May 2nd, 2012
04:18 PM ET

North Carolina pastor retracts sermon remarks about punching gay kids

By Stephen Walsh, CNN

(CNN) - A Fayetteville, North Carolina, pastor has retracted controversial language used during a weekend sermon in which he instructed parents to hit children who exhibited behavior associated with homosexuality.

“I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended,” Sean Harris, pastor of Berean Baptist Church wrote in a statement on his church’s website. “I did not say anything to intentionally offend anyone in the LGBT community.

“My intent was to communicate the truth of the Word of God concerning marriage,” the statement continued. “My words were not scripted. It is unfortunate I was not more careful and deliberate.”

Harris’s remarks at his church came a week before the state’s voters consider an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution limiting legal unions to marriage between a man and a woman.

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"The second you see your son dropping that limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist," Harris said in the Sunday sermon. "Man up. Give him a good punch."

"You’re not going to act like that," the pastor advised parents to tell their children. "You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.”

In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, Harris said his comments were meant as a joke. In a video of the sermon posted online, laughter can be heard from some members of the congregation, as well as cries, of “Amen!” as the pastor spoke about responding to seemingly gay kids.

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Berean Baptist explains its stance on discipline of children on its website:

“Remembering the love and forgiveness that God has shown them, parents in turn should train their children with the purpose of reflecting the Heavenly Father to their children. Parents should consider their responsibility to be the instrument of discipline in their child’s life (Prov. 19:18). At times this may include appropriate and reasonable physical means (Prov. 10:13) employed upon the fleshy portion of the child’s buttocks (Prov. 22:15; 23:13); that this method is to be viewed as correction rather than punishment (Prov. 23:13); and that this correction will result in the child’s physical and spiritual betterment.”

Harris told the Observer that from within his church, "the response was, 'Pastor, we know you didn't mean that.'"

What do you think? Watch the above video to hear Harris’s remark and leave your comments below.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (2,325 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    Yes he is filled with the Holy Spirit and love.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Peter

      He's full of something, but it's not love.

      What a hick. Between his ""semon" and the reaction of the audience, I can almost hear the theme from "Deliverance".

      May 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • cogman62

      He's filled with something alright...

      May 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Peter

      Ha! I mean "sermon" not "semon"!

      Talk about a Freudian slip......

      May 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • is he in the closet

      Well we just need to wait a couple of years, and then we will probably hear about this guys wrist being broke by his wife... after she finds out his is hooking up with a gay lover. It is usually those who talk so forcefully about this that end up having the problem themself. Any bets?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • blam

      all the devout ones know "GOD"s will well.. which is always hate and fear

      May 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  2. Heres your dose of reality

    Well Revrend, if we are punching gay kids, and you are justifying that, I guess folks should kick the crap out of gay priests, parishoners, etc.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  3. Colin

    How sad that a pastor believes God makes mistakes.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Peter

      This is a mainstream religious leader in the United States Of America is 2012?


      May 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  4. Annette

    This pastor is the complete opposite of Christianity. He should be forbidden to preach ever again. Maybe his parents should have hit him when he was little when they discovered he wanted to be a faux preacher.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Pot, kettle. Kettle, meet pot.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      Welcome to mainstream Christianity

      May 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  5. Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

    Of course he should apologize. The bible clearly instructs god's followers to kill gay people. He didn't go nearly far enough

    May 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Squirrel-Jesus-Juggling Moroni

      This pastor has spread heresies about the true God's method of handling gay children. True God handles gay children by letting his priests handle gay children in their special way, or he duct tapes pigeons to their arms and legs, then puts them in those huge catapults they make to throw cars and stuff. Then he yells "You might make it to heaven" and WA-WUNK!!! Off they go.

      None of this pansy slap their wrists stuff.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  6. JimmmyNelson

    Guaranteed hes a Republican.. so full of hate..

    May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  7. jimtanker

    He's not sorry that he said it, he's sorry that he got caught.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • The Bottom Line

      BINGO!!! We have a winner!

      May 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  8. just sayin

    Note: BAPTIST ...don't dance and beat the crap out of your kids when bored.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      That's why they don't have s-e-x standing up. They fear it might lead to dancing

      May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  9. Bible Bob Saves The Day!

    Okay Christians, use the "No True Christians" thing here!

    May 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Too late, Bill beat you to it.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  10. Damian

    Yeah he's only retracting now b/c he was in some deep doo doo and was going to be fired!

    May 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • DAVE


      May 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  11. Huebert

    "Be like me or i'll hurt you." How Christian.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Spiritual Cynic

      Just a kinder, gentler Taliban.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  12. Bill

    This 'man' is very, very many things.

    But make no mistake, a man of God is not one of them.

    May God have mercy on your soul, dude. You're going to need it.

    It is sad that 'christians' sit idly by and allow the message of Jesus Christ to be degraded in this manner.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Of course he is not a Christian...*rolling eyes*

      May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • FrosenChosen

      Yes, it is a shame that the message of Jesus Christ (gays are an abomination, kill them) has now been downgraded to a minor beating. Disgusting. How DARE they pervert the message of my all-loving and all-forgiving God?

      May 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      You God exists only in your head, Frosen. Get some help.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  13. richwking

    Visit this Facebook page for a link to the Google Places reviews page. As of now, 60 negative reviews of the sermon have been posted. https://www.facebook.com/PastorHarrishasgonetoofar

    May 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  14. richwking

    5th paragraph transcription is incorrect. It should state "The second you see your son dropping that 'limp' wrist..."

    May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  15. just sayin

    He only showed what majority of Christians think and feel. No surprise folks.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  16. Jungle Jim

    It's the morality of Christianity I love the most. Hit any kid showing gay tendencies, then lie about it.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    I believe the LGBT community should have a drink in his churches honor

    A super sized Molotov!

    May 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  18. William Demuth

    Can I recomend we gang bang his old lady and eat his dog and then retract my commnets?

    May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bill

      You may, but then 'christians' will turn it around and tell the media that you suggested eating his old lady and gang banging his dog.

      'christians' have a very unscrupulous relationship with the truth.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • William Demuth


      If she is clean shaven, I might be convinced

      May 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  19. momoya

    Apologizing for unintended offense is soooooooo stupid.. It's just a way of saying, "I still think exactly the same way, but I wish people liked it instead of disliked it.". But really, good for them.. The more socially stupid the jesusfreaks are the more of society will shun them as they deserve.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  20. pastmorm

    This is just a typical Christian pastor...what else can the world expect anymore but hatred from most Christians?

    May 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • J.W

      It is the typical pastor that you see in the news. Not necessarily the typical pastor overall.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • just sayin

      Actually tha tis pretty typical thinking from Christians. Do not spare the rod and a few extra whips for gays kids.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:39 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.