May 28th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Pastor's comments about gays draw protesters

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–Hundreds of protesters gathered this weekend in Maiden, North Carolina, to voice their displeasure with a pastor's statement that gays and lesbians should be rounded up behind electric fences.

Sheriff Coy Reid estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 protestors came to the Catawba County Justice Center for a peaceful protest on Sunday. He said only two citations for noise violations were issued and there were no arrests.

The protest was organized by the Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate in response to a Mother's Day sermon by Pastor Charles Worley at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden.

"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 said to his congregation on May 13. A video of his comments went viral 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."

Protestors chanted, "Love not hate," as the lined the road outside the Justice Center, which is 12 miles from thechurch.

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Organizers of the protest said they wanted to counter what they called the pastor's hateful words with love and stressed prior to the event that "our Peace Keepers will respond quickly and vigorously to any behavior that detracts from the peaceful, non-violent plans of this event."

On Friday night, vandals targeted the Providence Road Baptist Church, Lt. Daryl McCarty of the Catawba County Sheriff's office told CNN. "It appears that someone tried to set the air conditioning unit on fire in retaliation about his remarks against homosexuals and lesbians from the pulpit."

McCarty said there was "no extensive damage or anything. The incident appears to have happened on Friday night. It wasn't a big enough fire. It only burned the cover off of some wires."

An electric company easily repaired the damage Saturday, according to McCarty.

Sheriff Reid said trash was lit under the air conditioning unit to start the fire. The unit is up against a brick wall and he said it did not seem like the vandals were attempting to burn down the building, saying, "It appeared they were trying to disrupt the service."

The local fire marshal and a sheriff's deputy are investigating the fire further, Reid said.

He also noted that Worley had received death threats after his comments and his department was actively following up on them.

Repeated calls by CNN to the church and to the pastor's home for comment have not been returned. When Worley was approached outside his home on Sunday by CNN's Gary Tuchman and asked whether he would take back any of his comments, the pastor declined to comment.

The church's website has also been down, but it had described the house of worship as independent and fundamentalist. It represents a Baptist tradition self-described as "old-time religion" and the website said church members consider the 1611 King James Version of the Bible to be the "inerrant Word of God."

The church appears to be unconnected with any broader denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Baptist group, noted the Providence Road Baptist in Maiden is not affiliated with its 16-million member denomination and condemned the pastor's comments.

Last week in Maiden, members of the church vigorously defended their pastor, who has been at the church for more than two decades.

Some church members, who declined to give their names, said 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."

The sheriff said his deputies will be paying extra attention to the church building in the wake of the vandalism and threats. The church has about 300 members, he said.

Reid, who has been with the sheriff's department since 1979, said the area had never seen anything quite like this.
"We hope it's over," he said. "The protestors have had their say now, so we're hoping it all dies down."

-CNN's Dan Gilgoff, Ismael Estrada, Gary Tuchman, and Rick Martin contributed to this article.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (1,365 Responses)
  1. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      Must have had bible study in Numbers

      May 29, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  2. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  3. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  4. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  5. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  6. Chris L

    I'm a Christian, however, I'm unlike many other Christians. For example, I support gay marriage. I believe that it's their choice, and they have a right to happiness, just like anyone else. I also HEARTILY agree that many Christians are self righteous and need to be taught acceptance. Anyone who disagrees, including this sick "pastor" can go shove it. I believe in my faith, so people like Eric G and Bob, why do you care? You talk about freedom of choice, yet you criticize others faith? I believe in my God, but I also believe in science. I don't care what you think, and frankly most people don't. As far as I'm concerned, everyone has a right to happiness and the right to practice their own beliefs, without being persecuted or criticized.

    May 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      And that is a very Christian thing to say. We are also Christian and believe the very loving Gospel of Jesus Christ trumps the old testament and it is very loving, non-judgemental and accepting Gospel

      May 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Eric G

      I do not care what you believe until you try to justify discrimination against others with your belief. At that time, we all have an obligation to defend those who would be denied the same rights as other Americans.

      Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  7. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  8. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  9. ReclaimMarriage


    May 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  10. Eric G

    I believe the time has come for our country to deal with the fundamentalist christian problem we have. I think they have shown that they are a threat to the liberties and equality that our country was founded on. I think we should build a long fence around them and let them pray for food and water.

    There, now the fundies can use my post to cry about how they are being persecuted again because of their beliefs.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Bob

      Eric G, I hear you. Good post.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Most of the Fundies will be in nursing homes withing ten years and die out on their own.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • jbrunoski

      funny how the persecuted are doing the persecution? its an old trick cry wolf while raping the sheep.

      May 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • David

      The Fundies as you call them have been a danger to this country for a few decades. It is more that time, that their matters are looked into by the FBI. Removal of their tax-free status would go a long way to answering their dangerous ignorance and intolerance. Perhaps be can get them to move to Africa.

