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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This pastor has nothing to do with Christ or Christian living. Jesus during His time on this Earth never once said anything against gays; he did, however, have a lot to say about hypocrites as well as adultry which applies more to straight than gays. Jesus said HE was the New Law come to replace the Old, so why do so called Christian pastors insist on going to the Old Testament when bashing their congregations or to the words of mortals like Paul, who himself is suspect, instead of the words of Jesus? Jesus instructed us: judge not least you in return be judged for that which you do the the least of my brohters, you do unto Me. I have no faith in organized religion but that does not mean I am not a ture Christian. People like this man and his congregation end up gay bashing with results like those of Matthew Sheppard. I ask you. When standing before God, is this pastor or people like Matthrew Sheppard more likely to be welcomed home? Jesus and His Word are the way and the light, not people like this delusioned poser. I have yet to know a protestant pastor who was not a closet drinker or closeted gay or a child molester.
As a Christian, you also believe the Bible. Romans 1:26.
While I don't agree with your last statement as I have known some great pastors, I do agree with the rest of your post. Organized religion is hard b/c most of the time instead of just teaching the bible they are teaching "their" thoughts. However I don't care for the feel good "Olsteen" preachers either, I think sometimes feeling like the finger is being pointed in our direction is what we need to hear. However the judging has to stop. If you don't agree with the Gay lifestyle then don't be gay. Easy as that...we are to love others and that didn't come with any exceptions. It boggles my mind the hatred that people have for others b/c of their race or lifestyle.
Okay , he was in the wrong the whole timee ; why would you say something like that in church and then take it as a joke ? Um , my pastor wouldn't even do that . He knows his boundries .
Yeah, I'm sure most pastors never make any mistakes or say anything they regret from behind the pulpit. They're not human, after all.
This man should be arrested for his intentional speaking of hate crime. Any parent that hits their child more than just punishment should be reported and arrested for their abuse. The gay community is in outrage. If I was a member of that church, I'd stand up and tell the pastor, YER FIRED and get him out of there. he's just lost his job.
First Amendment: Hate speech is protected, which is a good thing.
Nothing this pastor said was hate speech. Many people don't really recognize hate speech, especially when it is directed at Christians.
I'll defend his right to say what he wants all day long, but you have to acknowledge that this is hateful towards gays.
The way I understand hate crime laws is that in and of itself, what this ignorant cretin said was not a hate crime. But, if what he said incited or caused folks in his congregation to beat their kids, then it would be a hate crime.
its ok folks, its ok to hit kids, god said so...apparently.
and girls dont forget, you need to be beautiful and attractive and dress yourself up, those are the important things.
Don't forget they are supposed to smell nice like girls too.....
I sometimes look at men and say to myself that they are attractive, but as soon as I smell another girl, I realise that I will always love women. There are few things better than the female scent.
except of course that the vast majority of the time that scent is artificial, out of some bottle.
Anyone hear about this, media is suppressing news!!!
Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim.
The victim's friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.
Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at The Virginian-Pilot.
The next day, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack.
One post chilled him.
"I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light," wrote one person.
"I don't," wrote another, indicating laughter. "(do it for trayvon martin)"
Search on 'couple beaten in norfolk' – STOP MEDIA CENSORSHIP!!!!!
well thats nice and all but has what to do with this?
Wrong blog...but you're right, there is a national effort to not report black on white crime or if unavoidable then race is omitted. The rare white on black crime, in contrast, is pushed extensively and manipulated with outright lies, etc.
obviously this is fodder for those of us who have nothing better to do except mindlessly debate the undebatable. give it up people, you have better things to do with your time!
yeah, but it makes us feel better...so why are you posting?
He didn't mean to offend anyone in the LGBT community? Really? How about all the bullying and abuse of gay and gay-perceived youth that he sanctioned and encouraged form the pulpit? Is he sorry about that, too? I don't need him to apologize to me. I need him to stop condoning physical and emotional violence as if it were some kind of Godly behavior.
Exactly. He knew what he was saying. He said it with purpose. He meant what he said.
He's only backpedaling now because the sermon got out of his little church and he got called on his hateful violence mongering.
what a vile excuse for a man.
This is why we need a separation of church and state.
NC voters will get a chance do the right thing next week. Early voting has already started.
"and you will know they are christians by their love, by their love"
Every time I'm asked why I'm an atheist all I have to do is point the questioner to a news site and pick out the daily christian jihad of the day.
I can imagine what these religious nuts were like during segregation.
They were worst. My father and both grandmothers told us of some really scary stuff.
From the video many in the congregation cheered, clapped, "amened", to what this cretin said. The state child protection services should investigate each and every adult in this church looking for signs they abuse their children.
Typical redneck gospel, bigoted, BS.
He really meant it but he faced some backlash. That is the way most of the religious whackjobs are: violent.
This was about as disgusting a display as I have seen from a pastor.
Hugh Jass you are so funny I cant drink my coffee but u are making your points. This Pastor has no clue and is pathetic. He would't know a gay person if they kissed him on the lips. Keep on Hugh...
I agree Hugh, keep it comin!
I listened to the audio from this sermon earlier this week. This man was not joking. This man meant every word he said.
He wasn't joking that you should dissuade your children from acting like pansies. I do not think he was advocating beating them. I agree with the former. If you like promoting poofter kids, do so in your own family.
He spoke exactly what he meant, he advocated violence as a means of toughening up a male child who displays feminine traits.
Something to consider, not all feminine-acting boys/men are gay. And, even if they are gay, that does not give a parent the right to hurt them physically.
It's people like this that made me start this blog on common sense in life!!
Sean Harris has no idea what he is talking about and is not a true Christian. A true Christian knows it is never acceptable to punch your child or break his wrists. True Christans know you are supposed to stone your disobedient children to death as it says in Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
imbecilic. How many wrists do you think will be broken or have been broken? Zero. Go get offended elsewhere.
Exactly, and no true Scotsman doesn't enjoy haggis.
@Blaise, unfortunately, I know far too many gay men who had fathers who tried to beat the gay out of them. I know a woman whose own brother arranged to have her ra.ped by two men to cure her of her gayness.
This sort of hate speech spreads, it plants a seed in the minds of those who hear it and it grows. It encourages violence.
I went to this moron's website only to find that the "Contact Us" page had been disabled. Not only is he a bigot, and an ignorant extremist, he is also a coward unwilling to hear what society thinks of his hate-filled comments. I love the way these evangelicals talk of themselves as "soldiers of Christ," and then run when they're held accountable for their words and actions. Here is their phone number, which they forgot to erase from their website: 910-868-5156
Wow! I personally think someone who would provide their phone number like this is the hateful one!