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. Mom

    Yet another non-apology from the self-righteous right. Save your breath, jerk. Nobody with any brains is buying what you're trying to sell.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  2. Just a Little Sense

    Man I can't believe god was so anti-gay when he wrote the Bible.

    What's that? The Bible wasn't written by god? It was written by man? Greedy, self-serving, fallible, mentally corruptible man?

    Oh, that makes a lot more sense.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Phillco

    If I ever see this guy walking down the street I'm going to punch him right in the face.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  4. John

    II guess Baptists need to go the same way as the dumb donkey pope is taking catholics, as he shields the pedophiles from jjustice. where is the vaticans vow of poverty ? Sell the treasures and feed the poor, you jack offs !

    May 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  5. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Today's christian boogeyman being the great Satan, that old serpentile creature, the devil-in-waiting has been thrown out and replaced with ego-centric ideologies of bad guys pletheras and super-heor condoms' referential commodities! We are awashed and fraternized with conscriptured designs of Tv blarneystones and accolades of high-def movies to go watch! All in ever to satisfy the masses children of mustard seeds pacificationed lots! Only the ones nowadays with oodles of money have their children do things beyond today's averaged people who have little left over money from week to week! Who really are the dopes on ropes? Is wanting to stay entertained a mentalism or are some doing physicalities in tandem? Wii is for thee!

    May 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  6. Beth

    He did not intend to offend anyone. Yeah, right. His humor is lacking no matter what he claims. He is calling for punching a child that may or may not be gay. Where does he stand on forcing your left handed child to become right handed? How does he comfort parents of suicides after they have followed his advise and hit their kids?

    May 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  7. stanton


    May 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  8. sybaris

    So he retracted his sermon remarks.

    That's like pulling out and saying it wasn't r@pe.

    Regardless, Harris provides more evidence that religion is a filthy, disgusting disease of the mind.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Only a qu eer would see truth as dirty. Diseased ? Thanks for AIDS, f aggot.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • sybaris

      Actually, by your logic, your loving god created AIDS so thank it.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Jim Oliver

      @pervert alert
      Do you walk down the street with "Pervert Alert" written on your tee-shirt? If so, people might get the opposite idea of what you are trying to project. Then you'd get a beating from those who get what you mean and those that get the wrong message. No wonder you are so bitter.
      Actually, the pervert in this story is a preacher suggesting you beat a child because he was born different than what you want.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  9. lance corporal

    didn't jesus beat up the adultress about to get stoned??.....

    what bugs me more than A holes like this "preacher" doing this FOR MONEY in the name of GOD (Ttaking the lords name in vain????) is that some of you just lap it up and think HE is saying the words of god

    this guy and his ilk are snake oil salesmen and you are fools

    and no I'm not an atheist but your welcome to call me what ever names you wish

    May 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  10. Len

    Wasn't this the same guy who in another time, advocated hanging blacks and burning Jews? The message seems eerily familiar " and god said ..."

    May 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  11. Paul Hetero

    Christians are CRAZY!

    May 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  12. JeffreyRO5

    Religionists need to spend more time in therapy, working on their irrational beliefs in the supernatural. Surely there's a cure for this nonsense!

    May 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  13. JPJ3016

    Religion is the root of all evil.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Speaking of roots, how about ho mo se xuals the people that unleashed the Aids epidemicon the world?

      May 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  14. Catholicism is not healthy for a boy's ass

    Are you hom.ophobic? Maybe you're gay

    remove the period in the link between the m and o to read the article.


    May 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • pervert alert

      gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to try to hide their dirty disgusting sins. Using the word "gay" doesn't fool anyone but the qu eers that stole it in the first place. Ho mo se x uals the folks that gave AIDS to the world.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Catholicism is not healthy for a boy's ass

      Pervert Alert,

      You should definitely read the article. It's ok. Be yourself. You only live once.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is evidence of serious mental issues

      May 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Hitchens

      It appears to be a false just sayin post

      May 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Just a Little Sense

      If you need god to be a good person, do you really deserve to be in heaven as you see it? You just follow orders out of fear and desire for a reward. Like a dog

      May 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  16. Debb

    That's not an apology. An apology takes ownership of the transgression. Not only did he advocate corporal punishment on chlidren, he believes that being gay is punishible. What a stupid moron. Religion has been twisted into something evil. All of 'em.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  17. Christianity is Stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It is!!!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Actually it is beyond stupid, it is dangerous.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  18. JeffreyRO5

    These religionists get nuttier and nuttier. Somebody needs to tell this idiot it's not 1842 anymore!

    May 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  19. This reminds me of Sam Kinison's dog psychiatry routine.

    “Bring Rusty to me!
    Yeah, yeah, wait out in the lobby; c’mere Rusty.
    First off,
    (beating sounds)
    YOU'RE A F***ING DOG!!!


    Yeah, listen, we had a real good session, Rusty really opened up!
    You can tell, he’s a sparky dog again!
    That’ll be two hundred bucks, thank you now.”

    May 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Was it funny when Sam Kinison did it?

      Cause it wasnt even remotely humorous when you did it.

      May 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • This reminds me of Sam Kinison's dog psychiatry foutine.

      When I "did" it ?

      May 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  20. David

    Ummmm, isn't publicly advocating and encouraging violence, assault and CHILD ABUSE a crime?!?!?! Someone should call the Fayetville D.A.'s office and find out why they aren't investigating this and how this tool can still be walking the streets ...

    May 2, 2012 at 7:11 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.