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. PJ

    This guy would fit right in at a gay bar. He must be closeted.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |


    This "preacher" should be ashamed of himself. God's last commandment (in the new testament) was ..."Love one another as I have loved you." Anything less is bs. Also, I know plenty of gays and lesbians and not a one came from gay parents.....so the fence is a very ignorant idea.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  3. ShadowEffect

    As has been shown time and time again in similar cases, those who preach morality are often the ones to fall farthest from it.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Paul

    Christians need to police their own. This guy has no business being a pastor and preaching. To say he is an embarrassment is an understatement. He has no clue as to what Jesus' message is all about.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  5. AmyinCambridge

    Doesn't Leviticus also tell us to stone our daughters on their wedding nights if they are not virgins? How many Conservative Christian fathers are signing up for that?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  6. Timothy

    Hitler executed this same directive during World War 2. If you Support NAZI Values, you would attend these Churches, and disgrace the Memory of the Soldiers Fallen form the Greatest Generation.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  7. john

    What a simplton. Where does he think they were born from? LOL.. It must be horrible to be that stupid.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  8. Rapture

    And he has tax exempt status? Why, exactly?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Trumpy

      Exactly. I'm so sick of bigoted hatemongers receiving undue government benefits to support their spreading of filth and vitriol.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Rammie

    And by the way you followers of the bible... how many camels have passed throught the eye of a needle lately?
    Ready to part with your material wealth yet ?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      and whats so funny about that one is that people will try to claim the eye of a needle was the name of a small city gate or some such nonsense, of which there is no evidence to support.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Anchorite

    It was my understanding that freedom of speech does not extend to advocating violence against other people, which is a crime no matter how unlikely such violence would be. Apparently that doesn't apply when it's violence against gays, foreigners, blacks, Muslims...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  11. tony

    Conservative compromise! Marriage should be legal between any two people who own more than 2 guns each.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  12. n8362

    Thank god we have the Bible for a moral compass.

    Without religion we would not know we are supposed to murder gays, non-virgin brides and disobedient children.
    We would have to rely on critical thinking and common sense.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  13. David

    But he calls himself a christian. We all should be very ashamed that he is head of a church. Not much different between him and a pediphile priest.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  14. cwgmpls

    For all of you church leaders wondering why attendance is down, there is your answer.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  15. bigben

    agreed with what Duke said. The bible is a stupid book. Only idiots will read or believe in it.

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

      It's ok to read, but you don't have to treat it like an instruction manual

      May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Horus

      Most all atheists have read the bible. That is the only way to make a determination about it's content. You can't fairly judge that which you have not read.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. jasoncdanforth

    "... but has not love..."

    May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  17. The Other White Meat

    Wow! I love the jesus religion! "Do as I say, and not what my 2000 year old dead magik figure says to do!" i mean, this is the same cult that has no problem with its' "leaders' touching our kids! What a great religion!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Drew

    I wish these nuts would just get raptured already. Either that or a big bowl of kool-aid

    May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Fluffy's neighbors have a sign they put when they are not home. "Sorry, we're raptured".

      May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The rapture already happened. October 11, 1975. I remember it like it was yesterday. Freshman year of college. My girlfriend – who was a very good fundamentalist – came visit. Her aunt lived in the same town and she was staying there. Did I mention that she was a very good girl? My roomie went home for the weekend leaving me alone in the dorm room. She came up to the room. She liked the bar we had set up. I don't think she had ever tried alcohol before. She had 3 Sloe-Gin Fizzes. Before I knew what was happening, she was having her way with me. All of a sudden she was yelling, "Oh god, I'm coming". Over and over. Then she grabbed her clothes and ran out. I never saw her or heard from her again. I just assumed she got rapture, and I was left behind d.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  19. Deanne

    This is nothing new. I grew up in a church like this and never thought to question it. Then, I grew up and went to college. There everything I grew up believing and never questioning was suddenly questioned. I went back to church while visiting my home town and realized the church wasn't teaching love and acceptance but hate. I have never been back and never will. I don't believe in preaching hate, I understand they are trying to teach to hate the sin not the person...but they aren't doing that. They are talking about locking them up and murdering them, that's wrong and the last thing that should ever come out of the mouth of a preacher.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Weasley

    It appears the only ones acting like true Christians in our society are the liberal atheists.

    I see more compassion towards those in need, more love towards fellow man, less judgement, less fear and hate, essentially, the qualities you would expect from those who follow the teachings of Jesus.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Drew

      It's funny, most people didn't really behave very Christian until humanism and secularism started to emerge in the renaissance

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      My wife (who is a believer) says I am the most christian atheist she has known, lol.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:03 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.