      May 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Chris L

      Or we could round all you atheists, along with the Christian extremists and lock you in an electric fence. Use your science to get food. I support science, and I'm a Christian. But not a fanatic like most idiots in my religion are. We aren't all like that. And we could kill off you atheists and be okay too, as long as we're saying that to each other..

      May 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Marek Posival

      Not just Christians. Let's deport all the religious nuts and leave America for real Americans.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Eric G

      Thank you Chris. I did not mention an electrified fence, nor did I say they should be killed. As a self proclaimed believer, it was you that suggested that others who do not share your beliefs should be killed.

      Thanks for proving my point. You and your kind are a threat to humanity.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  11. DSI

    Anyone who advocates the interment of any group of people is evil. Plain and simple. Whatever charity or goodness they espouse is completely wiped away by this action.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  12. Californiagirl

    The Pastor is absolutely right. It is unnatural for a man to touch a man or for a woman to touch a woman as a husband and wife touch each other. For God did not create us for this purpose. He told a husand and wife to become one. Thank you, Pastor.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Wrong Christ NEVER condemned hom ose xuality and in fact condoned it.

      It is important to understand that Christ did away with the Old Testament with the exception of the ten commandments which he recited in his own words as the the requirement for eternal life. This is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is important to note that the new testament is made up of the Gospel & Covenant of Jesus Christ, which is all those things Christ did and said prior to his crucification. The later part of the new testament is the "claimed" writings of his apostles, I say claimed because not all have been verified to this day.

      The really important thing to remember is that the Covenant or new law that applies to Jew & Gentile alike is exclusively from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, again all those things Christ did and said before his Crucification. And the really important thing here is that Christ NEVER said anything about hom ose xua1ity and many believe he actually approved of it in the story of the Centurion and his "Servant". This is because pagan Centurions often kept live in male "servants" This servants handled all of the centurions needs, you get the drift. The centurion loved his servant and begged Christ to save his life all along saying in an ashamed way that he is not worthy and is a sinner. Christ answered to him that his faith is stronger then anyones in Israel and went forth and saved his servant. A very odd thing for a Jew "Christ" to say to a pagan, yet he did say it.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Eric G

      Well, you are right about one thing........ God did not create us.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Cali girl, your nasty god according to the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible also tells you to do a whole lot of nasty stuff. Are you keeping up with it all, stuff like this:

      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • TheNaturalWay

      You go girl. If we allow this, then how about brother and sister? polygamy couples? man and goat?

      May 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Then keep it's licensing out of government. Government is bound to treat all citizens equally (14th amendment). If your church wants to discriminate in order to please their god, they are well within their rights. However, their ceremonies will carry no legal weight. Government marriage (conveying legal rights) for both straight and gay couples.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • sam stone

      Serioiusly, TheNaturalWay? Going with the old beastialty argument? Let's go through this one more time, slowly. ANIMALS CANNOT CONSENT. Capice? As far as the brother and sister, I would be conserned for the health of the children (if any), otherwise I have no problem with it. Do you see a big rush for brother and sister to marry in your neck of the woods? As far as polygamy goes, I have no problem with it (from the standpoint of government license).

      May 29, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  13. Lily

    Eric, I am not sure what you are afraid of from Christians. We don't need the governemnet to know whether we are married before God, so what's your point? My opinion that Gay marriage is wrong should not threaten you. It's my opinion, based on my faith. I have a right to that in a free country, just as you have a right to yours. I think the day will come when Christians will be asked their opinion and may die for just that.. Sorry, but it's happened too many times before. Mary and Paul, concentration camps? Really? As I recall, those, like Dietrich Bonoeffer, who were Christians, since so many of you have forgotten, died so that others would be free. Christians such as Corrie Ten Boom gave risked and gave their lives so that others might live. Don't forget what Chrisians have done. Some people would like you to forget.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Lily we are Christians and while many Christian have done good things, many so called "Christians" have done some pretty disp icalbe things including this Pastor. Many Christians sided with Hit 1er. Recall the Spanish inqu isition, the Crusa des, etc.

      BTW You should try reading the Gos pel of Jesus Christ as not only did he NOT con demn it he actually condoned it. You are not much of a Christian in my OPINION.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • DSI

      I don't care what christians or anyone else does until it affects public policy or inflicts harm on others. It is in these cases where non-believers take a stand. Otherwise, who cares?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Lily: We are not talking about getting married in a chruch. We are talking about same-se.x couples having the same legal rights and benifits as a heterose-xual couple. What page are you on?

      As for concentration camps..... How would you describe what the pastor was speaking about? By the way, do not attempt to play the Nazi card on this one. Most Nazi's, including Hitler, were Christians.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Bob

      Lily, that'd be mostly fine if all the wrongthink that is part and parcel of your beliefs didn't influence how you vote and the rules that the rest of us have to live with. Unfortunately, teabaggers being example numero uno, sicko Christian beliefs do impact policy, to the detriment of liberty and justice in America.

