May 31st, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Church videos with harsh words for gays go viral online

By Richard Allen Greene and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

First it was a Christian pastor in North Carolina who told his congregation on Mother's Day that the way "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers" was to put them behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out.

That video went viral, fetching more than a million views on YouTube.

On Sunday, Pastor Curtis Knapp of Kansas preached that the government should kill homosexuals, in another videotaped sermon that drew lots of online attention.

"They won't, but they should," Knapp said, according to a recording of his sermon posted online.

Since that sermon, another church video with harsh words for gays has caught fire online. This one shows a young boy singing an anti-gay song while the congregation cheers him on in what appears to be a church in Indiana.

"I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong,” the boy sings near the pulpit of a church. “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven."

As the boy repeats the line “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven," congregants from the pews rise and cheer.

The video, which was anonymously posted online and has received more than 300,000 views on YouTube, appears to show a service at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana.

Calls to the church this week went to voicemail, with an automatic message saying the mailbox is full. But a message posted on the church’s website on Wednesday appears to address the controversy, offering no apology for the video.

“The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives,” the statement says.

“We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible,” said the statement, which did not explicitly refer to the video or mention homosexuality. “We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.”

The viral videos have drawn criticism from gay and lesbian groups and their allies.

Charles Worley’s sermon at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, sparked a protest that drew more than 1,500 people last weekend.

In Kansas, Knapp's voicemail at the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca was filled with messages saying "things you don't want your kids to hear," he told CNN affiliate KTKA.

An official with the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists issued a statement to CNN on Thursday saying that Knapp’s church had left the Southern Baptist fold in 2010.

“Obviously, he has taken a radical and unbiblical stand in regards to homosexuality,” said Tim Boyd, communications director for the convention.

“We look at homosexuals as we look at all sinners,” his statement said. “God loves them. Christ died for them. The Gospel calls them to repentance and salvation. Therefore, we as Christ-followers should hate the sin and love the sinner.”

But Knapp is not backing away from his comments.

"We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things. It's only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption," he said.

He cited the Biblical verse Leviticus 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They shall surely be put to death."

But he said gay people had nothing to worry about from the government or from him.

"I don't believe I should lay a finger against them," said Knapp, of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas. "My hope is for their salvation, not for their death."

Preaching against homosexuality the same day, another pastor appeared to wrestle with how conservative Christians should respond to proposals that people should literally mete out biblical punishments.

"What about this guy down in North Carolina said build a big prison, a big fence and put them all in there and let them die out?" Dennis Leatherman asked in a sermon at the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church in Maryland.

"Listen, I don't know that fellow. As far as I can tell, he seems like a decent guy, but he is dead wrong on that. That is not the scriptural response," Leatherman said in his sermon "Homosexuality & the Bible," according to a cached version of the transcript posted online.

The audio of the sermon does not appear on his church's website.

In the sermon, he floats the idea of killing homosexuals, whom he refers to as sodomites, then backs away from it.

"There is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea," Leatherman said.

"But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong," he added immediately.

The Southern Baptist Convention distanced itself from Worley's remarks.

The nation's largest Baptist group said Providence Road Baptist in Maiden is not affiliated with its 16 million-member denomination and condemned the comments.

But the influential head of the giant movement's seminary does argue that homosexuality "is the most pressing moral question of our times."

In a comment piece for the Belief Blog in the wake of Worley's sermon, R. Albert Mohler Jr. dismissed critics who say conservative Christians focus on homosexuality while ignoring other things the Bible prohibits.

He contends that laws about keeping kosher, for example, do not apply to Christians, while commandments about homosexuality do.

"When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible's teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel," he wrote.

"Christians who are seriously committed to the authority of the Bible have no choice but to affirm all that the Bible teaches, including its condemnation of homosexuality," he said.

A member of Worley's 300-member church defended him in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"Of course he would never want that to be done," Stacey Pritchard said of the proposal to put homosexuals behind a fence and leave them there to die out. "But I agree with what the sermon was and what it was about."

CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (4,073 Responses)
  1. BOb the Prairie Dog

    "May the fetus you save from abortion grow up to be gay."

    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Chuck


      May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Kristine

      Yes, Yes, Yes!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  2. StillAmazed

    I'm sorry but when you can read the original, unedited, unmanipulated version of the Bible-without any translations and without the butchering that it has received over the many many years-Then, and only then, will I believe that what you preach from your Bible. The way it stands, the Bible has been butchered and manipulted to suit that will of man over the actual word of god. It is no longer anything more profound than Eseop's Fables.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • OOO

      It never was anything but fables. You just need to extend your thinking a little further back. You are almost there!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. skipio

    These are the death throes of Christianity, the dying convulsions of an obsolete scheme.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  4. Me

    This bothers me. I have a daughter who told me she was gay last November. Did it mean I loved her less- NO. I love her the same and am just as proud of her as I was before. I have met her girlfriend- sweet girl. I love her too. Jesus came to save us all from sin. I sin daily and so does EVERYONE else. Just becasue we don't say or do something does not mean our thoughts are not sinful. Jesus saves us all and died for all sin- not just this sin or that sin. Jesus is the new covenant.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • OOO

      Do you still believe your daughter is sinning?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Chuck

