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.
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To every LGBT person who is hurt for being who you are, as a person of faith I apologize for the ignorance of peers among religious believers. You must be honest to who you are and seek a community of support if your parents, family, school or church does not provide that support. In no way accept that being LGBT is wrong.
You need to read your Bible, Sir.
My comment intended for David. Well said.
And by the way, don't bother reading the Bible. Man has put out far and away greater books to read. Life is too short. Skip the bible and read the classics.
The King James Bible is an incredibly well written book, thoroughly worth reading.
Ok. I guess some people's standards are just lower than others.
I guess they are.
I guess they are
@ worktolive – why do you folks try and justify cherry-picking?
Your god commands that you kill gay folks. Are you cretins doing this? Your god commands that young unengaged virgins who are ràped, have to marry their attackers. Are you cretins doing this? Your god commands that unruly children be killed. Are you cretins doing this? Your god commands that women who are not virgins on their wedding nights be stoned. Are you cretins doing this?
And some begin to see through the fog of deception. When people take "love one another as you love yourself" to heart, this sick and bigoted world would be transformed. And that only does 1/2 of what Jesus said.
Religion needs to be banned as the HATE CRIME that it is. Nothing good comes from believing in fairy tales after you are 7. Give your heads a shake and be logical adults. Faith in a god is totally irrational.
One day, my friend, one day. Banned only because people will move away from it recognizing it for the nonsense that it is. And those who believe, will be marginalized as mentally unstable.
Banning religion is horrible and unconst itutional.
In this case it feels to me like being against religion is its own religion. I think the openness you speak of is in accepting what truthful regardless.
Unfortunately, the fallout from such hate based comments are hard to estimate. Once negative, ill-spoken and cruel comments have been delivered there is no end to their impact. Simply saying I'm sorry I didn't really mean it is,"limp wristed" emotionally. These statements do nothing to repair the damage. When a religious leader uses his power indescriminantly the harm caused cannot be estimated. How many of his people now feel empowered to bully and cause emotional pain to those who present as different. This pastor has harmed countless people and probably in some senses still feels justified in making such statements. The next time there is a teen suicide or another teen runaway I hope this pastor will realize that his hate filled rhetoric contributed.
Religious leaders should have no power. And churches should start paying taxes!!!!!
Oh yeah. Churches should start paying taxes because if they do, then they'll get to start participating in government. Excellent idea! Aren't you a genius.
Churches are already involved in the government. Too involved. Wake up!
I agree @Simcha. But let us not stone these ministers but educate them. Condemnation is their "medicine" but not ours.
The Harris is just your standard run-of-the-mill hateful, mean-spirited Christian. That's okay Christians. I hate you back as much as you hate me!
Reading the headline, I mused, "Gee... I wonder what congregation that was". Sure enough, it was the same cult that used to say slavery was 'gawwwwds' will. Surprise, surprise.
Amen. My thoughts exactly.
"Love God above all things and love thy neighbor as thyself". I think Bible-thumpers should think a lot more about Christ's clear message and live it.. Gay-bashing is NOT Christian. And neither are preachers who spout gnorant vitriol.
No wonder I quit going to church. Christian my a**
Agree. Instead spend that hour with family or helping out in the community. That's a whole lot better to spend that time.
Western organized religion never truly appealed to me. It always seemed wrong and rigid. Even the Jesus personage seemed empty and the God of the OT and the NT was disconnected. This bothered me greatly until recently when I realized the expansiveness of the deception of Jewish, Christian and by default muslim religions. The truth is that God is a frequency as much a Christ is.
Paster, you dont have to hit them. You can just Pray the Gay Away !!! Meanwhile, back in the real world.....
Proof that it's LEARNED and not genetic:
You don't see babies doing it with each other. Babies aren't all up on top of each other and stuff. They LEARN this later on in life through watching mommy and daddy. In some cases, they get overexposed in places like san franscisco or the middle east to an abundance of "free love" with men on men all over the place. In early childhood if they see this then they LEARN to try it. It's like drugs, peer pressure and the like. Kids know smoking and drinking beer is for grown-ups. They see adults doing it and want to try it. The same happens with certain other immoral activities. Some people don't like what alcohol does to them, so they don't do it. But some like it and become addicted to it and become alcoholics. This is the same case with men on men and "the community" of free love or whatever. This is why we've got AIDS all over the place. It's gross as hell and we shouldn't have to put up with it.
