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May 23rd, 2012
12:57 PM ET

Mixed reactions around church whose pastor’s anti-gay rant went viral

By Ismael Estrada, CNN

Maiden, North Carolina (CNN) – Just about everyone here is talking about the local pastor who made national headlines this week after a video that features him telling congregants how to “get rid of” gays went viral.

Neighbors of the Providence Road Baptist Church – where a sign advertises “old time religion” - say Pastor Charles Worley is known for being over the top, with one neighbor describing him as “fire and brimstone” whose views are out of sync with much of the surrounding community.

"I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it past the Congress,” Worley told his church on May 13, in a video that has been seen half a million times on YouTube.

“Build a great big, large fence  50 or 100 miles long  and put all the lesbians in there,” Worley said. “Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Some church members, who declined to give their names, defended their pastor, saying his words had been taken out of context. "He said he would feed them!" some church members told CNN, referring to the Worley’s idea for rounding up gays.

Worley “takes a real firm stand on the Bible and what it says about different things,” said church member Joe Heffner. “Whether I like it or not or whether anybody else likes it."

Another church member, who declined to give his name, said that “Being gay and lesbian or homosexual is wrong according to the Bible… it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality

"We love the people, hate the sin, OK? Point blank,” he continued. “You need to lay off my pastor."

The pastor's sermon also attacked President Obama, with Worley saying that "I ain’t going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover."

On Wednesday, the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that Worley violated the rules of his church's tax-exempt status by engaging in political speech against a candidate.

“Pastor Worley’s vicious and mean-spirited assault on gays and lesbians is bad enough,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “His pulpit command that people not vote for President Obama is a violation of federal tax law. I urge the IRS to act swiftly to investigate this matter.”

Video of the sermon had initially been posted on Providence Road’s website but was recently taken down, according to CNN affiliate WBTV-TV in Charlotte. The phone line at Worley’s church has been busy since Monday night, and Worley’s home number has been busy since Tuesday.

The church’s website has also been down, but it had described the house of worship as fundamentalist, meaning it represents a Baptist tradition that's more conservative than the Southern Baptists.

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Worley’s sermon was posted on YouTube by a group called Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate, which is organizing a protest at the Providence Road Baptist Church on Sunday.

Addressing his congregation last Sunday, Worley referred to his earlier controversial sermon.

"I talked a little bit, I believe it was last Sunday, on the homosexual lifestyle, and there was a whole lot of people who didn't like what I said," Worley told his congregation Sunday, according to WBTV. "I want to read it out of the Bible, and then we'll go from there."

“Listen, all of the Sodomites, the lesbians, and all of the ... what's that word? Gays  I didn't wanna say 'queers'  that say we don't love you, I love you more than you love yourself,” Worley said, according to WBTV. “I'm praying for you to be saved."

Worley’s initial sermon was partly framed as a response to Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, which he made in a TV interview a day after North Carolina voters passed a state constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of such marriages and other types of gay unions.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, was working Tuesday to gather criticism of Worley’s comments from other North Carolina pastors.

“I am angry and sick at heart over Pastor Worley's comments,” said the Rev. Dennis Teall-Fleming, pastor at Open Hearts Gathering in Gastonia, North Carolina, in a statement distributed by GLAAD.

“Nothing he says has anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Teall-Fleming, who leads a Disciples of Christ congregation. “I call on all Christian and Baptist organizations that have any connection with him to condemn his comments as strongly as I do, including Providence Road Baptist Church of Maiden.”

–CNN's Dan Gilgoff contributed reporting.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • North Carolina

soundoff (1,677 Responses)
  1. WOW

    I am glad for the Gay community. They play dress up making themselves to look like boys when they are girls and girls when they are boys. They are funny to look at and they make me laugh. Got to love their fairy tale land of rainbows and unicorns. That is about all they are good for because they sure can't make babies together LOL. Oh yea unless they are BI and then they are not really Gay or wait they are Gay... OH MY!!! Confusion... yep the gay community is CONFUSED!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Save Us Jeebus!

      @WOW....Please let this be sarcasm, otherwise you have serious issues, dude.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Go f*uck yourself moron!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • WOW

      @Voice: What's wrong, truth hurts??? Did I offend you cause I went BOO!! Are you going to grab your unicorn and cry? What are you a wounded duck because your GAY? Grow up.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • MOM - WOW upside down

      My wish for you is a gay offspring of your very own.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Patrick

      Wow. Talk about clueless. Do you not understand the difference between being gay and having GID?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Damian

      I've never understood this unbelievable urge to reproduce. I didn't get that chemical in my brain. I'm straight, and this emphasis on procreation is verging on a pathology. Believe me, there are enough unwanted children on this planet to fill every gay household. Can your silliness and go adopt some gay African boys who face a living nightmare of a life.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Patrick

      I'm a gay man and have always been very happy being a man. You're talking about something totally different. You're the one who is confused.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Patrick

      It's really not that confusing. About 5% of people in a population find out in puberty that they're attracted to the same gender and have no attraction to the opposite gender. About 5% find out in puberty that they're attracted to both genders. The rest are attracted to the opposite gender only. Then you also seem to be referring to GID. Gender dysphoria affects less than one percent of the population.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • sam

      Special snowflake troll, still trolling....

