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. Mario

    Sometimes I can't believe people in this world just can't let others live their lives the way they want to. Let people be who they want to be. Oh and let's kill this pastor off too, what an idiot

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  2. Chuck T.

    I was raised in the christian faith and at no time has any church I have been associated with advocated murder, genocide or anything else. my current church openly welcomes gay, lesbian or any race. our misson on earth is not to condem, judge or punish. that is god's job.it sickens me that preachers like this get press and we have a thousand for everyone of those that quietly go about good work everyday for little or more often, no compense. if other churches refuse gays and lesbians, they are more then welcome at our house of worship. they are wanted and loved.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. tstorm92

    This mentally ill pastor is full of hate and intolerance but God is not the source of hate and intolerance. People like this thug, 100 years ago, wouldve preached the same against minorities. The real sickness are the people that follow diseased mine like so-called Pastor Knapp. If any violence on gays followed a threatening sermon like his, he should be in jail held as an accessory to murder for iniciting violence. Conservatives, like this nut, have completely lost their minds!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  4. dentont

    you have to ask...why would cnn even publish a stupid story. It's not news worthy, so it begs the question again, why would CNN publish this trash

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Drew

      shut up, it's about time that people are forced to face the very real bigotry in this country. You just don't want you and your ilk exposed, but we are onto you

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • PDX James

      Why did you read it and comment on it? Why have so many others? Apparently CNN is smarter than you are.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Hopefully to show how dangerous fundamentalist christianity is. It is no different than the taliban.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Sounds like someone does not want the dirty laundry aired. If enough people recognize the extreme bigotry that actually exists against various minorities they are more likely to support laws to protect them which is of course anathema to the bigots. Its difficult to hide in the light. The roaches are scurrying for the shadows.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  5. Ed

    All preachers should be put in fences or jailed for preaching hate and inciting riots. Better yet shot on side like deer hunting. I am tired of religion using it's agenda to control people for personal gain. Look at all the people that have been killed throughout history in the name of religion. Religion is a farce and is nothing more for weak minded individuals because they don't have the ability to think own their own. It is nothing more than a crutch. DOWN WITH RELIGION!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    i must have missed the part where jesus said i hate gays kill them all. but i am an atheist so i might just not understand the philosophies behind christs words

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The world you rightwing religious christian conservatives etc etc share and live in is full of us sinners and inferiors! The communities you live in are full of us, the roads you walk and drive on are full of us, the places where you shop are full of us, the food you consume and beverage you drink are manufactured by us employees, the internet you share is clogged up with us, everywhere you go, we're there! So if you want to get away from us sinners, I have another suggestion! Perhaps you could tab Newt Gingrich to build you people a space colony or perhaps an earth colony where you all could live and reproduce and get away from us infidels and sinners! So long suckers!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  8. Rynomite

    My God Thor thinks the three headed monster god Yahweh/Jebus/HolyGhost is a wuss.

    What has the three headed monster god done for us?

    Thor has freed us from Ice Giants! No Ice Giants exist today! Dispute that fact!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel God of Jewish Breakdancing

      Yeah, but those Farting Ice Midgets have become a problem of epidemic proportions!

      Thor was an old drinking buddy of mine. We would get together with Jim Morrison and get just lushed and lat waste to whatever city was handy. Bloody shame when Thor finally went to rehab. He became a much duller deity after that.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  9. n8362

    According to the Bible he is right. Even Christ makes it very clear in Matthew 5:17-19 that Mosaic Law is to be upheld.

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

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

      Romans 10:4, "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • n8362

      Most translations do not say it is the end of the law, but that the law is no longer needed for righteousness.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Trixi

    I'm not certain how anyone can see "religion" in the sewage this man spews.

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

    The rabid dogs of religion are the Independent Fundamental Baptist. The rogue denomination that for many years has harboured the KKK, fought against school desegregation, alcohol consumption, etc. They feel the need to have a whipping boy in order to justify their existance. Problem is they deliberatly manipulate the voting choices of their congregation. Which is a violation of the 501(3c) non-profit status. The time has come to tax them into extinction, they are a cult!

