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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. John

    he looks like he likes to get peed on. I can't wait until he is busted giving head to some hustler in a bathroom like all other religious right wing freaks

    May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Patrick

      Do you mean the jarhead pastor or the jarhead in the car???

      May 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  2. Colin

    Dear Pastor Worley:

    Thank you for your brave Christian sermon. You are clearly a man of God and an authority on the Bible. As such, I wonder if you could please help me with some other deep moral issues with which I am struggling.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you please clarify? Why can't I own a Canadian?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? Should I mark her down, given that the Dow is back below 13,000?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women just slap me.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10) it is a lesser abomination than ho.mos.exuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear
    reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
    Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

    Thanking you in anticipation of your learned response.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Patrick

      Oh well the first response will be: "That's the Old Law, we're under the New Law" – which goes "agin" everything the Pastor was saying and also goes "agin" this New Testament verse that refers to the Old Testament scriptures:

      2 Timothy 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Patrick

      They'll claim "those laws are for the Jews", but personally I have a problem with worshiping a God who at any time for any people condoned slavery and slave beating.

      Leviticus 25:44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Exodus 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • J.W

      I couldnt figure out what agin was til you said that

      May 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • evakarolina

      Colin, This was a brilliant response. I had a great laugh and I'm sharing this with my friends! I suggest you send this to David Letterman or the Daily Show. There are so many layers of ignorance, hatred and judgment behind the statements made by Pastor Worley and your satirical comments hi-light the absurdity in a lighthearted way that makes it easy for anyone to absorb. Thanks for taking the time to write this up! I hope you make it go viral. Perhaps I'll help it along by posting it on my Facebook page.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • sam

      Is the Canadian dollar still lower than the US dollar? Maybe you can get a Canadian cheap. Just don't tell them first.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  3. --

    the bible also says to love everyone, and to do unto others as you would have them do to you. So is this pastor saying that he would like to be penned up behind an electric fence? It also says that you can't cut your hair, eat shellfish, women should cover their heads. Do we really need to go on? This man is probably one of the biggest hypocrites of life, if you are going to preach from the bible then make sure you preach all of it in its entirety, rather than the points which you chose. ALL OR NOTHING!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  4. puckles

    "You need to lay off my pastor." LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  5. Patrick

    The guy in the vehicle is really spiritual. I can see in his forehead where a third eye is about to pop out. Look at his tiny hands though. How sad. He "ain't got nuthin" as they say in the Carolinas.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Tim

    Wonder how many will show up for this Sunday's sermon with all the protests and media.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  7. transformed 4eva

    He is speaking for himself, not Jesus. Christians need to show love to everyone! By saying gays are the bad guys, he's a hypocrite. Satan is the bad guy. Lock him up in an electric fence!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  8. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    man that was one funny yokel in the SUV ....he must be agin it too! ...Ya'll best give my pastor a break now ya hear!
    Its a crying shame when "stupid happens" in the south ...just like BB King says "...its like being black twice!"

    May 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah you would expect that most of the people in support of an idea like this would be the older people. I was surprised that this younger guy would be as well. But you can tell that guy had never read the Bible. It would surely be too long for him.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

      Racism runs in families and when a non-racist reaches a certain age or limit they get out cause their internal friction is too much for them to handle. I know I did, this mindset will divide families for sure.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  9. JohnK

    I guess the congregation member that stated their preacher was "misquoted" about locking up all gays because he did say he would feed them is the resident liberal at their church.

    His plan to put all "offenders" in a concentration camp would be better used to confine all misguided clowns like him.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  10. joe

    and i thought that being a christian meant embracing all people regardless...

    May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

      depends if your Presbyterian or Methodist...

      May 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Scott

    He sounds like he would have been happy living in Germany in the 30's and early 40's.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  12. NorCalMojo

    He's good, but he can't top Phelps or that black panther talking about killing the white babies.

