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.

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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. Primewonk

    I wonder why RationalChristianity stilll thinks that hômosèxuality is a behavior instead of an orientation? It's a normal natural variant or orientation. Just like being born left-handed is a normal natural variant.

    Apparently he/she, just like their god, chooses to be ignorant about the science involved. 1500+ species of mammals, birds, fish, insects, other vertebrates, and invertebrates have individuals that exhibit hômosèxuality. And because evolution rarely repeats itself, it must have originate many many hundreds of millions of years ago.

    This is just one more thing that your god got completely wrong.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Prime, do you have a choice of whether to have s.e.x.? S.e.x. is behavior. You have complete choice about whether you behave that way. Using the term 'orientation' means nothing unless you are saying that it is genetic. If so, then I realize some people are trying their hardest to find something that makes it genetic, but that still doesn't change the fact that you have a choice about whether or not to act on your impulses.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      By the way, since I am a scientist, I'll just point out that just because lots of animals exhibit animalistic behavior doesn't mean it is necessarily ok. The majority of animals also kill one another and steal from each other. Wouldn't you agree that's pretty prevalent in animal societies as well? Should we behave the same because we observe them do it? That sure sounds like something parents tell children...if you saw them jump off a bridge...

      May 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Reasonable Christianity
      "A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
      – Ecclesiastes 10:2
      "The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted."
      – Psalm 118 v15,16
      You have a choice not to act on your wicked left-handedness.
      It is a behaviour, after all. The nuns in catholic school who rapped kids' knuckles with rulers were obeying God's commands. All this blatent southpawdom is leading to the moral destruction of our world.
      Used to be you couldn't buy a left-handed guitar. Those evil, heretical lefties had to string a right handed guitar upside-down. These days, even good American companies like Fender and Gibson have given in to the Devil and produce instruments specifically made to accomodate an unhealthy, unrightous lifestyle choice.
      Better start using that right hand before Judgement day or you'll be sorry!

      May 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Doc, it is no wonder some can't be Christians, because they can't tell the difference between metaphor, hyperbole, sarcasm, and so on. Many also don't seem to be capable of comprehending theology on any meaningful level, or simply don't desire to try. There is nothing in the Bible that says being left handed is a sin, certainly not the verses you present that are metaphorical in nature. H.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y, on the other hand, is condemned quite specifically and explicitly, and in the New Testament.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Rational Christianity
      Perhaps not as explicitly as you think.
      In the original Greek, the terms usedthat are sometimes translated as "hom-ose.xual" are 'malakoi' and 'ar.senkoitai'.
      AR.SENKOTAI – Has been translated as "abusers of themselves with mankind" (KJV), "se.xual per.verts" (RSV), "sodo.mites" (NKJV, NAB, JB, NRSV), those "who are guilty of hom.ose.xual per.version" (NEB), "men who lie with males" (Lamsa), "behaves like a hom.ose.xual" (CEV), "men who have se.xual relations with other men" (NCV), and "ho.mose.xual offenders" (NIV). The New American Bible (Roman Catholic) translated ar.senokoitai as "practicing hom.ose.xuals". After much protest, the editors agreed to delete this term and replace it with "sodo.mites" in subsequent editions.
      'Ar.senokoitai' referred to male prosti.tutes for Paul and Christians until the 4th century.

      MALAKOI – Literally means "soft" or "males who are soft". This word has been translated as "ef.feminate" (KJV), "hom.ose.xuals" (NKJV), "corrupt" (Lamsa), "per.verts" (CEV), "catamites" which means call boys (JB), "those who are male prosti.tutes" (NCV), and "male prost.itutes." (NIV, NRSV).
      Until the Reformation in the 16th century and in Roman Catholicism until the 20th century, malakoi was thought to mean "mas.turb.ators." Only in the 20th century has it been understood as a reference to hom.ose.xuality.
      So does God condemn gays in the New Testament?
      It all depends on what translation you're reading.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Primewonk

      First off – not a chance in hell you are a real scientist.

      A real scientist, at least one who had taken any college level courses in biology or physiology, would understand the difference between behavior and orientation. Having sèx with someone is behavior. You can choose this. But the gender that makes you hor.ny is not a choice.

      Someone who claims to be a scientist would be familiar at a base level with the rudiments of the study of orientation. Only ignorant fundiots talk about there not being a gay gene. Folks with more than 10 functioning neurons understand that in humans orientation is a biological multivariate based in genetics – not "a" gay gene, but groupings of genes, and more importantly, how those genes are expressed – what they code for; along with hormonal baths in utero, neuronal plasticity, neuroanatomy, etc.

      Just because YOU choose to be ignorant about science, don't make the flawed àssumption that the rest of us are.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Horus

      Most scientists would also know that the "majority" of animals are not predators, too...... your statement is completely false.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Doc – thanks – you beat me to it!