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

      I read Leviticus too

      Let's kill all the people who go to Red Lobster

      May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • wisdomVS

      dave... we would also have to include those that go to Long John Silvers and Captain Ds... simply because they have poor taste in seafood.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  12. Sy2502

    I seem to remember Jesus saved the adulteress from stoning, with the phrase "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone"

    I am an atheist and I know the Bible better than this pastor... go figure!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • wisdomVS

      I salute you. If Rev. Worley thinks he is without sin he should read this... "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  13. Todd

    Why do these churches and organizations receive tax shelters again? Because they are educators? Preaching hate should not get a tax shelter.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • wisdomVS

      Bingo! When is our government going to wise up.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  14. Telle

    People should just stop attending this church. The more that the media hops on stories like this, the more that people continue to do things like this. The fact that he gets attention for going against everything that Jesus Christ stood for only confounds the issue of bigotry. This man probably revels in all of the attention that this issue is getting, meanwhile some maladjusted youth somewhere is buying into this ignorant man's philosophies. Let's start to focus our attention on the wonderful things that people do every day for one another. I am getting fed up with the media's portrayal of these isolated cases of idiocracy making the public think that somehow that this is close to the norm.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      The people HIRED this fool. They WANT him doing this. They NEED him doing this. This is the Bible Belt. They are PROUD of him.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • wisdomVS

      I live in North Carolina... believe it or not, this is the norm. Scary.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  15. Dum

    If we are going to go by the book. Then women who are not virgins before they are married should be killed too. Makes perfect sense.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • R Burns

      Which book are you going by? The Old Testament, which Jesus did not fully support, or the New Testament which clearly outlines a lifestyle of peace?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • PDX James

      Burns, Jesus said the Mosaic laws were still to be upheld. But Christianity is really just gentiles stealing the Jews' religion and trying to make it their own because they thought it would sell better than making up a completely new god.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  16. Aetheist Dan

    Quit blaming gay people... blame the straight people that keep having gay babies! All religious people are insane. End of story.

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

      Ok I will admit it is my fault because I had a gay baby. If it will end this hatered I would be glad to take the blame.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  17. magnus

    this pastor and his followers are no different than al qaeda clerics and their followers. they are the same.

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


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

      Very good comparison.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Lynn

      How funny - I mean really funny - and really true that a VERY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF PREACHERS who speak so viciously against gays eventually COME OUT AS GAY THEMSELVES or are FOUND IN BED WITH OTHER MEN. They desperately hide behind all their noise, then wind up showing themselves to the world. Idiots.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Mike

      Why do churches get tax exempt status again?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Mike

      I agree 100% They are internal terrorists just like Al Qaeda. Sad that the bitter older generation is trying to control and divide the next generation of America through discrimination and bigotry in Jesus Christ's name. Shameful at best!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • donna

      hey now I am the older generation, it is not generations it is hatered and you can have that at any adult age

      May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • donna

      pedjudice, can take many forms and it is all wrong, gays, different cultures and skin tones, and there is prejudice agaiinst elders.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  18. 0Patrick0

    I find this kind of hateful Christianity indistinguishable as a sin from the kind these same sorts level against people of the Muslin faith. Believers of both religions quote scripture selectively, ignoring inconvenient truths they prefer not deal with. But this is true of all orthodox religions, which is why they should have no place in modern secular societies.

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

      Here is a Bible quote for ya! Judge not lest ye be judged.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  19. A Christian who's really trying.

    A WARNING TO CHRISTIANS: This is one fight you don't want to have. If you choose to, Satan* himself will hunt you with the same extreme prejudice found in Deuteronomy. (Satan*: The adversary; The accuser; The prosecutor; The instigator against you; One who stands in your way; Your persecutor; The one harsh opponent set on stoping you.)

    "The same way you judge others, you too will be judged." Matthew 7:2

    May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Another warning to Christians : Don't read Elaine Pagel's "The origins of Satan", or you will no longer buy the satan thing.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • YouAreStupid

      Selectively quoting the bible.........see i can do that too

      Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them

      May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • PDX James

      YouAreStupid, so if they do it doggie style instead of missionary, it's OK?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  20. Bible Clown©

    So he'd like the government to be able to kill people for their private lives, but not to mandate health care? A big whack with the Clown Hammer™ for that bozo.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • donna

      What I am worried about is that some whacko will take this seriously and I hope that they come back to the source when handing out punishment. I have never heard a gay person say to kill all Bible thumpers or put them in work camps. I am a Christian and real Christian that believes in spreading the Love Of Jesus Christ to as many peoole as possible. I am also a clown :o)

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • donna

      What I am worried about is that some whacko will take this seriously and I hope that they come back to the source when handing out punishment.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 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.