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. jungleboo

    In the final analysis, we can see how damaging to Christianity are these little splinter groups who form a one hall church at the edge of town (sometimes in a defunct storefront) and hire a "pastor" with dubious credentials. The pastor has a fire-and-brimstone theatrical capability, so those in need of this flavor of salvation flock to hear him speak and marvel at his glowing eyes.

    These congregations have no guiding system above them, so they murmur and mumble disquieting things, egging each other on in a feel good, back room kind of way. Eventually they are preaching hatred because of their ruined lives, and then it makes news.

    They can hide behind the Buy Bull, and hide behind the First Amendment. But that does not hide the genesis of this type of congregation. Best to stay away from this kind of cancer, for it will eat you alive, as we are seeing daily.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  2. bbrooker88

    Why does anyone care what the Bible says anyway? In The Wizard of Oz I read that witches have flying monkeys. Does that mean I should worship a witch so I don't have the flying monkeys sent after me?

    May 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Bruce S

    It is for reasons like this that cause believers in God to not attend churches. Pure hypocrisy, how can you call yourself a Christian but then turn around and judge others for any reason. God is the only Judge. This is just as bad as the Mega Churches with their millionaire pastors preaching about a building fund to pocket the cash. Go ahead and fool the masses but you will one day have to step before God and be judged.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Snow

      probably because they themselves know what a bunch of coddswallop it is all about and focused on making the most money off the silly sheep who still believe the fairy tales..

      May 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. QS

    The "lay off my pastor" guy would probably condone and promote bullying of gay kids in school....like the other POS religious guy who said you should punch your kids if they appear to be gay!

    Do religious people honestly not see the inherent evil in religion perpetuating this putrid, convenient sentiment?

    May 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  5. Cindy

    I'm Catholic and I'm opposed to redefining marriage. However, I will say, I DO NOT support grouping people and trapping them behind fences EVEN if we feed them. The principal is wrong. I support awareness, prayer, unconditional love (not unconditional approval, because they are different) and firm political engagement in as much as we can coupled with peaceful demonstrations and protests. I am a proud North Carolinian. I understand many Americans are upset at the pass of ammendment 1 but is it really necessary to stoop to the alltime low of giving news like this attention? There are many more christians who are opposed to redefining marriage who would NEVER do this, than the opposite. How come only the crazies get the news spot? If CNN must air the obvious debate, why not air the intelligent and very real arguments against redefining marriage, because they do exist. It seems as though CNN purposely seeks the "exception" and airs it to purposely make them seem like the rule. Noooo, pastors like this are the exception and not the rule, but CNN and its' agenda will convince the world otherwise. Sad, sad, sad. What are you afraid of CNN? Real intelligent debates? Stop stooping so low.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Cancerous cells are best discovered and eliminated. Hallmark cards are not that effective.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  6. Whatever

    Crickets...right? That's what happens Tom. Make some points and then it's quiet in here. The truth is that people aren't concerned with g.a.y rights. I'm not saying it's right, but it's the truth. People aren't worried about passing a civil union bill when they have a substandard public education system and an economy on the brink of recession...again!

    This pastor and his congregation are pretty clueless...but there's a lot of cluelessness out there, right? What's the point? That the loudest voice gets heard? That dumb sells? Great. Haven't we proven that enough times already?

    May 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This is not some minor issue, What. It's a matter of rights and equality. I'm straight and married. This issue does not directly affect me, but it does affect many people I know. If you don't care about it, that's your business. Don't pretend it's inconsequential, simply because it only affects a minority. So did the Jim Crow laws.

      Doesn't make it irrelevant. Furthermore, what effort is required of you to stand up for what is right in this case? You're not being asked to contribute money or volunteer time. Is it SO much of a sacrifice for you to actually voice support and back it up with your vote?

      Oh, wait. Look who I'm asking. You probably wouldn't bother to pick up litter if you didn't drop it.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  7. MennoKnight

    Every moral behavior is a choice.
    Who you sleep with is a choice.
    One of the greatest lies is you have no choice in how you behave.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • QS

      Religion is a choice....a bad one!

      May 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Dumb, Menno. Yes WHO I sleep with is a choice. Shall I choose tome, Dick or Harry tonight? Tom's kinda dumb, but cute. Dick's had a little too much to drink. Harry has nice eyes, seems sincere. Guess whom I choose? None of your business!

      Now, the real business is whether I NEED a man or whether I NEED a woman. S3xuality is not a choice. It is a DRIVE, built into us, from the ground up. It is wonderful experience, being attracted to certain human beings. If I CHOOSE not to have s3x because I am scared of your god's "words', then I am just in the closet, that's all.

      But I think I have already posted these thing to you, personally. It is increasingly apparent to me that you can not be saved.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      May 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Oh, Dear...I was thinking of.. oh ummmmm.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just watch yerself, bub...;)

      May 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  8. Sam Yaza

    gaia doesnt say h#m@s&x$(l!ty is a sin keep you faith to your self you god did not create the universe

    May 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  9. GRivera

    TAX THE CHURCHES!!! Can't step foot on the property??? WE ARE PAYING FOR IT!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Whatever

      I'm fine with this...but be careful what you wish for. My tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood...are you going to prepared to cut them off?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  10. Whatever

    Ridiculous comments on here. Who cares what this guy is saying about what he'd do with the hom.ose.xual population? How does it affect you? Is he doing it? Are people really buying into his 'solution'? Come on.

