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. jeni

    Headline says "Christian" preachers..... I don't think they are acting very 'Christian'.....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Exploding octopus

      Go look up the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  2. larry a hernandez

    There are folk that do not believe in religion but do believe in the GOLDEN RULE, treat others the way you would like to
    be treated. The far-right is so wrong among many things, especially finding ways to hate, disrespect and isolate groups.
    This time it is hard-working, tax paying, god-fearing, American citizens that are gay. I am sure these 'haters' are probaly
    far-right Republican Tea-Baggers that look for something possibly in the Bible to bring the zealots to arms. Why didn't they
    rally against Bush and his wars? Why didn't they rally when Bush's administration was neglecting the working class in
    favor of the Wealthy? Selective hate is so wrong.

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


    May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    instead of getting rid of gay people,maybe the government should slaughter you sfah

    May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  5. NickZadick

    The bible is a sin! condemed by anyone with half a brain!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  6. J.W

    What do people have against gays? None of these people seem to give a good explanation of that.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • WOW

      @J.W: I for one have nothing against them but being gay is still a sin. If you are not a believer in sin then being gay is nothing more than, maybe, beastality. Just saying.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      WOW: Equating adult consentual activity with beastiality? Aren't you the intellectual giant....

      May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  7. greg

    T minus two days till this window-licking mouth breather is caught at the local airport bathroom with a "wide stance." Methinks he doth protest too much.

    See ya under the stalls Curty baby

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Heywood Jablome

      @Greg: I actually laughed out loud when I read your post. Pure Genius!

      May 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  8. JayUVA

    – – Bring back the lions. – –

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  9. dina

    Fear drives these comments. Ignorance keeps them going. Religion is the reason there is so much hatred in the world. How did the world evolve to such divisions among what is believed when none of the beliefs can even be proven. Basing a law, opinion, edict on a text that maybe has some truth in it but probably is a myth is ridiculous.All of religion really is myth.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  10. TPN51

    Send Curtis Knapp your comments directly to "founders.org" scroll down to his church, click on his name and send a comment.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • J.W

      Thanks for that link. I agree we should all do this.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  11. iroshi

    Personally I'm hoping the rapture comes soon so these arrogant, self-important people can go home and leave the rest of us to live by the rules that make sense. It will be a better world.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  12. Disgusted

    Too unspeakably repugnant to even denounce. Does he imagine that Jesus would be at the head of the mob with a rope? This is the ugly side of religious fundamentalists, given a smiley face and Norman Rockwell by the likes of Fox News. 25 years ago he would have had the nerve to advocate the same judgement on interracial couples. This is the very best argument for that wall of separation of church and state and a denunciation of the putrid, crazy evangelical Christanofascist Right. I hope some gay health care worker lets him die on his gurney some day.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  13. Anomic Office Drone

    Advocating genocide doesn't strike me as being particularly Christian.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Ralphie

      Christianity has never had a problem with genocide. They are either totally silent on it when it happens, as with the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, or they are participating (Gott mit uns).

      May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • WOW

      The definition of genocide sure has changed since 1944. Isn't it just so "cool" how definitions can be changed to accept what every you want in what ever time frame you are in? Maybe it should be changed again to specify Christians and/or gays?

      Look at the link below to see how it has changed over the years.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  14. shootmyownfood

    I see no problem with any church killing their own members in support of their faith, if that's what they preach and people are stupid enough to join in. However, and this is big, no church has dominion over persons who are not members, as they by definition have a different set of beliefs.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  15. Aim

    There are so many ridiculous quotes in the bible. Amusing, yet scary, to see how the fools pick and choose to suit their feelings about one thing or another, and to justify their completely anti-christian bigotry. The world would be a better place if religion didn't exist.

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

      clear thinking logical people cannot believe the bible to be 100% correct

      May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  16. dman

    I was born and raised roman catholic, I even taught Sunday school for a while when I was in my early teens. By the time I was off to college I had rejected mainstream religion and studied philosophy as a minor. Philosophy has so much more to offer than religion. It casts aside the bible and all the written incarnations of spiritualism that have been twisted by men for their own purposes. It was the church that made me think spiritually but it was my spirit that taught me I couldn't abide by the church. Philosophy won't give you any more answers than the bible, but it won't poison you against your fellow man.

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

      I agree ..... Everyone should read what you have here. It gets to the point

      May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  17. Yvette

    Wow! I don't recall reading anything in the Bible I read about loving God wanting us as his children to HATE SINNERS! While he does hate sin he does not hate the sinner (the individual who commits sin). This would be like saying the gov't should kill adulterers; fornicators; or those who love their neighbors as themselves. I am so glad that my fate is not in the hands of people, leaders of the church. I will pay for this minister.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I thought it was the preaching of Islam we were supposed to be concerned with??? Perhaps we need to take a closer look at christianity because the kinds of hate and blasphomy perpetrated by the likes of pastor Worley and now pastor Knapp are no different to that preached by radical Islamic groups!

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


      May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  19. catholic engineer

    The Bible does in fact have an opinion about slavery: Sirach 7:21 "Show the same love to wise servants that you would show to yourself, and let them have their freedom."

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  20. S Russell

    A prime example of religion at its most useless and, even worse, most harmful. What these self styled "preachers" fail to realize is that they fail to be christians, or even humans, when they preach such intolerance and hate, and attempt to justify their hatred and intolerance by using the bible. To them I say, go back and study what Jesus actually said about compassion - not your hatefilled version of what you think he said. And while you're at it, go back and read what Buddha had to say about compassion. Stop spreading hate, lies and intolerance. If you look around, you'll see the world already has plenty of that to go around. Do something constructive with your word and your lives.

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

      They can't – they are too ignorant!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:49 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.