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. Mike

    This is why I ignore people who insist we should vote purely on economic issues.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      why is that?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • G

      Are... you implying we should vote purely on religious reasons?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  2. JohnJohn

    How is this guy different from an Al Qaeda nutjob? Reading a fantasy book and telling people they need to kill people who are different based on that fantasy book.
    Even real Christians (which this guy is NOT) don't follow that whacked out mumbo-jumbo in the old testament.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • fandancy

      And nether do true Muslims. The terrorists follow the nut jobs peaching radical Islam.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • mshawaii808

      They are ALL NUTCASES!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  3. D

    Wanna get rid of gay people? First you have to get rid of the straight people who are producing them, lets start there.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jack

      It's a complete choice. You liberals sure like to twist things to you own liking. At some point they decided to do the act.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • WOW

      How do they produce them?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Jack: Really??? Where do you get that idea?? Point us to the evidence that backs your claim (the buybull does not count as evidence).

      May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • WOW

      @truth: The real question is this: Are you born gay and can you prove it? If you can't prove that you are born gay then it must be a choice or be based on experiences a person has from birth on. On the flip side: If you don't want to believe in choice or experiences then okay but STOP saying you are born gay because you just can't prove it. So if you can't prove you are born gay then how are you gay?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I am close friends with a woman who comes from a traditional, Portuguese Catholic family.
      From teh time she was old enough to talk, she started telling her parents that she wanted a pe/nis.
      She was a tomboy throughout her youth and has been attracted to women and women only for as long as anyone can remember.
      Her family tried shame, guilt, prayer and beatings to get the gay out of her from 4 years old until she reached adulthood.
      She wanted very much to be "normal" and OK in her family, priest and God's eyes, but she simply cannot change who she is or to whom she is attracted.
      For her entire life, she has endured bigotry and hatred from those closest to her.
      She is now middle aged and has been in a relationship with the same woman for some 15 years.
      Her own brother won't speak to her because her marriage is "an abomination" – though he married his first cousin!
      If she wasn't born that way, then she must have "decided" to endure lifelong hardship and immense psychological trauma when she was around 2 years old.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • WOW

      @Doc: Interesting story from her side only. just wanted to point that out because you told her side of her life's story. You have no way of knowing the truth about her life only what she wishes to share with you.

      Okay that said. In your story of her life you seem to project the notion that she would have turned away from being gay if she could because of all the issues she faced by being gay. That defense sheds no light on the facts. The same maybe said for the women that is abused by her husband or by someone she knows but yet does not turn away or seek help. Bottom line is that stories of someone's gay life does not equate to the fact they are born gay. You can't prove that anyone is born gay.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      She is my partner's aunt and I know her family very well.
      Her mother is still alive and while her english isn't so good, the look on her face when her gay daughter is mentioned speaks volumes. And I know that her mother has no problems inflicting beatings becuase the same type of punishment was adminstered to my partner. I've also met her brother who married his first cousin, though I don't know him very well.
      So maybe she wasn't born gay – but her older sister (who is effectively my mother in law with whom I had daily interaction) confirmed that she's been "butch" since toddlerhood.
      Are you seriously saying that a 2 year old made a conscious decision to reject her "natrural" proclivities for the rest of her life?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • WOW

      @Doc: No I am not saying it was a consious choice at age two for at age two I would not be convienced that a person would understand enough to make that choice but experiences she had since birth can also have directed her in that direction. With that said, at age two, how much would she remember later as she grew up about what she felt or decided on when she was only two?

      I don't know this for fact but I would say there is a point where you probably stop remembering things be it age 2, 3, 5 or when ever. If the earliest time she could remember, keep in mind that memories blur with time, is 2 and she said she felt that way then no wonder she feels she was born gay but until it can be proven a person is born gay the we must look to choices and experiences is all I am saying.

      Again we are looking at an isolated story based on limited information of what is facts, blurred memories and so forth.

      Until born gay is proven what other choices do you have in stating why people are gay. I don't have a problem with gay people but I do have a problem when they claim they are born gay without proof. I do think it is a sin but that does not mean I can't love them and hope for the best. I do want to state the fact that this preacher is wrong in what he said for it is not up to him to proclaim death on a group of people. He is a bad example of what Christianity is and he too is one of many isolated people out there doing wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Again we are looking at an isolated story based on limited information of what is facts, blurred memories and so forth.

