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. joe

    Anyone know if the Mormons are selling timeshares on Kolob yet? Would love an intergalactic vacation....

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

      Yes, but only to people who wear magic underwear.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  2. Falco

    Religion is an ancient belief...with all the advances in technology and science we still have these dumb apes believing in the crap. It's all FICTION. When people stop worrying about the "after-life" and an invisible guy in the sky, we can advance more as a civilization and reach new heights and maybe even GET ALONG with each other, more people will live their life knowing this is the only life you get. There is no after life. You're dead. Better start living now and be accepting of your fellow people.

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

      Why should I be accepting of my fellow people if all we are is just reorganized star dust? Aren't we all just selfish organsisms trying to spread our selfish genes? Besides, you don't really exist. Your mind is just a collection of matter, put together in a meaningless haphazard way by the process of evolution. Why should we even listen to you?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  3. ToldUso

    This is the American Taliban coming! Keep voting right wing, soon they'll come for you unless you goose step to their mantra.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    i would like to stone gays

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jack

      I'd at least make them pay for it.

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

      I would like to stone ignorant people.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Tow

      Seems to be plenty of ignorance on both sides of this issue.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • John DeSombre

      Those who hate others, hate themselves.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • GAW

      What no Troll face?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Josh

    Obviously those preachers don´t care about generosity, which I see as fundamental in human relations. They may do a little reading in Jeremy Riffkins "Emphatic Civilization" for a change, instead of trying to make the world from just one book. Might make them wonder, the world is much bigger.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  6. GAW

    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 3:03 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Then why do they remain members of these organizations? There is no moral compass in the Bible at all.
      It has been used to justify every single type of criminal behavior known to man.
      And this is the compass of people we should remember to call "moderates" and somehow give all of them a free pass just because they are not extremists at the moment on any particular Biblical interpretation?

      Religion is a madness on the face of the world.
      Being a moderate is no excuse for joining with people who can do evil with so-called good intentions.
      Good intentions are not enough to keep a person from doing evil.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  7. Devon

    I personally think that bible is just wrong. I believe God wanted to test if we can be decent people, so he gave us a book of "laws." Those who truly believe in love and compassion will disobey the rules that do not promote those principles.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |


    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  9. Tow

    If someone is doing something that others find sinful, there is only ONE judge, and the sin is between the sinner and the Judge. As for everyone else, you only have an opinion, and you have a right to it, but it doesn't mean its right, no matter which side you fall on. Regardless of your side of the issue, you do not have the right to define how others should conduct themselves.

    It's insane how often the same people that want to legislate morality (i.e. forbid gay marriage, abortion, pot) are the same against legislating other behaviors (i.e. what size soda you can sell, Obamacare). Conversely, those that are against legislating morality are for legislating other behaviors. That makes no sense. It's time for the lunatics on the far left and far right to go away, and for the media to quit elevating them upon pedestals. Neither support the large majority of Americans' viewpoints. America was built on the concept of freedom, and that freedom should be extended to all people in all of their pursuits, as long as they do not harm another person.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  10. Jebus

    This is what living your life by the dictates of a crusty old book of fairytales does to the brain folks.

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

      Shhh!!! You will frighten the sheep.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • MrHanson

      This guy just sounds like another Fred Phelps.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  11. Further Evidence of the Destructive nature of Religion

    Curtis Knapp you are a sick & twisted individual.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  12. FigureItOutPpl

    G0D isn't a man in the sky. "He" IS love. Think about it. We all have a little love in our hearts. The world would be a better place if we learned to embrace that. Spread the love people. Not the hate.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  13. joe

    " The bible says..." This is code for "I judge you to be inferior to me."

    May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  14. Religious people have lower IQs

    God doesn't exist. Period.

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

      Charles Baggage, Newton, the Wright Brothers, etc., etc., all had low IQ's?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Hugo

      Lower IQ's than what? People who are not religious? George Washington Carver had a lower IQ? CS Lewis? Michael Faraday?

      How do you know if God exists or not unless you have first defined God? There exist multiple defintions. I expect you would understand my objection if you have successfully completed a B.S. in Mathematics or higher. (If you haven't, chances are you'll think I'm a loon. If you think I'm a loon and haven't completed a B.S. in Math, then why don't you see if I'm bluffing? ... I'm not.)

      I can define God as being the Universe. (Other people have.) This leaves you with the belief that the Universe doesn't exist. But you know you exist and so at least that part of the universe must exist.

      And now, becuse you failed to define God, your statement has been defeated by proof by contradiction. Isn't math fun?

      How about you learn some math?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • JohnW

      You can't know that. Unless you're God, in which case that would be an incorrect statement. Also, your name's premise is blatantly false since there's at least a 95% chance (statistically speaking) I have a higher IQ than yours and I am a believer.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Hugo, you are clearly talking out of your ass. That isn't math.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "You can't know that. Unless you're God"

      That's circular at best. It does not prove a god, nor does using the buybull prove one. JohnW's IQ is the equivalent of a 5 year old child's, considering only children and schizophrenics have imaginary friends.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Oh and Hugo dont' forget Dr. Ben Carson who was ridiculed and almost denied speaking at Emory University because he doubted the theory of evolution. Just shows how 'tolerant' atheists can be.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • JohnW

      That's interesting, "Truth" seeing as how I wasn't making any kind of attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God. The fact of the matter is, it's not possible to do either. If you think it is, then you clearly don't understand the meaning of science nor do you understand the meaning of God. My point is, saying something doesn't exist doesn't make it so. If that were true, evolution wouldn't exist because there are so many backwards thinkers that don't believe in it. As to the 5 year old comment, I would agree since both Einstein and I were each 5 years old at some point in time. At 5, it might have been slightly more difficult for me to out-think you and use better logic. Slightly.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  15. drtdwood

    Remarkable, murder is one of the clearest no-nos in the Bible. How did this guy obtain a Pastorate again? He definitely does not know his Bible. I was a Deacon and I would have fired this pastor on the spot for preaching non-Biblical values.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:59 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 3:00 pm |
    • Religious people have lower IQs

      n8362 is a brainless christian retard.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • n8362

      I am not Christian but do think people should be educated about what is in the Bible. The more people know about religion the less likely they are to believe.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jayme

      You should run for president.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Alverant

      If murder is a "no-no" then why does God do it so often in the Bible? You have the thousands of children in Egypt with the plagues, then there's the slaughter of 36 children because a few of them teased a bald man, you have repeated genocides of nations and cities for just existing. And that's just the deity, his followers are much worse.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  16. Sad but true

    LOL atheists make great communist nations

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

      Because theocracies have proved so much better?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Another Non Sequitur from the prayer troll

      People with mustaches and military uniforms make the best dictators. Therefore, by your "logic", people with moustaches and uniforms are the problem.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  17. hilreal

    Kill them, right after they kill all the pastors.....

    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  18. tussie cat hilton


    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Jack

    I wonder, did special ed just get out of class? I see they're all on here posting as liberals.

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

      Poor Jack. Perhaps, because he is a talibangelical tea baggers, he doesn't realize that the actual research shows that young adults who self identify as strong liberals have IQs that average 11 points higher than young adults who self identify as strong conservatives – 106 to 95.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  20. Jebus

    Looks like Romney's got the support of another lunatic pastor.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 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.