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. The Y

    Allow me to quote the same book of the bible:

    Leviticus 25:44-46 Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may acquire slaves. You may also acquire some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Yup. The bible says it therefore we should....

    May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Roger smith

      thats not telling xtians to do it though

      May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Bible just a theory

      So Roger Smith does not believe that the TEN COMMANDMENTS apply to Christians? Or that ORIGINAL SIN is valid for Christians since it occurred in the OT. Christians are always looking for some "out" to weasel out of what the Bible actually says!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  2. garc

    And ANYBODY would vote for the party that's okay with sucking up to people who feel this way?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  3. Bill S

    ...Jesus would puke! What part of Christianity does this hate-mongering 'preacher' misunderstand. Maybe he should read his New Testament and prayer more... and display his ignorance to the public less. One more thing. Ignorance is not news; why does CNN broadcast this stupidity to begin with.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  4. Solitairedog

    Thou shalt not kill.
    But if you can get somebody else to do it for you, it's ok? Tell that to Hitler.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  5. Bible just a theory

    Christians PICK & CHOOSE which Biblical verses to obey. For example, no preachers advocate KILLING DISOBEDIANT CHILDREN, but it says to do so in Deut 21:18 "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard. Then all the men of his town shall STONE HIM TO DEATH." Or how about killing your FOUL-MOUTHED CHILDREN in Leviticus 20:9 "If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. And then don't forget all those "family values" POLITICIANS who would be in deep trouble if we obeyed the Bible and KILLED ADULTERERS in Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death." And then of course all those idiot preachers should be proclaiming that SLAVES SHOULD BE OBEDIENT as in Ephesians 6:5 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." The BIBLE, what a LOUSY INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR LIFE!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Roger smith

      the torah that not even telling xtians to do anything

      May 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • irock110

      Christians won't respond to you 'cause they have no response !!!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Saby

      You obviously take the book out of context to make your ridiculous arguments. If you read it in full you would know better, but for your short sighted and foolish reasons you spew ignorance.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Bible just a theory

      TYPICAL of Christians the way SABY says my comments are "out of context", but doesn't criticize these blood thirsty preachers who use one out of context verse in the Bible to condemn gays!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Saby

      You do the same thing as those preachers who take verses out of context and you add to the ignorance. What a sad thing that all you do is stir things up and foment hatred, just as they do.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  6. Saby

    I'm sure no one will be convinced either way by reading these comments, but at least the ariticle had some balance to it. It's a serious issue and with the name calling you accomplish nothing, just getting your jollies, eh?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  7. Roger smith

    so what the ISLAM teaches its ok to kill gays and in fact they do put them to death. and thats the religion of peace. i dont see anyone criticizing islam.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Drew

      I criticize Islam a lot

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache!

      A. We are criticizing all religious belief.

      B. The Christians are leading the oppression in America, so they get their proportional fair share of the blowback.

      C. Nice attempt to change the subject, dingbat!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • birch please

      As soon as they pass christians in the US in numbers, influence, and destroying our government their time will come.

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

      @Roger: You said it right! Where are the articles on Islam killing gay people or for that matter putting bounties on anyone who offends the Islamic faith? Wonder why that is?

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

      Islam isn't currently trying to impose a religion based government in my country. When they do, I will oppose them, too.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  8. TheMadHatter

    So glad churches and synagogues are have tax exempt statuses like real charities. Also, so glad people take a book literally written it was translated numerous times and most of the information passed down through the word-of-mouth over hundreds of years...keeping in mind these folks lived over 2,000 years ago and basically knew nothing of how the world works outside of their own bubble. Awesome.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Saby

      so glad that you are so wise and alll knowing.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  9. Paul

    This man is not following Christ. That same passage talks against eating shrimp and wearing clothes with mixed cloth. The sad part is that he is turning people from God instead of toward God. Does he also endorse killing people who have affairs, covet, lie or get divorced? Hmm. Fortunately, I am gay and a Christian and know that my Christianity is based on my faith and not these works he mentions. I also attend a very affirming church in Dallas: http://www.cathedralofhope.com. God is full of love. This man is not godly.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Love is a good thing

      Paul, good for you. Any love in your heart is a good thing. This man neither has love in his heart nor any kind of godliness.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • The Kardashians are dropping by! Fetchez la vache!

      God is love? Is this the same God who runs the eternal concentration camp with the 24/7 torture chamber, which most of the human race will be sent for not being his sycophants?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  10. ingatuma

    HOLY JFC, your bible is a made up piece of literature that was written to keep the clueless and idiots in check, Your Imaginary friend is NOT coming back, unless his bones or skimpy little loin is found, and SCIENCE can clone him....he is NOT coming back. Jesus was a simple magician, just like David Copperfield is to us today!

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

      @Inga: So the gov't is better at keeping idiots in check? Is that what you are saying?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  11. NeutralityAct

    Southern Baptists are just plain mean. That's why I'm not one anymore.

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

      What exactly do you accomplish by this statement? It's not fair and you know it. What other groups are you slamming these days?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Rob

    Look at John 7:24. There, Jesus tells us to judge, but to do so righteously. Righteously means to use the Truth of the Word to discern sins and not by appearances only. In 1Cor. 6:2-3 Jesus authorizes us to judge. Judge we must else we could not discern good from bad, proper from improper, righteousness from evil. But judge behavior, not the individual; the deed not the doer; the choice not the chooser. The individual/doer/chooser is accountable for his/her deed/choice, but judge the deed/choice in your judgment. Jesus could see a king in a shepherd boy. And an Apostle in a murderer. So while we must judge one's behavior we must we try to nurture the goodness in an individual: to separate the deed from the doer.

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

    I don't know wha'ts scarier, This Pastor or the people that sit in front of him every week and take it all in like midless sheep.

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

      So people you disagree with are mindless? You sound pretty narrow minded yourself.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  14. Seriously?!?

    "Leatherman"? Really? Wasn't he one of the Village People?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  15. Brian K

    Actually, we should kill closet gay pastors who touch boys

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

      @Brian: So you advocate killing in general?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • whoCares

      I like that Idea. If there was a god wouldn’t he strike down these sickos for what they have done?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  16. AnneSD

    Back to the basics... again. The legal debate is about CIVIL marriage, an arena in which NO particular religion is allowed to be favored by the state. CIVIL marriage is the CIVIL CONTRACT between two consenting adults. This debate is about whether or not the government should specify the private details of two consenting adults that wish to enter into a specific contract.

    As far as I'm concerned, the bigots have warped Christianity into something I don't recognize in any way, but my views of religion aren't relevant to the discussion of civil law either.

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

      I couldn't agree more. What's ironic is that the biggest effect of these types of sermons is to drive more and more people AWAY from the church. Growing up I used to think of the church as a place filled with love; unfortunately, that is no longer my view. How sad...

      May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  17. JC

    Religion is an aberrant psychosis and nothing more.

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

      Who are you to say that? Maybe it's you that is sick for supressing the truth.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  18. Buddha2112


    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  19. Ernie

    Another sick head bible toten freak

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  20. bill

    What a sad little man this insignificant creature is. So very sad.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 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.