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. Rimmy

    these guys who "preach" agaisnt gays are usually caught later themselves playing the skin flute. takes one to know one.

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

      Pastor Ted Haggard is a prime example.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • tiffany

      i agree, I always knew that the big bullies who make fun of gay people are deeply saddened by thier own inabillity to come out!!! lol, i love how people deem themselves mesengers of God. This man is gay in all aspects, he is mad at himself. its too oobvious

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. Saddened

    I'm saddened that someone would quote a Old Testament verse and take it out of context. How is that different than the wacko Islamic militants who use the koran the same way to preach violence. Knapp is a shame to Christians everywhere.

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

      Leviticus 20:13 If a man has sèxual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death;

      The only thing out of context is that this good christian pastor thinks it means the government should kiill gays. It doesn't. It does say that this sick, twisted, psychotic, schizophrenic, putz of a god, demands that his FOLLOWERS go and kill gay folks. This îdiot pastor just doesn't have the balls to obey his god.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  3. contraryjim

    If there was a god, it would not have us suffer these religious idiots.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  4. James Quinn

    The thing about the bible is that you can find passages in this book that cover just about every mind set. From ultra liberal to extreme conservative if you want something to make you feel good about your way of thinking and that god is on your side you'll find it in the bible. And there are countless ways certain parables and stories in the bible can be spun to either conservative or liberal ways of thinking. So no matter what you politics, leanings or views happen to be you can find matches in the bible ready made for you. Of course you have to skip over and or ignore all the other parts as well but hey that's what everyone else does:)In the end Faith is not a fact it's a feeling and as thus an emotion. When someone says they KNOW there is a god the correct answer to that statement is "No you don't ... You feel perhaps very strongly that their is a god but that is not knowledge it's a feeling that in the end makes you feel better but nothing more than that."

    Pagan jim

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

      Almost as if the bible were written by a bunch of different people, over a long period of time, with a bunch of different political and moral beliefs. Instead of being the lucid, concise, consistent and internally logical word of a singular perfect metaphysical being.

      A book written by (fallible) people. Like every other book I've ever seen. Go figure...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  5. Turtleguy

    Another ignorant intolerant hate-spewing religious whack job weighs in. Isn't there a law against inciting violence?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  6. zombie

    Slowly but surly the grip of religion in this world is slowlly loosening, people are begining to relize that in order for the human race to go on, we need to except people for who they are. If two concenting adults wanna do something together then that is there porogative. The bible constentily contradicts itself, how can it say to put anyone to death, when one of the top ten commandments is thou shalt not kill? Religion is joke, that needs to end.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Zombie and I have decided that "porogative" is a word. Anyone who disagrees is a bogit!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  7. yoyo martinez

    Another hater and racist MF preacher. Only GOD knows what's behind his words. He too will be JUDGED and there's none to be perfect and truly lover of God in this planet. We watch TV, go to the movies, read magazines, hear the radio, look at passerbys, and have bad dreams of others. Only GOD knows what's in your mind, in your soul, in your heart.

    I hope his son or daughter choose another life style, what a lesson for the good perfect dad!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  8. Doc

    Wow...is this guy ever going to be in for an unpleasant surprise.

    It never ceases to amaze me how these freak shows conveniently forget that the Bible says many things, among them, "Thou Shalt Not Kill". It also teaches that when you wish murder in your heart, you have in fact broken the fifth Commandment. This clown also completely blows off the teachings of Jesus, whom he no doubt purports to love and honor above all else. This is a guy who you might expect to see eon the news getting caught at a gay club with someone, or for going on a shooting spree someday, or both. This dude has some real issues.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Horus

      It also states that my daughter, as being my property, can be sold for a fair price....... You are right, the bible says a lot of dumb stuff.

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


      You sound like a good Christian man.

      How much do you want for her?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  9. Rick

    Love they neighbor, but kill them if they sin....idiots.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  10. Suzan

    Seriously, what is wrong with these preachers??? They can't be this full of anger and hatred and still call themselves 'Christians'. Someone needs to remind them that sitting in a church every Sunday doesn't make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a bank makes you rich.

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

      What is wrong with these preachers? Usually they have no skills other than preaching and low IQ's so they can't learn new ones. THEN they find people EVEN DUMBER than they are, and they start a church.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  11. tiffany

    wait a minute..... he quotes the Bible which is always thrown under the bus for an individuals opinion. But what makes it worse is that he quotes a Holy script and converts it to 2012 American government. Where in the Bible does it say Obama should commit genocide? Sad ass man, ill go ahead and say it..... Pastor is GAY, he just needs to come out the closet and stop hating....

