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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. rev fartwell999

    These people are no different than the Taliban. And what I find funny is how white americans subscribe to a middle eastern religion (christianity) since most white americans are racists who hate anything and everything from the middle east.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Alias

      I disagree with your "most white people are racist" remark

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • MarkinFL

      But Jesus was a tall white man with long flowing hair!!! Well, that's what he looked like in Bible school.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      I hate asshats that have to bring race into anything to try to make a point.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • PantyRaid

      Haha good point. That's why they make Jesus look white.

      The hypocrisy is there staring them right in the face and they won't look at it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  2. Stephen

    Preaching like this is no better than Mullahs in Afghanistan telling people to throw acid in the face of girls who dare to go to school

    May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      There's extremists everwhere.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  3. HappyMadison

    He's quoting the Old Testament – which also says that all divorced women and non-virgins should be beaten to death with stones. Should we start enforcing that too? Usually when that comes up, you get the phrase, "But now we're under a new covenant!" Make up your mind.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Don't forget about wearing clothes with mixed fiber or eating shellfish!! Which is more proof of the modern moral decay.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      Nice one. It also says that all seed bearing plants are good/holy. Why isn't marijuana legal?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  4. Chris Rock

    How did the gay gene escape the process of evolution? It would seem if evolution was about the survival of the fittest, we wouldn't have any gay genes.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • HappyMadison

      But notice that Charles Worley claimed that if all gays and lesbians were killed, than there would be no more gays. So he's promoting evolution and the fact that these people were born gay. Never mind the fact that a gay persons parents are often straight.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • we need a biologist here

      Evolution is about those best able to reproduce. Since gays can't reproduce, the "gay gene" must not be inherited directly from gay parents.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • MarkinFL

      At least for a few minutes......

      May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Fetchez le vache!

      By that idiotic "logic", there would be no worker bees either.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Barn

      You clearly have very little understanding of how genetics works.

      Your inability to grasp how a genetic trait might not actually be beneficial or might survive through recessive inheritance does not mean that it could not. Only that your education in the field of study is limited and incomplete.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      Because you great great great great great grandfather got drunk and f***ed a monkey.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Barn

      @we need a biologist": "Since gays can't reproduce, the "gay gene" must not be inherited directly from gay parents."

      The simple answer would be recessive genes. Recessive genes can be carried for generations before expressing so it would be no great trick for a family with recessive genes to have a gay child every few generations.

      Another hypothesis is that hom ose xuality may be an epigenetic trait triggered in the womb. We do know that every subsequent male child a woman has has a higher statistical likelihood of being gay. The idea is that each pregnancy floods the womb with higher levels of hormones than the previous pregnancies and that boys flooded with estrogen in utero may be more likely to be gay. In that light, it may be nature's own attempt at rewarding reproduction while helping to limit overpopulation. Not saying I agree, but it is a perfectly valid idea on how epigenetics could perpetuate hom ose xuality and not "breed it out" of the population as it were.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  5. Montello

    Ignorance and hatred – the two poster children of organized religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  6. Merry Prankster

    Give him some time and a little rope.....he will hang himself.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  7. Mary S

    It's interesting to me how many of these pastors want to strictly interpret the bible only when it serves their own agenda. You can't preach that you have to follow exactly what the bible says in one verse but not preach that other verses should be followed as closely. I'm not going to quote the exact verses, but I'm sure everyone knows which ones I mean; killing someone wearing clothing made of two different materials, killing anyone who violates the sabbath, and so on and so forth.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • MarkinFL

      We don't kill those people, but we should!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  8. david

    A-ha! Let the real faces show up! Land of the Free alright!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  9. Rob

    It's pretty obviously devout religious people overall are the least common denominator when it comes to intelligence. I base this simply off the fact that they can't understand and follow their own "leader." Nevermind the fiction part. Nevermind the lack of evidence or anything.

    Everytime I come across a religious person spouting their beliefs as if they should be mine, I ask them a simple question: "How many homeless people have you let live with you?" The answer is always: none. That's Christy. I try to put in terms they can understand, but a rational exchange never occurs. That's why I believe they are the lowest common denominator.

    I'm certainly open for a change of perception, but thus far I have not had a fair debate about the subject. I believe deep thought about the subject results in atheism or agnosticism and I believe fear prevents those deep thoughts from occurring.

