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. Not Impressed

    Leave it to a so-called "Christian" to become the best recruitment tool for atheism ever.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Scott

      I agree... and that might even be the point of the article... News agencies, today, have agendas.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  2. derp

    I wonder if he thinks it better to stone them or burn them like witches.

    Tough choices for the religion of peace, love and forgiveness.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  3. TheSnark

    They belong in an insane asylum. This is one of many reasons that I detest both judaism and christianity.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Scott

      Do not judge everyone who calls themselves "Christian" by the way this nut job acts.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      Scott I agree with you there are "christians" like myself who preach and teach the truth and try to restore the good name of a child of god

      May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  4. Scott

    This message of hate against gay people is satanic, not Christian... Everyone has came up short by their sins... I am so disappointed in the fact that so many evil doers use the name of Christ to spread their wicked words... ;(

    TO MY FELLOW CHRISTIANS: Stay out of politics, follow Christ alone, and rebuke false Christian leaders like this.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  5. Dawn

    If gays and lesbians should be put in a electric fence and left for dead, I think all the pastors and priest who sleep with young boys should be the first ones let in.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Beverly

      Well said, Dawn!! Precisely what I was thinking.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  6. IAmlib

    Why give this publication. Let this "person" fade in obscurity. Keep quiet about our nutty Kansans.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Jules

    These "Christian" pastors are just saying what most of them are thinking.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Yeah. That's what some in the African American community think about Whites when ever a racist opens his mouth.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  8. tussie cat hilton


    May 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  9. sam

    The "Pastors" are ignorant preachers of death and the truth is not in them. They portray the Bible and Christianity in a false light and when they leave this Earth, they will get their reward at the judgement seat of God.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      Man you sound like my preacher and i agree with what you are sayin it sounds like they are stuck between the greatest distance of 18 inches

      May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  10. I Believe In the Lord Jeaus Christ

    Wonderful way to follow God's commandments! Sir you are not a Pastor nor do you represent the majority of Christians in our country. You are sick and in desperate need of psychiatric help. YOU are a blasphemist. YOU are NOT the one to judge, that is God's job...maybe more prayer and a second baptism will help to drive the DEVIL and his DAEMONS from your black, sinful soul.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Rose

    For all our sake, CNN, STOP giving every bigot and idiotic nut case an international spotlight.

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


      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  12. Colin

    I don't care what anybody says, it IS a choice. They CHOOSE to live a disgusting, degenrate lifestyle that most of the country find ignorant and backward.

    But enough about conservative Christians, let's talk about gays.

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


      May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bill

      LMAO fabulous.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Ron

      You rock! I agree 100%, your post made my day.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • MaryM

      Bravo, Colin, Bravo

      May 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  13. Jack

    does everyone realize that some people are sort of falling back into ways that were not that long ago considered evil. I know this is a stretch but the Nazis killed people for being gay. I know that i a stretch but lets hope that most people dont think like this.

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

      What is a stretch is understanding what you just said. NAZI's didn't pick on people who were gay (once again if you think you can prove this point, please point us in the direction of said evidence), they set out to rid the world of JEWS. You need an education.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam

      @Truth – uh, they set out after the jews, but they mamanged to start going after the disabled, the left handed, and the gay as well.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Ridley

    Why do "christians" forget the teachings of Christ AND the fact he gave us a New Testament

    Here's a brief refresher course on Christianity (I'm paraphrasing Matthew 22:37-40)

    A) Love God
    B) Love your neighbor (PS – that gay guy is your neighbor)
    C) Everything stems from A & B

    SO. Either start loving your neighbor or stop calling yourself a Christian and giving the rest of us a bad name. Please and thank you.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • yogi


      May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • christ_child1991


      May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  15. T.M.Tate

    I understand that anti-gay religous group members may not like to see the news media air the aggressive and outspoken members of their group because they may feel that their behavior is inappropriate. However, I respect the honesty and pride that some of these featured Pastors have in disclosing the oppressive and violent tenets of their religous system.Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are oppressive and sometimes violent towards gay members of the human family. The discomfort that some may have with hearing these members of their community is perhaps a response to the irrational and oppressive aspects that these historical religous systems require of them.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Thou shall not kill, pastor. Or do you only abide by christianity's rules when its convenient for you.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Horus

      ALL christians only abide by the scriptures they choose. Have you ever tried following the Bible verbatim?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      Horus not all christians live by certain christain scriptures because I myself try everyday to live by all of GOD'S Laws, so not all christians do thank you

      May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  17. Ken in NC

    WOW......I used to think how rough it must be to be a Black person and now here I am 60 years later and thinking how rough it must be to be Gay. At the rate we are going it is going to be rough just being a Human Being. Some day someone is going to ask a person, "Why did you kill that person" and the killers response will probably be, "Because he was not like me".

