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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. S. Vaughan

    As I have always said, religion is a disease of the mind. It's is nothing more than an excuse for bigotry, hatred, and dividing people all in the name of something that doesn't exist.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  2. ChazH

    This guy desperately needs to get laid-by a man! lol

    May 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  3. robertd188

    The man is pure evil. (I'll mock him) ... Mental, Mental, Mental! Attention....Mental One! (I'm degrading him, he's not really "mental" at all just an incredibly evil man.) And alas, some of my fellow Americans hold similar views lol. Same degradation applies to the rest of you evil ones that have this Pastor's "thinking" too (that's right, I called you evil lol...I know you hate it too lol).

    May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  4. Lindy

    There is something wrong with this man. God loves Gays, he even loves this man. I didn't even watch the video, just know most churches do not believe this way, not even the most fundamental Church of Christ, my old heritage. They don't condone much "worldly behavior" but they teach love, not hate. Someone had to look for this to make the news!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  5. Smako

    What would Jesus do?
    This preacher is going to burn in his own hell. People like him, who are not fit to judge another, are the ones that are going to be punished. I know of twelve commandments. The top ten and these two spoken of in Matthew. Love thy neighbor as you love yourself, and love God with all of your might mind and strength. Those who violate the commandments of God, well, if you believe you know and if you don't it doesn't matter. This preacher is a hypocrite, by his own and the definition of the Bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  6. Steven Colo

    "The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason."

    As long as you're sinning by hating your fellow man, might as well lie as well. Buy one sin, get one free.

    And it's just beyond cool how Mohler defends the right to pick and choose which passages of the Bible to follow.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  7. LinCA

    Some of the harshest critics of homosexuality have been later identified as being homosexual themselves. Also, studies show that there is a strong correlation between homophobia and arousal by homosexual imagery.

    Could it be that all these pastors are actually gay and just trying to hide that fact? Smart money says they are.

    See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014

    May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Gibb

      Way to dismiss anyone who preaches against hom.os.exuality.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Gibb

      You said, "Way to dismiss anyone who preaches against hom.os.exuality."
      It was just an observation.

      But since you brought it up, anyone who preaches against homosexuality is fucked in the head. If you don't like it, don't do it. What anyone else does is none of your fucking business.

      Preaching against homosexuality is immoral. Suggesting that gays should be killed should be illegal, if it isn't already. This bigot needs to spend a few years behind bars for his crime. And if he does, I hope some of the other inmates fuck him in the ass.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  8. PorkNBeans

    The ancestors of the people in these churches are the same people that preached death to anyone other than white people not that long ago.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Gibb

      That's a lie. No one preached death to people who are no white. There is no sin in skin color.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  9. greg

    Closet gay.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Bryan

    Amazing, Jesus taught tolerance not violence.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  11. One one

    Everyone should Take a good look and think about this. The more we let religion have influence in our society, the closer we move toward this kind of insanity.

    BTW, the bible commans people to kill their families if they serve other gods. If this guy is a true follower of the bible like he claims to be, he should put his children to death if they stray from his god. But he most likely is a selective follower like so many other Christians.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  12. SDFrankie

    The only real problem with "believers" is that not enough of them have the commitment it takes to move to a South American compound for a Kool-Aid party.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  13. Leucadia Bob

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIu5aPIIzzM&w=640&h=360]

    May 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Leucadia Bob

    Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIu5aPIIzzM

    May 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  15. SDFrankie

    Wow. It almost seems as if religion and religious folks are a little...I don't know...kooky. It's almost as if once you abandon logic and reason you have little control over how truly crazy things will get.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • One one

      "almost" ?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  16. Topdecker

    If we could only get all these preachers to play with snakes like that one in WV.....

    May 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  17. Bill

    The gov should start by killing all the pastors.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  18. Mattski

    I don't know how in the world anyone can call themselves a Christian while simultaneously calling for the death of someone else. And I can't figure out why his parisioners don't speak up against such hate. What happened to Christ's message?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Gibb

      Because death is the Biblical punishment for hom.os.exuality.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  19. taffd

    this pseudo-religious ass needs to steep in the same hell he's preaching about. Ignorant fool!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  20. Billybob

    I hate that people praise Abraham, that guy was tricked by the devil, not God.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Someone

      What, perchance, are you referring to? Abraham being commanded to slay his son? Are you now refuting the word of the Bible?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:22 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.