Are you on drugs? Or you were being sarcastic when you wrote this and I just missed it?
Not true. I was in Walmart the other day and there were gay babies all over the place. I asked "Why so many gay babies?" Turns out it was the meeting place for the annual Gay Baby convention.
Honestly, do you people read the drivel you put out before you push the "Post" button.
Even if it was true that it is learned (which it isn't), SO WHAT! It's their lives and it's their bodies, they can do what they like with them. How dare anybody tell them what they can do with their bodies.
This is so dumb it crosses over into being funny.
I cant wait to show this to my gay friends...
Especially the babies part. Crazy. Are any of u nuts in the Northeast. I have not run into any bozos like you in person.
You are the sickness.
Now you know where I come to get my daily dose of humor.
By your mentality, you think it's ok for people to do cocaine and drive their cars all hopped on booze and cocaine too then, right? You know, cuz it's "their bodies" and they can just do whatever they want, right? Oh yeah, smooth move.
You should remove your tiny johnson from your boyfriend's poopchute before you judge others.
You may have AIDS encephalopathy as I analyze your rant. Good luck fighting your demons.
Yes, people should be allowed to take cocaine. There has to be toxicity laws concerning operating vehicles, because you are endangering the lives of many people operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Generally though, people should be allowed to take any drug they want. Drug prohibition is unconst itutional.
@Rational Libertarian: People like 'cure' are deathly afraid their god will strike them down for offering any support to people different than them. If it says so in the buybull it must be true....lol, cause we all know that sheep herding men who wrote a book 2000 years ago and had no tools to do proper research, must still have it right...NOT! It's sheep herding mentality-uneducated and completely living in fear.
Cure The Sickness is a bigot and a poor excuse for a christard. I'd love to know how this dolt would handle it if their own child was gay.
"Free love" in the Middle East? Where did you find THAT information?
Feeble brained idiots like you are responsible for the down fall of this country. You are NOT Christians, you are hateful bigots who have found a forum in the conservative, right wing wave. You no longer have to talk quitely among your selves and deny saying stupid things like this in public. Feeble brained people like Limbaugh, Santorum, Bachman, Paul, etc. have lit the way. God help us all.
Ron Paul is the one savior America has left.
Hmmmm...so you're saying that all the gay people that are over ten yrs old learned to be gay by exposure to other gays??? Funny. If your "logic" were true, where did they get the exposure? Kids in rural KY or IN or TN or AL or MS saw this behavior in their neighborhoods and community??? On did they see it all over TV? Neither. The percentage of gay characterization on TV or in the media was about 1% of what it is today. So how do you explain anyone – ANYONE – over the age of 10, or say 20, that did not get the exposure you refer to "learned" to be gay? You can't. Move on....
Following your reasoning, as a baby you were not anti- gay. That is something you learned. So if you un-learn this you can accept others as they are. AIDS is not a gay disease. It is a human disease.
"In early childhood if they see this then they LEARN to try it."
Wow are you a moron or what. The experts around the world have shown that being gay isn't a choice you can't learn to be gay, which is why when gays and lesbians raise their children their children don't turn out to be gay!
he American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.
Jesus was into washing other dudes' feet, that's pretty gay.
The washing of feet wasn't a "gay" thing, but an action based in the culture. If you walked through the dirt of what is now the West Bank, you'd want clean feet when you went to someone's house as well.
I guess by your logic, though, that only gay people wash their feet? I might have to stop my straight friends from removing their shoes before they enter my house if that's the case.
"people you touch kids"
That's called a pedophile and has nothing to do with being gay, most pedophiles are classified as straight. It's amazing how clueless you are on this subject. Your hate and bigotry in not founded on real facts.
"people you touch kids"
That's called a pedophile and has nothing to do with being gay, most pedophiles are classified as straight. It's amazing how clueless you are on this subject. Your hate and bigotry in not founded on real facts.
This is one reason I do not attend church as a gay man. True preachers moved by the Holy Spirit do not make comments like this. This man is a false prophet likely in the business like a lot of them out there......money and power.
No. You don't go to church because you are guilty of a sin and you are unwilling to repent.
Oh please, CureTheSickness. The 15th century called, they want you back.
Kebos, hollywood called and said they know what's best for all of us with their extensive "life experience" and commend you for thinking that you do too.
Dont blame you. I am a strait man and dont go to church because of the people like CureTheSickness that would be sitting next to me.
@Cure the Sickness...
