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. lolita

    and the government should eliminate religions and kill all religious leaders

    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • WOW

      @Lolita: So you advocate killing others?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Hence21

      How exactly is that better than killing gays? Just saying "eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • PDX James

      The whole world is already blind. Why else do we keep getting these leaders who are destroying everything?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  2. solex

    What ever happened to "Thou shalt not kill"?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Bleh64

      Apparently it's okay to do it if you thump bibles and condemn others for their "sins" even though most of those who claim to be christian do the same stuff.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Bleh64

      Or maybe it's okay for him to call for the government to do it, fine, you want the government to start doing your dirty work? The IRS would like to talk to you about some back taxes now, since you don't want to separate church and state there preacher man.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Hence21

      I suppose there are sub sections to that law : Thou shalt not kill... Unless it is a woman, or a jew, or a mulim, or if they have long hippy hair, or are asian, or gay... well just don't kill me or anyone else in the church, all other mo fo's are DEAD!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • len

      No such commandment. The actual phrase is from the ten suggestions and the one you’re referring to is “thou shall not murder” which has a different meaning.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    I keep posting the same thing over and over. I'm not very smart. Sorry guys.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • PDX James

      That's OK, Of course, I'm pretty sure the OT says we have to stone you now.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  4. Butch


    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • tb63

      Don't whiz on the electrice fence!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  5. craig

    Those who are most vocal against gays sometimes are hiding something & they spew their venom so others won't thnk that they are indeed gay themselves.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Tom Watson

      You absolutely correct. The medical term for this is "reaction-formation".

      May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  6. bill

    All religions are tyrannies over humanity. Religion is for baby brain people who won't or can't think for themselves and those who use it to exploit humanity for their own benifit of power and tax free wealth. God if it exists doe's not need humaqnity for a dam thing. Religion has put a strangle hold on science and human development for thousands of years. there are extrordinary advanced civilzations deep in space and the multiverse. If we can't do anything but fight and hate each other, then there is no hope...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  7. tensai13

    Do these deluded "pastors" actually get paid for spewing complete nonsense and hate, and just how dumb do you have to be to get this job? Apart from the Rev. Wright, I haven't seen or heard one single intelligent and articulate preacher in this idiots paradise of a country. Can we get that snake back?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    I keep posting the same thing over and over. I'm not very bright. Sorry.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Yeah, TT phony heavensent, you aren't.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nope, I'm the real HeavenSent. You are false.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • PDX James

      I have a small wee wee. Sorry for taking it out on all of you.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  9. Hence21

    Didn't we already try gathering up people based on their differences in Germany last century? I'm pretty sure everyone agreed that it was a bad idea.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • 0hw0w

      Yes, but those people were not openly and infectiously vile.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Hence21

      hmm, really. I think we live in different world my friend. It may be time for the north and south to finally split up, I don't see any other way.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  10. radam82

    Religion has been justifying hatred for as long as the concept has existed. We don't need magic sky wizards.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      said those that have no eyes to see, nor ears to hear truth that your soul is going to the eternal flames.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  11. n8362

    In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that the Mosaic Law is to be upheld.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bad Religion

      well christ isn't here, he died and nor was he part of our secular democracy. so get over it.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  12. Anne

    so much for those who think christianity is the religion of peace and love. It is full of bigoted repulsive so called preachers and their congregants like this.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  13. Rick

    How can these stupid A–holes call themselve christians they preach hate

    May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • n8362

      They preach what is in the Bible, hate. Read it.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  14. PaulBel

    It ain't necessarily so,
    It ain't necessarily so,
    The things you are libel
    To find in the bible,
    They ain't necessarily so....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  15. SlackMeyer

    "Fail to silence"... How lovely... Anyone who disagrees with the gay lobby must be "silenced".

    It's a wonder they don't goosestep with their right arms thrust out in front of them during their protests.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • smitvict

      Pro slavery protestors are silent. Why not the anti gay bigots?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Hence21

      wow, really? The ppl PROTESTING the gathering of ppl into fenced offed areas and being left to die are the nazies..... I think you are confused

      May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • csmallfield

      Godwin's law. You lose.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  16. redwine9991


    May 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • brian

      I think it essential to remember, and repeat, a simple fact. All of these preachers. All of them. Are Mitt Romney supporters. This means their views are his. This means this sort of bigotry will be white house policy in a Romney administration.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  17. Vincent DeFazzio

    @HeavenSent, do you believe? are you a good christian? Why don't you follow what your book tells you to do? Like in teh book of James, Chapter 4, verse 11.
    You seem very judgemental, are you the one judge? I don't think you are.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Jake-413451

      Don't stop at verse 11. The Chapter continues, in context the verse only tells them to not judge with a different standard than they would have against them.

      Their holy book is easily used to justify their actions. The failure is to think their book actually describes even a pretty good morality. Want proof: Find any part of the bible which explicity forbids slavery.

      It managed to ban eating shrimp, but slavery just wasn't important enough to make the cut.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  18. Mikey

    Yikes...his little sideway-glances, slight rolling of the eyes, and other facial mannerisms set off gaydars within a thousand mile radius. They remind me of George Michael in Wham's "wake me up before you go-go" video."

    Forgive the guy, he's just having a hard time reconciling his desires for good looking, strong, muscle-bound men.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • STEVE


      May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bleh64

      LOL, now that's funny i don't care who ya are!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  19. Jack M

    Really intelligent!! I have an idea..Why don't we take all of the uneducated, small minded Preachers and lock them up behind an electric fence. These people are unreal...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • n8362

      These preachers are educated on what the Bible says. They choose not to ignore it.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Hence21

      n8362, they should try educating themselves in some different books. The one they have been studding seems to have a few typos in it...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  20. Dale

    This is what happens when hate feeds on hate. Want to belong to a hate group?.....then join a church......

    May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Dangerkittie

      Perhaps you should be more careful with your wording. You would not find any hate in the church I attend.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Sue

      Well said.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Sue

      To clarify, well said; there are many people who belong to churches who are intolerant of other people's views. I thought people of the church were supposed to be kind and good but they seem to be the most judgemental of all. If someone doesn't conform to their views then they are to be hated? What has happened to the concept of diversity.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Hence21

      dangerkittie, now you know how it feels to be muslim and get lumped in with the terrorist.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:29 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.