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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.

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. Whatever

    Here we go...another day, same comments.

    Can someone shine some light on what the issue is here? Please? I don't get it. This guy is clueless. His congregation is clueless. So what? There's a lot of that kind of thing going around on all kinds of issues, right?

    Tom and OS commented to me yesterday after I was offline...I'll chat today if you're on. I still don't understand where you were going with anything. OS laid out what civil unions are vs. marriage. Great. I don't care. Get it on a ballot. I support equal rights for het.erose.xual and hom.ose.xual couples. Haven't seen it on a ballot yet...and I'm not going to spend my time pining for what 4% (2008 CNN exit polls of hom.ose.xuals or those that consider g.a.y rights as a big issue) of the country is concerned with. I'll spend my time focused on our poor education system and declining economy.

    Tom...you said yesterday that many issues can be handled at once...great. Me too. So, go do your work and get your issues on a ballot. When you do, I'll give you my vote. That said, don't tell me where I need to be spending my time and what issues I should care about. Education is the heart of what I care about. That's it. Fix that and see how much gets done in the way of equal rights and these other issues. In my mind, you all are so narrowly focused that you miss the root of the issue...a declining country being driven off a cliff by the education system "teaching" our youth today.

    Your concern for g.a.y rights is fine, but don't get p.i.s.s.e.d when I don't share your same priorities.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Can we get a group of folks together and vote on what civil rights we will allow you to have? The US Constîtution is already very clear on this. Without a clear and compelling reason, all US citizen have the same civil rights and equal protection under the law. Simply saying that your version of a god wants you to think gays are icky is not a clear and compelling reason to withohold equal rights and equal protection. So why is a vote needed?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Prime...you tell me. I don't know why it isn't allowed. I wasn't in the room when the first g.a.y couple was not given the right to marry. Can't tell you why it happened...but why should I care? It doesn't affect me. Are you going to join me in my fight vs. my school board on why reading scores are declining? Are you going to join me vs. the Department of Education when I ask for answers as to why U.S. students rand 32nd in math proficiency?

      Look, your issues are important...so are mine. There is only one of me and I'm going to spend time fighting what I deem necessary. If this pastor had a law he was trying to pass that would put g.a.y people on an island, I would be right there with you leading a fight against that.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Education really is the key. With that said, curriculum is another matter but our country is so bad off just in reading comprehension and math that this would definitely would want to prioritize. If we don't have the kids understanding math and science they will never begin to make changes within reason.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Primewonk

      For someone who doesn't care about this issue, you seem to spend a lot of time commenting on it.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Voice of Reason...EXACTLY!

      If we truly want a society that can change, that society needs to be educated. In our current state of affairs, I'm very skeptical about the future of this country.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Prime...lol...good call!

      I'm on here because there's conversation on here. You're right though, my comments are likely out of place on this board.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Whatever – Eh, what the hell, here is my take on the sorry state of education. From my perspective – as a pîssed off libera. My wife & I both volunteered in our sons schools from pre-k on. And we have 4 neices or cousins who are public school teachers in Iowa.

      The system is broke. And no one has clean hands. We have unfunded mandates like NCLB that don't work. We have teachers who went to school to learn how to teach, but they didn't learn what to teach. We have school days that are too short and school years that are way too short. We spend the first third of a new school year going back over stuff the kids forgot over the summer. Then another third of the year teaching the kids how to take the mandated tests. We have a huge disparity in the quality of education, staff, books, equipment between the haves and the have nots.

      We have parents who have abdicated raising their children to the schools. We have parents who refuse to discipline their kids at home, and then can't figure out why their kids are àssholes in school. We have parents who have never helped out in a classroom, much less actually attending parent-teacher conferences.

      We have kids who don't give a cràp. Millions of kids who think they are the next Michael Jordon or Tim Tebow, so why actually waste time studying. We have kids who go to bed, and go to school hungry. We have school systems that count pizza sauce as a freaking vegetable.

      We have textbook filled with errors. Thanks to the îdiots in Texas – who dominate national textbooks – we have religious fundamentalism being injected into history and science books.