      May 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  2. dave

    Somebody once said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Who was that?

    May 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      Dave, that is the understatement of the blog.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  3. Reality

    Dear Pastor "Not So Bright"/"Gay Neck" Worley,

    (ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS)

    o "Abrahamics" like you believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    (Note: some words hyphenated to defeat the moderators "secret" word/fragment filter.)

    May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Emerson

      Was this an attempt to get Christians to embrace science? This was an exercise in futility.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  4. xeno

    The guy in the vehicle doesn't have an original thought in his head. How many cliche things can you say in 30 seconds?

    May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jack

      Either he was there when Adam and Eve supposedly walked in the Garden of Eden, or he has lost his mind. Which is it?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Patrick

      You can tell by the fear in his eyes he's afraid the reporter is somehow going to bring up what he did with Ricky Bob under Channel Cat Bridge last Saturday.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Charo

      Now we know why Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahassee Bridge.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  5. janus

    i bet this pastor is a child abusing h0m0!
    he probably buggers the choir boys after each sermon!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Katherine

      Maybe you didn't see the original footage. There was no choir in sight. There were all throwing one back at the local gay bar where love is all around and life is good and everybody knows your name.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Save Us Jeebus!

      Janus, that would make him a pedophile, not a h0m0. Come on.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  6. Jim tom

    What exactly does "I'm again it" mean? I can't make any sense of it.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      I think you meant "agin".

      May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Blanche

      It is North Carolina speak darling. It isn't supposed to make any sense.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Blanche

      Is God "agin" GLUTTONY?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • ME II

      On the off chance that someone on this blog is asking an honest question...

      "I'm agin' it" in southern-speak is "I am against it"

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Jesse

      How do the people in North Carolina say, "I'm for it"?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bruce

      Jesse
      "Ferret"

      May 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Russ

    And in an ironic twist, it is CNN who has built the electric fence around Worley's house...

    May 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      LOL!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  8. Mike smith

    These people have always been with us. Now that whacko thought is part of a political agenda, they have come out of the closet. Kind of ironic considering the topic.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  9. I heart Obama

    I can't believe the FBI hasn't arrested this guy? What are my parents taxes good for if the FBI is too lazy to lock this guy up. He has violated everyone's rights. The next thing you know they'll be free to kill gays!!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Patrick

      Okay, now that's a bit overboard on the other side. He does have freedom of speech. However, if I was a gay or le $bi an child in the congregation and my life was in any way screwed up, I'd definitely be holding him accountable in a civil court, the same way doctors and psychologists are held accountable for malpractice.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  10. travellin007

    Beyond crossing the line and being way over the top with his comments; he still misses a very important point, "straight people will continue to give birth to gay children"

    May 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • D

      Something tells me that trying to educate him of that fact would be like trying to teach a brick wall to do somersaults.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Not a Christian

    ....and people wonder why Im not a Christian. The great thing about Baptists, theyre always good for a laugh 😉

    May 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • janus

      amen!
      someone needs to put a bullet between this pastors eyes

      May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • D

      @janus: uh, no sir. violence is not the solution. it's ironic that you would suggest it though.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  12. Daniel

    And in a parallel universe, a town reacts to gays' anti-pastor rants.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  13. Charles

    We love you...that's why we want to get rid of you.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  14. manyote

    I'll bet the congregation doesn't have one complete set of teeth collectively.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  15. joe

    that someone so ignorant is still around is sad. That someone so ignorant is actually a leader is astounding.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Tells you a lot about the followers, doesn't it?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Are there any professionals out there that can help? I'm trying to decide if the boy in the car is more likely due to inbreeding or fetal alcohol syndrome or both. His features and mannerisms are quite pronounced and seem to mimic both conditions.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You hit it! Drunken inbred!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • DPGW

      He just filled with de spirit of de lord!!! Ya all need to lay off my pastor!!!!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • jenjen

      LOL! Good one!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Remember – these people are isolated. All their lives they have been told what to believe. They truly believe (like according to Answers in Genesis) that any evidence in any field that contradicts a literal biblical interpretation is false, or fake, or wrong.

      Now you have outsiders challenging those beliefs. There are strangers telling them that they are wrong. That their Pastor is wrong.

      Their "core" is being challenged, and these people are not used to being challenged.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  17. Caleb

    I love how there's so much "protection" against home grown "terrorism." What I don't get is how people who preach genocide from behind their freedom religion and obviously have a following aren't questioned as a "terrorist!"

    May 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Voice of Reason

    Unintelligent ignorant f*ucking moron's, every last one of them.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  19. DPGW

    Jesus christ if god mad people in his own image and he made these rednecks, he should hang himself.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  20. Fuyuko

    I think some christians are overly into the gay stuff and worrying and raging about it comes across as a bit like they are latent.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
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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.