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. thomaskouns

    Is anyone else's gaydar in the red zone with this guy?

    A lot of the most anti-gay zealots have turned out to be gay themselves.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • shoos

      He does sound a bit like a scorned lover.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Jack

      Yeah, just like people who are against muslims are really muslims themselves.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry Jack, but the research supports what Thomas posted.

      The more hômophobic you are, the harder your wiener gets watching man-on-man pôrn.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Yeah, sorry Jack, but this is how it goes: "If our kids are exposed to gayness, they will find it attractive and become gay." Well, Rev, it's not really attractive. It's a guy in a dress. "But look at how attractive that guy in a dress is!" Don't see it, Rev. Makes me go 'yuck.' "No, no, gays are fabulous!" Get your hand off my knee, Rev.

      Stop the bus and let our friend Jack off.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Snake

    Christian hypocrisy, as usual. Quote Leviticus when it serves your needs...ignore Leviticus, along with the rest of the Old Testament, when it preaches something that you don't believe should apply to *you*.

    Christians: "We have a new covenant which tells us the rules of the Old Testament no longer need apply to us"

    Christians: "Oh, the Old Testament says gays are evil! We have to believe the Old Testament!"

    ...while the same Christians conveniently ignore the REST of Leviticus, mixing fibers, eating certain animals, not subjegating their women, etc.

    Ah, stupidity. Thy name is Pastor Knapp.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  3. falcon

    People aren't the problem. Religion is.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Jack

      No, people are. It's like a gun, a gun can't shoot anyone inless it's in a humans hand and they pull the trigger otherwise it can sit there forever and never fire on its own.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "they pull the trigger otherwise it can sit there forever and never fire on its own." Unless the bullets get old and corroded and pop, or a hangfire's been waiting for a bump to go off. That's why you store them somewhere safe.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  4. Cooper

    Let's start with his dad. and then the Catholic Priests who has been molesting kids for the past hundreds of years. and then this bimbo himself. but let him watch his dad die first.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  5. Victor

    CNN has an agenda to bash christianity. To imply that all or most christians want to kill gays is simply irresponsible. Anything to sell news and gain ratings! Take your ratings and money to hell!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam

      Christianity bashes itself.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Did you not notice that this is a Christian pastor calling for the murder of gays?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Cooper

      I think Christianity is doing a pretty good job all by itself.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Drew

      You don't seem all that eager to denounce this man

      May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • STEVE

      Little bitter are we?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Steph Brusig

      Where in this article CNN says that all Christians want us killed? I didn't see it. Looks to me like only the extreme bapists do like those two idiots. I don't think for one minute all Christians feel that way.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Drinky Crow

      Right. The hate coming from the christian right is CNN's fault.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "all or most christians want to kill gays" Be fair; some of them hire gays as male escorts.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  6. Thismakesmesick

    Hate speech should not be protected. These preachers are dangerous.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  7. Bob

    Anyone who lives their life by a 2,000 year old book written by a bunch of goat herders, is out of their mind.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  8. Swede

    Jesus is the way, the truth, the love. Period.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bob

      And gays should be murdered because God loves them so much?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Lol

      So many preachers are preaching the love .. how can it be wrong! eh?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Tom

      Take your Bible and shove it up your hole.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Jesus is the way, the truth, the love. Period." Sorry, I'm not seeing a lot of truth or love from the preacher there. Find a new way, because this one's not working out.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  9. clinky

    Knapp wants to kill the gay inside of him. Classic.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  10. tussie cat hilton


    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  11. erik

    Jesus had two daddies and he turned out fine!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  12. Kristin

    I am a christian and this guy is CRAZY! Don't let extreme individuals shape your opinion of a group. I believe that the Muslim faith is a peaceful religion so I'm not going to let Al quaida change my opinion of them. This guy is sick....

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Don't let extreme individuals shape your opinion of a group." Too late, sorry. And it's not extreme these days; read the article. You've all lost your Mitt-voting minds.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  13. bw80209

    hey! stupid a$$ "in god we trust"-i was raised RC & dont believe in God because of people like you, the catholic church & this moron preacher-if you are "so" christian, why don't you love you fellow man & woman? mass muderers? like the reformation? the crusades? separation of church and state. the religious right is neither

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Nancy

    Non-Christians should be put in prison, convert or leave this nation. Yes, I mean it!

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

      Not sure if troll, or just stupid.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Religion

      People who believe in invisible men in the sky that tell them things should be admitted to a mental hospital.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Tom

      You should be forced to produce evidence for your Christian beliefs. If you can't produce it, you get the #@& out or shut up.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • erik

      Ok Hitler. You really have a god??!!!?!?!?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Great thinking there, Nancy. Right in-line with the pilgrims that came to this country for religious freedom. Yayy!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Darw1n

      I'm going to get you Nancy

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • bw80209

      so much for "loving your fellow man", uh nancy? you are a loon

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Omar

      and I bet you worhsip on Sunday, the counterfeit. Sunday is the mark of the ebast bu this truth is far from you. I can tell by the wickedness which pours out of your mouth

      May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Shaun

      nancy you are a sad pathetic loser of an almost person...

      May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • STEVE

      Well Nancy-did someone beat you with a 'stupid stick'?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Nancy, why do you ignorant fundiots (fundamentalist îdiots) hate the constîtution?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      A big bop from the Clown Hammer™ on your pointy little head, you unAmerican toad.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  15. Tom

    It's a statistical fact that atheists are more intelligent.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Darw1n

      We are also, generally, far more knowledgable regarding all religion. In fact, that's how athiests are made.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • GAW

      As news articles go there is a tendency to focus on extremes and negatives and not to focus on the moderates who make up the majority. Most Christians (Even Many Evangelicals) would not condone the rhetoric of these preachers who have created tightly knit subcultures and who could care less what the outside world thinks of them.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  16. runemason

    Being gay is a sin, but abusing your spouse, commiting adultery and divorce are acceptable things amongst Christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Tom

      According to whom? Your Bible? Take your Bible and shove it up your hole.

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

      Being born gay is no more immoral, wrong, or a sin, than being born left-handed, green eyed, or black.

      Sorry, but this is just one more thing, in a long list of things, that your god got completely wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Johann

    Killing gay people contradicts the ten commandments. Y,know, the whole "Thou shall not kill" thing? Oh wait, only 59% of christians in America have actually read it through.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  18. Darw1n

    If there is a preacher who preaches hate as those who preach my message of love, he has committed a detestable act. He shall surely be put to death.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ariesw22

      I totally agreed, I don't they deserve to live in this world with so much hate

      May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Jewish

    This pastor does NOT represent 2.2 billion Christians worldwide

    May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • n8362

      No he is representing the Bible. 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 2:49 pm |
    • J.W

      How many times are you going to repeat that n8362? Jesus himself did not follow that law so why are we to just assume that is what he meant?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "This pastor does NOT represent 2.2 billion Christians worldwide"

      To me he perfectly represents them. When 2.2 billion Christians come out against him, I'll believe you, because I like to have some proof for my beliefs.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  20. Tom

    In 2008, intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg examined whether IQ relates to denomination and income, using representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which includes intelligence tests on a representative selection of white American youth, where they have also replied to questions about religious belief. His results, published in the scientific journal Intelligence, demonstrated that Atheists scored an average of 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions

    May 31, 2012 at 2:47 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.