      Off topic – you can still watch old film clips of Paul McCartney playing a right-handed base upside down. Must have been confusing as hell.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Doc, your interpretation of the Greek words is a modern one used to justify beliefs. I'm thinking more along the lines of "a-rsenes en a-rsesin thn asxhmosunhn katergazomenoi...", etc.. Hard to misread that, right?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Prime, nothing you said contradicted me. I did not say that there is a "g.a.y. gene". I said, if it is genetic. I did not say whether I thought it might be multivariate. However, what I am saying is that if it is an orientation, which apparently I did understand quite well, didn't I, can you point me to the scientific evidence? It seems to me that the public and many scientists have jumped the gun on this one. Can you point me to the definitive study that explains that one is just "born that way"?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Horus

      Rational – can you point to difinitive proof of God? Jesus (as a man-god)? How about proof that polytheistic beliefs are wrong? Perhaps there are Gods for every action and emotion....you can't prove that there isn't. You demand proof of something that you know science hasn't quite come to understand (and admits) but continues to learn and seek truth, while you support something that can't , and never can be proven; how convenient.

      ALL religions were born of man.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      When it comes to God, science cannot take us there. I don't pretend to think otherwise. Science, however, can take us to an explanation of h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y. if it is truly genetic, correct? Can you point me to such scientific evidence that proves it is an "orientation" based on genetics or some combination of factors?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      those aren't my interpretations.
      The versions of teh Bible from which they are culled are referenced in the posting.
      The people getting jiggy in Romans 1:27 were former Christians.
      The passage can be interpreted as God's condemnation for going against their natural predilections – IE: rejecting christianity and their own innate heterose/xuality.
      It does not necessarily condemn those who naturally are ho/mose.xual – IE: those that are born that way.
      And please don't tell me that nobody is born that way.
      My partner's family are all Portuguese Roman Catholics who strongly oppose ho/mose.xuality – and yet they've all known that one family member is a lesbian from the time she was 4 and first said she wanted to be a boy.
      They STRONGLY discouraged the behaviour, and yet 50 or so years later, she's still attracted only to women. Always has been, always will be.
      Oh – and her marriage has been stronger and longer lasting than a lot of hetero couples.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Doc, I'm impressed. You either know some Greek or took a lucky guess at the verse. Sadly, to me, that sounds like a modern rationalization of the the verse. We tend to make things say what we want them to say instead of what they actually say.

      I don't know whether it is genetic or not, but I do know that it is often presented to the public as if it is confirmed fact when it is not. There are likely many factors at play, and I can see how it can be (e.g., hermaphroditism). I, for one, do hope science gets to the truth, and not some politically derived truth.

      I, personally, believe Romans 1:26-28 is very clear in the Greek, as they would not have made the modern distinction between genetics and behavior. This implies it is sin, regardless of how good a person is otherwise. Does that mean other Christians are any better? No. We've all sinned... What I object to most is being told that I should accept and support something that I believe is contrary to the Bible.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Reasonable Christianity
      The great difficulty with Biblical interpretation is that it is all rationalization.
      If you're a literalist, the amount of double-think required to reconcile Genesis with scientific reality is staggering!
      But most Christians recognize that the Bible is largely allegorical – so then it comes down to interpreting the metaphors that were designed to be implicitly understood by an ancient culture.
      Hence there are thousands of denominations of Christianity.

      People are not forcing you to support that which you find contrary to the Bible – only to tolerate those who are different.
      And is tolerance not a Christian virtue?
      The realities of moral relativism force us all to live with things with which we do not agree. A lot of people would like to toss Pastor Phelps off a tall bridge, but realize that he has a right to spew his hate in public.
      I am strongly opposed to the ubiquity of monitoring devices in our culture. The complete loss of privacy in virtually every aspect of my life offends me – and yet I must tolerate this intrusion becuase the majority of people are willing to trade privacy for convenience and/or the illusion of safety.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @RationalChristian – you wrote, " Can you point me to the definitive study that explains that one is just "born that way"?"

      There is no single definitive study. There are hundreds and hundreds of valid scientific peer-reviewed papers. I tried posting a listing of citations from PubMed – but there are hundreds of s.ex and ho.mos.exual words in it, and I will not wastye an hour going through modifying all thesse words. I assume as a "scientist" you can construct a simple MESH query on PubMed?

      By the way, why won't any of you fundiots ever post a single solitary citation to peer-reviewed scientific research showing that gays choose to be gay?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      reasonable: so, gay people should live their lives without physical intimacy because it violates the writings of iron age man?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Doc, if the BIble is correct and its God exists, then there is most likely 1 correct understanding. When someone attempts to justify something that want to do by reinterpreting the traditional understanding, it is easy to spot as a rationalization to fit that person's desires. It is especially obvious when it is a modern day topic that has become a political hot-button issue.

