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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. Kevin Barbieux

    "Old Time Religion"
    Oh yeah, things were much better back when people were less educated and bigotry went unchecked. Yep, the good ol' days.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • just sayin

      D@ mn Yankees took away our slavery. Miss the good ole days before that.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  2. Cathy

    Maybe we should put this congregation in an electric fence and see how they like it, don't worry we will feed them too. When they die out they can be with there god and we wont have to put up with them.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  3. Tim Knecht

    "Some church members, who declined to give their names, defended their pastor, " If they're so damned proud of their pastor and what he preaches, and proud that they're backing him, why won't they give their names?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Answer

      Afraid for their reputation, humiliation and utter stupidity. Humans are quite stupid and proud, but then when their mislead opinions backfires they will hide from the shame.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Shalica

    Where are you OBSESSOR? Do you have a new name? Just askin..........

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  5. Scott O' Canada

    What the hell is in the water in NC anyways. Seems every week there's something bazaar in the news coming out of that state. "Zippy the Pinhead" has a right to his opinion, but for the members of the congregation to defend it is worrisome on so many levels.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Well they hate the EPA around there as much as they do gays, who knows whats in their water...

      May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • wcb2001

      Isnt religion about blind faith? His followers are willing to believe anything as long as they can be in the heaven club.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • willy

      I think the press is focused on NC because the DNC is going to be in that state. They want to beat it up real good before they get there.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  6. onlymyopinion

    In my opinion, I think anyone who butchers the English language like this preacher has, needs to be put in a cage. It's okay though. We'll drop him food!!! But, it will prevent all of us who absolutely despise listening to people who can't speak the language (the way it was meant to be spoken) from having to tolerate ignorance and stupidity!! He said he's "again it"???? "I tell ya right now..I was disappointed "bad" and "I tell ya "right deer"??? Give me a break...lock him in a cage already!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jen

      I know! I couldn't even understand some of what he was saying! Couldn't imagine getting spiritual guidance from someone who's IQ is 50 points lower than mine. Most of his congregation must live in trailer parks.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Kat

      That's offensive to people who live in trailer parks.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • JP0

      "Agin it" = "Against it" Don't know what you heard.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • onlymyopinion

      might have been "again it"...might have been "agin it" Doesn't really matter does it??? It's poor English!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  7. wcb2001

    Let me guess... He is also a registered republican.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Mass Debater

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

    No, you need to lay off your pastor, it's obvious he is not fit for the job.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Answer

      It's a crying shame for one who is in his late twenties (as that guy is in the video) to be so dumb and indoctrinated.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  9. just sayin

    “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.”
    --–

    I am not Christian but like this quote. You rarely see Christians acting like Christians.. kudos to the above person.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Tex71

    Lately it seems that open, unabashed, in-your-face bigotry is losing ground in the USA. Let's hope the trend continues and good riddance.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      agreed. seeing how many people are coming out in defense of what's right is uplifting.

      my fiance and i are a straight couple that fully supports g.ay rights. straight against hate. support your brothers and sisters. religious bigotry is wrong.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      What? Were not allowed to hate and mock someone anymore just because we don't like the cut of their jib?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you can hate and mock, no one said it's against the law - but be prepared, like this idiot, to be held accountable for prejudicial views.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  11. CommonSense

    One very simple question "Pastor": if they cannot reproduce, how are they here now?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      CommonSense, How dare you logic and reason on this poor misguided man of God

      May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • m0rtis

      I'm sure he'd continue if you asked... any new ones identified? over the fence! it's like segregation, but without all the negative connotations of that word... because he loves us more than we love ourselves.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Emma Cross

      Because the straight people came first and all others are mutations and the only way they will survive is by using other straight people. So then tell me who hates who. People that use others are the haters not the ones that open up their heart to love one another. The pastor is right; they will never survive without the male and female sperm and egg.