    ...but let's use this article as another way to blast Christianity, right? Let's lump everyone in together and assume all Christians hate.


    I think hom.ose.xuality is wrong, but that's my right, isn't it? I don't discriminate. I don't advertise that I think they're wrong. If someone asks, I'll answer them honestly, but that's it. There's a ton of stuff to get riled up about I suppose, but what's the point? Especially on a blog like this...

    May 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you WATCH the video? Do you hear his congregation applauding him?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wonder how "riled up" you'd be if someone suddenly decided that marriage between people of opposite genders was a 'sin' and should be banned?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Tom...yeah, but what's the point? A lot of people applaud a lot of stupid ideas, right? Heck, I'm sure there's enough people that would applaud a communist government too...looneys...what do I care what they're thinking?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Whatever


      4% of the voting population (last elections exit polls per CNN) call themselves hom.ose.xual or consider g.a.y rights as a concern to them. I'm with the 96%. I don't care. I'm not about discriminating, but I have much bigger issues that command my attention.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiots, do you not get it? You may be in the majority, but that does not mean you get to deny rights to the minority. It's called the tyranny of the majority, as you'd know if you hit yourself with a cluestick.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Whatever

      Tom...I'm not denying anyone anything. Is it on the ballot? Where? Not in Colorado (where I live). Get it on the ballot and I'll support Civil Unions with equal rights. Until then, can we talk about jobs, public education, and the economy? Please!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • QS

      "I don't discriminate....I just think being gay is wrong and will vote that way....but I don't discriminate."

      Married couples have 1,138 FEDERAL rights, protections and responsibilities that are not recognized for civil unions, such as:

      Social Security benefits upon death, disability or retirement of spouse, as well as benefits for minor children.

      Family and Medical Leave protections to care for a new child or a sick or injured family member.

      Workers' Compensation protections for the family of a worker injured on the job.

      Access to COBRA insurance benefits so the family doesn't lose health insurance when one spouse is laid off.

      ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) protections such as the ability to leave a pension, other than Social Security, to your spouse.

      Exemptions from penalties on IRA and pension rollovers.

      Exemptions from estate taxes when a spouse dies.

      Exemptions from federal income taxes on spouse's health insurance.

      The right to visit a sick or injured loved one, have a say in life and death matters during hospitalization.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It isn't a matter for popular vote, anymore than civil rights for blacks was. It's a matter of civil rights. And your lack of interest simply makes obvious your limited view of what is important. Of course education is important. Of course job creation is important. Why would you imagine that voting for the best interests of people in these arenas would be anti thetical to voting FOR gay rights? Does it not occur to you that the same candidate who would do the most to foster more funding for public education is the same one who'd be more likely to support gay rights?

      May 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • QS

      Everything is interrelated and as a country we do ourselves a disservice by continually pushing equal rights issues to the back burner using the excuse that the economy is MORE important....they are equally important.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Snow

      people thought abolishing slavery was wrong too .. it was their right to think whatever the heck they want.. just like that jacka$$ who said "segregation today, tomorrow and forever". Your personal choices and opinions should not form into political agendas and consti.tutional laws. That is what all this discussion is all about. Giving voice to the minorities..

      Didn't you get that?

      May 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Agreed. Why is it that dolts think that only one issue can be addressed at a time? As a nation, we must deal with multiple issues or fail. There is no need to ignore the violation of civil rights in order to "fix" the economy. In fact, there is very little any president can do to repair an economy when the entire world is undergoing a downturn and economic flux. There IS something that can be done to ensure that all people of ALL orientations are treated equally under the law. One does not negate the other.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  11. iamanamerican

    Pastor is going to HE**!!

    May 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  12. Rosemary Peppercorn

    I wonder if the followers of such hatred will ever be able to respond with phrases something other than cliches. I think not. They do not think for themselves. They are parrots.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You take that back! It's an insult to parrots!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • jungleboo

      : )-

      May 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  13. KR

    hahahaha, leave him alone.... He said he " would feed them" I guess that makes it ok then. Rounding up people and putting them behind fences just as long as you feed them then it's not bad.....Riiiiiggghhhttt....that makes perfect sense

    May 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, the Nazis fed them. Not much, though.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  14. sybaris

    Religion is a disgusting filthy disease of the mind and any parent that sends their child to VBS or Sunday School or uses any other perverse method to brainwash their child into believing that cr.ap should get a visit from CPS.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I'll second that!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • QS

      All those in favor.....AYE! 🙂

      May 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • truth

      It saddens me so much when the truth of God's love is not displayed, My friends the scripture is clear,"We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 That means everyone! Sin is sin according to our heavenly Father, that is why we are all in need of a Savior! God wants all to repent, and to be saved, That is why Jesus came to save us from our sins. The choice is to believe or not, Jesus never forced any one to believe and neither do I, God Bless everyone.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • QS

      Sin is a manmade concept equivalent to regret. I have regrets in my life, but I have never sinned as sin doesn't exist.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mattyj

      So wait "truth." You disagree with people who don't believe in your religion. Therefore, the most logical choice is to cite the book that they, fundamentally, do not believe in? Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  15. tracy

    This guy just proves the old Joke about Baptist Hypocrisy to be even MORE truthful:What's the difference between a Baptist&a Presbyterian?The Presbyterian will wave hello to you when the see you at The Liquor store on Saturday Nite!