      You say people are not forcing me, yet if I wish to watch TV, I am bombarded by show after show advocating it. I cannot express my religious viewpoint without being called a hateful bigot (which is quite far from the truth). The news media talks negatively about those who do not believe in supporting such marriage. I could go on. It seems it is ok to bully Christians...

      May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Informing christians that they are delusional and that there is no factual basis for the fairy tales they believe is not bullying.

      May 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  2. hippypoet

    those of whom can not prove the existence of god or any god type creature believes purely on the idea of its existence...the notion of what the idea stands for is great – a supreme being with infinite knowledge and power who is behind it (life) all....truly a fantastic idea indeed.... a grand idea based on superst.ition from an age of ignorance....why is such an improvable idea held with such belief as if it is true??

    May 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      So you find the world to make rational sense without God? You find purpose? Meaning?

      May 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • atheist fred

      @ UnReasonableChristianity

      What dictates that life must have a purpose?

      May 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      So, you believe there is no purpose to life? All is anarchy and chaos?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • atheist fred

      There may be a purpose, there may not be. Either way I’m ok with it, and I’m also certain enough that if there is a meaning to life, it won’t be found in some moldy old book written by ignorant goat herders thousands of years ago. Your religion is a myth stolen from previous myths, and holds no more answers to the meaning of life than the pack of gum sitting in front of my keyboard does.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Fred, yes, yes, I know how you feel about my religion.

      My point is that the universe is pointless without God. I, personally, don't understand how you can be fine with that. What it means is that absolutely nothing you do matters. Of course, for an atheist there is no "good" and "bad" anyway, but even if you were to do something you considered "good", what's the point except that it made you feel good? What's to stop you from deciding you're sick of it all one day and doing a bunch of people in because there is no purpose to anything. The sun will swallow the earth and your bones and none of it will matter. At least the world makes some rational sense with God.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • atheist fred


      If your version is right, then nothing we do matters either because everything is already pre-determined by the all-knowing, all-powerful creator. He can’t be all knowing if he didn’t know that we’d be having this very discussion, and if he’s not all knowing then he’s not all-powerful, and very unlikely to have created the universe. You have this idea that people not believing in god means that all hell will break lose and it will be complete mayhem. That is simply not the case.

      “What's to stop you from deciding you're sick of it all one day and doing a bunch of people in because there is no purpose to anything.” Christians own this market, and it doesn’t interest me in the least.

      I don’t need fairy tales to tell me that physically or emotionally hurting someone is bad. Common sense dictates that for me. It's as simple as that. No hocus pocus, no unicorns, or talking animals, just common sense.

      Please enlighten me how believing in a re-branded myth makes any rational sense, or in any way explains the wonders of the universe.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Horus

    Reasonable wrote: "Horus, those "other gospels" that were written... Do you know when they are dated? They are dated later than the 4 well-testified gospels."

    No I don't know then they were written, and neither do you. Well testified Gospels? Are you serious? You really are in over your head.

    "the earliest writings of the church" – were based on one sect's interpretation (Nicene). btw, the "writings" date back to at least 700 BCE; the "church" came to be in the late 3rd, early 4th century Common Era. By claiming the (4) gospels assembled by the RCC you are ignoring the first 1000+ years of monotheistic teachings.... just saying.....

    May 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      If you don't know when they were written, according to scholarship, then you probably shouldn't make the claims you do. Most of the "gospels" to which you refer were discovered in Egypt and date to around 300 – 400 A.D. The earliest manuscript of the New Testament is from the well-known gospel of John and dates to around 125 A.D. (P52... check it out). Others date well before the 300 A.D. date that you erroneously give for the beginning of the church. You give the 300 A.D. date because you have fallen for the plot lines of popular movies that suggest the church began with Constantine. Wrong. Read the early church fathers and read some of the actual accounts about Constantine before you state something historically incorrect.

      If you think you know what you're talking about, then I hope you've read Metzger, Ehrman, and many others on the topic of Textual Criticism.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Horus

      Reasonable – the (4) gospels were assembled by the Nicene Counsel in the 3rd century. You can throw out all the references you want but most all of the folks you mention base conclusions on assumptions, not tangilbe fact.

      And I suppose the Sumer tablets (in your world) don't predate the OT? Please.

