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. Frank

    The saddest part is how these pastors have the young people in the community so brain washed with the book of fairy tale stories. I can understand how this would fly hundreds of years ago living in an isolated village or community. But in todays age of access to unlimited information, amazing how people can't reason on their own.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  2. natertater

    Why do you still get suprised when this things come out from the South. A wall should be built around those people so they would start hateing things about themselves and wipe each other out.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • noly972

      Just as long as you feed them...

      May 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • ernestly

      We could even airdrop biscuits and gravy on them

      May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " We could even airdrop biscuits and gravy on them"

      I've had some of their gravy. Dropped from a height of more than 50 feet it would be lethal.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  3. JB

    I probably won't live to see it, but one day society will look back at Christianity (and all the other major religions of the day) and regard them in the same way we regard those who worshipped the sun, or Greek, Roman, Norse gods. Religion does nothing but obstruct the progress of humanity. This pastor represents a generation of old white men who have enjoyed power for their entire lives, and are frightened and angered by the reality of that power beginning to slip from their grasp.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  4. Tatiana Covington

    Clone and be done with it.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  5. Wowsers

    Well at least he is Christian enough to feed us lmao!!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • sam

      I have a feeling it would just be top ramen, though.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  6. Melodykari78

    I am quite sure that this pastor did not even think once how he sermon would relate to the holocaust. Idiot!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I am quite sure that this pastor did not even think once...period.

      And he certainly didn't think anyone would be recording him...

      May 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Billy, Hill

      @Mass Debater

      He knew alright. It was posted by the church on its website until the shit hit the fan, then it was taken down.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. BY

    When was the last time Barry Lynn called for an IRS iinvestigation of the litany of black churches that openly support Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc.....?

    The double standard should be embarassing. Will anyone notice?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  8. KatranM

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

    So, what, he thinks gays and lesbians can't arise from straight parents? But then...how did they get here? Basic biology and logic seem to be at odds with fundamentalism again!

    Seriously, this man is sick, and the people defending him ("he said he'd feed them!") sound just as terrifying. The Nazis fed the prisoners in concentration camps too!

    Jesus would not support this guy's desire to kill off an entire group of people. He says he loves them AFTER he says he wants to lock them up to die. And what about their families and kids? Sickening. And sickeningly ignorant.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  9. What??

    So let me get this straight...He loves them and wants them saved so his suggestion is quarantining them to the point of extinction? Sounds reasonable...All this hub-bub is probably just that da mn liberal media distorting wholesome family values again...HA!

    These people talk about him following the bible to the T? If thats the case, then the following people should be stoned to death by the good pastor: People who eat shellfish, people with tattoos, people who wear more than one type of fabric, and many more....If these people claim to follow the bible literally, like they do when it comes to gays, then they're all hypocrites for liking Tim Tebow...He works on the sabbath at least 16 times per year! Wheres the call for him to be locked up and fed via helicopter?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  10. Critical Thinking


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


      Yes sticks are great as shown by civilizations that utilize them to build homes and structures and to provide a source for warmth and comfort. If not for the sticks we would not be a culture or worst – not even be around. So please praise the trees and the sticks.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  11. Will

    Wow!!!! This has to be the most simple-brained town in the world, not America, the world!! This town wouldn't have an IQ of 70 if you took the sum total of everyone.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    What I found most telling about the video was how empty the Church was. In most places like that, the Choir will be full, and you should have seen heads in the front rows. Instead, only a few voices responding Amen.
    Pitiful at best.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  13. Mike

    Don't worry. I love the believer, but I hate the belief. You need to lay off of gay people.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Answer

      That is one of the best thing I have read in a long while! A hilarious and quite inspiring comment that turns the words around to them. Thank you for posting it Mike.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  14. Animenut

    Can one love the pastor and hate his sin, that being judging not, lest he be judged? Or am I judging the pastor.
    He must be fun to be around. Not.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  15. DJ Jones

    I wish CNN would take this much interest in OBAMA's preacher JEREMIAH WRIGHT and expose his radical statements to America.

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

      That was done with 4 years ago. Stop beating a dead horse.

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

      Will you also condemn Romney for the Mormon's stand prior to 1978 that blacks cannot be priesthood holders and can only get to heaven if a white person lets them in?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Horus

      They did. Perhaps your memory is not so good. Wright is as pathetic as Worley. Do you judge everyone in Worley's congregation to hold the exact views as Worley? Then don't judge Obama as having the exact views as Wright.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  16. Mike

    Don't worry. I love the people, and I hate the belief. You need to lay off of gay people.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  17. Philip Rushton

    Makes me embarrassed to be a Christian and a pastor. It is sad that these extremely ignorant views, which are so contrary to the gospel, get so much air time. Jesus said "blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake." Unfortunately too many Christians these days are getting persecuted for "unrighteousness sake." He is bringing unnecessary opposition and anger toward the Christian church. This is wrong and deserves to be called out for the bigotry and hatred that it is.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Billy, Hill

      It's never too late to open your eyes and realize this is a heaping pile of steaming horse shit Phil.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  18. asdf

    "it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

    YUP! And then Cain and Eve, and Abel and Eve...one uterus does not a species make.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Primewonk

      At some point Eve would have popped out a daughter. I wonder who got first shot at her? Daddy? Or one of the boys? Wonder how old she was before they started impregnating her?

      May 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  19. fourth81

    To paraphrase an unnamed celebrity, this pastor isn't a follower of Jesus...he's just a fan. No follower of Jesus would spew such hateful statements about anyone. And all that "Adam and Steve" crap is just ignorant–catchy, but ignorant. This is about civil rights. This is about equality. The church just needs to accept that the times are changing.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Rapture

    Pastor Charles Worley is advocating precisely the "solution" that Adolf Hitler chose and implemented. What is a walled piece of earth but a "concentration camp". Hitler also used the Bible to validate his insane viewpoints.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
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