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. Kenneth Alonzo


    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bible Clown©


      Dumb. Turn off your capslock, and remember that more that two exclamation marks is the sure sign of an insane mind.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      Naw. Just ban Christian marriage. Do unto others and all that.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  2. Michael

    @ WASP, the answer to that question is that preachers, pastors, priests, rabbi's and the list could go are all humans. All true Christians are humans and capable of making mistakes. So, your question is how do you know if your preacher is leading you to salvation or hell? The answer is the Bible. To a non-Christian this will not make sense, but if you claim to be a Christian and you are truly trying to live as God would have you to live, then the Bible is the best thing we have to measure our lives to. The problem is that most people, who claim to be Christians, go to church on Sunday morning and will listen to what the pastor says about the Bible and that's it. They don't read it for themselves or they never even go back and see if what the pastor said is in the Bible. They just assume that the preacher said it and therefore it must be and that is incorrect. The Bible says to try everything by the word of God. Meaning as much as I love my pastor, if he says something I line it up with scripture before I take it as fact.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      All "true Christians" need to take Logic 101, and learn about "no true Scotsman"

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel God of Jewish Breakdancing

      Oh Yeah?!?! Well the most famous Scotsman of all was NOT SCOTTISH!!! Scotty from Star Trek was actualy a freaking Canadian!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Bippy !!! 🙂 So, you traitor. I though you were the Disco rodent-god ? Fluffy can't dance.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  3. Rae Ann Pointer

    I love stories like this, if only to imagine who is more stupid, the subject of the article, or the nimrods who generalize to a whole population. What is even more fascinating is to see historically persecuted groups like Jews and Gays come here and live the other side of their argument. At least now they understand the "other side".

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Excellent point. Lost on most here I suspect.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  4. JD

    And I thought my mother was terrible when she said God loved me so much he'd give me AIDS just to get my attention. It's people like this that make me want nothing to do with religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Chuck Hendrix in Jasper, Ga.

    The Pastor has it backwards. If any one should be killed off by the Government, it is religious zealots. Religion has caused more death through the history of mankind than any other "excuse" for killing others.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  6. Lesliee

    Much has been made of the statements of the old Testament–otherwise known as the Old Covenant with God's people. The New Covenant (New Testament) Jesus frequently rebukes the religious who want to condemn others by enforcing old covenent rules. And in The Great Sermon, he says, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned." (Luke 6:36 & 37.)

    Just as important, the Apostle Peter, who was still devoutly following the old covenent rules after Jesus' resurrection, was told three times in a vision, "What God has cleansed, no longer call unholy." Immediately thereafter, he was invited to preach to the household of a non-Jew, and he said:

    "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean."

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • tuamike

      So to be clear, you are stating that some of the words in your book can simply be ignored or looked over? So the hate that is written in your book can be overlooked, but the hate that is written in other religious books should not be? How does that work?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Lesliee


      How does that differ from other religious books? Think of the Christian Bible as a sort of V.1 (Old Testament/Covenent) and V.2 (New Testament/Covenant). Where the New Covenant (and all that it means, which is Jesus) contradicts or overrides the Old Covenant, the New Covenant is the new deal. That's how it works.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Michael

      @ Lesliee, you are twisting and misusing scripture. The passage you mention has nothing to do with pointing out sin or saying something is wrong and has nothing to do with gay marriage. That had to do with the fact that jews were God chosen people and did not believe that gentiles could be grafted in through Jesus.

      To your first point h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y is not only addressed in the Old Testament (old covenant). It is also addressed in the New Testament (new covenant) in Romans 1:26-28 and then again in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. So, this is not just some old testament law. (Just in case anyone is interested it is addressed twice in the Old Testament as well in Leviticus Chapters 18 & 20. Which deals with several s-e-x-u-a-l sins, not just being g-a-y. Everyone says Christian are picking on the g-a-y-s, but that isn't true, we have been telling straight couples for a long time not to have s-e-x before you get married. We have also told married couples not to have s-e-x with anyone other than your spouse.

      I will however, say that I completely 100% disagree with this minister. I do not believe that someone who is g-a-y should be killed. My hope is that they come to repentance before the Lord, just as I did over my sin. For a preacher to say that does more harm than good for the Kingdom of God. Jesus loves you! He does not love your sin, but He does love you and wants you to enter into a lasting relationship with Him! Point in case, everyone likes to point out the story in the Bible where the religious leaders brought the woman caught in the act of a-d-u-l-t-e-r-y and said by law she should be stoned and Jesus said let him without sin cast the first sin. This shows that we should not kill g-a-y-s, because of their sins. However, after all the religious leaders dropped their stones and left. Jesus did say I love you sweetie, now be on your way. He said, go and sin no more. (John 8:4-11) The point here is that while it is Biblical to point out sin and call for repentance, it is not biblical for us to say that person should be k-illed.

