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. LordEarlGray

    What a moron. If this guy had a lick of sense he's know that religious texts were written hundreds of years after the people described in them and the words they supposedly said were from the mouths of people who decided what those people would have said. It's cultural mores invented by people who think they know what is right. You have to take it all with a salt shaker full of salt. That said, there are things in the Bible and other texts which do have wisdom in them if you can wade through the nonsense and falsehood pushed by prejudiced people just like this guy.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Jen in Texas

    Keep talking, preachers. Let the rest of the world know what the anti-gays are really about. None of this pithy anti-gay-marriage and stop-gay-adoption stuff. Go for the gusto. Tell the truth. You want to kill us. At birth. Maybe before.

    Oh, this is the oddest thing; both my parents are straight.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • joe schmo

      What I think is ironic is that it takes a man and a woman to make a gay person. So are we not supposed to procreate?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  3. Mick

    He's a Christian version of the Taliban.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  4. Dean

    You don't need the bible to justify love....but there has been no better book written if you want to justify hate. Barbaric.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  5. joe

    Jesus spoke out strongly against divorce, but never mentioned gay people at all. I'd like to hear one of these so-called "christian" hate mongers explain why they ignore this inconvenient fact.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Jon

      They do not speak for true Christians, however neither do I. I also feel that God wants gay people hear because they are here. He (the "Pastor") proves his own counterpoint when he mentions that gays cannot reproduce, so they are here through physical design, on purpose.
      The Bible is a book of Love. These "Hate Mongors" choose specific, and Old Testament verses that are not voiced by Jesus, and are also usually not the current Word as related to the New Testament. As a Christian, the biblical way to heaven is to accept Jesus in to your heart. Heaven cannot be entered through hatred or self righteousness.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jon

      Let me clarify that I am A Christian. I meant that I do not speak for all of us, but I do speak the view that most of us share as far as not hating as the so called Pastors of hate are a small minority.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Crazybusy

    Whatever happened to "love one another/" And what is wrong with these pastors?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • n8362

      The problem is they read the Bible and believe it. In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that the Mosaic Laws are to be upheld.

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

      Christ also said "Do not judge lest ye be judged". Christ is the ONLY one allowed to judge.

      Too many people think "their view of the world" is the way ALL should live their lives.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  7. gaydar

    That guy is definitely gay. I am pretty sure that deep down he knows it.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • slewatha


      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  8. tb

    And they wonder why people are leaving organized religion in droves? It's OK to believe in God, but you don't have to believe in Organized Religions...I doubt that God attends such services either.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

      The homeless man was walking pass a big beautiful church one Sunday and as he stared up at its magnificent columns he remarked out loud to himself "God, what a beautiful church, wish I could go in there" and God replied "me too!"

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  9. Chris

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. One of those pesky Bible verses these Christians forget.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Paris Hilton Saves The Day!

      Yeah, those forgetful Christians forgot to put it in the Bible or any other writing for 5 centuries. Gosh they are forgetful. Then one day centuries later, some Christian slapped his head and said "Dang! We forget to put in the cast-the-first-stone story!"

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  10. pat

    The Pastor isn"t very photogenic.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Lila

    So called Christians who believe in murdering people because they go against THEIR interpretation of religion? Why can't we just gather up this trash and dump them in the ME with their extremists cousins? They can all be one large murderous family killing each other.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  12. PlayfulDreamer

    Government should kill bigots.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • jimranes

      And they should start with Curtis Knapp.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  13. LuvsAussies

    And in the next breath, this "preacher" will rant about how Islam is a religion of violence and hate, which is, you know, so un-Christian.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  14. craig

    How sad it is that the Bible is used as a tool of hatred.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • n8362

      The Bible is full of hatred, it is the perfect tool. In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that the Mosaic Laws are to be upheld.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  15. some random guy

    i used to wonder why people once used 'christians' as sport in arenas and fed them to lions...at least i used to wonder

    this pastor obviously doesn't care about god, the bible or anything else. he's just jumping on the hate-bandwagon for publicity and feed his sin of 'pride'. people wonder why religions are coming under attack more and more lately? people are waking up towards the fact that religion gives birth to everything the devil stands for. the only people who don't know this are the ones carrying out these evil acts. 'thou shall not kill' vs 'kill all the gay people' ...seriously? just stop. think for yourself for a moment

    honestly if i were god, anyone who had the audacity to even speak on my behalf for what they think were my intentions would be the first to go to hell

    May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Brenda Bolman

      Thank you some random guy. If I were straight I would fall in love with you.

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

      I agree with you random guy. It's funny how the same people that told NOT to judge are some of the worst offenders. We are all human and none of us are perfect yet so many seem to think they're above perfection and act like Hitler.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Andy

    Ahhh, the stench of religion!

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

      I would classify these folks as extremists. Don't fall into the same category as these hate-mongering idiots.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  17. buddhacatmac

    so sad to hear hate fueled words coming from the mouths of supposed "Christians." These so called preachers are not preaching the word of Christ but instead are preaching the words of the Anti-Christ, full of hate and disgust. Ask yourselves what Jesus would do...he'd tell you it's up to his Father, God, to be the judge of those who sin against him. Do unto others as you would want them to do to you, treat your brothers and sisters as you would want them to treat you.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • 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 12:28 pm |
  18. Eddyb69

    Religion is GAY

    May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • joe schmo

      So, you're telling everyone you're as bad as the gay haters are?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  19. JoJo

    The Radical Christian Church is sounding a lot like the Radical Islamic Religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  20. Drguajar

    Any pastor who preaches that killing anybody is ok is nuts and a sinner.

    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.