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."

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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."

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"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.

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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. asdf

    "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!" "

    :LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL – Jesus would be sooooo proud.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • asdf

      ...and Hitler fed the jews too.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Fed them to his ovens...

      May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. ak2k

    It's just a shame that others are listening to him, and possible idolizing him.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  3. asdf

    "And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."


    May 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Can't you see the logic of his idea though? If you put all the women in one, and the men in another and then let them die out in their electrified cages, then any children who are born to straight couples outside the fence during those years will certainly think twice about coming out of the closet... and "ta da!" no more gays! It's so simple we could do it with anything we don't like, such as people who are obsessed with reality TV shows? electric fence. People who don't use their turn signals? electric fence. People who cut in line at the movies or grocery stores? electric fence. People who have dark skin who want to be President? electric fence...

      May 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      It's gets real scary when mankind goes into a "us" versus "them" mentality......

      May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  4. Bill

    I cannot believe this crap, this man is not a pastor he is a preacher of hate. That sounds like Nazi Germany and I thought this was America. With ideology like that we all should be terrified. Shame on any church that exhibits that kind of hate. You can't say you love someone and then say they should be caged like an animal until they die off! If that's church I don't want any part of it.

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

      We in the USA keep inching closer and closer to Germany...or Orwell's 1984. Very few people seem to notice this. Which is why it just might happen.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  5. DiatribesAndOvations.com

    These people don't have all their oars in the water. What's going on in NC? http://wp.me/p1se8R-2Rk

    May 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  6. higgs bosun

    you have to remember that this insect believes in, worships, and "loves" a deity whose intent it is to eternally torture some portion of humanity for eternity...does that tell you everything you need to know about this slimey creature and all those like him ?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  7. Reasonably

    The people's comments are precious...constant evasion and double-talk. Mindless sheep. Unfortunately those mindless sheep are haters and they breed and teach their children to hate. Ad naseum. I'd pity them, but they vote, pass laws and generally muck things up with their christian sharia mindset. If they lived and let live it'd be one thing, but they insist on telling and regulating how others live so that makes them dangerous.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Freedom From Religion

    This religious idiot shows his intelligence when he says that isolating and locking up gay people will eventually result in the demise of the group, presumably because gay people are the offspring of other gay people and they won't be able to reproduce! Yikes - What a moron!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Ralston

    And he calls himself a christian! Usually these over the top people have something strange going in their life. Oh well a few years from now we may find out.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  10. sarge

    We could use the same fence for clergy!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • YBP

      Amen! (pardon the expression)

      May 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  11. Betty

    It's amusing reading these stories about ignorant red-neck christians in North Carolina. Fortunately, they are a tiny minority in the world and no one could help but laugh at them.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Reason77

      Sadly, it is not a tiny minority. Look at how NC voted to ban gay marriage. Gay bashing is rampant in Christianity.

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

      Betty, Unfortunately they are not quite as small of a minority as we may wish they were. About 20% of Americans hold this extreme Christian viewpoint and desire to force it upon the rest of us. Many have hijacked the GOP to force this change at all costs. I was a GOP committeeman and chose not to get re-elected due to what I saw even in my local committee. These people want to take the USA down a dark path toward the establishment of a Christian theocracy with some seriously fascist (Nazi) overtones.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  12. Counterpoint

    In church! Really> did they ever hear "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." or "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

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

      Don't forget when jesus supposedly said that if you do judge, then you will be judged by the same standard.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  13. HenryMiller

    I've always said that religion is a generally benign–at least these days, in this country; centuries ago and continents away are another matter–form of insanity. This nut is blowing the lid off of "benign."

    May 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. Stanley

    "Judge not lest ye be judged" – "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" – "Let he among you that is blameless cast the first stone"
    Any actual Christians care to enlighten us as to who these quotes might be attributed to?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Reasonably


      May 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Spangler

    "Do no harm to the gentle gays following the path laid out for them." HoeMoeErectus 3:17

    May 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  16. tom

    wow ... yet anothers gay 'news' story by cnn ... quit feeding the trolls

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

      I'm glad CNN keeps posting articles about Christian intolerance. I hope they post them every day. The truth hurts membership, eh?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • gayCNNreader

      wow ... yet anothers gay 'news' story by cnn ... that tom took the time to read

      May 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • DiatribesAndOvations.com

      CNN only reports the news. Worley and his ilk create it. http://wp.me/p1se8R-2Rk

      May 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • YBP

      Wheels are now in motion. (Thank you, Joe Biden.) This conversation will continue until it is settled. It will probably become the new Civil War in the US. Blood will probably be spilled. If they kill abortion doctors, even while attending church, they will definitely go after the LGBTs with their guns in one hand and their bibles in the other.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • sam

      Every time you click on an article that mentions gays, tom, you become a little gayer. Be careful. That's how it starts.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  17. clinky

    Adam and Steve sound like a nice couple.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  18. Bootyfunk

    this church should lose tax exempt status.

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

      All churches should lose tax exempt status.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • timsaxm

      I agree!! There are not suppose to endorse any political candidates or have a political agenda. Why aren't they talking about that?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Open Minded Momma

    I see this Old Timer as closed minded and like a modern day Hitler. Pushing crazy ideas he has on how to get rid of people God created, because of HIS judgement of people. He is not the judge, nor should he be pushing his ideas upon anyone, we are not to judge but to help our brothers and sister, love our brothers and sisters. GOD will be the judge. Read the entire Bible and you will see that he is only preaching his thoughts and not the entire ideas of the Bible. He is preaching his prejudice, what a shame. If you want to help them, reach out to them, do not condemn them!! And please, please learn how to pronounce your words before you preach, I have lived here a long time and that sermon was probably the best example of illiteracy in the South..............

    May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Sam J

    "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject" – Winston Churchill.

    This is no different than radical Islamists saying "death to _______" [fill in the blank].

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

      Well said 🙂

      May 23, 2012 at 2:31 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.