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. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    June 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • phoodphite

      You are delusional and may think you are helping, but you are not. You are pointing to political rubbish in the NT written by those (primarily Paul) who Jesus tried to teach, but who wound up judging and disenfranchising people in the exact ways that Jesus said they shouldn't. So passing judgment by saying that Paul's words (Corinthians, etc.) are the word of God is a dangerously extremist view that will continue to be divisive and just wrong.

      Time and time again we see that "Christians" will say they are heeding Jesus' words about unconditional love, but will jump ship and actually counter his primary commandment when they need to judge, or disenfranchise a person or group. And the only thing they can do to support this evil is, of course, is the words of Paul, whom Jesus often said missed his point, as if Paul were a god. If people are too stupid to understand this, then they should at least give priority to Jesus' ideals when facing something that seems foreign or scary. But this is why Bible-thumpers are so dangerous and mislead.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Sam Yaza

    when the earnest feelings of love becomes sin, the tyrant god will fall.

    i know i shouldn't be quoting my self but,... just saying.

    look Yahweh you remember when you said love between an angel and a human was a sin,... careful your walking a fine line i already thought the humans how to kill you soo,... get ready for the second rebellion ♥♥♥♥

    May 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  3. Sam Yaza

    when the earnest fellings of love becomes sin, the tyrant god will fall.

    i know i shouldn't be quoting my self but,... just saying.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  4. Damich

    "...And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce." ....THIS IS STUPID THINKING AT ITS BEST. Aside from it being extremely hurtful and NON-JESUS like... it illustrates how these morons think they can just kill us off and that will be it. HAHAHAHA....thanks for the good laugh....HEEEELLLLLOOOOO.... 99.9% OF GAYS COME FROM STRAIGHT FOLKS..... stupid idiots. Therefore you cannot get ride of us because you are creating us....IDIOTS.

    May 30, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  5. NotLikely

    When humanity realizes that we are the finished product of evolution or creationism (whichever you prefer) and need to focus on advancing ourselves, then things will change. Science versus religion versus other religions, versus who has the better interpretation, etc. etc. That's old crap that needs to be buried and never dug up. Religion is dying and that's what this latest fiasco is all about. It is religion's last ditch effort to breath life back into itself. As for the vatican scandal , I think they just shot themselves in the face... if only fundamentalist would do us a similar favor.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Primewonk

      We are not the finished product of evolution. No species is the finished product of evolution. All species continue to evolve, humans included.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  6. wisdomVS

    Does anyone know if he can be charged with a hate crime? Book him!

    May 30, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      There are a couple unrelated issues at play. First – he has a protected 1st amendment right to say whatever hateful things he wants. That is the reason for the 1st. Non-disturbing speech does not need protection. No one objects someone saying "puppies are pretty".

      However, if his hate speech incites his minions to commit violence against gay folks, that is not protected speech. If his cretins would round up gay folks and toss them onto a rural electric fence, because he told them to do it, he could be arrested.

      The bigger issue is that he violated the 501(c)(3) rules for tax exemption. This exemption specifically states that you cannot endorse a particular candidate, or say not to vote for a particular candidate. This cretin came out and told his fundiots to not vote for Obama. They need to pull this churches exemption.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  7. chosen2

    Jesus Christ = The power and wisdom of God.
    Get some free water @ http://www.chosen2salvation.net

    May 30, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • sam stone

      jesus christ = yet another loudmouth whacked by the romans

      May 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  8. Argue

    Right or wrong, agree or disagree, last I checked, people have the right of Freedom of Speech per our Bill of Rights. I may not agree with his sentiment, but he has the right to say what he wants. The protestors also have the right to, peacefully, express their opinion, and it sounds like this mess has been handled well by local law enforcement.

    May 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • One one

      Correct. However, that free speech comes with consequences, depending upon what is said.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      People need attention Argue. You do. I do. Everyone does! Samn those flies though!