      God is for you not against you and because He loves you, He wants the best for you! That is the reason for all the rules, because He knows what is best for us and if you fall in love with Him, the rules don't even seem like rules. Kinda like, when I fell in love with my wife, I didn't think about the fact that there are other women out there that I can't be with, because I'm just so thankful for the woman that God has blessed me with. Same with God!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Michael

      Please forgive the grammical errors in my above post. I typed this quickly on my break at work and unfortunately, CNN, does haven't a way to undo a post. Normally I would let it go, but I need to correct the things that if not read the right way can change the whole meaning of the post.

      "Jesus did say I love you sweetie, now be on your way. He said, go and sin no more. (John 8:4-11)" taken out of the 3rd paragraph should read "Jesus did not say I love you sweetie, now be on your way. He said, go and sin no more. (John 8:4-11)

      May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  7. Gordon

    Any historian will tell you that there is extremely little information about anyone named Jesus from that era. Everything that people think they know, is from their bible. Historically there is zip.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You don't consider the Bible historical? Most scholars do. What you mean is the is no corraborrating evidence, which is actually a false statement. There is a mounting scholarship which verifies Jesus' life and His crucifixion. Try learning before you comment

      May 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Bob Baden

    The government is already killing us. It's called an imputed tax. Look it up.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  9. Mastodonrocks

    I love the way these morons want to pull an OLD TESTAMENT verse as their backup. Ummm when Jesus died on the cross he created a new covenant, aka the NEW TESTAMENT, which had all the new revisions of gods law. That makes the OT null and void and should not be taking as law. Idiots. If you believe any of this stuff anywho.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  10. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom


    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • tb63

      Ah, love that ol' classic! Thanks for posting!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Vik

    This fool is probably gay or a child molester

    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • bdgfn

      Probably both...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So whatever I come out against you accuse me of being? Your comment has no value

      May 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  12. Kris

    Always got to love when Christians cite the half of the bible that is NOT the basis for their separation from Judaism. They really need to go through it better and find how much of Leviticus they themselves violate on a regular basis.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  13. hank

    Is there something in the water supply in Kansas that causes this?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Obvious

      The reason that the were called "settlers" was that they got to places like Kansas and said "I'll settle for this."

      May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • BCW - NYC

      The Wicked Witch of the West poisoned the water supply in Kansas as her revenge to Dorothy and her friends.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  14. tuamike

    Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

    If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives. (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

    If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

    Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

    If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

    Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

    Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood. (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB)


    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Obvious

      All you need is love. And a submachine gun

      May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Chuck Hendrix in Jasper, Ga.

      Not much difference between Muslims and "Christians" is there?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  15. dowdotica

    2 things i rememebr from bible school. do unto others as you would have done to you and speak no ill. imagine it if we could just practice those 2 little things i was taught so long ago how much differnet the world ould be today. tragically however hypocrisy seems to be the norm. pathetic!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Furby

      The Golden Rule? That's no way to raise and hold power over a flock. You need SCAPEGOATS, something for them to hate. That gets the juices flowing and the money pouring into the collection plate. 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  16. Kelly

    Why are there so many articles about gays and Christians in the "belief" section?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • tb63

      Because a certain percentage (not all) Christians are totally fixated on gays and lesbians.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Becuase some Christians "believe" gays should be rounded up and executed.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      Probably because it's a belief of the Christians. Just a thought.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ask CNN. They write the articles. Maybe they have an interest in keeping the debate alive

      May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  17. lagrange2

    Radical evangelicals are no different than radical Islamists. C.S. Lewis said, "Beware the Fundamentalists." The Old Testament also says 'an eye for and eye' but we don't do that anymore nor do we stone people because we have evolved intellectually and are more enlightened spiritually. Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant which was made between God and Abraham according to man's understanding at that time. Christ initiated a New Covenant of love, compassion and tolerance. Anyone who preaches hatred, rascism or the subjugation of women is not of the New Covenant. Pastors who abuse their position to preach their intolerant personal views have no understanding of the real message of Christ.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  18. bandgeek1

    1) Please don't lump all religions or faiths in the same category as this hate-filled poor excuse for a human. Presbyterians and several other faiths are allowed to ordain gays as pastors, elders and deacons and have a very gracious stance toward the LGBT community.

    2) The people advocating death or imprisonment of gays and lesbians are beneath contempt and thrive on the publicity their idiotic comments garner.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  19. giggity

    so peaceful and christian message, way to go

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Kelly

      That is so NOT the Christian message.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Chris

      Accept people for who they are and the people they are and not judge them for what the Bible says. That paster is just speeking evil.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  20. 0Patrick0

    Except that this guy gives rattlesnakes a bad name.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:04 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.