      Until born gay is proven what other choices do you have in stating why people are gay. I don't have a problem with gay people but I do have a problem when they claim they are born gay without proof. I do think it is a sin but that does not mean I can't love them and hope for the best. I do want to state the fact that this preacher is wrong in what he said for it is not up to him to proclaim death on a group of people. He is a bad example of what Christianity is and he too is one of many isolated people out there doing wrong."

      Obviously this person wants to hold onto their prejudice and bigotry because their ego can't handle that the experts have proven them wrong. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience no sense of choice about their sexual orientation. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • WOW

      “Heterose.xual behavior and hom.ose.xual behavior are normal aspects of human se.xuality.”
      Definition of BEHAVIOR 1a : the manner of conducting oneself b : anything that an organism does involving action and response to sti.mulation c : the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment
      Glad that we know people are not born gay.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  4. Religion

    Christian Taliban strikes again! You religious nutjobs are going to be the death of us all.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jack

      The only ones that are going to die are the ones in a high risk aids eviorment.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Proud Mother of a Gay Man

      very very true!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • WOW

      @Rel: Did you just make a new word? Chritban?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. G

    Good thing nobody needs an outdated belief system anymore.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  6. Kem

    welcome to the 4th Reich...

    May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • WOW

      Welcome to the land of Unicorns and fairy tales.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Unicorns are indeed a part of the fairy tale that is the Bible (Isaiah 34:7).
      Also half man half goat beasts (Isaiah 13:21 and 34:14), flaming snakes (Numbers 21:6), seven headed dragons (Revelation 12:3) and serpents that can kill just by looking at you (Jeremiah 8:17).

      May 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  7. 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 2:12 pm |
    • mshawaii808

      God? WHAT God are you referring to. Religion? That is what it is-religion! No bases for your comment. WHAT makes YOU think that YOU are serving the right GOD? You don't know, it's all religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Proud Mother of a Gay Man

    Funny because the guy in the video looks like a pedo

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jack

      What do you think your son is?.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • BillW

      Most pedo's are just like you Jack – straight (if in fact you are)!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "What do you think your son is?."

      i would suggest gay, judging from the name.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • WOW

      @Proud: Really?? Profiling from a Mother of a Gay Man LOL

      May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  9. Potrzebie

    We'd solve a lot more problems in this world by killing priests and preachers than by killing gays. Let's start with these guys and then move on to the pedophile Catholic priests.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • mshawaii808


      May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  10. John

    Christianity is being hijacked by bottom feeding preachers like this hostile insect mind who has the arrogance to claim he knows the mind of God. This kind of Christian freak-show is the reason I flushed the faith I was born into and blessed by Pope John XXIII aka the "Good Pope John". Times have changed, and Buddhism has become my compass. It is a choice that came to natural to be wrong.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Joe

      Haircutters all...how can they make the choice to cut their hair and say they are righteous enough to judge another of their sins using the same area of the holy book.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  11. BillW

    What these violent, ugly preachers profess the government to do is not a crime. However, what they profess is a hate crime and that is against the law. This law should be enforced and these people should be tried, convicted and incarcerated up to the fullest extent of the law/bw

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • fandancy

      And they are able to do it under tax exempt "church" status.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • BillW

      BTW, also what they preach is sharia law. Too the best of my memory – not only is this not the law in America but these ugly, hateful people and there congregations are pushing for extra laws to outlaw the practicing of sharia law. Hmmmmm, this does make one what to think, does it not?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  12. phearis

    Me thinks Pastor Curtis Knapp preaches too much ..... Whatcha got hidin there in the closet Knapp? hmmmmm?? Having some "private time" with your Alter Boys and pointing the diverting finger elsewhere?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. WillH85

    Probably a closet gay.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So, you hate him because he claims he's a Christian or because he doesn't claim he's gay?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  14. fandancy

    Shouldn't these guys be preaching in Afghanistan? Their narrow minded views would dovetail perfectly with those of the Taliban.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • mshawaii808

      Yup! thank you, good comment!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  15. liz

    I think the government should kill Christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Horus

      X's 2 ;-}

      May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  16. derp

    We are witnessing the third world theocratization of a once great country.

    In three generations this country will more closely resemble Pakistan than it does the America I was born into.

