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. AtariJuguar

    I don't agree with what this man is saying, but I firmly believe in his right to say it. The first amendment is a great thing.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      Charles Manson never killed anyone but is spending his life in prison ... did he not have a right to preach hate to weak minded individuals? Should we not get him out of prison since he was just exercising free speech?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  2. Islands

    Ah, the American Taliban speaks.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • just sayin

      Correction...Christian Taliban

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  3. Pruitt Emerson

    All these southern redneck Christian (what a joke) preachers should all be rounded up, put in a 1,000 square mile encampment sourounded by electrified fences and guarded by Islamic Jihadists so that they can never assimilate into American society. These buggers are more dangerous than the Taliban who think Sharia Law is the flavor of the day.
    Very sad to see so many ignorant Christians buying into these creepy preachers sermons.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And what makes you any different?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • just sayin

      The South defines hatred and ignorance.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  4. If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

    The insanity of this type of statement combined with the folklore that is religion is just too easy a target. Not even a challenge to poke holes in. But I do like to read how anyone can defend this.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  5. ivanzed

    Obviously this pastor has forgotten one small little thing from his Bible>>>

    "Thou Shalt not kill"

    There is so much hypocrisy in religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  6. CPW

    Talk about extremeism. I hope the FBI is watching this guy.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  7. J Brown

    Thou Shalt Not Kill (it's one of the 10 Commandments...seems some religious people have forgotten this one)

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      90+ % of the Christians have forgotten this. Hatred runs deep in Christ

      May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  8. iamsmarter

    Now lets think about this. This Pastor wants to kill gays and lesbians correct? Hitler wanted to kill Jews correct? Sounds very familiar. If there was a heaven does this pastor think he will end up there with that much hate inside him..... He must not of got hugged enough when he was a child. Or he was molested. Either way......... Oh yea and this guy got hit with the ugly tree.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hitler was a Christian as well....hmmmmmmmmmmm....appears Christ is quite evil, gay himself, delusional and insane. And also like to wear diapers in high places.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Northerndude

    Dunno if anyone's posted this but I like to laugh at the part in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 about killing your own rebellious kids, or Exodus 22:18, about killing those evil witches, Exodus 35:2 allows you to kill those poor saps who have to work on sabbaths. Of course we can kill adulterers and blasphemers in Leviticus 20:10 and 24:16, the list goes on and on. So come on christians, start your murdering as it says in your "Good Book" and find out how bad earthly jails are, it won't matter come the rapture, I don't want to spend eternity with such loving people.

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

    He even defends Fred Phelps. This guy is a real winner.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  11. mitch

    Hard to believe such hate can come from people who claim to be Christians Shame on you.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • n8362

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

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Paris Hilton Saves The Day!

      It's easy to believe. Christian "love" is the phoniest lie ever.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      Interesting how Christians express so much hatred and control over our fellow man justified in their bible. You don't see the Jews acting the same way. Christ is a divider of men and evil no doubt.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  12. just sayin

    Folks said it before and say it again...beware of the Christian Taliban

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  13. JC

    Religion is high-functioning autism.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bible Fun

      I disagree with that functional level...

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  14. newt

    So does this pastor believe in Leviticus 20:9 also? "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him." So the government should kill anyone who curses their father or mother? Twits like this pick and choose which parts of the bible they want to push. They are not Christians, they just hide behind the facade of being Christian.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  15. Mortalc01l

    Some Christians:
    Vile, bigoted, narrow-minded, disgusting, uneducated, flat-earthers, with murder and hatred in their souls....believers in fairy-tales. Let's kill gays in the USA.

    Some Muslims:
    Vile, bigoted, narrow-minded, disgusting, uneducated, flat-earthers with murder and hatred in their souls....believers in fairy-tales. Let's kill little Girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school.

    The common denominator? A belief in a 2000 year old book, put together by Men that had no way of explaining things like lightning and didn't know even the most BASIC of scientific truths; so they put together a bunch of fables and morality tales up to 300 years after the supposed stories actually happened, then BINGO !!! The Bible and Koran.

    Of course, the Bible was then edited and changed by the people that re-wrote it in the image of King James VI of Scotland (James I of England). King James had a very specific interpretation of what HE thought the Bible said and so the Men that translated it, put in references to Witches (which were NEVER in the original), changes numerous verses, edited certain words out, added James' interpretations of so many things that it barely resembles the original and yet today I still hear people say.... "BUT THE BIBLE SAYS......" NO... NO it does NOT! The King James version MIGHT say something, but THE BIBLE does NOT say it a great deal of the time.