No..the reason why so many churches have declining memberships and are closing is because they have people like YOU in them...turning good people off. Your words prove that you are NOT a christan...a discple of the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ. You have obviously rejected the loving messages of Jesus Christ for the regurgitated rhetoric of divsive demagogues. Jesus Christ didn't use faith as a weapon against others, but you are. Jesus Christ didn't exclude, reject or divide people...on the contrary....Jesus Christ tried to bring people together. I"ll say it again....te reason people don't go to church is because many of them are filled with ignorant people like you who are just you who are just there to cherry pick what they want from the bible in order to justify the sick hate they have in their hearts. You're the sickness.
Lee, I'm right there with you. Or I guess in this case, not there with you. I too avoid church because of people like CureTheSickness. Truth is, I avoid religion altogether after realizing, unfortunately quite last in life, that religion is a mankind's greatest fraud. Perpetrated by man on man. Oh, "man on man".....sounds gay. Hey, religion must be gay!
@ Cure The Sickness - You have a very convincing comedy routine!! You should contact John Stewart. It would be a scream!
"good people?" I don't think you understand what "good people" are. Do you think murderers and people you touch kids should be in church? By your infinite wisdom people should be allowed to snort drugs and drink booze from the alter too, right? Great thinking. Let's just let people murder others in church while we're at it.
@CuretheSick We are all sinners. Jesus taught us that no one sin is worse than any other sin. You are obviously a false Christina.
@CuretheSick We are all sinners. Jesus taught us that no one sin is worse than any other sin. You are obviously a false Christian
"Do you think murderers and people you touch kids should be in church?"
Seriously, how could the catholic cult of pedophiles be dismissed here or is turning a blind eye to them okay because these sicko priests/authority figures are called by the invisible man?
Murderers? Now given that your god killed numerous people, I'd say that as long as you allow that to control your life you are allowing a murderer in to your life and church every day.
Lucky for you, there are lots of Places of Worship where they don't care if you are gay. The Unitarian and Universalist Congregations come to mind. I would stay away from the Baptist cult, specially the southern brand, they are the absolute worst in hatred and bigotry. If these baptists bigots only knew where baptism came from? Ancient Egypt priests baptized the faithful of Horus, Osiris and Isis.
When my now strapping 16 year old son was younger, around 8-10, his two best friends were feminine. My son started displaying feminine characteristics including bending his wrist in an inappropriate fashion. I certainly didn't hit him or anything like that, but I did correct this wrong behavior gently, firmly, and consistently. He is now not at all feminine. He is strong and respectful. Feminine behavior in boys is behavior a father should lovingly correct and it can be corrected.
I have three boys. They all bent their wrists in every which way. Some feminine, some masculine, some reptilian, other times bent in ways that resembled the old oak tree out back. They all turned out to be fine upstanding adults. Quite remarkable, really.
Good for you Arizona! People are afraid of libtards these days and don't want to raise kids the way they need to be raised.
Yeah, I'm afraid of "libtards" too. I hear that's how Curly died.
Ha ha! That's a good one! Bending your wrist in an inappropriate fashion!!! I'll have to make sure I never do that in public.
Who knew that teh ghey was located in the male wrist? I bet that if we forced all male infants to have their wrists splinted from birth through puberty, we could make teh ghey go away in one generation.
I'm betting that you, sir, are in line for the Nobel Prize in physiology!
Its a shame that a man is called an extremist for telling the truth. Seems society wants everything to be accepted regardless of right or wrong. Who among us will decide what is acceptable next? This is why we are given discernment. Sadly many are too ignorant to know the difference between discernment and judgement.
This is America, Dave. You know...land of the free, where people are supposed to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You obviously want to live in a country where everyone is forced to dress a certain way, act a certain way, believe a certain way. I suggest you move to Iran or communist Soviet Union of the 1950s..where such conformity was strictly enforced. You obviously don't have what it takes to be an American.
No what is sad is you have to go to church each week to keep yourself straight. If you had your own mind you would know what is right and wrong. You wouldn't need one of these nuts telling you who too beat..who to hate...who is bad...who is good. If you all would worry about yourselves...the world would be a much better place. But you have to force your illusions on everyone else because your convinced your mind is the only one. If your wrong you have messed everyone else up too. How about worrying about homeless kids, starvation...wars...something you could and should stop.
No Dave. The truth is that folks are born gay (and straight and bi and trans). Beating them will not make them straight anymore than beating a green-eyed person will make them brown-eyed.