      Christianity was a tool of the Roman leadership. It only survived via violent barbaric actions against the people.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The earliest manuscript of the New Testament is from the well-known gospel of John and dates to around 125 A.D. "

      LOL! Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      YeahRight, where exactly did you contradict anything I wrote about the earliest witness to the gospel of John? Did you have a point? Nearly every modern translation has a footnote about those verses, although your "most serious textual critics" comment is exaggerated and highly subjective. One competing theory is that these verses were a well-known account that was placed into the text later. It was in the textual tradition quite early.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  4. Ting

    Should we start an office pool guessing how long it will be before this pastor admits that he's gay?

    May 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  5. Horus

    Reasonable wrote: "Of course hitting a buddy in the shoulder and saying "man up" is meant as a means of friendly persuasion. That is the whole point."

    "friendly persuasion" – a parent telling a child to "man up", or that a girl has to wear a dress, look pretty and smell good – you consider that "friendly persuasion". I consider it bullying.

    Reasonable wrote: "Well that was a poor leap of logic. I do not consider those who are different from me to be sinners."

    Well, umm, your exact words were:" I have not seen conclusive scientific evidence that children are "born this way", but even if they are, sinful behavior should be discouraged."

    So in stating that "sinful behavior should be discouraged" you aren't implying that the behavior is a sin? Sorry for the enormity of my "mental leap"......

    Your words. Not mine. You are not a "reasonable" person; you are a passing judgment on others. You are a bigot.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Are you not passing judgment on me, my friend? 🙂

      I will beg to differ with you, as I do not see parenting as bullying. All loving parents do things that must seem like bullying to children. No! Don't make me do my homework! "Man up, son," Bump... Come on!

      On the other point, you flat misunderstand. Whether you are genetically predisposed toward h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y or not, you still have a CHOICE in whether you act on that predisposition. Acting is behavior. Wrong behavior is sin. I would not encourage or accept someone with a genetic predisposition toward violence, even though there are a lot of people just "born that way". Something tells me you would agree with that. Our difference lies in the fact that you and some of ***modern society*** do not believe such behavior is wrong, but many do.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Horus

      Reasonable – I never claimed to be impartial. I recognize that everyone, every time they have a thought is judging something, somewhere.

      I didn't miss your point. It was clear and you are trying to reformat what you wrote to try and seem impartial. The truth is you do not know what motivates a gay person so you make assumptions.

      I also disagree with you that parenting, and what this preacher stated are remotely interconnected. I have children. I don't bully them. I empower them to make choices. It is not up to me to guide them into stereotypical roles based on antiquated traditions. It is up to me to help them learn how to ask questions and pursue their interests. If my 5 yr old son plays with my daughter's barbies, or puts on one of her princess costumes it really isn't that big a deal. This guy, and apparently you agree, believes that I should chaste my son for doing such things. That's pathetic and cowardly.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ ReasonableChristianity – do you know what we call a celebate gay person? We call them gay. You fail, again, to understand that being gay is an orientation, not a behavior. You might as well tell left-handed people that they are sinners if they use their left hands – but they are fine if they use their right hands. What sheer idiocy.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Prime, saying that it is an "orientation" makes no rational sense unless you are saying it is genetic. Is that what you mean to say? As I've stated before and no one seems to want to address... Just because you might happen to be genetically predisposed toward violence, meaning you are of that "orientation" (whatever that's supposed to imply), that doesn't mean I will simply accept that you commit acts of violence because that's the way you're "oriented".

      May 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  6. Drake

    Reasonable Christian your handle is an oxymoron. Your words prove it.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Care to elaborate or are you just in it for the insult?

      May 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Congito

    I do not judge chistians but religion as a whole. Religion as a whole is a joke it is nothing but a buisness full of politicians and politics who use "gods code" to dictate what they do. I follow a moral code of what is right and what is wrong in my mind and as a human being I create my own moral code based off of my principles. Just as any religion does each religion has its own moral code just like an atheist has their own moral code. I once was a christian and the thing that drove me away from my faith in the end was the people of the church not the church it self. I get a tattoo and all of the sudden I am shunned from a "house of god" I get a piercing and I am going to "Hell" I drink a few beers and I am a drunk. The people of the church are what drove me away to start doing research on Christianity as I got older and just realized how flawed the religion is and how all of it to me just seems like a retelling of other religions and other stories in history. Like I stated Jesus in history might of existed and had a vision of a world where everyone was equally and a fellow man loved his neighbor but as to being the son of god I do not think so.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

      –George Washington

      May 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Horus

      Reasonable – it's always amusing when people quote others rather than use thier own thoughts.

