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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. Theodore

    You can find his bio at his church web site. Converted at nine due to extreme fear of hell. Daddy converted and then divorced, and daddy's conversion again to "liberal theology" filled this guy with anti-liberal fervor. Deployed too many times into places like Iran as a para.

    No wonder.

    Has one son. I wonder what that poor kid's upbringing was like.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • edwardo

      Hope the kid never let his wrist get limp or sore! Or watched an episode of Will & Grace.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  2. edwardo

    Scarey enough this wolf made those remarks, even scarey his blind sheep agreed with them!!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Just a Little Sense

      I wonder what the response from the right would be if gay people advocated hitting christian children?

      May 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  3. GinCas

    Religious people! . . . the biggest haters in the world. Disgusting!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Hitchens

      No you are here !

      May 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • loathstheright

      Oooooohhhh, Hitchens told you a thing or two.....wonder where he found that in his bible.....just more proof that religion is the drug for the weak minded.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  4. FactChecker

    The pastor may just be the dumbest man in the U.S.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Hitchens

      No you are here.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  5. svann

    Not so much the word of God as the word of Paul (Saul, the tax collector turned Apostle).

    May 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Saul wasn't a tax collector.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • just say . . . uh, I mean Hitchens

      Don't tell anyone it's me.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Hitchens

      You tend to lack proof.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  6. Karen

    Words are used so lackadaisically and irresponsibly now and the media supports this- I see nothing of a "retraction" in this article. Similar to an apology of "Im sorry you were offended." I miss the days of responsible and literal journalism.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  7. Robert Eberling

    I don't like this man.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • pervert alert

      What a feeble thing to say.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Brymja

      Atheism is the most healthy thing going for children and living things. It is religion that is destructive. Both to the individuals, to families, to communities, to entire nations, and the world. You cant see that because youre in the vice grip of it. Its very sad.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • loathstheright

      What Brymja said.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • nope


      May 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Nare

      Unfortunately, prayer hasn't done much for that "pastor".

      May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • WASP

      @wwjd/atheism/prayer changes your diaper: troll troll troll.....................TROLL. nothing better to say other than posting the same bull. lmfao oh yeah TROLL.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven .

      May 2, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • edwardo

      I lost my arm in a farming accident. The arm has now grown back, thanks to prayer. And the only person who believes me, is the idiot who posts "prayer changes things".

      May 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  9. loathstheright

    Needs a repost – I had neighbors right next door that would do ritual beatings of their children, 2,4,6 years old every Sunday, I called the police serveral times over the screams from those poor young children and the cops said they could not do anything about it. I had to move, I had insane Christians on both side of me and could not stand them anymore, what awful people they were. Makes me feel sorry for the children these low IQ cretins torture day in and day out.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • WASP

      @right: don't worry give it a few years and you will hear about those children again. the articule will read as such "religiously abused children unload five rounds of buck shot into abusive parents." "lawyer is going for insanity plea due to successive years of ritual beatings"

      May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Just a Little Sense

    "You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people that you do"

    – possibly Mark Twain (but I'm not sure)

    May 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • GinCas


      May 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  11. David

    Another wonderful example of praise the lord and beat to death those who might be different...even though we all came from the same tribe at one time....just a religious Moran ...another one

    May 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • GinCas

      You hit the nail right on the head David! Religion breeds bigotry and intolerance.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  12. loathstheright

    Aethism – Do no harm, help others, be good. Sorta simple, and to the point. Something Christians don't seem to understand.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Mao Tse Tung atheist killed 45 million in his last revival alone.
      Joseph Stalin atheist murdered 24 million citizens not counting his war dead
      Pol Pot atheist decreased Cambodian population by over two milllion
      Tell us again about the "kind" "helpful" "do no harm " atheists

      May 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • edwardo

      @incovenient – Because those people in your statistiscs are athiests, is not the reason why they did the things they did. They didn't recruit athiests, and kill non-athiests. They killed for other reasons, but not for any religious or non-religious affiliations. Hitler was a Xtian. Xtians kill people who are non-Xtian.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Jim Oliver

      You forgot Hitler. Oh, he was a Christian. Never mind.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  13. sup

    Sounds like more religious idiots that should be locked up. Religion is destructive and should be silenced by military force.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • George

      Unfortunately that approach is not working so well with the Islamists.....

      May 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  14. Theodore

    I'm thinking that all of the Christians who walked out on Dan Savage should maybe watch this and understand why a gay man might legitimately feel that way about Christians and the Bible.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  15. pattysboi

    This guy is absolutely NUTS, and needs to be FIRED immediately. NO pension, NO housing, NO benefits, whatsoever. He is NOT preaching God's Love, he is preaching hatred and bigotry. Had I been at that "church", I would have stood up, confronted this idiot, and urged all to leave, immediately.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  16. George

    So, free speech is only free speech if you agree with it? Yeah, "punch him" was a bit much, but NOT advocating in favor of the LGBT community, or supporting their lifestyle, is just as legitimate as the opposite.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      He was calling for violece against children. He abdicated his freedom of speech by attempting to incite violence. That is a real law by the way.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Harrison

      How would it sound to you if gays advocated hitting children anytime Christian tendencies were imagined?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • M&M

      Freedom of speech means one can't be jailed for what they say, it doesn't mean that they have no consequences or are free from hearing from those who disagree with them.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Actually M&M, your freedom of speech rights don't apply if your speech calls for or results in violence. This is because in those cases it infringes upon the rights and safety of others.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Like AIDS imposed on the world by ho mo se xuals infringing on the rights and safety of others?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @pervert alert

      Your idiotic posts don't count as truth just because you think they are.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Alert – Most people who have AIDS are hetero. You have adopted a myth, and incorporated it into your beliefs. Lesbians are the only people who don't get AIDS. Think about that!

      May 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  17. DNA

    Have you seen gay bodybuilders?!?! This guy better watch his mouth.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Rev. Sean Harris

      Of course I've seen them. I have a lot of magazines with pictures of them, but the pages are stuck together.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • lol

      in more ways than one lol!

      May 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • edwardo

      I have some gay friends, that could stomp this guy's a55 !!! Let me assure you.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • economics student

      No but I bet you have foggot

      May 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  18. T'laryth Phalyn

    And this makes anything he said better? The man is dangerous.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  19. Rev. Sean Harris

    When I see my son's wrist go erotically limp, my blood surges and I beat him and beat him, again and again, harder, Harder! HARDER! HARDER!!!!! UH!!!! OH JESUS!!!!

    That was good.

    Do you have a cigarette?

    May 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  20. Meuus

    I didn't agree with much of what Christopher Hitchens said when it came to political matters but when the Man said religion poisons everything he was right.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Hitchens

      NO he was not.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
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.