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. Gordon Bennett

    Deuteronomy 17:12 is instructive too, in that it requires killing of non believers. Deuteronomy 13:7-12 makes the same point. Arguably, the Bible provides arguments in favor of genocide e.g Joshua 10:40-41. Violence is not limited to the Old Testament. Jesus offers to bring a sword, and with that also approves violence. So the Pastor is right: The Bible gives all Christians a license to kill.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Devout Worshipper

      Now that may be the scariest thing I've ever heard.

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

      Obviously that's what Jesus intended... non-stop sinner-killings.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Diogenes Dan

      Praise Jesus and pass the rattlesnakes and ammunition around! We've got ourselves a license to kill! Yeeahaawww!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Shhhhh!!!

      Don't let anyone at the Westboro Baptist Church in on this!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  2. Paul Willson

    Another preacher who needs a dose of the virtue of Charity.And as for the SBC distancing themselves . They had better or they will join those who do not condem hate speech as hypocrites. If this man had called for all blacks , or jews ot muslims to be killed everyone would be against him . Here hje seems to be getting treated almost with respect not the revulsion he & his ilk richly deserve , Mayvbe tiime to review any church who's leadership sound like this their tax empt status.l

    May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  3. Rocky

    The Ku Klux Klan, The Nazi Party, the Aryian Nation, and now the Baptist Church..all terrorists who advocate genocide of a people. It is finally time for gays and lesbians to arm themselves and prepare to defend themselves against these terrorists on our soil who use the bible to hate us and advocate violence and death against us. If you'll all notice from Fred Phelps to these recent "pastors" they are all Baptists.. the new church of hate. Arms and defend yourselves against the new Christian Taliban

    May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  4. joe

    It seems like it's always the Baptists who preach hate and violence. Just what is in that water they keep dunking people in?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  5. TheZel

    He's a southern baptist, the same freaks that split from the main baptist church because they thought the bible condoned slavery. These nuts use the Bible not as a book for learning, but a tool to justify their own human, fallible, beliefs. Besides, the guy is as gay as a spring morning.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

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

    May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • joe

      Your post makes no sense. I have no idea what your point is.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  7. dotdotdot

    Once again, I am very ashamed of my state. I would like to point out that these people that make the news are screaming this only because the majority of us here are ignoring them. We've been ignoring the Phelps Cult (or counter-protesting) them for years.

    In quasi-related news, my friends are I are building a druid grove here in Topeka. We've had quite a large number of interested people too. Just people who don't make the news.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  8. shoos

    He's thinks because he has a pulpit his beliefs are worthy of voicing. If that congregation gives him money to preach his hate, they in turn, are haters.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  9. Jake

    Don't these folks realize that preaching this type of intolerance is going to be the downfall of their beliefs? When the people in their congregations who aren't ignorant, fundamentalist bigots realize that they are spewing hate... they're going to leave the church!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  10. hammer

    CNN you are not going to shame anybody into voting for gay marriage and that is exactly what they are trying to do.But I do not agree with this preacher about killing anyone.This is a lifestyle not a race of people.

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

      SO you are saying its okay to kill a race of people?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • hammer

      haxor Gay is a lifestyle it is not equal to the civil right movement.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      hammer: it is an orientation, not a lifestyle

      May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      hammer: it is not a lifestyle.

      christianity is a lifestyle. should christians be denied equal rights?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Ignorant fundiot.

      It's an orientation, not a lifestyle choice.

      Same as being born left-handed.

      Same as being born green-eyed.

      Same as being born black.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • shoos

      hammer, did you choose the straight lifestyle or gay lifestyle, or were you just born a certain way?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  11. Haskeli

    As a religous person I say They won't and they should NOT. When governemnt starts imposing religion in this manner it takes away my free belief in a Deity and the Bible - am I beliving because of my free choice or because the government is imposing these beliefs on me. So Pastor Worley, not only have you offended supoorters of gay rights (which you can see from the comments on this board - which as a religous person you should care very deeply about), your suggestions of imposing a theocracy has serious implications for the underpinnings of my religous observance and belief.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  12. Devout Worshipper

    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster! He told me He desires the government to kill all the pastors.

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

      I heard him say that as well......I have faith that we are right!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Aviating Extruded-Wheat-Product Leviathon

      Heretic! FSM said no such thing! We must immediately launch into an unending interfactional war over doctrine, killing and oppressing each other over whose interpretation is correct! Why should all the other religions get the fun of doing that?

