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. Phil The Engineer

    If God could see how people represent him, he'd roll over in his grave.

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

    Gays have become as hateful as the fundies. These comments are a disgrace.

    Why should Christians tolerate gays if gays won't tolerate religion.

    This guy is one extremist, but if you read the comments, there are many who are just as extreme in their hate for religion.

    Fighting bigotry with bigotry is not going to work. Gays need to start policing their own haters if they want to win this fight.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • pauleky

      Sorry, but fighting intolerance with intolerance is not extremism. By your line of thinking, those that fought the Nazis or the KKK were intolerant of their beliefs. Is that REALLY your point of view?

      Seriously – this country needs to pull itself out of the Dark Ages and it's head out of its nether regions.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • WOW

      @Nor: Very good point.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      Keep fooling yourself, Paule. If you make it tribal, gays are going to lose. ~12% of the population can't win that way.

      I have no problem with gays and used to support their causes. Over the past decade or so, the militancy of gay activists has turned me off of their cause. If that's how you want to fight this battle, good luck with that.

      I'll be on the other side.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Mike D

      Militancy, Mojo? That was enough to get you to oppose LGBT rights? They're not dropping bombs on anyone, they're just becoming visible. They're demanding to be acknowledged and they have every right to do so.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Dee

      I have to agree with you. Have you ever been around the gay men who speak so horribly about women? I have. I have heard them refer to women as "bleeders" or "breeders" and have no trouble dehumanizing and belittling how WE were made by God. I wonder if others are just so desensitized that they just don't "hear" these comments themselves?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  3. ShadyKay

    Ten bucks says this guy is gay, and just can't deal with it.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • skinnymulligan

      You're so right, dude.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  4. Jim5k

    My religion accepts all, including gays. You should respect other religions if you want them to respect yours.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • OOO

      Just respecting another religion doesn't mean yours earns respect. If it can discover the truth through rational thinking, like science, then it will force you to respect it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • flar

      christianity does too.. these people are simply nuts

      May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  5. NukeTim


    The government should kill U. and only U

    May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  6. Steveo

    All true believers in that church need to leave, not walk out but run! No where in the NT (Christianity was funded under the New and not under the Old) are we asked to kill anyone in sin! This is sad!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • jim

      Well seeing that Jesus never denounced the old testament or his father for his crimes against humanity (He should burn for eternity) and also seeing that both the new and old testaments are bundled together I disagree with your statement.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  7. memphispiano

    There are literally thousands and thousands of pastors in this country. An almost miniscule percentage would be like the ones CNN keeps reporting on...yet they keep going out and finding them and reporting it like it represents Christianity in general. Why don't you go out and find Americans that think we should kill off Christians and report on them? If you can't find them, just go on the forums right here at CNN and you can find a bunch of them. If this was just a random story, that would be fair. But CNN has stories like this all the time. The fact is that CNN is the one stirring up hate here ... far more than some random idiot who calls himself a preacher.

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

      I agree 100%...very well said!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • WOW

      @Mem: This kind of reporting creates internet traffic flow through CNN is why they do it. People like juicy hatred, death and evil. Hmmm... maybe we should all go read the Zombie attack article LOL.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • L

      Totally agree too! And if you notice, CNN doesn't allow commenting on other articles of controversy – or CNN trying to impose what they believe on others.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  8. Joe Blow

    Hahahaha. Seriously, a "Christian" espousing killing other people. Well, I guess you need to go back and READ the bible, tardy boy.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  9. Solitairedog

    If assigning yourself the pastor of a church and collecting tax-free "donations" were not so profitable, maybe it wouldn't attract such greedy selfish people to the pulpit. I think we should tax the churches, finally. If they don't want to separate the church and state, then tax 'em, make some rules about their religions, start interfering in their doctrines as they are interefering in political matters. It's ony fair.

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

    Of course this guy is going to be touted as "Christian" so all the haters on these blogs can come out in force.

    What you all will continue to miss is that this man's statements are not that of a Christian church. They are one man's opinions. The church...and Christ's main message...is love. That's it. Nothing more. Do I think hom.ose.xuality is a sin? Yep. That doesn't give me the right...nor do I have the desire...to put that belief on someone else.

    I have my own issues I need to deal with...and those issues are between me and God. That same thing goes for you and your issue/s...it's between you and God. If you ask me my opinion, I'll certainly tell you...but that does not give me the right to tell you how to live.

