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. Jim Myers

    At a minimum, ministers who preach hate and violence should be defrocked and banned from public forums. If possible, they should be charged and thrown in prison. They are the total opposite of anything Jesus intended, and people like them are a large part of why our world is so screwed up in so many ways.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Diogenes Dan

      Since anyone can become a preacher, there is no guarantee that any of them could be "defrocked" if there is no organization that put them in place.
      This insanity is protected religious speech. Just chew on that a while.
      Insanity protected by law. Who out there thinks this is an intelligent part of our freedoms? Not me.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  2. GetReal

    I do not suscribe to any religion so my bible interpretation is a little rusty but the Leviticus (Who oddly enough claims to be God speaking) suggests more than gays be put to death. "If your children curse you" They must be put to death. WOW, they had some pretty strict controls back then. NICE! YOU TOUCH MY BEER, YOU SHALL BE Put to death. What's funny is that this preacher hates the gays because bible tells him so but I bet his kids give him hell!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  3. Filthburger

    good old religion. if only God would come down and tell everyone that we are more insignificant in his eyes than ants are to us.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • tb63

      Look up David Byrne's "Uh-Oh". Priceless album cover.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  4. polemicist

    I love it when pastors cite Leviticus for "codes" to which they should live, yet have no problems eating cheeseburgers for lunch.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  5. TPN51

    Does this man not know what danger he has put his congregation in? They have already had a fire set in NC. Is harm to yourself, your family and followers of church for one of the most ridiculous comments of the 21st century so far worth it. Not very thought out on his part.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  6. yoyo martinez


    May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Reason

    When will this stop? when the media stops paying them any attention. It's the only reason people do things like this. And, the fact is "some news is not fit to print."

    May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Filthburger

      I actually think the media is doing a good thing. They are pointing out the ridiculousness of this and the insanity. These people vote and it scares me.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      the guy was saying this already and the media picked up on it. It doesnt need the media in order for it to still be said, not even close.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Yo

    Religion has let me down personally in every way possible, but I still believe in the lord. All churches! When did the "church" become the platform for hate? Why are preachers using the bible to promote hate as if the lord personally told them? You are not GOD! or the LORD! You are a false prophet....all of you preachers...a wolf in sheeps clothing!!!

    Religion is private, personal, and intense. You are not god so stop judging.

    Churchs should be held accountable for playing the political field and have their tax exemption pulled.

    All of these preachers are men, says something about the male species. How far they will go to control, ruin and promote hate. Very sad...Men you should be better than this....you must be better than this

    May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Religion is private, personal, and intense"

      No, belief is private, personal and intense.

      Religion is top down, with people blathering they know what god wants

      May 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • tendertype

      religion has not let you down, you let yourself down.

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

      I have to agree with Sam Stone, with an addition; religion is about controlling people.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Tarey

    Perhaps the govt should start with the ranting radical religionist first - what was that thing from the Bible about not judging lest ye be judged? Fundamentalist, whether Christian or Islamic, are ALL bigoted blasphemers.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  10. Living History

    Re: Killing human beings for doing something he finds offensive and believes is a sin – Leatherman says "My flesh kind of likes that idea" – WOW, that kind of says everything I need to know about this VERY CREEPY spiritual leader.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  11. smitvict

    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." How about:

    Leviticus 25:44 "As for your male and female slaves whom you may have, you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you."

    I'd love to see the idiot preach on just a couple of verses down in Leviticus.

    Even better Leviticus 19:28 "Never slash your body to mourn the dead, and never get a tattoo. I am the LORD. That dooms the entire population of twenty somethings. Ha Ha Ha. Evangelicals are such hypocritical morons.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  12. Marcus

    The only thing worse than plain old hate is hate couched in religous doctrine. If you're going to be a clueless jerk then own it!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  13. IheartUS

    God is not real people! There is no mystical land of eternal that you'll go to after death. There is no mystical land of eternal, fiery damnation that you'll be punished to bear for all of time.

    As soon as people understand that and accept that, we will constantly live in a world that is stagnant in technological advancements to other planets in other universes that are populated with intelligent life. And this will eventually lead to our extinction.

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

      of eternal bliss*

      May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • RealityBites

      Prove it!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • tendertype

      wow! I bet you are fun at parties!!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • llovethisUS

      Are you crazy?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • foryoumaybe

      How do you know? Are you dead now and typing from the grave? Apparently you are brain dead but so are all athiest.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Ya think?

      I love the way people think they know everything that happens to us after we die. I am not for or against anyone's belief. No one has ever come back after they have died with empirical evidence supporting either theory, so how does anyone really know?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      As an engineer, I can tell you that technology will not save us by itself. Will the scientist be curing cancer or building a bigger bomb?
      No hell? Our long running ideas of hell may have come from early near death experiences, though you've likely dismissed those.

      I once heard a conversation between two people; Person A: " Do you believe that there's life after death?" Person B: "Well, I got THIS life." Having existence is a fact so big that atheists apparently can't see it.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • This Is What I'm Talkin' 'Bout

      There is every bit as much evidence that this exists as there is for your "Heaven". Fantasy IS fun, though.