      Since you like quoting others, try this one from Epictetus: "A man will never learn what he thinks he already knows" – religious folks think they already know the answer (God/Jesus/ whatever). Science seeks truth. Constantly reviewing itself for accuracy while the church shall not be questioned because they already "know".....hence they will never learn.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Yes, I find you quote and use of one equally amusing. 🙂 The problem with Epictetus' quote is that we don't *know* in the sense of proving something scientifically, we believe and we have hope. Those do not exclude us from looking for truth. I've looked for it in many places, including atheism, and I found my way back to religion.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Horus

      Reasonable – And Washington's quote was providing scientific illumination how exactly? You cannot objectively seek "truth" if you have limited your search to the confines of a particular religious ideology.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Horus, do you make the best choice with the information available to you? I have done the same. That's how.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  8. red-eye

    well, hopefully thats a 'carry a concealed' state and somebody feels 'physically threated' by this man someday ... just sayin ... because who really needs this piece of garbage walking the streets

    May 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  9. zombie

    Sicking, just more proof that religion is helping destroy mankind. Untill human kind realizes that we can make it without "god" these kinds of thing will continue. If I was to ever meet this man I would punch him right in his face for spreading his diease.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Pon

      Wow, such a violent reaction to a comment that was not meant to elicit that type of response. You would really punch someone in the face because your opinion about something is different than theirs??? Please get some help for yourself before you end up punching the wrong person, and end up dead or in jail. I wish you the best, Grace and Peace

      May 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • zombie

      Of course I would, this guy is advocating beating the "gay" out of your child, I would beat the stupid out of him.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Steve Barr

    Dear Reasonable – you have become Unreasonable. That's all! You keep saying the same things over and over and over and over again. Get over it-it's really simple-trying to explain away a hatemongering idiot it well...UNREASONABLE.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  11. Natasha

    This is the kind of disgusting, close minded hatred we need to we need to stop subjecting the world AND OUR CHILDREN to. It's amazing to me that this man IS A PASTOR. A pastor is someone who is supposed to be caring and compassionate. Yet, he is telling his congregation to force HIS (THEIR) OWN WARPED IDEALS (THAT ARE BASED UPON A BOOK WRITTEN HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO,) upon their own children. In turn, this is basically implying to their OWN FLESH AND BLOOD, that they don't care about how their child feels inside. By doing the things this pastor is preaching, you are telling YOUR CHILD that you don't care about the constant emotional struggle he/she has to deal with everyday trying to figure out who he/she really is. You're telling that child,
    "I don't care that you, MY OWN FLESH AND BLOOD, is hurting and in constant turmoil. I don't care that right now in your life you need me, YOUR PARENT, more than anything else in this world. I don’t care that I am supposed to be there for you, that I am supposed to tell you, ‘You ARE allowed to be whoever you want to be, gay or not.’ I don't give a s**t about you. You are going to be who I tell you to be no matter what because I WILL NOT ALLOW IT, BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE IT. So you have to be who I want you to be, like it or not."
    So, those of you parents and non-parents out there that support this pastor and his ideals, you all go right ahead and FORCE your SELFISH, UNCOMPASSIONATE ideals upon your children and just watch...... Watch as your children grow up to dislike you, disrespect you, not look up to you, and push you as far away as possible. Watch as some of those same children grow up to become selfish, or abusive, or violent, become pathological liars and sociopaths, develop depression and a low self esteem, develop addictions trying to self medicate, and in some of the most devastating cases, commit crimes, murder, or suicide. Those of you out there that support this man are filling the world with hate and it absolutely disgusts me.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      And here I thought you understood.

      Natasha, do you personally know that pastor? If you do, and you know his intent was evil, then fine. But if you don't, then you've just condemned a man before knowing exactly what he intended. I suspect you wouldn't want a court of law assuming your guilt.

      There was no hate preached in this brief clip except for what people have turned it into. Not a big surprise there, because people like to play holier-than-thou, especially those who don't believe.

      Finally, there is absolutely nothing hateful about trying to make sure your child grows up straight, especially if you believe the Bible and it says h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.i.t.y is a sin. The church teaches that all Christians should do their best to avoid sin, but this one becomes a big deal because our **modern** society doesn't like that teaching, as if they know better and can dismiss centuries of moral experience and teaching based on a few decades of "do what feels right".

      Would you view it as loving to accept your child's behavior if they had a genetic predisposition toward violence or addiction? I hope not. Would you view it as loving to accept your older child's behavior if they should decide that it is perfectly fine to be with animals (hey, it's gone on for centuries and must be 'natural', right? –note: sarcasm–). Would you accept your adult child's behavior if they decided that they liked, no really liked, children and wanted the age of consent lowered? How low is too low?

      You can condemn and be outraged all you like, but you are being just as intolerant and hateful of what others consider loving behavior.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Pon

      Natasha, obviously you did not read the entire article! And your response is filled with so much hatred and anger, two emotions which have no place in a discussion on a Christian site.Please, reconsider your position before you give yourself heart failure. Trust me when I tell you (yes, I am also a Pastor) that God is more disappointed in your hate-filled response, than He is with this Pastor's slip of the tongue. Grace and Peace to you.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Steve Barr

      PON; Since when did CNN blogs become Christian sites?

