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. PaulMoATX

    Pretty sickening stuff. I'm sure glad I don't associate with people like that.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Leslie Song

    And CNN,

    Why are you publicizing the sickening spew of hate filled so called preachers with murder on their minds?

    When the murder happens, you too will be guilty of aiding and abetting it.


    May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ND

      I 100% disagree. These people need to be exposed. This type of hatred simmers and grows behind closed doors, and in dark churches, by people who stir up the most wicked side of our humanity... We can not, I repeat, we can not, let these people spew their bile with out putting the spot light on them. We give them a platform, not to praise them, but to hang them out for everyone to see. We now know this preacher's face, and we know he preaches hate. He will forever be branded as the Christian Pastor who advocated the killing of gays, something that will haunt him long after the gay rights debate is over and rights have been extended. What really needs to happen, is for Christians that advocate rights for the LGBT community to stand up, and speak out, with as much force and righteousness as those who preach hate. But, what we see insteadis the christian community simply standing by and letting extremists speak for their whole religion. If you want people to believe Christianity is about peace and love, then it starts with you. You need to stand up and say "No, this type of speech is not acceptable."

      May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  3. Tom

    Islamic extremists now Christian extremists. Religion continues to be the scourge of mankind.....ironic

    May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      NOW christian extremists .. you state that as though this is new. This guy is mild in comparison to religious history.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      PEOPLE are the scourge of mankind, regardless of belief, or lack thereof.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  4. Bruce

    Any religion that tries to convert others to their belief is simply a tool for control. That includes islam, christianity, and catholicism. It always creates an "us vs them" mentality. It breeds hatred. Any religion where there is a "supreme leader", think pope or ayatollah, is just a control mechanism for sheeple.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • highnoon

      Catholicism is also Christianity, maybe you mean Protestantism, Baptism or Methodism, or any other denomination not affiliated with the Pope pyramid. Personally I don't see any difference between them and believing in Unicorns. They are all loonies and think they have patent on truth and have the right to tell others what to do and think. Control freaks.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  5. martini

    Another reason why I don't attend "church".

    May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      This is another reason to help people break the church's psychological lock.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  6. Tracy Hayes

    Somebody on here has already suggested this, but you can leave this sick man a message on his church web site. Go to http://www.founders.org and do a search for Curtis Knapp and send him an email. I just did, he needs to get some phsyciatric help.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  7. rob

    Someone should kill the pastor and burn down his church.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  8. COGowan

    Behold 21st century Christianity. Same as it ever was.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Josh

      Reverse your numbers and it would be a bit less shocking... : /

      May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • human rights for all

      I'm a believing Christian but that's not my religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  9. mikebo

    You reap what you sow.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  10. dick Delson

    this idiot is a classic right wing SCHMUCK.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Jack

      Aren't ultra conservative "Christians" amusing. It's so fun to watch their ignorance, fear and hatred. Seriously though, anyone who thinks this way is just a coward and definitely not any kind of Christian.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • willie

      He is first a christian, which is where all this hate speech is coming from.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      Yeah. Hoping that they get saved is a REAL hate-filled act, huh? M0ron...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Yeah. Hoping that they get saved is a REAL hate-filled act, huh? M0ron..."

      saying the government should kill gays is kind of a hate-filled act

      May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  11. me

    I'd rather the government kill pastors instead.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  12. If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

    And yet this man's church won't be empty come this Sunday ...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Save Us Jeebus!

    Please save us from your followers, Jesus!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      As long as you get saved, I don't care about the motive.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  14. Jack

    I hope he finds out his son is gay. Then what, you going to kill your own child?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      no dummy. he'll gonna be nice and lock him up, and drop in the food.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw

      Killing your own kids is part of the bible too, so he is probably okay with that.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Next on "Dancing With The Stars", Zombie Jesus does a Mambo with Lady Gaga

      Bible says it's okay if he disses you.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Barn

      You don't have to go any further than 4 versus up from the very one he cites. Leviticus 20:9 states that "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head."

      Killing one's children for petty, finite, imagined transgressions is every bit as much god's command as killing gays for the same, it seems.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  15. Eric

    This is just stupid.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  16. regular tuner

    And guys like this preach "religion of love & peace" ?!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      Love means doing what is best for the whole group, not the individual. Ever see "Lean On Me"?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      so killing people for the 'good of the group' is a good thing?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • derp

      "so killing people for the 'good of the group' is a good thing?"

      Absolutely, just ask Hitler.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  17. Jim

    Oh, God, NO!! Please, NO!! As a Christian minister I am stunned that any (ANY!) Christian would even think such evil.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • willie

      The bible says what he is thinking. If you did not know then go back and read it.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • derp

      What does Harry Potter say about gays. That book is as relevant as the bible.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  18. Leslie Song

    These pastors 'float' the idea of killing gays and then claim to back away from the idea – but what they are REALLY doing is PLANTING the idea – and they will sit back while the crazies in their communities try to carry this out.
    And they will shake their heads and cluck – but THEY and ALL YOU WHO SUPPORT THEM OR EXCUSE THEM, WILL BE GUILTY OF MURDER. This is how the Nazis started their work. Watch out!

    All you who call yourselves Christians better hold onto your faith before it is stolen from you by murderous so-called priests.

    This kind of talk and behavior is NOT CHRISTIAN.

    You have a brain – that is why you must interpret your bible in a civilized manner.

    The bible is full of contradictory sayings – that is because God wants you to THINK.

    Get out of other people's beds and private lives, you Christians, and go feed some hungry children.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bad Religion

      I agree with you, they are just planting seeds of hatred and waiting for someone to do something. And this is indeed the way Nazism came into being, not exactly mind you, but the parallels and methods are strikingly similar.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Fact

    How many people read the transcript of the sermon?
    Well, before anyone else makes another comment at least read the last few pages. This Pastor is NOT for killing gays.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Drew

      Yeah, he's not actually advocating it. Just bringing it up and saying it would be a good idea. It's just a really cowardly way of spreading hatred

      May 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Josh

      Way to defend an evil bigot. America should be proud...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Barn

      He admits his flesh wants to and only his faith in this belief system stops him.

      Here's hoping his faith never waivers!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I listened to the sermon on the link. Leatherman might not be asking for it in his but Knapp is saying the government should kill gays in his one.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  20. Don Hurly

    The only big sin here is organized religion of any type. Brain-washing and mind control for the masses – all based on agendas as well as mythological and medieval b.s.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • ziggy2

      Well, Don, there is a *God* and he ain't YOU. Go find your higher power (oops, there isn't one), but just shut up!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      I find it funny when "freethinkers" regurgitate the same old claptrap from other "freethinkers", and then act like the thought was their own. You are a sheep and you are too dumb to realize it.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      The difference Bill is usually people come to the conclusion of brainwashing independently based on observation and experience, whereas the religious sheep are that way because they get all their ideas from the same single source that tells them how to behave.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:58 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.