      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
      There's a land that's fair and bright
      Where the handouts grow on bushes
      And you sleep out ev'ry night
      Where the boxcars are all empty
      And the sun shines ev'ry day
      Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
      Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

      Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
      'Round the soda water fountains
      Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
      You never change your socks
      And little streams of lemonade
      Come a-tricklin' down the rocks
      The hobos there are friendly
      And their fires all burn bright
      There's a lake of stew and soda, too
      You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

      Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
      'Round the soda water fountains
      Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
      In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

      May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  14. James32

    I agree with this pastor. However I prefer the term "Euthanasia". Gays don't deserve to be killed violently but they just should go to sleep and never wake up again. It will be better for the country in the long run if deviants and perverts are eliminated from the gene pool. American is about family values.

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

      Yes, and of course one of the greatest values one can bestow on a family is to KILL anyone who acts differently from you. That's teaching them!

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

      my word! These posts sound like something from medeival times!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      James: You are a big mouth and a bigot. Now, get back on your knees and beg that Jesus saves you from the wrath of his virgin boinking daddy

      May 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      i think we need to worry if the values your family taught is to kill people.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • foryoumaybe

      Amen James, I'm with you. Bunch of perverts and freaks.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Ya think?

      So there are only gays in America? Is it only American gays that need to be euthanized? Since according to your post we are eliminating all deviants, can you define deviant for me? I believe under the broad definition we would all apply at one time or another. Lets just all drink the kool aid...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      "It will be better for the country in the long run if deviants and perverts are eliminated from the gene pool. "

      Golly, this sounds exactly like what Margaret Sanger said. SHe was the founder of Planned Parenthood.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Seb

      You do realize that people who don't reproduce (e.g. most gay people) don't contribute to the gene pool? No? Don't you know how reproduction works? Not only are you a bigot, but a retarded bigot. Hopefully YOU don't contribute to the gene pool (I'm not worried as much about your genes as the education your offspring might receive)

      May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      James, if you, and the ignorant fundiots like you, come for our gay brothers and sisters, you will need to go thropugh me and millions more like me, all standing in your way. Please do not assume that we will go quietly and meekly. If you ignorant môrons want a bloodbath, bring it on.

      We won't be having any replays of 1936 Germany here. Not in our country. Not on our watch.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  15. Dl

    Christianity is a religion of judgement, shame & persecution..... and these same bozos demonize Islam as a gutter religion... AMAZING

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

      Christianity is a religion of judgement, shame & persecution...all three are completely wrong. If that is what your church preach's they truly are hippocrits. Christianity teachs God is the only judge, "Judge not, for I..." as for shame and persecution it is you who are doing that Christian's have been persecuted fo ever, look at what you and a lot of the post here are doing, persecution. If you do not believe in God then stop pushing your athiest views on people who do.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  16. Ann

    The bible is rife with so many inconsistencies and simply weird passages that condemn everything from gays to working on Sunday to eating lobster and shellfish. There's also nothing in the bible against slavery. According to people that use the bible to define their own "morals," does that mean it's okay? Using bible verses to suit your needs is not a valid argument–it's just ridiculous.

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

      Proving once again that the Christian Right is NEITHER!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  17. ArchieDeBunker

    I do not hate gay people. I hate what they do. Because it is destructive to their souls, and their continued militancy is nothing other than attempt to entice others, especially young people, into their lifestyle. I know you can't help it if your gay, but, for heaven sakes, stop flaunting it! That's like a person with a deformed arm who runs out in the street waving it around and asking others to look at it because it's "perfectly normal."

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

      Being gay is no more of a disease than being left handed, and we aren't asking those people to stop flaunting their left-handedness.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Aviating Extruded-Wheat-Product Leviathon

      That's a Poe post, Kevin.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      No, Archie, the militancy is about equal rights

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • abudum

      What gives you the right to judge another person with what you believe?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Sara

      Archie--you bring up the soul so I assume you are religious......if God made us in his image and we are all his children it stands to reason that what is in the image is the soul which is indestructible because it is the part that is God who is also indestructible....so stop with the weak attempt at compassion by using concern for the souls of gay people...no one's soul can be hurt...smh.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • tendertype

      funny, I know more people in gay relationships who are happier than people in hetero marriages. Let's just leave everyone alone and worry about ourselves.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      you cant entice people to be gay, anymore than you can entice people to be straight.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      Sara, you can't use LOGIC here! This is the Belief Blog, no rationality allowed. 😛

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  18. HeavenSent

    I gather no one on this blog has any functioning gray matter left to have listened to His video until completion, yet, you'll post your babble not knowing what you do.

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

      This is CNN..., what do you expect?
      But you did have me going there for a minute. Thought I was going to have to learn to reed..

      May 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      First of all, I did watch the video of this wacko. Second, "His" video would mean God's video, since you'd only capitalize his if you're referring to God and from what I could tell, God had NOTHING to do with that video.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  19. Eric

    If you are going to keep preaching bate and discriminate against others who don't share your views you should lose your tax exempt status. That one step will close a lot of these small churches run by hateful pastors.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  20. Pliny

    Don't post a picture of this preacher.

    Post a picture of the people who go and listen to him.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:58 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.