This is typical religious conservative BS, a most grievous disease of the soul. That he's a Baptist makes it worse. I've never met a merciful Baptist. This is going to be the reason why present day Christianity will be shunned by the people. God is Harmony, God is Mercy. God is the reason we live. God loves his creation and THAT includes gays. Christ was sent by the Father and that would be his message, not hate, not disharmony. Did he not say "Love your neighbor as your self"?
God doesn't exist.
Of course God loves all. Can you not understand that he can love the sinner but not the sin? Maybe you think we should embrace murders or child molesters as well, since we should love everyone.
"child molesters as well"
The Catholic Cult of pedophiles embraces child molesters every day and your god (not that it can be proven to exist) impregnated a young girl.
Dave, why do folks like you compare being gay (a natural normal variant of se.xual orientation) to murder and pedophilia – which are illegal, immoral activities?
Cure....they can't keep it hidden...you people are obsessed with it...you have to figure out who is gay...how they talk, walk, dress..you can't let it go. It wasn't a gay kid in this church that started this...it was the preacher.
"“Remembering the love and forgiveness that God has shown them..."
Not from the Old Testament that I read. Has someone put out a kinder, more gentler version that I missed?
Man' history on this planet has been one of constant manipulation by forces in disharmony from God's Plan. The truth is way stranger than perceived reality. The Bible as it stands today is a work of deception, from the OT to the NT. Important books like the Book of Enoch were left out at the Council of Nicaea. That provides the biggest clue. The Dead Sea Scrolls were sealed and kept from public viewing. Why? The Roman Emperors put together the NT and gave birth to the Catholic (Universal) Church where all other Christian religions split from. That Church has perpetuated the deception for almost 2000 years and they know it and it really scares them,, they fear the true Christ. The character Jesus was put together from myth and other actual people, a construct. The Christ is a Soul Frequency, a level of consciousness, as much as people throughout the ages that have tuned to it. That does not negate the reality of the Christ. All who tune to that frequency KNOW the deception. And you can't get back to the Source without that Christ Frequency. This is grossly not taught in all these church groups because they are part of the deception. Fools...
It couldn't hurt detractors to read a bit of theology, could it? Try the New Testament.
And people wonder why others don't want Santorm...Romney...Gingrich or Bachman for president....cause we ain't all nuts.
Another four years of Obama doesn't sound too appealing either. Good singer though.
Maybe the preachers daddy had the same response to him when he was younger?Perhaps we will never know.
D V...it's only sick if your worried about what they do in their bedroom. Nobody cares what you do in yours.
Maybe if their kind kept it hidden where it belongs then it wouldn't be such a widespread problem.
@Cure The Sickness: Your alias speaks for itself...how very bigoted of you!!! The only problem is that people like you are too damn ignorant to see the truth behind this. People like you are the reason they are bullied and did remain hidden for so many years. What if your child told you they were gay? (of course there is the slight hope that you don't have children...we wouldn't want them abused with the brainwashing of your comment)
My children know not to do drugs and make other bad decisions like that. They've been taught the difference between right and wrong. Unlike liberals that are too lazy to do any parenting and expect soccer coaches and teachers to do all their parenting for them.
Cure...Your comments are offensive and disrespectful. Most people in the US are trying to get beyond prejudice, hate and oppression. You will be a much happier person when you figure out that it is not your place to decide how others live.
@cure: Really? You have that wrong moron!!! My own child was raised without a belief in god and is free of drugs, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke and is about to finish her secondary school education and has been accepted in to one of the best colleges possible.
However, I didn't specifically ask about that...I did ask what you would do if your child said they were gay. Given that SCIENCE has stated being gay is natural and not a choice, how would you handle it? (doesn't matter if you agree with science, it remains in tact as the truth because it is backed with solid evidence whereas all you have is your personal feelings and the buybull-written 2000 years ago by 40 men over the course of 400 years and most importantly inspired by man)
You've made it very clear on a blog full of Atheists that you are a huge bigot....you may have some who will back you but be prepared to be hit with a load of facts from people who know you are WRONG!
What a sick bas tard. It is hard to believe there are such evil and sick people living next door. We will read next week that he was caught in bed with a boy.
This kind of sickness is being taught in churches all the time. The more conservative the group, the more the harshness based on the OT view on gays from a god of harshness and vindictiveness. Look it up the OT god is not the same God that Christ introduced to us in the NT.