      We have state legislatures who still try and force creationism be taught as freaking science. We had îdiots in Indiana try and pass a state law requiring students say the lord's prayer each day in PUBLIC SCHOOL.We have 39% of public school science teachers admitting that they teach creationism in biology class.

      I am not smart enough to begin to figure out how to fix the system.. I am smart enough to know it's going to be expensive, it's going to be huge, and it's going to pîss off liberals and conservatives, republicans and democrats, rich folks and poor folks.

      But I do know the longer we do nothing, the worse it's going to be.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Prime...now I can give you an AMEN for that...lol!

      You made so many good points there I don't even know where to begin. This is my primary concern and THE issue that I feel needs to be aggressively attacked. Again, I'm not against any kind of g.a.y rights, but it is nowhere near the top of my list of concerns. You have identified many of the same issues that I see in Colorado...the issue now is that we both come to the same conclusion...no clue how to fix it.

      For change to occur, education must be at the core. If we continue to ignore it, we shouldn't be surprised at where our country winds up.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  2. excitizen

    @myweightinwords

    "Besides which, I chose to live my life from a place of love for my fellow human beings. All of them. Including those who would condemn me for it, those who tell me I am going to hell, those who tell me I can not know real love because of my beliefs, etc."

    You are the most christian like person I've seen in these comment sections in years! Thank you!

    May 24, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I will take that in the complimentary spirit it was given, thank you.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  3. LivinginVA

    I was raised in a Christian family that encouraged thinking and questioning. They also believed that the main "take-away" from the Bible is "take care of others, especially those less fortunate than you, and love each other". This is the main reason that, while I no longer consider myself much of a Christian, I will not condemn religious faith – it can be a powerful force for good. There are many Christians who simply live their life as what they consider a reflection of God's Love – without judging or hating.

    Unfortunately, those who actually follow Christ usually follow the part of his words that says "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." – so you won't see them standing up saying "I'm a better Christian than he is!". This means that all too often the extremists get heard.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • JM

      Very true.

      Jesus was not found associating with the self-righteous who loved themselves but not others. He was meek and kind.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I'm sorry, but that"s a cop-out. Tens of millions of christians are in the Pews each Sunday. Do we see the pastors, ministers, reverands, priests, etc. standing up saying this is wrong? No. We see preachers across the country condemning gay folks. We see them condemning birthcontrol. We see them condemning equal rights.

      "Good Christians"? Again, I ask where are they?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Whatever

      @Prime...you are as.suming that those Christians share your concerns. Why? Yes, millions sit in pews every Sunday. Those pastors and congregation members are focused on different issues than you are. So what? Get your issue on a ballot and then make your argument. Don't tell me...or those millions sitting in the pews...what we should or should not care about.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Whatever – the point is the lack of "good christians" attacking this mindset. Some posters on here take umbrage about lumping all christians together as haters. The point is then, where are the goog christians who oppose this mindset.

      And why shoulld we vote on who gets equal rights? Do we get to decide which rights you get? So far, not a single solitary christian has put forth a valid clear and compelling reason to discriminate against gay folks.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Here lies the rub, god. You do not need a god to be a good person, period. Take the god equation out of it because there is way too much nonsense that is just not true or provable.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      Primewonk: There are entire Christian denominations that perform SSM in states where they are allowed to and are trying to get the laws changed in states where they aren't. Hate, however, "sells papers" and therefore gets the press.

      Voice of Reason: I agree completely that one can be a good person without God. I don't, however, begrudge anyone their beliefs, as long as they don't attempt to force others to comply with them.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  4. Dev

    In many parts of the country that pastor and church would be out of business. Not in redneck ville. Jesus was about love. Nothing more, nothing less.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  5. Larry Moniz

    Apparently Adolph Hitler's evil twin is alive, well and stoking the fires of hatred and bigotry in a town with the rather apropos name of "Maiden" North Carolina. Fenced enclosures for gays! What, no gas chambers or ovens? Hellooooo! Someone tell that pastor his version of Christianity is repulsive to everyone in the secular community. He said "God says." Can't help but wonder at the name of his god. Is it Beelzebub?