    There is NO EXCUSE for being so uneducated and filled with hate in 2012... As a Christian, for this Man to say these things brings all Christians into disrepute and further strengthens the case against religion in general as being an EXCLUSIONARY club, where being IN the club means you are better than everyone who is not in the club; making you morally, ethically and spiritually superior to all the poor unwashed heathens that don't believe in your particular delusion about your particular flavor of invisible Man in the sky.

    As soon as the mass delusion known as organized religion is gone from this planet, the better off we will all be. No more genocidal wars based on Christians and Muslims, Sikhs and Muslims, the various denominations of Christianity vs Christianity...

    HEY !!!! you're a different kind of Christian than I am.... DIE heretic !!!

    HEY !!!! you're a different kind of Muslim than I am.... DIE heretic !!!

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

      Actually many who claim to be Christian are not.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • lvingdisciple

      Obviously we all prefer the mass murdering atheist, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot...just to name a few. I love people who, demonstrate their intelligence and superiority by labeling all "Christians" and faithful people as delusional. Please share the answers you have to the many myteries of life. Since you know we are all wrong, please tell us where you received your infinite wisdom. Lets not mention all the hospitals in third world countries or mission organizations in the most impoverished parts of the world or the soup kitchens in the inner cities founded and started by people who ignorantly follow the teachings of a jewish carpenter who said the greatest laws are to love God and love each other....

      May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Mortalc01l

      lvingdisciple: But those mass murderers did NOT DO IT IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM !! Did they? NO ! So you fail every possible test of logic on that piece of sub-m0ronic reasoning...

      The second clue, should be that you base you life on a Book (The King James Bible)that is barely based on the original work of fantasy anyway and yet you see it as the TRUTH. If God REALLY put his word in the Bible, do you not think he could find a way to make it impossible to misunderstand it? Instead every Tom, Dick and Harry has their OWN personal interpretation of each and every part of the Bible... this means it CANNOT be the word of God.. instead it is each interpreter's PERSONAL opinion on what the Bible says.

      Utter nonsense the whole book.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • lvingdisciple

      Mortalc01l I am struck by your logic, Atheist do all things in their own name, not in the name of disbelief...what a foolish arguement. Atheist believ in themselves as the master of their destiny and therefore have little value for humanity and the purpose I believe we were created for. You repeat this arguement over and over again, but it is nonsense, does it excuse their actions or negate the fact that they did horrific things that far surpass the disgusting acts of people who do things in the name of religion? Does it make it OK that these brutal dictators killed millions upon millions of people? Of course not, but they were atheist, not religious, so religion is not to blame for all the bad in the world.
      As for your attacks on the 300 scholars who translated the Bible for the original KJV, well you are obviously much brighter than them, your post are so insightful...and no they did not interpret the Bible, they translated it from the Hebrew and the Greek. Just like thousands of other highly educated well trained people have done with the NIV. American Standard etc...and they all say basically the same thing. Sorry if a differing opinion makes you angry and frustrated, you are open minded after all!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  16. blue

    what is a "direct attack on the genesis of the family? my sis and her partner ( together 15 yrs now" are raising two wonderful little boys... two of my dearest friends, (gay guys) have been together for 32 years..... pay bills, pay taxes, attend church, respect their parents and are good to people in their community... where are they going wrong?

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

      Seems we're all very worried about what goes on in other peoples bedrooms. Sad

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

      The only part in which they are going wrong is the attending of a church.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      Everything sounded good until you said they attend church .. it's the only thing I think is a problem.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  17. Kevin M

    There's gotta be some obscure Bible verse that says "If there is a man who claims to be a man of God, and preaches hate, bigotry, and intolerance, he has committed a detestable act. He shall surely be put to death."

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

      actually Jesus said they would have a millstone wrapped around their neck and said woe be unto them...about the same in my book.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  18. Moo Humid

    I still dont get how the new christians can pick and choose which parts of the old testament they get to enforce? I would have more respect if they followed ALL the rules and not just some of them.

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

    Christ knows him not. He is not a Christian but a Deceiver. I pray for the souls of those who have been deceived by false religious leaders. They preach controlling others actions v trusting God and his free will choice. They preach hate v the God of love. Modern day Pharisee's doing the Devils work.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Kevin M

      Amen to that.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Konn Phewshious

      But why pick and choose your beliefs. If Jesus was Jewish – why arent you? Do you not shun the Old Testament but just drag it out for holidays?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No Free Will. Science has proven it to be bunk : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM

      May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  20. babs

    This is why people are walking away from the Christian faith. It makes me so sad. Not all Christians are like this. Not all Christians believe this. Many Christains understand that being gay is like being blond or short. Part of who a person is.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Boo Dah

      Amen. Just amazed how a "loving" religion spews such hate. These preachers sound like Moslem preachers

      May 31, 2012 at 12:34 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.