      Doesn't it only say men can't sleep with men? 😉

      May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • No Different

      OOO, "Me's" daughter is no more sinning than the straight daughter of any parent, fyi. As for the preacher who is advocating hate crimes, he and his church should be fully investigated by government officials for what he has said!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  5. The Chad

    It is not ok to kill anyone! it is also not ok to be a gay or many other things. Im glad we are not all the same

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  6. CalGal

    These comments out of the same mouths that claim to be Christians, march around Bible in hand and go home after church and call people the N word, drink beers and shoot their guns. Sin is ok if they do it, but they stand on their Bibles and condem others. How about, its none of your gawd darn business jack ass! Love thy fellow man and shut the heck up!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Chuck

      You go girl!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  7. Tim

    Religion is such BS. If the government makes these churches pay taxes, I would bet dollars to donuts that 80% of them would cease to exist.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • rstlne

      Amen to that!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Chuck

      i belong to the Eagles Club and we are a non-profit fraternal organization and still have to pay some taxes. Churches should have to do the same!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  8. complainjane

    These asshats are still around?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  9. There. Are. No. Gods!

    Enough is enough! Can you people don't see how these fables of gods are separating us as human beings? There is no proof of any god existing. Humans are learning more and more about our world/universe every day debunking the fables of the bible. Enough is enough! There are no gods! There are only humans with their fables and make believe religions. Am I the only one that can see this? There. Are. No. Gods!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • AustinIsFull

      Well, that is your opinion....if it makes someone feel better to believe in a higher power and have faith in something they can't lay their hands on, then that is their right. It is these so called "Christians" who use it to do evil then preach to others about THEM being evil. I know plenty of Christians who are good, kind, and know that not everyone believes the same thing. I personally believe in a God, just not a man made religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  10. BubbaGMan

    "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)" This verse could wipe out half the US population. Hopefully, our species will evolve past this nonsense on day.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  11. Heads Up On This One

    This should be taken as a Serious Threat since it was said before an audience. And we don't know if there is a deranged person or persons out there who would hear his message and take a weapon to places where Gay people congregate and start eliminating them! In the end, it could be said that the devil made him do it because one thing is for damn sure, that this directive was not coming from God!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Chuck

      This bleep-hole should be arrested for hate speech and trying to incite a riot. Maybe we round up all the people like this and move them to northern Idaho with all the white supremacists so we could keep and eye on all of them.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  12. Lindsey

    Am I the only one that noticed at the end... he seemed a little limp wristed, himself. Sometimes your harshest judgements about other people are based on what you dislike about yourself.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache!

      Classic self-loathing closet-case Roy Cohn behavior.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  13. Twisted

    So he likes the idea, but won't actually do it? That's some vicious preaching there buddy. Yup, create new, more intense
    hatred, like the world doesn't have enough.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  14. no nothing

    You want to live in a theocracy, move to Iran!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  15. luffing

    How about live and let live?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • rstlne

      How unChristian of you! : )

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  16. irock110


    Can you prove anything written in the Bible happened...Why don't those king of "big" miricles happen today...If God is everywhere then he is standing next to the child that is being molested znd allowing it to happen...or standing next to the 50+ kids in Syria who were shot, stabbed and machetted to death....Why no protection for them?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  17. ReaganDem

    I don't know where to begin. I don't undertand why people are so anxious and interested in other people's lives and controlling them. Why is oppressing and devaluing others important to your salvation and existence? Love, respect, honor and other values are not exclusively Christian in nature and never have been.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • CommonSense

      Such a good and common sense question. The real answer? People seek to impose biblical (and other) teachings to ensure their own (perceived) salvation after death (in heaven or elsewhere). Sadly, at their core, people are doing it for selfish reasons. If there was no "payoff" for them in the end, you would not see the behavior.

      If the bible (or any other word-of-god book) espoused love of neighbor and self, but also made it clear that there was no benefit post-death in doing so, how many folks would, in fact, follow the instruction? Unfortunately, I suspect very few would.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • BosMonkey

      They do it because they have nothing better to do in their pathetic, little lives.

      The people that attend the church these "pastors" spew hatred in are as pathetic and as much of a waste of space as the "pastors" themselves.

      I guess love, respect and forgiveness has no place in their form of religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  18. MeinNJ

    I love how people will pick and choose what to pull out of the Bible and treat it as "gospel". Does he sleep with his wife when she's menstruating? The Bible says when the wife is menstruating, she must sleep in a separate tent during the period for she is unclean.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • irock110

      prolly sleeps with someone elses wife in the congregation!!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • JR in Texas

      The Baptist preach hate. Jesus never preached hate.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  19. grumpymedic

    Wow..fi these preachers and their brainless followers were any dumber, we'd have to water them twice a week.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Surfer George

      They wouldn't need water, they already live in a social, emotional, intellectual, moral desert.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  20. Jez

    Religion makes people stupid.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Chuck

      And causes them to sit in pews with other stupid people and listen to stupid people.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache!

      Other way around. Stupidity is a prerequisite for religious belief.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • HeavenSent

      LOL, says the clueless, spiritually dead, well without water.

      Snap out of your delusion.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Chuck

      HeavenSent's wife must occasionally sleep in another tent.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 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.