    May 24, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  6. mandarax

    MarkInFl: "Do you ever get the feeling that you are simply speaking into the wind? You are making your arguments calmly and rationally. That will rarely stand up to the emotional arguments of a religion."

    I know exactly what you mean. I think part of it is that "faith" is actually a willful refusal to employ critical thinking. It convinces people that asking questions or seeking answers outside the bubble of the bible is the worst thing anyone can do. I think continuing to shout into the wind is critical, though. If nothing else it allows thoughtful people on the fence (many of whom have never considered that maybe it's okay to question religion, and even not to believe) to hear something other than the religious propaganda.

    Too often though I think we (and I mean me too) shout angrily or condescendingly rather than clearly and articulately. Our hopes for a more rational citizenry are better served by providing examples of clear thought over hyperbole. My two cents.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I think you are spot on! I get p*issed-off after debate here and I feel like I should just give-up but I can't and I won't. You are right, even if we are talking to the wind maybe someone, even just one, will give it a consideration.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Larry Moniz

      Valid points. Unfortunately, believing in the bible is understandable, after all, the new testament of the bible IS the best selling FICTION WORK of all time. Written by people who lived after Jesus died. If an attempt were to be made to use it as testimony in a criminal trial it would be disallowed as heresay.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I strongly concur!

      In a forum such as this, all we have to communicate with are our words. If we allow our anger and frustration to speak for us, we may miss an opportunity to express the more important messages.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  7. No Religion

    This pastor should be put in an electric chair. Fry his a**!!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Dev

      You're the same as him

      May 24, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  8. putting people in concentrations camps

    the Bible has been used before to take away people's rights and/or make them second class citizens. we know what that lead to (hint-Holocaust). the hateful pastor obviously doesn't. Jesus is the love of my life. Too bad the pastor doesn't know Him.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Can we land somewhere with this jesus thing? Can we say jesus is a philosophy not a real magic person?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • ME II

      Perhaps he does "know Him" and you don't. How would you tell the difference?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Locksmith

      Ok, seriously, you don't really help your religion, when a whole church of YOUR religion speaks and acts this way, then you come and imply that they, or he, doesn't get "the real" message. Do you fail to realize that this jesus comes from the same era where the pastor's delusional and pathetic opinions originate? I mean, the idea that gays are sinners, that children can be killed if they are unruly and that a woman who isn't a virgin when she is married can be stoned to death at her father's door step, all come from the same book jesus is in. Do you not see the hypopcrisy of your "love" affair with this mythical person?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • jungleboo

      Yes , indeed "Jesus" and all references to him is simply a philosophy of Love. It was absolutely necessary in its time and place, because the message was a revolutionary concept in a cruel and inhumane Roman society. "GOD IN US" works quite well as long right here today as long as people don't quantify and puppetize the concept of "God". It must remain a hidden, observed, and, yeah, magical way of perceiving our existence on this funny little blue marble of a planet. No one will ever KNOW the Absolute Truth, any more than the epidermal cell in your left kneecap will KNOW why you had egg foo young for take out last Thursday. Let it be whatever it seems to be, and get busy being good to your fellow man, as well as taking good care of yourself.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  9. aurelius

    This is another reminder of how the US has descended into the abyss of religion warfare. The tyranny of religion is visible everywhere. We are no different from the Muslims and the Israeli who mix politics and religion. Only the Europeans, who have suffered endlessly for over four centuries because of religion, has eradicated that plague from its politics. Am so happy and proud to be an atheist.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • excitizen

      Totally agree! They are EXACTLY the same as those who support Shariah Law. Legislating THEIR version of morals on everyone while completely ignoring one of the main tenants of their own religion – thou shall not judge and Jesus' message of love, understanding and tolerance! It boggles the mind. Thank goodness I've given up that fantacy long ago. I live and let live.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  10. myweightinwords

    @Diane

    Hi. I hope your day is going well. I wanted to address a comment you made below.

    I do believe being gay is wrong because the only GOD said so.