    May 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  16. *frank*

    It would be an occasion for great joy if rampant strep bacteria ate this pastor's entire face and then he died.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  17. milan

    How can these people in the video defend such a man? I am from North Carolina and I am christian but in the bible, it never says that 2 men or 2 women cannot get married. No one who believes in human right would do such a thing. It makes me sick.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  18. Ting

    It's ok to vote against the civil rights of others

    The civil rights of others should never come down to a vote. They should be born with those rights.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  19. clinky

    This argument reminds me that touching yourself was once regarded as a sin and unnatural. But today, that idea is regarded as preposterous. Now people are saying what gays and lesbians do romantically is a sin and unnatural. Same basic repression.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Yup! What an awful life I had as a teenager. Hell was just around the corner, and I was scared to death.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Mattyj

      Don't forget interracial marriage...

      May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  20. QS

    Religion is made up of conjecture, opinion and convenience – the largest and most often used of these conveniences is "hate the sin, love the sinner"....this way, religious people can give the impression they are caring and tolerant, without having to actually go through the anguish of being tolerant....see, they can claim they love the person, but because being gay to them is a sin, they can still justify discriminating against gay people in general. Neat trick, huh?

    It's all about appearances....personally I don't even think a majority of religious people believe what their religion teaches, they only pretend to believe out of obligation because they fear the backlash from their religious community were they to come out as a non-believer....may as well come out as gay!

    May 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah...sadly, most Christians are 'agin it', because it's supposedly a sin, but as long as they don't spout off like the nutty pastor, it's ok to look down on gays and being gay. It's ok to vote against the civil rights of others based on the bible, as long as they don't talk about putting anyone behind electric fences.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • QS

      You got it Sam!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • mema

      Actually QS it is about only hating the sin and not the sinner for most Christians. See we are ALL sinners and no amount of prayer or church attendance will change that. If it was sinners we hate we would have no room for love left at all. We must forgive each other as well. It is also that sin in of itself does not seperate one from God but its the willfull practice of sin that God detests. Everyday sin is inherit and unpreventable. God says "he remembers we are but dust". May I add that yes there are some bad seeds out there who do not apply this principle but then those bad seeds are in every area of mankind but should not define us all.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Lol

      Your words are garbage.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • QS

      Still nothing more than a convenient excuse to be able to say "I love gay people....I just don't think they should be considered equal."

      Bad seeds or not, this is the point I was making.....religious people rely on convenience to justify their discrimination, while trying their best to appear caring and tolerant at the same time.

      I for one don't buy it, and for the life of me I can't understand why so many people do!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • QS

      "Your words are garbage."

      Well, then I guess my words are equal to the bible then! Thanks! 🙂

      May 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      mema. why haven't you responded to my post? Would you forgo marriage to the person you loved because some jackazz claimed the Bible said you should? Would you become celibate if the Bible said that your desires were 'sinful" outside of marriage, yet it and secular law prohibited your marriage to the one you loved with all your heart and soul?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • QS

      I like this convenience too – by teaching that being gay is a sin, religious people can treat gay people horribly and still consider themselves good people in the eyes of their "god".

      May 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Madtown

      God says "he remembers we are but dust"
      How do you KNOW what God said?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • mema

      Tom tom not only would I, I have. I was much younger but the day I laid my eyes on the young man I was completely beside myself. However his beliefs differed vastly from mine and in the end I put that behind me, although at the time very paifull. My faith highly suggest to marry only in the Lord. I followed that advice and am happly married now. I never thought I could be happy as I was crushed, but my desire to find both Gods approval and to come to the realization that it was required and had my best interest in mind, helped me through those times in my life. Yes if the law says I can not do as I wish I comply as the bible teaches that we obey our earthly leaders as long as it does not conflict with Gods laws. That is the only exception.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure thing, mema. And I'm Queen Elizabeth. Come on over to Buckingham Palace for a cuppa, dear.

      You're a lying sack of poo.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • mema

      Tom tom...you ask then call me a liar. Thats fine. It is the truth and thats all that matters. You are angry because you thought you would stump me in my beiefs. It angers you that maybe just maybe there are some of us who actually practice what we teach. That are not full of hate but a desire to please God above all else. You would swap one form of intolletance, hate and discrimination for another kind. Which makes you a hypocrite! I dont expect to or care to be liked for my possition and my stand, its not for people that I have led the life I have, its for my Creator.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You moron, you can't spell or even define the words you type. Get a high school diploma, you illiterate dolt, and maybe you'll be something other than laughable. As it is, if you were any dumber, we'd have to water you.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:13 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.