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

      Can I get an NEMA brother!!! I'm with you 100%!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  13. Obvious Guy

    Why don't we kill hate-filled Christian Pastors? I mean, do we REALLY need them in this country? They m0lest children, and spread racist and bigoted hate. So maybe we should round up all of them and wait til they die out, or just shoot them all. I'm good with either option.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  14. Marcos H. Rivera

    They are all the BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES... This is what Jesus Christ of Nazareth Said in John 8:7 regarding an ADULTEROUS woman: "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her"

    I wish I could hear a Pastor preach against WALL STREET and the People who bankrupt the country... Those are going straight to heaven because they have the money to pay for it. People are going to be so but so SURPRISE when Jesus returns.... HA !

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


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

      He didn't condemn her. But He also told her to go and sin no more.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  15. BCB

    straight people keep having these gay kids...shouldn't we put the straight people behind electric fences then?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  16. irock110


    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."

    James, you can go away any time you want !!!!

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


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

      Please don't stop at the gays, bud. You guys need to write down ALL of the sins in that book of yours that say they are abominations (like women cutting their hair, and charging interest on loans, etc.) and start killing all of the sinners. Just think what great Christians you all would be then?!?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • grahamer rhodes

      The Nazis tried this and look where they ended up. Be careful what you wish for. How come all these very very sick religious lunatics only live in the Southern States. They would bring slavery back if they could.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • waheid

      ... America may be about family values, but hate is not a family value.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  17. BES

    So you're telling me that Jesus would have killed anyone that he deemed to be "different" according to his own standards? Most all of us would be dead at this point if this were the case. Jesus taught in the New Testament that we should welcome those of different faith or belief systems. We should embrace them as a brother or sister. Jesus CERTAINLY would NOT have argued for anyone to be killed, either directly or indirectly. If you argue this, then you cannot possibly consider yourself a true Christian, for the Bible instructs man to love as God loves.. When in doubt, just remember: WWJD.

    This is the exact reason why so many people, including myself, have turned away from the Church. I cannot possibly consider myself a part of a group that has so many prejudices and so much hypocrisy. If you really want to make a difference in your community, spread love, unconditionally.

    Everyone sins.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • A Christian who's really trying.

      Unconditional Love? Sound like Gospel to my ears. Where can I learn about this Unconditional Love?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  18. TiminDayton

    People who choose the gay lifestyle are clearly sinning against God. As the pastor stated Leviticus does allow gays to be stoned to death. Killing gays is not a sin but rather a requirement of all Christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Mike D

      OK, Tim, but as soon as your kid sasses back at you you're required to stone them as well. Put up or shut up, bud.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • BES

      Of course! Also, those that rebel against parents (Deut. 21,18-21), those getting married as though a virgin, when not a virgin (Deut. 22:13-21), those that curse God (Lev. 24:10-16), those that break Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36), and those who are unchaste (Deut. 22:21, 23; Lev. 21:9) should also be stoned as well! Let's just have one big stoning party and we can all get stoned!

      (those are just some other instances of people being stoned as punishment in the Old Testament. I shouldn't have to continue to prove my point)

      With Jesus came the New Testament.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • PDX James

      For the Jews, it is a requirement. The laws of the OT are for the Jewish people only. For Christians, who don't come into play until the New Testament, it is not. Jesus teaches that his new covenant is one of love and tolerance. He teaches we are all sinners and, therefore, we should not judge others. This is the most basic founding principle of Christianity yet goons like TiminDayton can't even get this one right.

      As Mike said, follow ALL of the OT laws, or follow none. Cherry picking will get you sent straight to Hell.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • lvingdisciple

      What are you talking about, gay people no more chose to be gay than diabetics chose to be diabetics...so many idiotic people in the Christian faith these days, its no wonder churches are slowly closing their doors because no one is going....

      May 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Danette Smith

      95% of gay people did not CHOOSE to be gay, they were born this way. In other words, God made them this way!! Just like God made you an blooming idiot and bigamist!! Get a life!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • tb63

      And if your kid turns out gay? Oh, I mean CHOOSES to be gay?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • A Christian who's really trying.

      TiminDayton. You are an instigator and fraud.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  19. cedaly1968

    Why do so many Christians espouse such hatred that Christ himself did not?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • WhtRULknAt

      That is THE question that these so-called Christ-like people SHOULD be asking themselves. Yeah... why don't they?!?

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

      Because grace only applies to them. they don't practice what they preach. it is easier to point fingers at others then fix whats wrong in their own lives.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • lvingdisciple

      sean if you read many of the respnses from Jesus people, you will see we, or at least many of us, are graceful and these moronic individuals who espouse hate are ignorant fools who are religeous but not familiar at all with Christ

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  20. WhtRULknAt

    Why is everyone getting all upset? These guys sound just like Jesus. I remember hearing all the stories in Sunday school about all the bloody killings that Jesus perpetrated against every one of the people that he disagreed with 2,000 years ago... right?

    These pastors are to Christianity what the terrorists are to the nation of Islam.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • lvingdisciple

      Why don't you read a little scripture, your inaccuracy is overwhelming and you come off very ignorant...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 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.