    When one side of any argument refuses to consider the rationale of their beliefs (for fear or ego), it's impossible to have a discussion. I believe that is wrong to do. Simply because my life IS affected by religion and I would like things like this that affect my life be rationally explained to me. I think it should be demanded that religious leaders answer these questions without always defaulting to "Well, that's for God to understand." Not good enough when people die, creativity and progress are inhibited, and our greatest gifts, our brain and our language, are stiffled all of a result of these unfounded beliefs.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • at Rob

      I have no problems helping the homeless, etc.
      I suspect you ask that question because YOU have done it, thus elevating yourself above others.
      I also have no problems 'debating' smarter people like yourself.
      It's disappointing so many people have such a myopic view of Christianity, some of it is their own fault, and some of it is Christianity's fault. So be it. Either way, a person not allowing a homeless person to live with them isn't actually unbiblical. Sure, take your verses out of context and all that jazz, but there is more to Scripture than a verse that seems like it proves your point.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Rob

      I have spent my entire life helping others. Most of my paycheck goes to people in need every month. I do it because it hurts me to see others in pain. I'm sure that makes me arrogant and self-centered, etc as I'm often called for truly trying to care for those who need it, but I don't really care because regardless of what anyone says about me, those people still need help. I do not believe in any religion and I do not proclaim to know things I don't know (if I do, call me on it and help me see).

      I will always discuss my experience in life, those are the only things I know for sure, and even those are up for debate when they are scewed by time.

      You can't discuss a lot of things in our culture, especially the lack of intelligence of those who truly lack intelligence. Why do they lack intelligence? I believe overblown fear. But my sympathy for that kind of fear stops when a simple discussion can't be had and it hurts others. If they know something I don't know that opens the door for religion, then explain it to me so I can join. But, if it's always going to be a lack of evidence, etc, I'll go by what I know: my experience in life. If religion were benign or even good for the world, I'd be there promoting it, because it would give me something real to believe in.

      But I can't say that the theory of religion is enough to justify the horror of religion.

      I didn't get my principals from religion, I got them because good feels good and bad feels bad. I don't want to make people feel bad and I want to help others feel as good as my resources and my body allows. Golden rule.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Rob

      As usual, the response is riveting.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Bob the Cat

    Religion, oh what fun. Judging, hating, sentencing, dam-ning, sending to hell, waiting for the rapture, talking to burning bushes, zombies, sky fairies.

    Whew, it is all so believable.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      Talking snakes, some guy gettting two of every animal with a boat. Hmmm seems like a huge job to me.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  11. Pami

    Whatever this man is, he is not a Christian. While the bible is clear about hom. ose -xuality, it's also very clear about hate, lying, adultery, gluttony, envy, etc. It is one thing to condemn an act, it is quite another to condemn or hate the person. Jesus loved, not hated. Why does CNN give these misguided hateful people so much attention and free press? I seldom come to this site anymore and this just confirms that they have become nothing more than a cheap, sensationalist gossip rag. What next–Big Foot sightings?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Bob the Cat

      Pami, Yes he is a christian, he is taught to judge, to reject others for things they do unseen and yet dare to express and admit.

      Ack. Thhpt.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  12. driranek

    By the same reasoning can we assume that "Thou shalt not bear false witness" means we must kill all the lawyers?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  13. Greg

    To george
    They already do in more than one country

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  14. Religion

    Please, God, let these pastors keep opening their mouths in hate so everyone realizes religion is not the only way to know you.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  15. James

    I'm no Christian, but I'm under the impression that one of the Ten Commandments was "Thou shall not kill."

    Sure a couple of passages say sodomy is wrong, but murder is one of the giant "no-no's" of the religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Merry Prankster

      : )

      May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  16. BethTX

    I say we execute religious nuts. Seems like that would improve society.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • PantyRaid

      That's what he doesn't understand, someday we might start doing that, then what? Who will be there to speak for him?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  17. Pete n San Carlos

    What's funny is that straight people don't need to lash out at Gay people because there busy with there own lives.It's those that are repressed that manifest in self hate.Come out already Queen or Pastor .

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  18. Greg

    To Deacon
    He doesn't have any Bill and that's what makes him a total fool. Hey Hoopla12, don't be standing next to me on judgement day

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • DocMonster 8404

      So standing next to someone can condem you?

      Need an arc?
      I Noah guy.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  19. Karen

    People like pastor Curtis Knapp should be put in electrified cages so THEY DON'T procreate!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  20. george

    Jesus said, he that lives by the sword shall die by it..some people might decide to start killing Christians..

    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • PantyRaid

      Great point!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
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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.