    If your god is the ONLY god, how do you rationalize his own admission (provided that you believe the ten commandments were the actual spoken words of god) that there are others? He himself says that his people should have no other gods before him. Which implies that a) there are other gods and b) that it's okay to have them in your life, as long as you put YHWH first.

    I have the right to believe what I want but you're doing the same thing you accuse Christians of, forcing your beliefs on others and condemning anyone who doesn't think the way you do.

    I don't think anyone here is telling you that you are not free to believe as you do. All that is being said is that HERE, in this secular country, rights can not be denied to any group of people based upon your belief. If you think being gay is wrong, fine, no one is forcing you to be gay, to invite gay people into your house, or to participate in a gay wedding. HOWEVER, that is YOUR belief. Mine is different. You can not deny me my belief any more than I can deny you yours.

    My concern is not gay rights, its human rights.

    Are gay people not human?

    I don't get certain rights for being hetero, so why should someone else get rights for being gay?

    Are you married? If you are, you do in fact have certain rights for being hetero. Even if you are not married, you enjoy a privilege over the LGBT community, because you are not singled out for ridicule, torment, bullying and even violence based solely on the fact that you are hetero.

    I agree with you that all people are just people and deserve our respect. I honestly respect that you are honest about your feelings and beliefs if asked, I'd rather see that than someone who is friendly and apparently supportive to my face, while attending anti-LGBT rallies behind my back.

    Please understand, no one here is asking for "special rights" or even extra privilege. What we want is a level playing field.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • mandarax

      Well said.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Do you ever get the feeling that you are simply speaking into the wind? You are making your arguments calmly and rationally. That will rarely stand up to the emotional arguments of a religion. Just because what you are saying is simply an obvious and plain truth is no reason to believe that much more than half of our population can even understand it.
      Of course, the arguments must be made, even against a strong headwind or there will never be progress.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @MarkinFL

      Do you think it is a lack of understanding or an intolerance to understanding?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @mandarax...Thank you.

      @Mark..I firmly and honestly believe that absolutely no good, no progress can be made by flailing and screaming at each other, that we must, particularly when passions are high around a particular topic, stand against the storm of passion and fury with calm resolute, neither giving way nor giving up, continually stating with calmness and rationale the position we hold to be truth. Eventually the bluster must blow out, the energy be expended, and in the stillness that follows logic and reason will win out.

      Besides which, I chose to live my life from a place of love for my fellow human beings. All of them. Including those who would condemn me for it, those who tell me I am going to hell, those who tell me I can not know real love because of my beliefs, etc.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I hope its both because I know some of it just beyond a certain portion of our population. I'd like to think that the majority of those that show such a decided lack of logic are just emotionally caught up in the indoctrination from their childhood. Then at least they or their children have a chance to live a happy rational life.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @MarkinFL

      I'm thinking it is probably just easier not to think or change. Too bad.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Voice & Mark,

      As someone who was once a lot like this preacher, I think I might be able to speak with some knowledge of the mindset of him and those who support him.

      In many ways it is a certain willful ignorance, based very firmly and very deeply in fear. When you are so deeply within the grasp of a religion such as this, that teaches that all human beings are dirty, vile beings from the moment of conception on, so vile in fact that they must be bathed in the blood of a sacrifice to make them acceptable to god, there is a contradictory set of things going on inside you.

      1) You fear sin. This will usually manifest as an obsession with a particular sin, likely one that you are most tempted by.
      2) You fear those who willfully engage in sin. They are a sign of things you can not want, and the dark spot of humanity that your god despises.
      3) You develop a pride of sorts with regard to the sins that you don't find tempting.
      4) You either try to mask your own sin with good deeds, or by pointing out the sins around you.

      But the important thing to remember is that the fear is deep and all encompassing, and it makes questioning or doubting what you've been told, what you believe that you believe, very difficult to do. It often takes a major real life event to begin to crack the wall of fear.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Locksmith

      Bravo!

      May 24, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • William

      Many people have expressed this view before, but few have been so elequent about it. Many feel as you do and, as you say, eventually logic will win out.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • JM

      Goodness. Well said. God bless you. God bless all of us.