      Another thing. we Christians really love them because now that they are all out of the closet; our Lord and Savior is very soon to return and take us out of all this mess that man has believed to have designed for us. In the end folks, It is the Almighty who is in complete control and His will will be done in Heaven as well on the earth. I have always heard it said that if God does not punish America; then He would have to appoligise to Somdom and Gholmah.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Realist

      This seems like a simple question, but you have to remember that you are addressing it to a person who lacks critical thinking skills–not to mention a grasp of English grammar (verb-subject agreement in his quote). But of course critical thinking is not a required skill for a pastor. In fact, it's highly discouraged, lest one realize how silly it is to make a living by preaching mythology. No, the only real skill required for this trade is the ability to manipulate other ignorant people like yourself.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Realist

      Emma, much of "this mess" is the result of people like you who fail to take responsibility for their actions, because they believe there is some fairy in the sky who will take care of it all. Why care about global warming–"our savior" is coming soon. Yeah...and people have been saying that for two thousand years. I hate to break it to you, but he's not coming. He doesn't exist.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Emma Cross, Are Blaming God for all the Gays, Killers, Natural and Unnatural problems we face? "Almighty who is in complete control and His will will be done in Heaven as well on the earth". If that is true then the Blame is Gods (If he is in Complete control, If is not his fault then he is not in complete control, then he is not God nor worthy of worship) So which is it?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Nicholas

      Don't try and bring biology and that silly science stuff into the arguments, you are just trying to confuse the pastor and his congregation. They are still in shock finding out the earth is not flat and having a hard time accepting that idea. Next you will be wanting them to believe the sun does not rotate around the earth.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tuscanny

      because of sin

      May 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  12. Barry Hemphill

    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.

    That is Christian? The Nazis fed the Jews they fenced in concentration camps…until they killed them. What a twisted view of religion…..

    May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Retired Military

    The wonderful thing about our country is any moron can pretty much say whatever they want. Worley certainly fits the moron profile. He definately is a LONG way from being a "Christian", He just needs to hope there is no fence built for idiots, for he will be among the first to be dropped inside.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • NauticalMan

      Well said, but don't think you could build a fence large enough to contain all the idiots!

      May 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • m0rtis

      but... we already do... they're called "oceans"

      May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Julie

      MOrtis.. that was Beautiful! LOL!

      May 24, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  14. Regina

    Well the beauty of this country is that people have the right to love who they want to love, regardless of who is (in the pastor's words) "Agin it", or anybody else's religious beliefs. The pastor has a right to preach hate to his congregation If'n he wants to.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • sarah

      Sure. And people have the right to criticize him. I think his message of hate is going to work against him and his kind in the long run. If he's unlucky, his words will be in the history books as an example of hate. I can't see why he wouldn't want to change that. It's pretty clear he let politics get the best of him. It's one of the reasons why politics and religion shouldn't mix. The Jehovah Witnesses do have it right there.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.

      Mark 11:25-26; see also Matthew 6:14-15

      Amen.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Julie

      HeavenSent... I will forgive him for being a moron... he can't help it. He was raised down South... in a land were logic rarely exists and delusional thinking is common. But that doesn't mean I can't say he's wrong and evil!

      May 24, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  15. JOHN Towle

    The pastor's comments and solutions are exactly what Hitler did to the gay people during WWII. However, Hitler went one step further he gassed them. So, pastor Worley is this what you really mean?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

      Ephesians 6:12

      May 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Commenter

      Wow, what an EGO you have, HeavenSent... that principalities and dark powers of the universe give a tinker's dam about you.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  16. Really?

    Put them all behind a fence and throw them some food every once in a while, huh? And how is that different than an internment camp? Or a concentration camp? Haven't we been there before? There is really only one destination when you go down the road of discrimination and hatred.

    Just ignore this crap. In about 5 or 10 years when this idiot's generation dies off, this stupidity will die with them. You cannot stop the wheel of society from moving forward. It will evolve, whether people like it or not. You can't stop it.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Jen

      Exactly. At least he's a fat slob ( ie committing the sin of gluttony) and will be dead soon.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Robert

      No, you're wrong. This is not society moving forward but rather moving to the pit. What you can't stop is the providence and judgement of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit to Christians and Jehova to the Jews). As Ben Franklin noticed, God alone raises up one nation and casts down another, and in case you've been too blind to notice, our nation is well on its way to being bankrupt, not just morally, but financially as well. The hand writing is on the wall. The USA's days as a nation are numbered. We've rejected God and He's about to let us see what life is like when He no longer "sheds His grace on Thee."

