Love thy neighbor. The bible also has some choice things to say about people in glass houses throwing stones. Some of these so called "Christians" should be ashamed of themselves.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  18. Cynthia

    Ever notice how all the crazy preachers who hate gays are so ugly their women probably need bags over their own heads in case his comes off? I sense rejection resentment!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  19. rousch15

    This man is prime example of why conservatives will never be human beings.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  20. Colin

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      love it.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin

      Love the top 10 lists ! 😀

      Peace...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Afghanistan Bananistan

      Now now, Colin. Common sense and well-developed, strongly evidenced discussions have never converted a zealot, and they never will. There is no mountain of reason large enough, no ocean of support deep enough, or no reality obvioous enough for a religious person to realize that everything they believe is purely imagination, unevidenced, unlikely, ridiculous, harmful, oppressive, weird.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Unfortunately too many people are still just dumb apes and will not be able to comprehend the truth that you tell, brother Colin.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bobama

      BELIEVE everything gay activists tell you...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:07 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.