      Yeesh. What a world. =<

      May 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Locksmith & William, thank you. I am grateful that my words find resonance with you.

      JM, thank you as well, my the gods of your understanding bless you as well.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  11. str8vision

    And so the self professed followers of the great magic sky fairy once again demonstrate their knowledge and willingness to abide by the lessons/examples taught by their savior as denoted in the Christian bible. Love, compassion and tolerance are just so boring... hate, violence and retribution are much more in line with the GOP's values they covet, just watch Faux news. Perhaps the wise King "Rupert Murdock" can assemble a group of wise men to write a new bible more in line with today's Christian values. We know every written word in the new bible would be true as the great magic sky fairy would guide them in writing it. Just have faith.....

    May 24, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Saying all Christians are haters like this guy is no more accurate than saying "look, there's a guy with red hair who murdered someone – all red-heads are terrible". There are plenty of Christians who believe that God would never condemn anyone who stands on the side of love. They just don't get the press because the press is only interested in conflict.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Primewonk

      @LivinginVa – what you have written is correct, but (there's always a but), one reason you all get lumped together is that so few "good christians" speak out against this type of hate. Amendment 1 passed in NC with 61% of the vote. Where were the "good christians" when the polls were open?

      40 states have voted to pass laws legalizing discrimination against gay folks. Where were the "good christians" when these laws were being voted on?

      In Mississippi, half of all republicans still say that interracial marriage should be illegal. And 88% of them say President Obama is not a christian. Where are the "good christian"

      There should be tens to hundreds of millions of you "good christians" speaking out against hate and discrimination. Where are you?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Locksmith

      @LivinginVA

      So, what you are saying is that Christians believe that there is something in their bible, that CLEARLY stated being gay is ok? And if you are gay, you have not sinned, and are going to be loved by god and get to go to heaven??

      OR

      Are you saying that there are some Christians who will love gay people, but still believe they are going to hell, and are sinners, but since god is so loving.... he cannot be near sin, therefor, through no fault of THOSE christians, the gays will perish in hell anyway, by a "loving" god, who condems gays, by condeming sin, therefor letting those christians off the hook of hate and biggotry.

      Clearly christians are nice people, it's just their god who's at fault. DUH!!

      Not to mention he created this WHOLE universe in 6 days, and plants before there was light and what not, and said we were at the center of everything, but through science and knowledge found out we weren't that special after all.

      I think there is also a part in the bible that CLEARLY states a man can kill his wife, friend and/or neighbor if they try to convert him to believe in some other god, or not believe at all. I wonder why the GOP isn't pushing any laws for justifiable homicide on the basis of heresy.

      So weird!

      May 24, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Locksmith: I (and my significantly-more-Christian-than-I-am family) think that – given the number of translations and intentional mistranslations over the centuries – all you can really read the Bible for is the "big ideas". There are themes: take care of the poor and less fortunate, love God, love each other. That's it – whole lotta words for a couple simple ideas.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Primewonk: Many are speaking out – the news doesn't cover it. If you have Facebook check out some of the links posted on the group "Christians tired of being misrepresented". Many aren't speaking out loudly because they feel that saying "I'm a better Christian than he is!" is prideful. Many aren't speaking out because they are busy volunteering at the soup kitchen or teaching English to immigrants (without checking their citizenship status first) or doing something else that is showing what Christianity is all about by living it.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  12. Voice of Reason

    Truth is powerful and quite frankly, humorous, at the same time. Why? Because truth trumps religion and god. Put two non-believers in a room to discuss existence and the meaning of life and you will find a very compelling and interesting exchange of ideas. Put two believers in the same situation and you will have chaos and misunderstandings.
    That's what truth does, you don't have to keep making stuff up, you don't have to lie and you don't have to look like an idiot.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • jungleboo

      I like this idea about two Agnostic/Atheists discussing calmly, rationally, logically, thoughtfully. That is the basic idea of Schools of Philosophy replacing religious schools.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @jungleboo

      That would be way cool! As science progresses we can actually figure-out the neuron process to thought and who knows what else?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  13. MLCD MN

    When will we hear about this clown being caught with his pants down with a young man? North Carolina seems like a nice place to visit but I wouldn't live there ~ ever!

