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. Vic65

    If Jesus were on Earth today, I doubt that he would preach putting gays and lesbians behind fences or killing them off. These are sermons of hate. Any pastor who would preach such hatred should remove themselves from the church. We are all God's children and we are all imperfect.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • n8362

      In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that the Mosaic Laws stay.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Cactus Jack

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said gays don't live in Iran. Where's the outrage against Iran?? Who cares what these religious nutjobs say.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  3. Earl Moore

    It just amazes me the a baptist minister would preach from the old testament. Leviticus is a manual for a tribe of priests. it also says you should be put to death for cursing your parents and blasphemy. I do not think there would be many people left if we did that.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  4. peter

    Is this idiot for real? And are there really people bigoted and stupid enough to follow him AND give money to his church?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • n8362

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

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • steve

      Ya he's real, and yes they are, and yes they are voting for Mitt Romney because they think the President was born in Kenya.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Scoott

    another self serving jerk looking for attention.
    amazing how others flock to the type and think they are the greatest.
    How about banning these clowns – instead of large soft drinks

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  6. Ken

    even though this guy is probably just after his 15 min of fame, I think radical christianity has gottenso far from the message of love Jesus preached and have perpetuated hate, fear, and intolerance. Little do they know that they are the ones living in sin.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • steve

      I agree, in their world Jesus carried a AR15 with a grenade launcher, and Ted Nugent is a profit.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Bad Religion

    Keep talking preachers, with every hate filled word uttered you make yourselves less and less relevant in a society that is changing and moving forward with out you.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  8. notanapologist

    To kill in the name of religion....if there is more proof that we need to say that the "bible" and this "religion" are utterly false – than this is it. Its the same in Islam and every other monotheism.

    A book or organization which asks you to commit murder in its name is unspeakably immoral and deviant. hardly the work of celestial being....more like Kim Jung Il.....You just have to read these text to see how laughably fabricated and man made they really are.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  9. Rochelle

    I am not religious, but think people should be free to worship whomever they want... that being said... I'm going to laugh if this guys gets hit by a bus, lightening or drowns. I think stupidity should be put behind an electric fence to die out.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  10. Mike

    He quotes Leviticus 20:13 to show his opinion. He must agree with Leviticus 20:12 too: "And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion" or Leviticus 20:14: "And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you." This is the context of Leviticus. It's absolutely barbaric and using this to support your claim against anything is crazy.

    Using the Old Testament as your guide book of how to live righteously could not be more backwards in the 21st century.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      I thought that Christianity was somewhat different from the Taliban?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Reely

      Very well said. It's quite obvious that the individuals who follow this line of thinking have clearly decided upon 'selective' practicing of the Bible teachings ..... if they followed Leviticus literally, I dare say they'd never leave their homes as everything they do, just short of breathing, would be considered a sin.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  11. Andi

    I don't understand why people take the bible literally. It is said to be the word of God, but the truth is that it's the word of God as recorded by human beings. Human beings greatly embellish, & human beings (ALL of us) lie on a daily basis. The other thing that baffles me is this: why on earth is clergy looking to hate? God is love, & what these people are doing could not be further from God.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  12. carlyjanew6


    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  13. Xavier

    I refuse to let a HUMAN tell me how to live my life– Ha Ha Ha the nerve of some people. Being Black and Gay in America is pretty awesome!! I am a young professional, own a car, living on my own, and a President that looks like me! Wonderful friends and family that support my lifestyle. I "came out" when I was 16 y.o. to my mom, yeah she was upset and sad for awhile but in the end she accepted me as I am.

    The deeper meaning behind all these "Pastors of Hate" is their morals are being tested by GOD. Seeing who's really teaching the true word and bringing forth the likeness of Jesus the Christ. These pastor (of hate) are not bring forth the likeness of Jesus. I AM!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Romanes eunt domus

      You are not quite there. Sooner or later, you will realize that being a gay Christian is like being a Jewish Nazi. The core ideology fundamentally despises you.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • ironfray

      Kudos to you my friend and continue to enjoy life! If GOD is truly about love, then it doesn't matter if you're gay or straight because pure and true love is NOT conditional.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  14. WachetAuf

    Christianity is off course. Its core message of tolerance and balance became diluted from the very beginning. Paul/saul started it. He was just a poltician who was determined to build a "church". Others, especially Constantine, came along and incorporated all sorts of pagan customs into the mix. Organized religion has nothing to do with Jesus' message. Like all other political groups organized religion is driven by primitive herding and tribal instincts. It is Darwinism in full bloom. Survival of the group is the predominant motivation. Jesus' message was targeted to only a small number of people. While he shared his full knowledge with his disciples, he hid large parts of his message from the masses, using only metaphors/parables because he realized that the masses would never understand the message directly. I am sure that there are true followers of Jesus' message out there. I would also bet that the great masses who identify themselves as "Christians", "Protestants", who claim to be "born again" do not know one true follower. No true follower of Jesus' message will call himself "Christian". It would be a deceptive act evidencing the greatest arrogance.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Lamer

    His voice mail filled up with messages saying "things you don't want your kids to hear," he told CNN affiliate KTKA.

    But it's ok for them to hear me advocate violence and murder.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  16. echrismd

    time to revoke his tax exempt status.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  17. delores e jones

    Lots of haters stand behind a pulpit spewing poison - what's so sad is that they have many attentive listeners. If I were sitting in an audience and this kind of talk began, I'd walk out and hope others would follow.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  18. palintwit

    Another one of Sarah Palin's "real Americans". Pathetic POS.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Nicole Chardenet

    I'll bet he calls himself a "pro-lifer" too. Typical. He's probably pro-capital punishment too, and just the sort of wuss who'd rather the government do his dirty work for him.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I believe the holy bible says we're all creatures of God or created in the image of God! Then if that is the case, all gays and lesbians are also created in the image of God! So if you're going to attack gays and lesbians for being born gay, then you're also attacking God for the creation of gays and lesbians! That is absurd!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Sean

      Do you mean that they need to think before that start blasting?

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

      That's the thing with religion.. the followers seem to only believe what they want to and ignore the inconsistencies. Logic has no place within the walls of Churches.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:37 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.