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. slrman

    It seems that every time hate and anger appears it appears first in statements by "christians" or other theists. So much for "religions of peace". This pastor is a raving maniac that doesn't really know the bible at all.

    Lying bogots like him are the ones that should be behind an electrified fence.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  2. Rational Libertarian

    I don't believe you, you've got the whole damn thing all wrong. He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  3. jungleboo

    A question for your next Sunday Go To Prayer Meeting, in reference to the bible's admonishment, "...man must not lie with man as he lieth with a woman...":

    If God is so strict about the 'missionary position' for men and women, then sixty nine is OK for guys?

    May 24, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • ME II

      Well, gay a man man wouldn't lay with a woman in the first place, so he's in the clear, right?

      May 24, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  4. WASP

    Insipientia corde suo, non es deus. Non est vita qui adorem, non es usque ad unum. Es excommunicatus, ex unione fidelium.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Sic vis pacem, parabellum

      May 24, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • WASP

      lmao figured i would try posting the exorcisium rite and see if demons popped up. XD

      May 24, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  5. Honey Badger Dont Care


    May 24, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Pride's a sin my friend, so your pride in not having committed a sin is a sin. D'oh!

      May 24, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And since I dont believe that sin exists then I am still right.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      That's a bit of a non sequitur considering your first post, but Vive La France.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • ttwp

      "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23

      "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8

      May 24, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ttwp – I don't think you quite grasp this. We don't believe in your version of a god. So you posting meaningless random verses from your holybook is stupid.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  6. Nii

    Pigs are scavengers and in an age where medicine was rudimentary it was best to stay away. Vultures are forbidden meat still on health grounds by your Department of Health.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Nii, you are partially right.

      Primitive man, who is very good at recognizing patterns, saw that people who ate pork or shellfish sometimes died. In this primitive and very superst.itious society they blamed this death on their gods dislike for eating these foods.

      Now that we know about germ theory and the bacteria that causes red tides as well as trichinosis we now know when to gather shellfish and when not to and that we need to cook our foods well.

      Seems like this would be a simple thing for an all knowing god to put in his book of multiple guess instead of just saying not to eat pork or shellfish.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      All mighty god pwnd again...

      May 24, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Jack

      Maybe God should have given proper cooking instructions, instead of an order to blindly follow.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What's the hebrew word for salmonella?

      May 24, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • ME II

      11. Thou shalt not eat raw food. (unless prepared by a trained sushi chef.)

      May 24, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  7. Nii

    The other time someone said David n Jonathan had a gay love affair. How bad is that. The Bible describes the love between the two men thus" David n Jonathan loved one another as each loved himself". A definition of charitable love which is ethical. The evil man sees evil in everything-S. Paul.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • jungleboo

      Ludicrous, NI. If you have no experience regarding the feelings associated with gay love, please don't define the issue. The Bible's statement about the relationship of the two beautiful men could just as easily fit my thoughts about Love. Your definition confines the concept based on your inherent bigotry, and has NOTHING to do with the actual words as written. And it's all fables anyway, so did Cinderella really drop a glass slipper by mistake, or was she just leaving a clue...like, a shoe? Your bogus interpretations stand naked on the world stage.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • ME II

      "The evil man sees evil in everything-S. Paul."

      Aren't you the one implying that a gay affair would be "evil"?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  8. Amigo

    Who cares!!! He as well as anybody, has the right to believe and say what they want. So, it's hate filled and against the thinking of the majority, again who cares. How about everyone quite trying to make everyone conform into their cookie cutter idea of humaity, society, and the like.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I agree that he has the right to say what he wants, but we have the right to criticize him.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • bighulawood

      Also, if he wants to use his tax-exempt soapbox as a platform for spouting his political views – more power to him. Just don't ask me to gladly hand over my share of taxes toward supporting him in that endeavor.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  9. JD