    May 24, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      If you take the religious morons out of North Carolina you have a beautiful state, mountains and ocean, can't beat that!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Voice of Reason – but if you remove all the religious morons, who will be left to ask that all important question, "You, want fries with that?"

      May 24, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • mandarax

      Yeah, like many states, NC has one foot in the modern world and one foot in ancient ignorance. Some of the best universities in the country are there (UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, etc.) and the RDU and Winston Salem areas are home to some of the most cutting edge medical research in the world. On the other hand, there are literally communities that don't blink an eye when faced with hate speech whether it's anti-gay or anti-minority. And again like most areas, the difference is not where you live but what level of education you possess and to what degree your thinking is influenced by fundamentalist religion.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  14. Velma

    Diane, actually you and I DO get certain rights for being hetero that gay couples are denied, and it is not a matter of belief. It is law, insurance and business regulations. You really need to check your facts.

    I don't want to force beliefs on anyone. But I do wish I could force them to use some logic.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Oz in OK

      Exactly.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  15. Toby

    A fence all around the Carolinas to keep you nuts in one location would be a good idea. You're giving the rest of America a bad name.
    And I wouldn't feed you.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  16. God

    What's going on here?

    May 24, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  17. bold

    This is what happens when people are left to fester in their own little world. They are only exposed to like minded people and nothing from the outside challenges views that are more handed down than critically established. Cities aren't mostly liberal because they attract liberal people. Cities engender it by providing exposure to people who are different from you. This pastor likely never stepped out of NC...

    May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I think your right in as far as people that do not experience anything outside their little world have very limited associations with anything resembling diversity.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  18. Nic

    Hey Voice,

    Your doomed to eternal damnation I'f your not saved , I'f I were you, I be thinking about receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior before you die. Once in hell.....No way out. You'll realize then that God wasn't kidding within one minute of being in hell....1 minute to late.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Nic is a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      May 24, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Cq

      Only a truly sadistic mind could have ever thought up eternal hell simply for disbelief. I'm betting that this idea couldn't have been the product of an "all loving" super intelligence, in which case all I'm rejecting is another silly human idea.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Jack

      The funniest part of the wager is it applies to all religions. A Muslim can say to a Christian, "Are you willing to take the chance that Islam is not the one true religion? IF you are wrong you'll burn for eternitiy."

      May 24, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Madtown

      What if someone has never even heard of Jesus, because they were born to a part of the world where christianity was prevalent or practiced? Is that person "going to hell"? Would that make any sense at all?!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Nic

      I'll tell you what. If damnation is an existence where there are no people like you I would accept it with open arms. You are a hideous, small minded person.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Primewonk

      Nic, I assume you believe your version of a god is omnipotent and omniscient? Afterall, what god worth his or her salt isn't? So, can you fool god? Your god claims he knew everything about you before he even created you. Thus, your god already knows if you are going to heaven or hell. Your god knew this before he created you. Hell, your god knew if you were going to heaven or hell before he even created the universe. So, again, can you fool god? If god knows you are destined for heaven, can you end up in hell?? Likewise, if your ticket has been punched for hell, can you surprise god and show upp in heaven?

      Unless you can trick/fool/surprise god, you have no freewill. And even worse, this means that your "all loving" god purposefully creates billions of people for the sole purpose of torturing them for all eternity.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • sam stone

      Nic: Spend a lot of time on your knees, do you? That should be pleasing to your savior. After all, there is an unending line of folks like you who want to service him for eternity

      May 24, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  19. Nic

    Putting sodomites behind an electric fence is still alot nicer than what God did to them in Sodom and Gomorha. God brought down brimstone on the place because of their grievous sin. Man shalt not lay with man as with a woman, it IS an ABMOMINATION. ( Lev. 18:22 )