      May 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Ting

      "God is more disappointed in your hate-filled response, than He is with this Pastor's slip of the tongue."

      Well of course he is. That is completely expected from such an evil deity.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  12. Lee

    its funny how people can talk about God The Bible and Jesus like they are nothing but at the first problem in the life the first thing that come out of there mouth is "God Please HELP ME im sorry" its sad how you full your self into going against God word.. o what your probably have never spent the time to read or understand ti.

    As for the Pastor there is room for improvement in his way to interpret the Bible, But then again Christians are the only people that are expected to be perfect and when they slip, Hippocrates like just about everybody in this list see that they jump on it like wolves instead of constructive ways of dealing with this... All of you noting but Lost Souls looking for fulfillment in there own doctrine of ignorance.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Steve Barr

      says the high and mighty judgemental twit.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • JeramieH

      > the first thing that come out of there mouth is "God Please HELP ME

      Source on this "fact"?

      May 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Mason

      It has become a figure of speech.
      People who do not believe in God do not cry out to God. "Oh my God," "dear Lord," "Godspeed," "God help us," etc., are just things people say to express how they feel occasionally.
      Well, that's not always true. In times of great danger people have been proven to beg for their safety and when they are at their most desperate they call out to a God in which they don't believe just as a crap shoot, because hey maybe it will work. (It usually doesn't.)

      May 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  13. Steve Barr

    REASONALBE-JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED MY PREVIOUS REPLY I'LL POST IT AGAIN: : I think its people like you that make our society dangerous...you simply try to explain away others hate and dimented philosophy.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      And you make it dangerous, Horus, by demonizing people you don't know by assuming what they meant. You see one side of the coin. I see two. I don't know the man. What I believe and what I suspect about him may not be reality. I'd have to get to know him or hear more of his preaching, as I've stated before. What I don't like, these days, and especially in these blogs, is the demonization of Christianity in specific and religion in general.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Steve Barr

      It's not Horus, it's Steve. But that's indicative of your responses. You don't know what you are talking about nor to whom you are speaking.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "is the demonization of Christianity in specific and religion in general."

      Your kind has done it to yourselves. The world needs to know what a menace you people are to our society. The Christians that came to America killed the Indians and stole their land. Religion in general has killed more people in history than anything else. The fact you fanatics don't want to understand the experts on the gay issue and continue to fuel the hatred and bigotry towards this group that aren't based on real facts is appalling!

      The 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."

      May 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Steve Barr

      Well said yeahright....

      May 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Steve, that's not particularly charitable of you now is it? My apologies for making such an egregious mistake as calling you Horus. I see how you could so quickly jump into condemning this pastor now.

      YeahRight, considering there were few to no athiests throughout history, you most likely would have been one of those Christians conquering Indians or what-have-you. Aside from that, your bigotry against Christianity shows when you choose to put forward things that were obviously done against Biblical teachings and choose to ignore all the good done in the world by Christians and religion. It is interesting to me that those who speak loudest about hate are the ones who seem to hate the most.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Steve Barr


      May 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      I take it you ran out of anything rational to say, Steve...

      May 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Daniel S.


      Religion and/or "religious wars" haven't killed more people than anything else. If we exclude famine, drought, disease, and natural disasters one can easily see that political/territorial/resource/conquest war - what we'll call "secular" - have actually killed more people and caused more collateral damage than almost any religious war.

      World War I alone killed about 16million. Don't remember religion being the root of that one.
      World War II killed about 60million. Don't remember it being about religion there.

      The 100 Years War killed about 2million.
      The Spanish Inquisition killed about 5,000. And that was a state action, not a papal one.

      What about the dictators in China, Russia, Iraq, Libya, etc.? Tens and Tens of millions because of politics and power.

      Doing a little history and basic math will quickly show how vastly wrong you are about religion killing more than anything.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  14. optimistica


    May 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  15. Sue

    This pastor should be dismissed from his congregation. First he advocates child abuse, second he believe that violence will make your child not gay anymore (similar to praying away the gay) and third he is preaching politics in church. Maybe the government should start charging him taxes, as he is mixing politics with prayer. Is he really that stupid to believe that all gay men and women "act" a certain way? Has he not seen the professional athletes, miltary personnel, movie stars that are gay and don"t "act" the way he thinks. Makes me ashamed to live in the same state as him.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Clare

      Sue, I totally agree. What a horrible person... We are who we are and we all need love.... What a jerk>>>>>>>>

      May 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Pon

      Well Sue, I think you should be dismissed from your job, because you said something I dont agreed with! According to your very foolish reasoning,everyone who says anything that offends anyone should be fired! Wow, if that happened, our unemployment rate would be about 99%!!! C'mon, really, if you dont like what the man said, dont listen to him, that should be pretty easy for you, God Bless

      May 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  16. n8263

    It's never acceptable to punch your child or break his wrists, rather true Christians know parents are supposed to stone their disobedient children to death as in Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Yes of course. Amen. Thanks for the correction.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Natasha

      @Reasonable – Woah woah woah, so you're saying we SHOULD stone our disobedient children to death?!!

