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. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Two words to the likes of pastor Terry Jones, pastor Charles Worley and pastor Curtis Knapp...BANG BANG, BRANCH DAVIDIANS or JIM JONES! Go on, make our day! So long suckers!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Ignorance Fighter

    What a coincidence - I think the government should kill ignorant pastors!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  3. Alex

    These preachers claim to represent the word or Christianity....BUT...Is this what Christ would have ever preached? He preached profound tolerance of all people. These ignoramouses should be ashamed of themselves. They blaspheme not only Chirstianity but religion itself.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • n8362

      In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear 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 1:28 pm |
  4. Lisa

    How can ANYONE be expected to follow Christianity when most of the people that do are nuts???

    May 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tracy Hayes

      Didn't you mean to say ALL?

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

      LOL, Tracy, I stopped myself. It wasn't easy!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  5. R.G.

    With Christians like this roaming around in 2012 I'm sooooooooo glad God gave us The Buddha!

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

      Exactly!!! I'm a lifelong Buddhist and yogi and completely thankful for that! May all benefit!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Walter Raleigh

      Buddhism does not reference any God that created any of the Buddhas.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Andrew

    It also grieves the Holy Spirit to say things that don't encourage or uplift, promote the love of Jesus, encourage community and peace with everyone, and otherwise to be completely misguided in what Jesus and Christianity is truly all about. On behalf of all Christians and Christian preachers who say this stuff as if it is actually compatible with the reality of Christ, I'd just like to apologize. And I'd also like to point out that they are wrong. Flat out, completely, and utterly wrong. Any scripture they throw to support their hate and anger filled remarks I will throw back with John 3:17 "Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save it."
    We seem to miss that part, where Jesus came here not to put people in electric fences but bring them out of the mud. Anyone who preaches this message is not speaking for Jesus, they are speaking for the Evil they are so adamantly fighting against.
    Jesus is love and hope. Satan is bigotry and fear. You be the judge on who's side these so called "pastors" are on, but I think it's fairly obvious.

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

    Drew, your wheels are coming off. Better get a grip on life

    May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Drew

      You clearly don't have any real point to make, why don't you get lost?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Eva

    This is why we have and should defend church-state separation.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • dentont

      Drew, I believe you said a comments back when you said he should be killed

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

      I was being facetious. If anyone was to be rounded up and killed by the government, which I obviously would never advocate, it should be people like this guy first

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  9. Confused

    So "who" exactly is "the government"? I thought "the people", like you and me, were the government. Don't we govern ourselves in America? To say "We punish...", yet he feels someone else should be left to do the dirty work (kill or murder human beings), is sheer ignorance and void of personal responsibility.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Walter Raleigh

      If you think you are the government, you're not paying attention.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  10. halfbakedlunatic

    'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded.

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

      Well, if it's supposed to pacify them we sure know that doesn't work!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Peteyroo

    Do those of us not burdened by religion have to follow Christian values as well? Are Christian values an obligation for everyone? Does the Christian majority have the right to tell the non-Christian minority how to live our lives? Would your Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, have wanted to kill gays or imprison them? What ever happened to "Love thy neighbor"?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  12. geenabeana

    Would he feel this way if he had a gay child? This kind of ignorance is absolutely sickening.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bruce

      This Pastor is the american version of the Taliban. He is willing to kill anybody that does not believe as he does. When are people going to realize that religion is a PERSONAL belief. Believe what you want, but leave the rest of us alone.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  13. cris

    "My hope is for their salvation, not for their death."

    How mighty white of you... ... .. .

    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  14. MCO

    It's a pity the Romans didn't have more lions and tigers.

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

    Between the Bible thumpers and the Christian Haters, this article should keep you busy for a while

    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Drew

      Don't act like there is an equivalency here. When was the last time you heard an atheist in this country say something so hateful?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  16. Duke

    I never really understood religion
    Except it seems a good excuse to kill
    I never really could make a decision
    I don't supose I ever really will

    I can't relate to any power structure
    Where ego is the driving energy
    I let mine go long, long time ago, now
    When I decided that I would be free

    Only thing I understand is living
    The biggest sacrifice to make is death
    Once you're dead, there's noting left for giving
    The life means fighting your every breath

    May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Duke

      An old song

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  17. Al

    He's no different than the radical clerics calling for the killing of Westerners. In fact he's worse, he is calling for the murder of his fellow countrymen.

    Ask this preacher what he thinks of a man who never married, and hung out almost exclusively with men well into his early thirties? What about when he was arrested he was in a garden with a nearly naked boy?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  18. richellelj

    I guess he forgot to read the part where it says "thou shalt not kill" and the other part that says "judge not lest ye be judged". This guy is not a Christian.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Drew

    The government should really be killing people like this preacher

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  20. Karloff

    Baligamy? That's what Knapp said.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 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.