    May 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Klaatu

      Or the reason could be "his fart was better than mine"

      May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • SH

      What do you mean someday? It has always been that way. Governments demonize their opponents in war so that their people view the enemy as less than human. Churches killed people who thought differently and called them heretics. I am hopeful that humanity is marching forward, though, because women, minorities, and now gays are slowing gaining rights and equality because the majority is becoming more tolerant and respectful. These hateful preachers are doing the gay rights movement a favor by publicly displaying their vicious hate for all to judge. The brutality of the police in the south being shown on TV helped win sympathy for the civil rights movement in the sixties.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  18. My Thoughts

    How about we have the government kill all the religious leaders that do not up hold the true meaning of God. Publicly, starting with this guy. How can you call yourself a Man of God and talk this way.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  19. HawaiiGuest

    These preachers make me embarrassed to be an American.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  20. Jack

    Justsayin...Yes its not good to be gay...what's wrong with .u people are you so twisted that you don't know right from wrong. It's wrong because mother nature made it that way, it's that simple. Your body was made for other functions where you put your manhood.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • sam

      Jack. Have you been reading bodice-rippers again? 'Manhood'?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Yes its not good to be gay...what's wrong with .u people are you so twisted that you don't know right from wrong."

      The experts disagree with you, 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 2:50 pm |
    • Billy D

      Why are you worried where people put their manhood? Seems like to me you may have some issue that needs addressing. So stop writing from your closet and "come out" and talk like an adult.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Jack: You're a bigot!! Being gay is natural. And given that you're not capable of doing research for yourself, the following is taken from http://livinglifewithoutanet.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/what-does-science-say-about-gay-relationships/

      "The belief that hom.os.exuality is abnormal and unhealthy is prevalent in the Christian community, and is the foundation of a great deal of Christian bigotry. For the time being, however, bigotry is not enough justification to subv.ert the const.itution. Throughout the ongoing debate over the definition of marriage, Right Wing bigots have cited the damage caused by hom.ose.xuality and hom.os.exual relationships in an attempt to justify legal discrimination against gays.The scientific evidence on the matter is out there. (It has been for many years.) Had we simply trusted evidence years ago, there would be no more debate — at least no debate worth taking seriously. Sadly, very few people are aware of the evidence, and wouldn’t know where to find it if they wanted to look. This article presents some of the most compelling conclusions from recent scientific studies.
      Children of Gays: One of the most common acc.usations is that children of gay parents are more likely to suffer developmentally, more likely to become gay, or more likely to have emotional problems. In 1996, Mike Allen and Nancy Burrell published a peer reviewed study on the subject. They found the following: ”The results demonstrate no differences on any measures between the hete.ros.exual and hom.ose.xual parents regarding parenting styles, emotional adjustment, and se.xual orientation of the child(ren). In other words, the data fail to support the continuation of a bias against hom.ose.xual parents by any court.”
      Adult Gay Relationships: Failing to prove that children are harmed by having gay parents, many Christian bigots will go on to claim that hom.ose.xual relationships are “inherently” less stable, less emotionally fulfilling, and psychologically damaging. This claim is also contradicted by the evidence.A 2003 empirical study by Gottman, et al, of the interaction between heter.os.exual and hom.os.exual couples found that “same-s.ex couples actually demonstrated more positive (and fewer negative) behaviors during their inte.ra.ctions than did married couples.”
      " There is no evidence that children of gays suffer any harm. In fact, there’s reasonable evidence that children of lesbians are more socially accepting and well adjusted — especially girls."

      May 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      jack: you have no authority to speak for mother nature. so, shove your bigotry far up your backside

      May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
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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.