    May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  12. Rbnlegnd101

    If you make a fence around a big enough group it's hard to tell which side is the inside, and wihich side is the outside. The westboro chuch has drawn their line, and it's a circle, with them on the inside. If you want to put a fence around the gays, bear in mind that their families will be on that side of the fence, their friends will be on that side of the fence, their parents, siblings and yes, kids, will be on that side of the fence. You may think that everyone in your church will be on the outside of the fence, but, you would be surprised. And outside of your church, out here where there isn't only one voice speaking out loud, your view is a minority. Yes, you can often get a majority to vote against same-sec marriage, in specific places, when you distort the facts, but calls for violence, for segregation, those put you in a small minority. Or should I say, a small minority in this country. There are places where you would get a lot of sympathy, but, do you want our country to be more like iran, more like pakistan, more like afghanistan?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  13. duce

    Can we just be over the whole religion thing now? Dated, polarizing, unnecessary...

    May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  14. JESUS


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

      This guy better not eat shellfish. His argument would be EQUALLY VALID for putting SHRIMP EATERS to death. Or FAT PEOPLE. If he isn't a thin, kosher eating, rag wearing supplicant, HE IS CONDEMNING HIMSELF. Have ANY of you read Leviticus lately? That book is OBSCENE!

      I suggest we keep it simple. Just kill ignorant fools that become baptist ministers.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  15. douglas

    Sound to me Christian people are very very hyprocite.. God did not hate gay people. God says John 3:16// Everyone needs to learn how to LOVE.. Quit hyprocite!!!! I dont believe all pastors in world... You pick HATE gay.. GOD loves all people in world... What is your point????

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

    I hope all religious people die. How do you like it?

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

      Good one.

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

      They will.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  17. llovethisUS

    Pastor(s), you're doing GOD's works, but YOU ARE NOT GOD. Leave the punishment or rewards to GOD, please. Going around telling people to kill others or do harm things to others is a job of Satan. Get out of my GOD's Houses.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  18. capnmike

    "The government should kill gays"? NO, THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD KILL RELIGIOUS NUTS WHO GO AROUND FOMENTING HATRED. Religion is responsible for far more suffering, death, destruction, war and misery than all the gays in history combined.

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

      Sounds like YOU are the hater here, capnmike.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • duce


      May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • duce

      Indeed they have! They've done a few good things too, once upon a time. But literacy was only taught so people could read their religious texts.

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


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

      Better yet. Don't kill them, just take away their RELIGIOUS TAX EXEMPTION. Then they all will get USEFUL JOBS rather than running their RELIGIOUS SCAM.

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

      You and the preacher are nuts

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  19. ProfEmeritus

    I sure wish that CNN would publicize the sermons on catring for the poor, adopting Jesus' urging humility. And, the sermons on loving others because God loves us. Instead, it seems that CNN seeks out the lunatic fringe that makes that available. Yes, I know that your practice tells us as much about the interests of readers as well as CNN. But you could seek to better represent and report of the lives of the vast majority of Christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Tom Paine

      Absolutely. If you are a non-Christian reading this blog (of which there are apparently many) your impression would be that these types of sermons were normal when they are not. The overwhelming majority of Christians find such sermons repugnant.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      What you call fringe is actually a larger number than I think you want to admit.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Kevin

      Maybe if fellow Christians would call out people like this pastor and kick him out of his job instead of saying "Amen" and coming back to the pews week after week there would be less problems. But the large majority decide to protect the bad apples and let them speak for all Christians ... hmmmmmm, don't conservatives have the same problem with Unions, how they protect the under-performing and bad ones ... me thinks maybe they should take some of their own advice and not tolerate preachers like this one.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • hammer

      Don't worry CNN ratings are dropping everyday

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • WV Gleeman

      It's too late for that Prof. The extremes are taking your religion away from you in the same way the far right tea party is taking away the party from the Republicans. If you want us to ignore the extremes then you need to speak up against them as others have. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch but if you cast out those bad apples you preserver the bunch. Noone is casting out the bad apples. They are allowing them to spoil all.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      @Cedar Rapids: If such sermons were the norm – find them. Most churches today post their sermons on their websites. Easy to read and easy to find. If they are prevalent, they should be easy to track down.
      @ Kevin – we do. All the time. This is not the type of thing the media tends to cover however.

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

      Fringe? I'd like to see your stats on that.

      In a Public Policy Polling survey inApril of 2011, half of all republicans in Mississippi sais that interracial marriage should be illegal. Do you really want to bet on the correlation between the political affiliation and religious affiliation of these folks? That same poll showed that 88% of these republicans said President Obama was not a Christian, and 52% said he was a Muslim.


      In North Carolina, Amendment 1, which legislates hate and discrimination, passed with 61% of the votr.


      I guess I'd like to know how you define "fringe"?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Schwinnfin

    I think I just read a book about thinking like this. It was called "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

    May 31, 2012 at 11:48 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.