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. Solitairedog

    They are not Christians, they are Leviticans or Jews. If you eschew the teachings of Christ for the teachings of the old testiment, you are simply not a Christian. You are a Jewish wanna-be.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache!

      Jesus explicitly instructs his followers to follow every old covenant and law to the letter.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • lvingdisciple

      The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache! WHAT? Please quote chapter and verse on that Biblically illiterate statment???? Wow that is so far from fact its comical!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Kenneth Alonzo

    Christians throw rocks when they live in glass houses.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  3. honestmidwest

    His comments/beliefs/understanding of religion are sick and sad. What has he said about people eating shellfish/wearing clothes of combined fabrics/husband sleeping while wife is menstruating-should they be put to death too? I thing that would be just about everyone (probably including him). Purely shameful.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  4. Donna

    This saddens me beyond words. This man embodies everything that is wrong with fanatics who pick and choose which parts of scripture to cling to. He is also the type of fanatic that tends to give all people who profess to be Christian a bad name. I say shame on him..and 'Let he who has no sin cast the first stone'.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • preacherman

      I agree with you, but I would also point out that everyone picks and chooses what scripture to listen to. If scripture is so inconsistent, perhaps we should question the validity of scripture.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  5. miketofdal

    and why would anyone want to spend eternity with such hate-filled Christians?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  6. Rayne

    Die die die said the furor

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  7. Trent

    Doesn't the 1st commandment say "thou shalt not kill"? Seeing as how it's called a commandment, doesn't that make it non-optional?
    But no, this is religion, an ancient belief system that attracts the stupid and simple-minded.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • chefdugan

      Finally, after all these years, we are beginning to see the REAL christians speak out. At least you can say they are no longer the world-class hypoocrites they have always been.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Brian

      Actually, that is the sixth commandment. Nevertheless, we are expected to follow these commandments, and by killing someone regardless of whether or not the Bible says they deserve it, we are sinning. No one should be going out and saying that certain people should be killed, especially if there are a good number of those people in our country.

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

      That would be the sixth commandment, and it's murder not kill ... Clearly the Old Testament is not opposed to the death penalty.

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

      Actually, the Old Testament believe in mass death penalty.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  8. June

    GOD would never say to kill any child of his! This man has a problem with in his own mind. This man needs HELP!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, he is quoting Old Testament which is full of killing children.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  9. lance corporal

    what's really funny and stoooooooopid is the idea that ga ys would die out...........
    ga y folks are born to straight people!!!!

    WOW!!! baptists are dumb!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  10. name: (required)

    If I said something publicly about killing or wishing the death of someone, I am sure I would be in legal trouble. Why isn't this moron?

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

      If you noticed, he qualified it. He said he shouldn't lift a finger against gays, but the government should.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  11. capn'doodle

    christianity is all about being good people, and accepting people for who they are. atheist or not, that is something all of us should live by. no one is better than anyone else by way of religion, race or gender, and the sooner people realize this, the sooner people like this will disappear

    May 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Hail Mary

      So why do you need the religion part at all?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Rita

      Amen....could not have said it better! Christianity is not about hate and persecution, it is about love and acceptance of ALL.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • chefdugan

      Christianity is all about sticking your nose in other peoples business. What an abomination!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  12. nonconformist

    Sounds like "hate speech" to me. This jerk aught to be prosecuted.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Hate speech is not illegal. We are not in Europe.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Jeff

      Why? Because he has an unpopular opinion?

      The truth is that it's his right...shortsighted as it may be...to believe the way he does. We can't prosecute because someone doesn't like someone else. Imagine the can of worms that would open!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  13. ShawnDH

    Ladies and Gents, THIS is the American Taliban and they are pure evil.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  14. John Doe

    What amazes me most is how this man can fixate on a bible verse while ignoring the thousands of other lines speaking of loving thy neighbor and serving God through serving others.

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

      Good point, but you must also deal with the fact that it is all there, and you cannot cherry pick either if you believe in God. You have to take the hate with the love, dish out the oppression with the help.

      It really would be better that religious people contemplate the total lack of evidence for what they believe, the dark sides and the incredible improbability of what they must obey, and perhaps realize that it is all made up.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  15. Pat

    What these pastors want sounds like the Christian equivalent of Sharia Law. Since when do we live in a theocracy?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  16. WhatNext

    Why did God create gay people?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  17. Floyd from Ilinois

    The fundamentalist Christian church is the American Taliban .

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

      I agree with you. Christians who encourage hate and violent acts against other people in the name of god or religion are no different than Muslim extremist.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  18. Leucadia Bob


    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  19. bogalusa

    Hate the sin love the sinner. Some of these preachers will hear this from Christ one day, " I never knew you...depart from me."

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

      I have to agree with you.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • ShawnDH

      I appreciate the sentiment, but it's better if people just keep your opinions and goofy religion out of everybody else's life and stop oppressing people mindlessly.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  20. MennoKnight

    And this is exactly why there needs to be a separation of church and state.
    Every time there is a Theocracy there is great injustice.

    Another thing, how do guys like this become pastors when they have such a poor understanding to of the difference between the New Testament law and the Old Testament law?
    A Christian is to follow the New Testament code of morality. Want to find out what that code of morality is? Read the Sermon on the Mount and the book of James.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 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.