    He needs to keep working at it.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. J.W

    Colin Powell came out and said gay marriage is wonderful.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yeah. Isn't it amazing that as the Conservatives keep caving on this issue, mor 0ns like this Pastor and his congregation just can't let go of it.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I probably used to think just like these people. The problem is they have probably never met a gay person.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      Don't feel bad. I used to think like them too. And I'm gay!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

      this is pure creation Patrick my friend, the people that live in little boxes are being pushed out into the light of day everywhere and on many other subjects as well.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Johnny Orlando

    Gays are mutants. Get over it.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • jer

      acctually, people with blue eyes are mutants

      May 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Earl

      When you decide to come out Johnny, we are here to support you.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Need some love?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • ME II

      Technically, we are all mutants. Get over it.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      Oh really? What do you base that on?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • eroe777

      Please die. The rest of us can use the air.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • transformed 4eva

      They look pretty ordinary to me.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

      hey Johnny didn't I see you giving head down to the ShagShack last weekend? you owe me one brother!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

      don't be so hard on yourself Johnny we all like a little mutant head ever now and then.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Look in the mirror recently Johnny? That look of distaste on your face for people you have no knowledge of, is the look of bigotry and hate... two of the major things that are mutant in the 21st century.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • sam

      The whole human race is full of mutations...so, I don't see your point. It seems you didn't have one. Now, if you mean 'X-Men' when you say mutants, well. I haven't run into anyone who felt being gay was a super power.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  15. Senor Ed

    Sadly some people take the bible too literally. My parents were very religious and followed it to the letter. Our family bible had a misprint – on one page it said "have faith and hop". So every Sunday we would faithfully hop off to church. Only problem was the church was 20 miles away.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Lou

      I assume that Senior Ed must be Mister Ed's father?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Matt

      Mine had the same misprint, should see my calf muscles!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  16. NorCalMojo

    That's pretty funny. Crazy yokel.

    "I'm agin' it, the bibles agin' it, and God's agin' it"


    May 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • jer

      yet they forgetthat god is all about tollerance and love of your fellow man. god said to "treat others as you would want to be treated" kinda sad how they use their book to promote hate not love

      May 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  17. SuFiSm iS dIfFeReNt

    look it up ....its in the bible
    Hey, Its a bit©h when your own bible snaps too on your ballsa©k! ....ooouch!!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  18. Sylvia E.

    This is a cruel and very stupid man. His hell will be that electrified pen. He'll be looking at Haven and won't be able to get out of the pen.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  19. Anne

    Religion, in and of itself, isn't corrupt or bad......humans make it that way. I'm pretty sure that God/Jesus give themselves face-palms daily, saying..."That's NOT what we meant!!!". Believe it's wrong or right, but don't judge...it's not your job, Pastor Worley.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Real Christian


      May 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • QS

      Religion – the world's ultimate dividing force.

      Always has been, always will be. People don't make it bad, it's meant for nothing but control....and that makes it inherently bad on its own merits.

      Unless, of course, you believe that religion is actually about love and tolerance like so many of the other indoctrinated people.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Real Christian

      QS: Religion isn't LOVE, God is Love. Man and Religion is about traditions and tradition is what drives this division and rules and that divides our differences.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • jer

      I dont recall god or jesus wanting anyone to join a set religion, they did however say to love god and jesus and give them praise, but certainly not join a religion..... I challenge you to prove me wrong with your bible

      May 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • mema

      So you think intollerance and discrimination will majically go away without religion. How ill concieved is that notion?! Look up the facts that most killings, genocide, war and harm done to others has nothing to do with religion. Get a clue.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • mema

      @jer....the bible (God) says do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together even more so as you behold His day drawing near. It instructs his followers to meet together and build each other up. Jesus set an example by attending congregation meetings and telling the shepherds to look over his sheep and congregation.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Mema, you are quite wrong. Quite wrong. For starters, do you know the meaning of the terms, "Serbs and Croats"? That little deal, all by itself, was religious warfare. Do some reading before you make idiotic posts.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Madtown

      @jer....the bible (God)
      The bible = God? Then, why did human beings write it? Why did human beings need to edit it? Why did human beings select the individual works to comprise it, and leave out some equally relevant works? Why do human beings continually publish new versions of it?

      May 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Religion is man made.
      Explain one thing for us, if this god is so good and righteous, why is he not here to set the record straight? Why leave people guessing?

      May 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  20. SuFiSm iS dIfFeReNt

    Too bad we can't do the same to them, round em up and put them in a pen ... but then these people seem like they are already too closely related ....so they would only multiple and ...get dumber (as if that were possible.)

    May 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • begreen3850

      That's what sterilization is for-to stop cretins like these from breeding.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
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.