      May 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  9. Ape Lincoln

    I hope this man does not eat milk and meat. Or wear cotton and wool together.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  10. Robert Hagedorn

    Google First Scandal.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  11. mba

    Does anyone think that MAYBE he was being facetious?
    I've witnessed numerous times In churches, classrooms, courtrooms, etc. Someone makes inappropriate comments that were intended to be humorous.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Huwie

      I suggest you watch the clip if you haven't. It's very clear he's not being facetious. Your comment makes it abundantly clear that you haven't seen it.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • ME II

      Wouldn't he say that then? There's usually a quick retraction and/or restatement if that is the case.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • lefty891

      As far as I can see, this man is stone-cold serious. That Gays should be rounded up in concentration camps and kept there til they die, is too much like Nazi Germany for me. And the idea that this kind of thing could take hold in the America that I love appalls me.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  12. wisdomVS

    If anyone is going to h*ll, it will be the lying preachers who twist the word of God to suit their own agenda. Read Revelations... "He that addeth to or taketh away from the word, shall..." Jesus never advocated Nazi tactics and KKK mentality. God is love, his love is unconditional, it is for all people.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      Atheists are adrenal gland misfits who would rather disclaim God than stand up for God. This preacher has lost it due his feelings about gays and what have you. Many people I know feel sorry about the misfit gays! They seem to want to fit in but how can they when they don't go with the flow?

      May 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Fly Swatter

      You said, "Atheists are adrenal gland misfits who would rather disclaim God than stand up for God."
      Actually, atheists are not more prone to adrenal gland issues than the general population. They won't stand up for your god for the same reason you rather disclaim the Tooth Fairy than stand up for her.

      You said, "Many people I know feel sorry about the misfit gays!"
      Calling gays "misfits", says more about you than them. It says that you are a hateful bully. It says that you have no morals. It says that you are in fact a misfit.

      You said, "They seem to want to fit in but how can they when they don't go with the flow?"
      They do fit in. They do go with the flow. They have long since entered the civilized world and left the 1st century behind. Why don't you do the same?

      May 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      Fly Swatter: Still dreaming about eternity on your knees in front of Jesus? Take some breath mints

      May 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  13. Dave

    What ever happened to freedom of speech? So, the US allows freedom of speech except when you say something about gays or blacks or any other minority? How come they can have a gay parade and claim feedom of speech but when someone says something against it, immediately it is challenged?

    May 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • wisdomVS

      Pay close attend... it's about WHAT and HOW things are said, being against gay people is fine... we're against adultrous relationships, child abuse and spousal abuse.... but we don't advocate locking these people in giant electric fences and air dropping them food. Now do you understand or at least have a grasp of the offense? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Jesus said. Is Rev. Worley a perfect sinless saint? NO! "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Religion needs to get a grip on it's rouge ministers who wander away from the truth of the word!

      May 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • ellid

      That applies to the government. No one is censoring this hateful bigot. They're merely holding him to account for advocating the death of millions of innocent men, women, teenagers, and yes, children.

      As for Charles Worley, he is not a Christian. He is a Biblical inerrantist and a bigot.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • J.W

      Who said they didn't have freedom of speech?

      May 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • huhb

      Oh great, another tool who doesn't understand the concept of "Freedom of Speech."

      May 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ms. Pink

      How is citzen protest somehow against freedom of speech? Isn't speaking out or against something kind of the definition of freedom of speech? Nothing indicated that the protestors or the preachers was stopped by the government from speaking out, and if law enforcement had stopped a peaceful protest that would have been against freedom of speech.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • retphxfire

      Others have already pointed out your woeful ignorance of the First Amendment and how it applies to government censorship, so I'll move on to the next point....Again, no one has made any overt move to stop this man who has twisted the Old and New Testaments to fit his hysteria. I could take passages from the Bible that completely contradict his position, there are many contradictions...What YOU are saying with your post, the people aren't free to disagree and express their opposition. Even with your twisted logic, how is one person's expression a 'right' and those who disagree a breach of those rights? Doesn't the freedom to express yourself, even under your ignorant interpretation, apply to ALL?

      May 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Jackie

      How does a peaceful protest violate freedom of speech? Was the pastor arrested? No. People have a right to protest what they believe is offensive. Nobody's stopping the guy from saying what he wants. The flip side of your argument seems to be that you don't think freedom of speech applies to the protestors, only the pastor. Why do religious zealots always want to paint themselves as victims?

