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. Boo

    When religion ruled the world it was called the dark ages. When ignorant people are called out on their hate and ignorance they say, "I didn't mean that." or "It was a joke." Fear makes them hate and hate makes them stupid. These people drove me away from the church because I did not want to be like them. Their Jesus is pretty cool but I can't tolerate or abide his hypocrite two faced fans.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • nru

      God save me from your followers

      May 3, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  2. jimtanker

    Don’t forget the National Day of Irreverence tomorrow. Break every one of the commandments that you can tomorrow. I’m not talking about breaking any laws but you can lust after a woman in your heart for adultery and hate someone which is the same as murder and covet something which is the same as stealing. You know, the usual Way of the Master B S.

    For those who can’t remember what the ten commandments are (I’m mostly talking to xtians here), here is the short version:
    1. You shall have no other gods before me.
    2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image. (like a cross with Jesus on it?)
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
    4. Remember the Sabbath day.
    5. Honor your father and your mother.
    6. You shall not murder.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    8. You shall not steal.
    9. You shall not bear false witness.
    10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or donkey.

    Like I said, break all you can but don’t break any laws. Have fun and have a great day!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  3. a bro

    you have to beat the gay out of them...unless they like that. then you have to nice the gay out of them...unless they like that. then...well, there is no hope.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  4. IUjock1974

    What a Pathetic POS, just like all of those like him.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  5. kenburch

    Yeah, right...he "unintentionally hurt" people...he accidentally said parents should hit their kids if they THINK they might be gay...sure, it was a typo...he couldn't actually have MEANT it...and it was secular liberal media's fault...because all real "fair-minded" people know what he meant...and that he didn't mean it...and someone else was to blame if he did...not that he did...but still he was the REAL victim...

    May 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  6. n8263

    Religious morality is not very moral.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • kenburch

      This "pastor" isn't religous...he's just a sadistic closet case.
      He'd probably have shouted for Barabbas.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  7. lagne

    The most irritating thing about this is that, behind closed doors with his sheeple congregation, this "pastor" will cry about how the sicko liberal media is persecuting him for his faith. This uproar will only cement his delusion that he's doing and saying what God wants.

    Endorse his stupidity – he thinks he's right. Point out his stupidity – he thinks he's right. You can't win with this kind of person. And the beat goes on.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • a bro

      totally right. what you just said is what makes me so depressed about the future of things. only in due time will these people, hopefully, be bred out of society. hopefully...

      May 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  8. nru

    I've always believed that most of the people who hate gays are gay and in denial. Turns out this is statistically valid.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • a bro

      it really is. i have known a fair amount of gay people who happend to come out later in life. they all, every single one of them, hated, and I mean HATED, from their own words, gay people. every single one.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  9. danachilton

    The new meme for anyone who uses anti-gay rhetoric is that it 'isn't hateful' and really has to do with 'protecting marriage'. Does this religious leader honestly think 'cracking' the wrist of a young boy who isn't butch enough is 'protecting marriage'?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  10. JohnnyKay

    Time wounds all heels.

    Let it begin now.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • kenburch

      Any day now...this guy will get caught at a Motel 6 with a rent boy...I've got June 1st in the pool. What's YOUR bet?

      May 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  11. n8263

    The Marriage Protection Amendment would make NC look like Mississippi.
    Think about the NC voters. Do you want to look like Mississippi?

    Vote against this asshole, vote against the MPA.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  12. Adair

    He's an idiot and a narrow minded individual who does not understand the Gospel.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  13. WhtRULknAt

    Yes the pastor didn't mean for parents to assault and beat their gay kids, just to berate and disparage them – just like Jesus said to do, right?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  14. food for thought

    I see scantily clad women and my d*** goes up. It really isn't a choice for me. You know, maybe it's possible it isn't a choice for gay people either.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  15. jim

    An old adage: A guilty dog is your loudest barker. Closet case !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  16. n8263

    Just imagine how much better America will be when most Americans are not religious!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • yup.

      Sorry. They are the breeders.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  17. cmc

    He meant every hateful word he said in the pulpit. He said it with conviction and worse yet, the sheep sounded as if they were in agreement. Disgusting is the best word for this. The only reason he apologized is because someone taped it and leaked it to the internet.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  18. Respondus

    Sean Harris:
    How much more hate is buried within you. Another reason to question the meaning of religion.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  19. who cares

    my opinion matters too!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  20. Badda Bing

    I wonder if this is going to interfere with his duties as a neighborhood watch captain?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
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