      Down with religion, for the good of our country.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Eric G

      As reported earlier, science changes things. Prayer is for the weak minded.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Science was Gods gift to mankind. Science and God are not at odds just because you are. God bless

      May 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Rick James

      So why are so many fundies crying over evolution if it not at odds with "God"? People like you can rationalize anything through the guise of "God." No one would care if you guys just got out of the way.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • One one

      @justsayin, are birth defects, cancer, and mental illness also gods gift to mankind?

      May 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 29, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  15. Pilgrim

    PS: The Pastor was definitly wrong.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  16. Dominic Reinwand

    I am chosin as 1 of many prophets of God, ye who disrespects others shall fualter the truthe of God, but he who loves in me shall be wiyh in me the pure and unselfish rule, He is the alpha and omega the 1st and the last who will reighn with us forever till the end of time, God despise all religous faithe cuase of faulse statements made by charlse therefore he is not a pastor of faithe, he is a pastor of faulsehood and shall be an archangel of death since he added onto the true book, he shall be torchered into the book of life but shall have no resurrection, it is he that shall have no sufferring over him, he never said woman in the good book, he had mentioned a man and his mate, He will come soon whether during the evening, middle of the night or morning hours, so watch out I say, I am coming soon and will strike like a cobra

    May 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Eric G

      Nine. Nine rings were given to the race of men, who above all else, crave power. But they were all of them decieved.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  17. Thankfull

    Science changes things.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  18. Gary

    Charles Worley and his church are part of a movement that calls itself Independent Fundamental Baptists or IFB. They are separate from such denominations as the Southern Baptists, American Baptists, or National Baptists. IFB churches are connected with each other by affinity, but not by governance (meaning each congregation is accountable only to itself and each pastor is accountable only to his congregation). They teach the inerrancy of the King James Version of the Bible (not just of the original Hebrew and Greek texts) and strict adherence to a great many rules, some Biblical and some extra-Biblical. They also advocate "separation" from people and churches they consider to be insufficiently Fundamentalist (which, it turns out, is most people and most churches).

    For more information on the IFB movement, see, for example, the web site "Stuff Fundies Like" (run by an ex-IFB member):

    May 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      In other words they are a bunch of crack pots.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • One one

      If they believe in separation why are they sticking their noses into other peoples business ?

      May 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  19. Lily

    Persecution against Christians simply because of what they believe or think is nothing new. Why it makes anyone feel good about themselves to attack people simply for their opinions is not worth wasting time on. I guess people have nothing better to do, or cannot think for themselves.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Eric G

      It does not make me feel good to have to attack someone who feels that their belief in a god justifies their denial of rights to other citizens. In fact, I think it is pathetic that their actions demand my response. I will attempt to explain it again. Your rights to "religious freedom" end at the point when they effect the liberties and rights of others. This is not persecution, but equality.

      I will make you a deal. I will say that you have the religious right to deny marriage to same-se.x couples only if same-se.x couples can deny your right to get married too. Is that fair enough or do you just like it when you can hide behind your religous belief to discriminate against others?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Lily, we are not the ones calling for concentration camps for gays and lesbians.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • DSI

      Here's one reason, the countless gay teens that kill themselves each year because of this hateful societal "norm". The ones who do live through their teens suffer from a myriad of psycological disorders and often end up in counseling for years to wash away the stain left on their psyche by self-serving religious nut bags. They are either ignorant of the evil they harvest or simply don't care. Either case is deplorable.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Lily

      Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Boom, both conservative Christians who saved the lives of others. bonhoeffer died so that others might live. he was a conservative, Biblebelieving Christians. imagine that!

      May 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Lily so what do these good na zi fighters have to do with this Na zi Pastor?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      lily.....yep, you christians are sooooo persecuted. you are practically martyrs, like jesus. keep your noses out of secular politics

      May 29, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  20. Tristan M

    This is just another proof that our country is not a nation with free speech or the right to a personal belief, but by the supposedly so called politcal correctness backed by the loudest orginized groups.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mary & Paul

      Calling for concentration camps goes a little beyond free speech.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tyler W

      True, but in my opinions religion is like a mans private part. Don't whip it out in public, don't tell everyone about it, and don't shove it down other people's throats. I have a right to be an atheist, a buddhist, hindu, or any other religion. So why does our national motto be "In God We Trust" when not every citizen belives that?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Terri L

      On the contrary, both groups were allowed to exercise their rights to free speech. One group also exercised their right to peacefully assemble. That was a pretty good example of Democracy. Aside from the fire and the death threats, which are criminal acts and being followed up on, both groups were free to speak and do as they wished.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • DSI

      Inciting violence is against the law. It is not protected speech.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
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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.