    Shame Republicans, shame on you for pandering to this. Shame on you for empowering this. If my father was still alive he would be disgusted at what you have done to his party.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  17. noly972

    American Christians, at least the ones with loud voices, have become purveyors of hatred in the name of Jesus Christ. That's a perversion of the teachings of The Christ and, I would guess, a sin (if any non-priest/pastor were guilty of such an action) in all Christ-centered religions. It's interesting that none of these Christian leaders is concerned about sinning. They're either convinced that they aren't sinning or they believe that there's nothing to worry about since 'sin' was invented by the religious leaders of yore as a means of manipulation. Many of these people haven't been followers of The Christ for decades, if ever.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Horus

      So if you are a true follower you support what Retired Navy suggested below? Or are you the typical cherry-picking apologist that claims when Christ died it washed away the OT....except that the Gospels reference the OT so what's the deal there? back to cherry-picking....

      May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • jrl1234

      @noly972 your statement way off, CNN and other liberal media finds these 1 in a million nut jobs and tries to associate them with conservatives and republicans this does not represent most conservatives. I am a conservative republican and have no ill will toward the GL community.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Retired Navy

    Alright Pastor Knapp, full-steam ahead, let's begin taking everything written in the bible literally and meting out punishment against our fellow humans for everything the bible ever declares sinful. I mean clearly, it's the lord's word, and a godly man like yourself would NEVER just cherry-pick a select few verses because they happen to justify your hatred, right? Of course not, the bible is righteous from cover-to-cover, so let's get the ball rolling on some other things too:

    1. In many instances, including Leviticus 11:10, the bible explicitly forbids the consumption of shellfish, declaring it an abomination and an affront to god himself. It is time for the government to begin tracking down everyone who has ever eaten crab, shrimp, or lobster, and putting them to death.

    2. The act of a man "wasting his seed" is a massive sin in the eyes of the lord, god even killed a man for doing it in Genesis 38:9-10. Therefore, it is time for the government to hunt down every male in the country who has ever used a condom, pulled out, self-pleasured, or had a nocturnal emission. They deserve to be killed. It is the will of god.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Retired Navy

      3. Anyone who has ever planted more than one type of crop in the same patch of land must be slain, because it is an affront to the lord. The government should track down everyone who's ever grown a garden in their backyard and shoot them on sight.

      4. Anyone who has ever worn clothing made from more than one type of fabric is a filthy sinner that must be hunted down. Everyone who has owned a shirt made from both cotton and polyester, or pants made from both wool and cotton, should be ashamed and must be killed by the government.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Saby

      Please educated yourself. There is a good book called Is God A Moral Monster? which helps us understand the Bible in it's context. These things were written at a specific time for a specific people.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • n8362

      In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that all 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 2:10 pm |
    • Retired Navy

      Oh I get it Saby, those verses that are inconvenient to you "don't count" or "don't apply anymore". But those verses that grant bigots free reign to spew hatred and oppress others, THOSE are awesome verses that we should pay attention to. I don't care what your suggested reading material says. A Christian is meant to view the ENTIRE bible as the definitive and indisputable word of god, not just "some" of it while ignoring other parts that you've decided are somehow less bible-y.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Horus

      @Saby – so if they were written at a specific time, for a specific people then you admit that the Bible is incompatible with our time....unless of course you buy someone's book that can revision the bible for today's world......how convenient.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • noly972

      Retired Navy – All good points. Too bad the same people who insist that everything in the Bible is to be followed to the letter will turn around and tell you that none of the stuff you mentioned is valid. Apparently, God wrote another (little-known) book, or maybe just a pamphlet, that specifies which parts of the all-inclusive Bible are still included and which aren't.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Saby

      From the Christian perspective, there are two covenants in the Bible: the old and the new. So yes the old is outdated in that sense because Jesus fulfilled the law, but we still live under his law of love for God and neighbor, forgive as you have been forgiven. . .etc.. As more Gentiles began to enter into the new covenant through faith in Christ, the decision was made to drop the dietary rules etc. as seen in Acts chapter 15. Granted, as you see these preachers saying hateful things, very few actually follow the golden rule. Yet, for it's time, those Old Testament laws were progressive. When it says "eye for an eye" it was in a time when it was common to exact more or double the injury one has received.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  19. Brett

    Hooray. Christianity–creating more and more Atheists every day.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jack

      Maybe you should worry more about the muslims. In ten to twenty years they will be in control. They love athiests.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • fandancy

      Hey Jack

      You aren't a little paranoid, are ya?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Scott

      Hey Jack, maybe you should worry about how much you and Muslims have in common.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Pheadrus

      Er...Jack. You have it wrong. Why would Muslims hate atheists any more than Christians? We atheists will get the hate from any religion that hides behind 'love' and selective passages from their book of Holy Babble.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  20. blam0h1@gmail.com

    Real christian of him. I can only imagine what his mindless sheep sound like.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:04 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.