      May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Jen

      You're right Robert. Most Haitians are extremely religious Catholics and look how successful their country is thanks to God....oh wait......

      May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Tex71

      Well, Robert, you are so wrong in such sad, ignorant ways that you are partly right. An America without bias of religion, s#xual orientation, etc etc etc probably seems like the end of the world to you. The end of a world of ignorance will, however, not be lamented by the rest of us. Good Riddance rather.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Danno

      Too bad god isn't real. So none of what you said matters.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Laura

      @ Robert,

      It's a song written in 1918 by Irving Berlin, not gospel. Fool.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Realist

      Robert, most northern European countries rejected your god a long time ago, and contrary to what you hear in the news, they're doing just fine–economically and otherwise. Europe as a whole is suffering because of the southern members in the EU, who happen to be the most religious (Spain and Italy, for example). So why are largely atheist countries like Norway and Denmark are thriving? I don't think your warped view of reality supports your argument.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Julie

      Robert, in some ways we are moving toward that pit in hell.... moved forward by the Satanist Christians like this pastor. The warriors of light, the ones fighting this evil, however... are fighting the good fight. And we are winning against evil and hatred like this pastor. People like him are using the bible for evil ends and someday soon the TRUE meaning of the bible will hold sway against the sick ends it is being used for now.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  17. just sayin

    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!"

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

    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    After the comment the church member headed to the nearest Walmart then a Nascar race. Also it appears the HATE continued to supporting nazi type camps...*Redneck Voice* BUT HEYYY MANNNNNN WE FEED THEM AT LEAST

    Jesus they are slow, dumb and backwards in the South.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      Note they did not give their name...besides being a drippy droolie....they have no b@lls.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Huebert

      Bigot.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • TMoney

      If you think people are only like this in the South, then, you are clearly, "Slow, dumb, and backwards."

      May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      TMoney

      If you think people are only like this in the South, then, you are clearly, "Slow, dumb, and backwards."

      -
      Of course not....just more concentrated in the South.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  18. aon

    LOTS of churches preach similar things to their congregations. I don't know why this one church and preacher are being singled by a video going viral. What is so different? Just go to you tube and type preaching against gays, or something similar and see what I mean.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Equal Rights Means for Everyone

      This gives religion/churches a bad name; not to mention, what the heck do people not understand about equal rights. There will always be bigots and those who always wants someone to be lessor than themselves (native Americans, women, African Americans). So pathetic that some people want to feel better about themselves by making others appear lessor and fight to stop what our country is based on – EQUAL RIGHTS, PERIOD.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  19. midogs2

    This guy gives a whole new meaning to 'Low I.Q.'s'.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • just sayin

      The South defines low I.Q.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Just sayin
      That thar be ignant, I reckon.
      The south leads the country in skills like spitoon hittin', hoss wranglin, neegrah hangin, wife smackin, and cousin' kissin.
      Where'ud y'all gitcher 10 gallon hats and big 'ol belt buckles the size of a garbage can lid if'n it weren't for the south?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • just sayin

      LOL @ Doc
      They can hook up with their kin and cousins faster than anyone

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Duane - St. Pete FLA

      shut up yankee boy.....hahaha

      May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    why doesn't CNN bash Isalm? scared??

    May 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • sarah

      Reporting on what the man said is hardly bashing.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Radical Islam is just as hateful and wrong as radical evangelicals. It does not matter what religion you are, if you promote violence or internment of others just because they don't meet your religions moral standards then you are wicked and evil and are the only true sinners on this planet.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Joe

      I am not aware of any Islamic groups actively trying to ban equal marriage rights. I am not suggesting Islam accepts equal marriage (I don't know) but they are not actively trying to prevent gays from marrying.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Duane - St. Pete FLA

      "I am not aware of any Islamic groups actively trying to ban equal marriage rights".....no kidding dummy....they kill gays over there.....living with your head in the sand?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Duane - St. Pete FLA

      I could care less about gays doing whatever they want....all this attention is dumb....this is all being talked about now to distract everyone from Obama's crappy job with the economy. plain and simple.....this issue about gays marring show be left up to the states......why is the federal goverment getting involved?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Which God?

      @Duane. Dang good question there. Answer, yes they are. They'll burn down CNN HQ, right after they issue a fatwa.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.