      May 3, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      ...sigh... No.

      Those of you who can't understand hyperbole and/or sarcasm probably ought to be very careful in life.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Natasha

      In that case, I apologize for misinterpreting your 'sarcasm.' This misinterpretation came from reading your other replies in which every reply that I have read, your "tone" of the reply was serious. Sarcasm met with sarcasm, understood.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Natasha

      Also, given the discussion at hand, there are some extremist's out there that would agree with such nonsensical 'morals' coming from the book we all call the bible. Hence, my initial belief in your sarcasm.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Natasha, what you point out is exactly what I am trying to get across to others here who do not know the pastor in question or how he really intended what he stated. Poor choice of hyperbole? Yep, and I suspect he regrets his word choice. But did he intend anything so malevolent as what people in these comments suggest? I doubt it, although I admit I don't know without getting to know him better. Methinks too much has been made of nothing. But, if someone shows me proof that he was telling people to literally beat up people and hate them, then I'd obviously agree he's horribly wrong. People tend to assume guilt and go for the throat. I don't like that.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  17. Samuel Legrand

    Speaking as a Christian myself I am outraged by this! I don't know what kind of God this guy is serving but my God and his are quite different. My God is a God of love, kindness, and compassion not a God that thinks I should beat my kids for being being themselves. I don't care if what was said was a joke or not. As far as I'm concerned this isn't funny at all. I don't have kids now but I hope to one day and I don't care if they are gay, straight, or bi. I will love them with all my heart no matter who or what they are because I serve a God of love!

    May 3, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • atheist fred

      you should read your bible more. not just the pretty parts

      May 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Samuel Legrand

      I do read what one would call the unpretty parts of my bible but I choose to interpret them differently than some. I don't live under the covenant of the rough and judgemental old testament though. I live under a new testament or covenant. One of love. Thank you and God bless.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • james jackson

      well all im gonna say being gay is a sin so i guess ur saying you would be ok with ur child sinning

      May 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Emily

      @James the bible also states that eating shellfish, anything with a cloven hoof (aka pigs), and wearing clothes made with mixed fibers are "sins". All of those "sins" are choices, being gay isn't a choice. I fear for your children.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Samuel Legrand

      Amen Emily, thank you. God bless you.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Steve Barr

    Well said Horus

    May 3, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  19. Horus

    Reasonable wrote: " I most certainly think he was referencing a buddy-buddy kind of hitting. You tell a guy to "man up" and you hit him in the shoulder."

    First off he was talking about parent-to-kid, not buddy-to-buddy. Second, that's nothing but veiled bullying in an attempt to shame someone into acting in a manner viewed as acceptable by a certain group.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There's room enough for all the gays in God's closet.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      First, I hope all parents love their child enough to be both a stern parent but also a buddy who can joke around with them at times. Of course hitting a buddy in the shoulder and saying "man up" is meant as a means of friendly persuasion. That is the whole point.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  20. Horus

    Reasonable wrote: " I have not seen conclusive scientific evidence that children are "born this way", but even if they are, sinful behavior should be discouraged. "

    Alas the bigot is revealed. You consider those that differ from you to be "sinners".

    May 3, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Congito

      And I have not seen conclusive scientific evidence that jesus was the son of god, or that god gave us 10 commandments. I wish christians would start following what they preach becuase it really has gotten to the point that more and more christians are becoming bigot idiots protesting "Metal music" or Gays are sinfull, should you not be loving and trying to get people to see the love of Jesus not pushing them away with hate and judgemental views.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Well that was a poor leap of logic. I do not consider those who are different from me to be sinners. I consider those who claim to be Christian and yet willfully disobey the Bible to be sinners. Comprehension before blame, please.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • atheist fred


      Oh please! I could go on for days about stuff your bible commands you to do, that you don’t because you know it’s wrong, or it would get you arrested. Comprehension before blame indeed.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      I'm sure you could, but that doesn't mean you know or understand the theological answers. I've been around the block with many different atheists. I've been on your side of the fence for a while even, though no atheist ever believes that claim because their views must be so enlightened that no one could ever go back to religion. I know and love a lot of atheists, who merely borrow their morals from the religions around them, but I strongly dislike pure atheistic philosophy. The 'a', I'm afraid, carries over to morality and yields "amoral". No atheist can point to a coherent, overarching set of moral codes to which everyone should subscribe. And I could give you one philosophical thinker after another to prove the point, but you know it, whether you deny it like a majority of atheists or not.