    May 24, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • midwest rail

      This is America. America is not a theocracy. Next.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Nic
      Leviticus lists a whole host of "abominations" and if you adhere to all those proscriptions, I'll eat my hat.
      Shaved your sideburns lately?
      And in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, who was the righteous man spared destruction?
      Why good ol' Lot himself – the man who wanted to toss his vir/gin daughters into an angry mob to be ra/ped.
      Now that's biblical morality!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Scott

      You forgot to mention that Lot impregnates his 2 virgin daughters after S & G are destroyed. Then god proceeds to give his blessing to the offspring

      May 24, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Diane

      That is true. Problem is people will always find a way to justify what they want to do whether right or wrong. People take parts of the Bible and tell God which parts he's being truthful about. GOD IS NOT A MAN THAT HE SHOULD LIE. I feel sorry for people who outright sin and really think they're not going to hell as his Word.
      Example, Ellen. She's such a nice person, helps so many and helps people heal with laughter but God says she's wrong if she doesn't change.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Scott
      In his defence, Lot was so wasted he didn't realize he was getting jiggy with his daughters.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Cq

      Nic
      The Sodom and Gomorrah story featured gangs of men out looking to r.a.p.e other men. You know, kinda like they do in those prisons where the majority of inmates are Christians.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • BRC

      @Diane,
      Beyond the discussion of wether or not there is a "God", you make another very significant asumption: you believe the bible to be true. You take it as the ACTUAL guidance of "God". Since it was written by men, and contains a good many things that don't make any sense, there is no real good reason to do so. So it is equally likely that Ellen is a good person, who means well, makes others laugh, and when she dies, if there is a "God" he will welcome her openly because all he cares about is a well lead life, and the bible is just wrong.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Sue

      @Nic Eating a lobster is also an abomination according to Leviticus. The people down in Maine are all damned then, I suppose?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      Sodomites? Seriously?

      Sodomy is simply non-pènile/vàginl sèx. The gender and orientation of the participants is irrelevant. 50% of us straights have had ànal sèx. 80% of us straights have oral sèx. Thus the vast majority of all folks are "sodomites".

      Looks this ignorant cretin of a pastor is going to need a much larger fence.

      GO TEAM SODOMY!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • J.W

      Did God actually look down from heaven and say that? If it was then the other things that is says in the OT are direct commands from God as well. We may all be going to hell for wearing different types of fabric, eating shellfish, planting different types of seed in the same garden, etc.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • sam stone

      Speaking for god, eh?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Oz in OK

      Why is it that 'Christians' who claim to know the story so well, never seem to even get the spelling right? It's G-O-M-O-R-R-A-H! For crying out loud...

      May 24, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  20. Voice of Reason

    It truly is disconcerting to read these posts and get a feel for what people believe. Even if they do not agree with what this pastor said they do think being gay is wrong because their god said so.
    There are no words I can find to illustrate the pain and the growing intolerance I have for religion. There is absolutely no reasoning whatsoever to its dogma and foundational beliefs.
    In summary, I think religion and god and all the other supernatural unproven claims need to be terminated and placed into a category as dangerous and not for consideration as a method to explain our existence. It should be kept away from our children and our government. If we don't address this issue here in the states we are doomed.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it."
      – Robert Heinlein

      May 24, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • jungleboo

      Religion is child abuse. No child would ever come up with these hideous ideas and force another child to believe it. Religious schools should be replaced with philosophy schools, where love of knowledge and inquiry into possibilities is the norm. The dogma that has been the norm for 1500 years, and which has splintered into untold fragments because of its inherent flaws, must be exposed for what it is. The sick minds that feed on this stuff need to be allowed to die out. The new generations will thank us for it, as we thank the Founding Fathers, who made this kind of post possible in the first place.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Diane