    I know the right wing likes to throw out calling the President a socialist nazi but this pastor actually sounds like a nazi. Putting an electrified fence fence around a group of people? Gee, that's exactly what the nazis did.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  10. Rational Libertarian

    Gimme that ol' time religion.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:02 am |

    Well I quess its like pork is not clean meat and according to scripture .So did God create the pig just for us to hate it,if so why did the pig get on the ark Noah must have screwed up.And for those quoting verses please explain to us the more than evident gay love affair between David and Johnathan in the bible.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I wouldn't call David and Jonathan a gay love affair. They had a tender, loving relationship which surpassed plutonic friendship, but was unlikely consumated (if indeed any of it ever happened).

      May 24, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Rational Libertarian
      Their relationship was radioactive? Cancerriffic!

      But what of Ruth and Naomi?
      The Hebrew word used in Ruth 1:14 to describe how she feels about Naomi is the same as the one used in Genesis 2:24 to describe how Adam felt toward Eve.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  12. Capricorn

    "He said he would feed them!" some church members told CNN, referring to the Worley’s idea for rounding up gays.

    How kind of them........SERIOUSLY....we dont live in Nazi Germany......

    May 24, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  13. SHAME

    Prayers change nothing. Priests are child rapists. World is ending soon... hopefully

    May 24, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Ting

      The sun will come out tomorrow...

      May 24, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • SHAME


      May 24, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • neo

      Priests are catholic, You can not judge the whole lot of them by one or two people. WE have freedom of speech

      May 24, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • Reality

      Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?


      Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

      Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

      Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

      Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy".

      Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

      Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

      If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

      May 24, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Priests are catholic, You can not judge the whole lot of them by one or two people. WE have freedom of speech"

      First, its not just 1 or 2 people that are doing things like this, ra...ping kids, promoting hate. There is an article on CNN stating that in one year 35 were accused at one church, 35! IN ONE YEAR! Hardly isolated.

      Second, the moment you infringe on the rights of others is the moment you lose your rights. Promoting beating of gays because they are gay is not only hate speech but infringes on the rights of other americans. This country is based on our laws, not the laws of some ancient book written by a bunch of men over a long period of time.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • SHAME

      neo – 'You can not judge the whole lot of them by one or two people. '

      So what is this Pastor saying about Gays and lesbians? They are ALL discusting people who should be locked up bhind an electric fence and dropped food aid from planes?

      If he can judje gays as a whole why cant we lock up ALL priests and cut off their genitals for raping chuildren they were supposed to be protecting? How is it that child rapist can lecture society on what is morally correct? HAS THWE WHOLE WORLD GONE COMPLETELY INSANE? Or just you stupid religeos FOOLS!!!

      May 24, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  14. Ting

    Great...It's 3:39am on the east coast and the only person up is Willie Love. BTW it's 10:39 am in the holy land. There is no one over here as wacky as Willie.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • mandarax

      He's not only wacky, he's quite prolific.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • AusieSceptic1

      wacky, prolific and not adverse to mixing various quotes with a touch of creative editing

      May 24, 2012 at 4:21 am |
  15. WillieLove

    Have a good night, let God be your judge, let god be your love, let God lead you to the truth....Don't curse the Holy Ghost...
    I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
    Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
    And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    May 24, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • neo


      May 24, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  16. WillieLove

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  17. WillieLove

    But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • jessica wrenn

      what kind of church do u go to willie love

      May 24, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  18. WillieLove

    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • danielwalldammit

      Irrelevance is a virtue, yes. Jesus said that, I think.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  19. WillieLove

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • danielwalldammit

      ...providing that they first demonstrate their belief by throwing their fellow man under the bus.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:11 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If God loves the world, why does he cause natural disasters that kill hundreds of thousands of people and give diseases to babies?

      May 24, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  20. WillieLove

    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    May 24, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • madmaninthemiddle

      But first, please enjoy a nice piece of pie.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:56 am |
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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.