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. BriSoFla

    I really wish news organizations stop reporting these wacko's and making them celeberties in the process. We in the gay community know exactly where these extremist pockets of hate are and fly over them as we jet to LA and NY and SoBe and all the places worth being. Sorry if that offends you folks in the middle, but if you don't like it then you should have stood up in church and called this monster out. But you didn't so that makes you just as much as a fascist as they are.

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

      No, no....there are those of us that want the media to keep bringing to light the fact that religion, deep down, is about exclusivity, judgment, intolerance, fear and control......

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

      I disagree Bri.. I think such ignorant people should be aired for everyone to see and understand why their mentality and thinking is so wrong/backward. They should be made to feel ashamed of their outlook so that they would not get opportunity to breed the same kind of hatred on the impressionable minds of the future generations

      May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • beast

      @Horus - that is not what it's about 'deep down' ..... that's what shallow interpretation and lack of dedication have cultivated over the ages. Without practice, one does not become learned (or tolerant, as is the case in this article).

      May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  2. edsr of Dallas

    Lets just kill all the ministers and pastors and then there won't be a problem!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  3. Freedom From Religion

    If these religious zealots want to follow God's word so dang much, why don't they adhere to that little part of the greatest story ever told that says "thou shalt not judge?" They "pick and choose" which parts of the Bible they will obey and disregard a whole bunch of others!

    If they'd just do that one little thing . . . apply YOUR religion to YOUR life and let the rest of US live OUR lives to our liking, the world (America especially) would be a much better place!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    Is there ANY question why Baptists are right wing Republicans?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Intelligence>religion

    He who is without... sin...???

    This type of "Christian" should be sterilized & their tongues removed.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  6. Omar

    This man has no light. The Word is far from him. Thou shall not kill. If he doesn;t follow this command then he must also worship on Sunday, the counterfeit Sabbath. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, the Pope is lord of the counterfeit.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Snake

      You know...that's a really good point. Jesus was jewish, and therefore Jesus himself would have honored the Sabbath correctly – Saturday. NOT Sunday.

      As Ghandi once famously said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ"

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  7. 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 2:56 pm |
    • Omar

      DO NOT FORGET. The chrisitan will always disappointment. Don't look to him but rather look to Jesus, the standard.

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

      very conveniently ignored by the cherry picking bible thumpers with selective-hearing-itis..

      May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  8. Snow

    So, what is the difference between these people and the islamic imams who preach pretty much the same kind of message directed at westerners? Absolutely Nothing! Makes me think why these dumb scumbags are even protected by the constitution.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Maria

    Hate the sin, Love the sinner !! Hate the Ignorance, forgive the Ignorant !

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

      Well said. Short and simple.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Snow

      you forgot "lets cherry pick the things in bible that suits my purpose". That is, after all, the corner stone of christianity.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • beast

      @Snow - no, that's not the cornerstone of Christianity.... that's the cornerstone of ignorance. I've heard that ignorance can be fixed with a cornerstone to the head 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  10. grist

    There can never be anything wrong with two adults loving each other. This is one glaring example of how religion gets it totally wrong. We need to give up trying to gleam something from the scribblings of bronze aged men. We are smarter than the men who wrote the Bible. It is just a buch of myths written to ensure survival of a primitive clan of people.

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

      religion in itself didn't 'get it wrong'.... it's the ignorant people within the religions that have gotten it wrong

      May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Bible Clown©

    "Of course he would never want that to be done" Would he give his life to stop it? Would he be nailed to a cross rather than allow it?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  12. yahmez

    If you examine human rights abuses, you will usually find religion as the cause. It is time to rid the planet of these intolerant religious leaders. Encouraging people to murder others amounts to terrorism, we should lock these preachers up in Guantanamo.

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

      abuse of religion is the problem.... just like abusing substances and food leads to problems. wonderful truths have been turned into characitures and exploitations over ages of misinterpretations....

      May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  13. n8362

    According to the Bible he is right. 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 2:54 pm |
    • tb63

      Don't you get tired of re-posting that?

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

      If Mosaic law is to be upheld, then WHY AREN'T CHRISTIANS UPHOLDING THE LAW AGAINST **THEMSELVES**??!

      Instead, you prefer voilating other people's freedom of religion by telling them that they *must* follow your personal religious teachings.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • JIm

      Anyone who takes a historical text literally needs to think twice about their spiritual relation to God.

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

      "but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

      I bet you get a GREAT BIG HALO when you die. They'll make you a corporal.

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

      This Xian's brain is too small and un-evolved to understand anything other than biblical nonsense

      May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • n8362

      @Snake, it is because most Christians ignore large sections of the Bible.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • bob

      yup. you are right. when are we going to start killing children who disrespect their parents, killing adulterers, and killing entire towns if one person within worships a false god?

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

      Then all Christians that don't follow Kosher law are just as bad, or probably even worse then gays, because they are breaking a lot more laws.

      The Bible says that the penalty for working on the Sabbath is death, yet it mearly calls laying with a man as with a woman detestable or an abomination, depending on which translation you choose.

      When you start putting to death those who work on the Sabbath and following the Kosher Law (no more ham and cheese or Red Lobster for you!) then you can righteously talk about gays.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  14. BHB

    The bottom-line: God does not like when we humans sin, but continues to love all sinners.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Why do you pretend to know the will of God?

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

      wrong. god doesn't exist.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  15. Bob

    Religion makes people say and do insane things.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • beast

      disagree - it's the notion that people already think they know all there is to know that make us do and say stupid things. You don't need religion for that.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  16. Tom

    Science will ultimately annihilate religious beliefs.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Science will ultimately annihilate religious beliefs" Not unless it allows us to repair low IQs. You can lead a horticulture, but ya can't make her think.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Intelligence>religion

      We can only hope...but it's depressing to think it won't happen in our lifetime at this rate. Religion is sanctioned ignorance.

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

      Science will eventually eliminate all humans. Who nakes those nukes?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • beast

      I do a lot of investigating in the field of science.... ironiclly, it creates more questions for each answer obtained. If your theory is to be true, it will not be in our lifetimes.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • generalizationsarebad

      Science has become a religious belief. Besides Science also brought us the nuclear bomb. It doesn't have a higher morality. like most religions it does some good, some innocuous, and some really horrifying things. Science has a deity. its the human mind. I find that terrifying.

      Government, ultimately, has to take the lead in protecting people. Neither religion nor science has the power.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  17. Omar

    We all sin everyday. For your sake, please stop worrying about the sin of others and start trying to eliminate the sin in your own life. Matthew 7:3 states, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"
    God bless and keep you.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  18. Thismakesmesick

    Nancy: You might be just as dangerous. Last I checked most people in the Bible were Jewish. I am a Christian who will be praying hard for you.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  19. Lloyd

    Religiosity BLOWS and the sooner these types of churches go out of business the better.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • beast

      THIS kind of religiosity blows...... I'm happy to say i've experienced the complete opposite approach to what the pastor in this article is spewing.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  20. Bible Clown©

    "Please don't lump all religions or faiths in the same category as this hate-filled poor excuse for a human"

    Too late, sorry. The hay's in the barn.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 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.