      May 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • mema

      Jackie...in this case everyones playing the victim. This society has become riddled with victims. She said this, he did that, like a bunch of elementary children. Everyone crying a out whats acceptable to them. Get a clue, you can never satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time. This issue is blown way out of porportion. This pastor chose a bad senario in making the point thats gays can not repr©duce, but it lacks actual intent, making this just speech. What does one expect to hear when they go a particular gathering if one knows what view they have, regarless of the subject matter?! Then why be shocked or appalled by it!? Its pretty much common sense what would be said.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Sespool

      key word challenged, not stopped. No one said he could say what he says. It’s just disappointing as a religious leader he’s leading flock into hatred

      May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • mema

      Sespool...The issue is everyone spouting off, he is spreading hate and he is judging them but, hypocritically they return the favor. As we say let God be the judge then apply that to him as well. Dissapointing, yes, but he will answer to a higher power for his sins a well. We all will.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Fly Swatter


      According to my friends and I, "Truth is relative" and cannot stand up to scrutiny.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • lefty891

      Well, Dave... I don't see where his freedom of speech is being interfered with. If anything he's achieved a level of fame that he probably doesn't welcome. It's only his own fault that most of us find his 'speech' hateful (if not downright evil)

      May 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      dave: who is denying this inbred f nut's freedom of speech?

      May 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  14. jw

    love and acceptance are always the answers.

    May 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  15. Not2Blue

    This type of behavior has been going on for years in most fundamentalist all white churches around the south. The "pastor" straight out told this congregation how to vote. This violates the seperation of church and state and everyone from the federal government, to CNN and even most of the protesters turn a blind eye to it. Why do they get away with this blatant and intentional violation? How can "this be the end of this" sheriff when these criminals get away scott free with their violations?

    May 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  16. patriot1jmc



    May 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • ellid

      This has nothing to do with a bigot preaching hate and murder.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  17. patriot1jmc


    May 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • sam

      Idiot. Take your meds and try posting something in relation to the article.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, patriot, putting it in caps sure makes the point.....

      May 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  18. mcklapp

    If he is sincere in his beliefs that the Bible is inerreant, then I expect;

    His forelocks are untrimmed
    His beard is uncut
    He does not eat shellfish
    He does not drink alcohol
    He does not eat pork
    He does not pledge allegiance to the flag
    He does not work on the sabbath
    His church is a tent
    He gives burnt offerings
    He loves his heighbors as he does himself.

    Otherwise, he is a hypcrite damned by Jehovah.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Big Dave

      You have NOOOOOOOO idea what you are talking about. As for "Honey Badger Don't Care, get a life!

      May 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • mema

      Mcklap.. Really?! Thats applies to the nation of Isreal before Christs arrival. No longer applies. Get a clue before you post your rubbish.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • sam

      Neither Dave or mema got the point. Figures.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Truth Tellerz

      I'm christian and I would never eat pork or work on the Sabbath ( Saturday) nor eat shellfish or worship a flag.
      I have faith in Gods Word, unlike most christians who wait to be told what to believe by a false teacher.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Thats applies to the nation of Isreal before Christs arrival. No longer applies"

      Yet you think that this 2,000 year old edited, translated hearsay DOES apply

      May 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  19. luigim

    Reverend Worlock should be stripped of his pastorhood. He is a disgrace to mankind. He is a total disgrace to the people of North Carolina. He is a Godless man. He preaches the Anti-Christ message.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Guess it's up to his church to get rid of him and not you.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Its up to all of us to get rid of religion in general so that we can advance as a species.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Gunny

      I completely do not agree with his idea, but I do know that many people (unfortunately) do agree with him. What he is doing is sowing discord. There were possibly gay people in the audience trying to find their way. There were possibly family members of gay people in the audience who are praying for their family members. And there were probably gay people in the audience there because they love the lord period. God knows that they are gay. Who are we to condemn. Let God work on his kids. They are also his.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Atheist Hunter

    Check out the evolution video on this site for all non-believers.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      If you are going to point someone to that Croco-duck junk just give it up. No one is as stupid as Kirk and the Bananaman combined.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      Obviously not the Way of a Master in Science!

      May 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • NotLikely

      Okay... so I'm to believe that an all powerful being (never seen as of yet) has always been, always will be, etc. created everything in the known universe (stars and all) in just 7 days then totally vanishes. Leaving it all in the hands of religious human bigots to decide the fate of our world. Sorry, but I think I'll go with the big bang idea for now.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:27 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.