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

      That view is too rational. But you say it's only his personal opinion, not that of a pastor. I might buy that if he and the others were not preaching their "opinion" from their "christian" pulpits.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Horus

      So he's a preacher/pastor of a Christian based church but he's not a Christian, or doesn't represent Christian ideology? You guys have so many ways of interpreting a single source.......

      May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I am the true Scotsman!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Jeff

      @Solitairedog...I understand your point. Pastors and their views do come forward from the pulpit. It is the responsibility of the church to hold him accountable when his message is one of hate. I can't imagine sitting through any sermon that spoke the way this guy did.

      @Horus...so you think this guy speaks for all Christians? Come on. No group is represented by one man. Ever. Do all Democrats believe everything from Obama? All Republicans from Romney? Of course not. But when I say that about Christianity, you think I'm interpreting something for convenience sake? Ok...

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Horus

      @ Jeff

      You stated: "What you all will continue to miss is that this man's statements are not that of a Christian church"

      He is a preacher at a "Christian" church. One would expect him to have an understanding of the fundamentals, no? The real issue you have is accepting that he actually does represent the fundamentals of religion – likeminded, intolerant judgmental bigots.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jeff

      @Horus...nope. He does not represent that at all. He represents his own understanding, nothing more. Does he do it from the pulpit? Yep. Should the governing officials of his denomination step in and remove him from a position of power? Absolutely. I'll support that for sure. It's idiots like this that put us Christians on the defensive everyday!

      Truth is, you can come to my church with me and my family anytime. The minute you hear any hate speech like this, you can look at me, tell me "I told you so," and we'll leave with you.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  11. JohnnyZ

    My deep religious beliefs are based upon the Booble, a Holy Book written by Fred, the God of our faith.

    Very clearly stated in Fredrica,12 verse 6, the Booble tells us to laugh at Christian preachers spewing hatred against gays and "forcibly press cream pies to their faces and the faces of their children." This is the word of our Lord. Pies be unto Fred.

    Guess it all depends upon which book you read.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Steve - Dallas

      I myself am a long-time member of the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  12. samuraikatana1

    Articles like this are the reason I despise religion. I mean really, what good does it do the world now? All it seems to do is cause division and pain for all of us.

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

      Sooo... blame the article, not the pastor, eh? Interesting take. Who did you blame for the tsunami, Daffy Duck?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Phil Ologus

      Determining that all religions and all religious adherants are just like the relative small handful of people such as are the subjects of this article is tantamount to determining that all humans (including you and I) are just like serial killers. These few do not represent the view of the VAST majority.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  13. ever4lasting

    This is why we need a separation of state and government.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  14. Dash

    Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. (My personal favorite and I wish more so-called "Christians" would take this to heart. A true Christian would never say, "If you are not saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, you will be dam*ed to h"ll," for it is not only judgemental but condemning. If you ever hear a preacher, evangelist or priest say this... run, for they truly do not understand the meaning of Christ's teachings.)

    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    How sad these people that want to hurt and even kill people because they disagree with their beliefs. What makes you better than anyone else? That certainly is NOT the Christian way. Love one another as you love yourself. God does not condone hurting or killing people. If you believe gay's and lesbians don't deserve to live their lives, you will find out how wrong you are when you meet your maker. God have mercy on your soul!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  16. Horus

    Great job CNN! Keep running these articles about the intolerance of religions.....show these folks for who they really are. I hope to live to see the developed world rid of cultural constructs perpetuated by ignorant tradition.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  17. Marc L

    Why even report on these people? Not many take them serious. Oh yeah, I know why. It's way to push a topic and your agenda, get people's attention, and cause divide.

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

      Marc – we need to shine a light on dangerous people like this so that honest people will speak out against them.

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

      No, religion causes the divide not the story

      May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  18. whoCares

    Religion you got to love it!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  19. JackLM

    Those in this article also demand a Christian theocracy and think we were founded on it – To them, I quote the following:
    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" – 1797, US Treaty of Tripoli, ratified unanimously by the US Senate, signed by President John Adams, printed in all of the largest newspapers of the day without a peep of protest.

    Our founding fathers had the sense to make ours a secular Government, to keep nuts like the people in this article from ruining this Country. Remember that.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  20. Mike D

    I'm glad these preachers are standing up and saying all this outrageous nonsense. Go ahead, preachers, get in lockstep with Fred Phelps. Be careful, though...this is how a religion begins to die.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • jim

      Sadly I can't see it happening soon, you just can't fix stupid.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:02 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.