      Francis Bacon: "It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion."

      May 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Congito

      So you are saying atheists do not have a moral code to themselves? If anything It is dangerous and radical christians that have no moral codes as it is shown by example. Christians that kill in the name of their god, Christians that protest funerals of our soliders, Christians that throw out gay couples of their churches, Christians that send letters to people who quit attending their church stating they are going to hell and have been kicked out of their church and are not allowed back. All these are real events all of these things take place all the time. Pastors taking advantage of their power as a figure of authority to our youth, christian parents limiting their child because they are scared to have them face the "real world" no sir it is christians that do not live up to their moral code.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • atheist fred


      I would suggest that you weren’t truly “on my side” as you put it. Perhaps you were confused, and angry at your god for something, or you hadn’t been properly indoctrinated, but yes, I do have a hard time believing that someone could rationalize that the Abrahamic god is man-made, and then become a believer again. It’s no different than when a child discovers that Santa is not real, there is no going back, all the wishful thinking in the world won’t change that knowledge.

      I truly don’t understand why religious folk think they have the be all and end all claim on morality. Remove the bits about stroking god’s ego from the ten commandments and you’re left with simple common sense rules that benefit a society that depends on the collective to survive. Why you think this is unique to biblical times is beyond me, but rest assured cultures were following these rules without divine intervention long before the mythical Adam and Eve story began. We wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Congito, yes, I said atheism is amoral. All one needs to do is look at the countries who attempted to enforce atheism on the people. They have killed more people in the past century than so-called Christians have killed in all of history.

      I note, strongly, that you provide no coherent, overarching atheistic moral code. Who are you to judge Christians, and by what standard?

      May 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • ReasonableChristianity

      Fred, you can suggest away. In fact, I stated you probably would, and also stated that you would claim superiority of belief. But, as Francis Bacon, I put away atheism as incoherent, anarchic, morally bereft, and devoid of any redeeming worth. I find the Santa Claus excuse for not believing laughable and naive. Plenty of children grew to discern the difference between Santa Claus who no one continues to maintain as truth and the notion of God which has been with mankind since the beginnings of time.

      Regardless, it is a much more difficult path to recognize the inherent amorality of atheism and the fact that there is no solution aside from religion which does provide morality, and the morality it provides is back by an all-seeing judge, so you don't get to break the rules and get away with it in the end.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • JeramieH

      Umm, it's called social contract, or the Golden Rule, or whatever guise you want it to be... don't treat others like you don't want to be treated. No religion necessary, just common sense for a functioning society.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Atheism is a negative statement that says only what one does NOT believe.
      It does not imply any behaviours, morals, or characteristics whatsoever.
      We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
      These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
      Religion binds communities together by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
      Concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
      Blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. Therefore, we should be rational and realize that not everyone will share the same evaluations of good and evil. We must try to live perfectly in an imperfect world, aware that our efforts will be less than perfect while trying to remain undismayed by self knowledge of failure.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Furthermore, the atheistic regimes to which you refer were not truly atheistic – they were cults of personality with the heads of state in the godhead position.
      Communist leaders like Pol Pot and Stalin would not have been charismatic enough to gain converts had they not learned the discourse of dogmatic persuasion from religious inst/itutions.
      Pol Pot spent 8 years at a Catholic school in Phnom Penh and Stalin 5 years at a Russian orthodox seminary. Historians have noted their speaking and writing styles ape those of the Church in being 'declamatory and repet.itive, with liturgical overtones”.
      While they both sought to eliminate traditional religions from their kingdoms, they did so in order to divert the common man’s fervour to their own cults of personality.
      As Karl Marx himself noted “Atheism as a denial of this unreality; has no longer any meaning, for atheism is a denial of God and tries to assert through this negation the existence of man; but socialism as such no longer needs this mediation...”
      . Atheism is not the prime cause for these tragic regimes – the misdirection of faith is.
      Like religion, they demanded blind obedience and obsequious submission from their followers. They tolerated no free-thinkers and enforced dogmatism – something they learned from their religious educations.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • atheist fred


      Where did I claim superiority of belief?

      The Santa thing is not an excuse for not believing, it’s merely a comparison of how you can’t ‘un-discover’ something. If you arrived at being an atheist by studying religion, you would have to have some mental trauma that erases all that knowledge to believe again. You don’t just say to yourself one day “hey, maybe the talking snake isn’t so far-fetched after all, and if that’s possible then so is the whole ark story, and all the other completely nonsensical myths in there, so I’m going balls-deep and re-joining team jesus”

      May 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
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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.