      I do believe being gay is wrong because the only GOD said so. I have the right to believe what I want but you're doing the same thing you accuse Christians of, forcing your beliefs on others and condemning anyone who doesn't think the way you do.
      My concern is not gay rights, its human rights. I don't get certain rights for being hetero, so why should someone else get rights for being gay?
      ALL people should be treated with respect for being human, yet its our differences from each other that cause the problems for being Black or Hispanic instead of White, being female instead of male, being gay instead of straight, being old instead of young, being anything different from the person judging since the judge will always see their own way as right. I've worked with many gay people and don't agree with their lifestyle, but I'm not in their bedroom, its work so respect is given and received for being human. People are people, we all laugh, cry, and live. There are a lot of nice people in the world I've worked with being Christian, atheist, gay, straight, bi, Hindu, Hispanic, White, Black, young and old. If I don't agree, I'm honest to say so if asked, I don't bash and STILL treat the person w respect regardless of differences.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Diane
      "don't get certain rights for being hetero, so why should someone else get rights for being gay?"
      Do you see the distinction between granting special, extra rights to a group and simply granting them the exact same rights as everyone else?
      In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to vote or drive.
      Would granting them suffrage take away from the rights of men? Would it be giving them extra rights above and beyond what they're enti/tled if they could get a driver's license?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • jungleboo

      Diane, have you actually missed the entire idea behind the New Bigotry. You are hetero and you don't have special rights?? The national discussion is legal union for gay couples, granting scores of legal rights to the partners signing up for it. As a card carrying hetero, you have these rights automatically assigned to you and your hubby, and you don't question it. You just enjoy all of your legal rights as a married couple. Gays want the same rights, because, out of the closet for the past 40 years, we have proven beyond a doubt that, when not burned at the stake or beheaded by Christians, we have the ability to forge long lasting, loving relationship with our same s3x partner. I have been with my partner thirty five years, and yet we are denied the most basic legal rights. Diane, wake up.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Diane

      While I appreciate your response I do not agree with you. Why? Your very first statement. God said so. This is the point where I take my hammer and hit myself in the head. When you open a response to debate or discussion with God said so, the remainder of what you say is irrelevant. You cannot prove there is a god and it is obvious that you are not a person because you cannot think for yourself and if you read your post you will see that you are disingenuous. And NO, I don't have to treat you with respect because I can. You are such a hypocrite it's ludicrous. As you said "My concern is not gay rights, its human rights." So gays are not humans? Point taken moron!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Madtown

      Diane
      I do believe being gay is wrong because the only GOD said so.
      -------–
      Astounding arrogance. "The only God"? Just how do you know that YOUR God is the "only" God, or the "right" God? What about the people who grew up with religious traditions different from yours, they're just wrong?!?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Sue

      @jungleboo If a parent told their child that a dragon would come out of his closet and burn him up with his fire breath if he weren't good that would be child abuse, but telling him that God will burn him up in hell for the same reason somehow isn't. Why do we respectfully allow such things to be done to children?

      May 24, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • jungleboo

      And further, Diane, reducing the concept of "God" to a marionette who "says" things with "his mouth" is stupid plus one. The Ultimate Creative Force of The Universe, whatever word you call it, is not a person with a body like yours and mine. "He" does not look like Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. These are human fantasies. if you are so frightened of life that you must have a little god puppet who speaks when you move your fingers, you will never ascend to the level of no fear. Hell for the people who create it and think about it. It is certainly for no one else.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • jungleboo

      @ Sue "If a parent told their child that a dragon would come out of his closet and burn him up with his fire breath if he weren't good that would be child abuse, but telling him that God will burn him up in hell for the same reason somehow isn't. Why do we respectfully allow such things to be done to children?"

      Sue, I have never heard of this grotesque idea of telling a child such a thing, but if that's part of your folklore, whatever. Sorry for the child... The difference is creating and promoting religious DOGMA for supposed ADULTS that pretends that there are actual consequences for not following the religious law. If you can not see that, and if you also frighten children into behaving themselves, you have more problems than can be solved in these few minutes.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Billy, Hill

      Hey, why don’t we take all them Christians and put’em inside a fence, then electrify the fence and let’em die off. We can drop them some food every now and then.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Primewonk

      Diane claims she doesn't get certain rights just for being hetero.

      I'm sorry Diane, but this is just utter bull. In 42 states you get the right to marry. Gays do not. And if you are married Diane, just by saying "I Do" and filing your appropriately signed state issued marriage license, you automatically got over 1100 federal rights, benefits, and privileges not given to gay folks – even if they are legally married!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:41 am |
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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.