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. Follix

    Free will doesn't exist. Some people are born gay others are born idiot like this pastor.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • birch please

      I have no choice but to believe in free will....... 😉

      May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • WOW

      @fol:You can't prove you are born gay. So stop saying it.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  2. Think About It

    Want to hear some really bad advice?

    Model your behavior on God's behavior. Seriously, if you were God, would you do what God did in the Bible? Torture? Mass murder? Anger and vengence? Eternal torture chamber? Weird inhuman rules in Leviticus? Get mad at fig trees and kill them?

    May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  3. Vale

    There are so many good hearted Christians out here that disagree with these extremists. Most of the Christians I know lead humble lives, work hard, give generously to charity (time and money) and are quick to help someone who needs it. I've been blessed to attend a church that emphasizes God's love and grace - not judgment. For all those atheist or Christian haters, please know that we're not all like this pastor or some of the people posting comments. Love and peace.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      You take issue with atheist and ‘Christian haters’ (ignoring your own bias and complete hypocrisy here) when you should be taking issue with your fellow Christians. Exceptions don’t make the rules Vale. If you take every Christian that believes as you do and add them up.. it doesn’t even begin to compare to the number of those that believe just as this pastor does. You need only view a history book to see that. So you my dear are a statistical anomaly and will be treated as such

      May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rhonda

      I agree. We know how God stands on the issue, we know what the Bible says, Old Testament Lev 20:13, and even in the New Testament (I Cor 6:9), but we are to love everyone, as Christ did, and we are not to judge, that is His job.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Bubba

    This is a scary look inside the twisted mind of a typical religious conservative.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  5. GayAtheist

    Jesus Christ = Hate.

    Support the seperation of Church and Hate.

    If we heavily taxed the church with a large sin tax, these hate preachers would be spending their time begging money instead of praising the Nazi philosophy.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  6. return to God

    The reality is and since the creation of life, the battle between Good and bad, Truth and lies, Satan and Man..... conitinues and will not stop. Those before us were tested and we are being tested right now. This life is only a small journey and a test for all of us. How we behave ourselves here on earth is how we will be judged in the hearafter (for those who believe and death and life, Hearafter, hEAVEN, Hell and acountability– know extactly what that means).

    God says regarding Sodomy:

    So when Our Commandment came, We turned (the towns of sodom in Palestine) upside down, and rained on them stones of baked clay, in a well-arranged manner one after another;
    Quran, Hud, Chapter #11, Verse #82)

    He also said"
    And his people came rushing towards him, and since aforetime they used to commit crimes (sodomy), he said: "O my people! Here are my daughters (i.e. the women of the nation), they are purer for you (if you marry them lawfully). So fear Allah and degrace me not with regard to my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man?"
    ( Quran, Hud, Chapter #11, Verse #78)

    Verily, the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky; so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat: until when the earth is clad in its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect.
    ( Quran , Yunus, Chapter #10, Verse #24)

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  7. isolate

    Okay, preacher, you've had your 15 minutes of fame. Now back under your rock like a good lad.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  8. scott

    God hates sin ,not the sinners.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  9. Hugganoak

    Yes, that's what Jesus would do, kill the people who are different from you.

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

    That guy is a $#%@ing idiot.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  11. Darcy

    As a Christian, I don't have to love the "sin" but I do have to love the "sinner". We are to love all our neighbors and pray for them. I don't pretend to have all the answers in this life. In my heart, I feel a deep sadness that everyone wants to bash all Christians for the insensitive comments of only a few. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • birch please

      I am certainly guilty of bashing christians, but mainly because they are not "christian". Anyone who truly follows the teachings of christ is OK in my book.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  12. Danielle

    Pastor, you are a Christian. We dont KILL people, nor wish for them to be killed.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  13. scott

    the governments are getting them to come out ,arent they?

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  14. Graham Krueger

    This is exactly what most ideas of god were invented to support – blind hatred to inflame the people into violence against their neighbors. This is why I'm an Atheist

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • scott

      the whole world, including God himself, loves an athiest.Cant have God with out them.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • ZAMZAM

      Bible says that we have to hate sin, and if the sinner dont repent, they should throw away to the hell.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  15. ZAMZAM

    If we oppose guys people say we are ignorant, gays are ridiculous, is a nature deformation , if all the world were gays that would be the end of humankind 'cause they cannot reproduce themselves, that's why if you love this planet you should hate gays.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • tb63

      Hate to tell you this, but what you wrote is truly ignorant.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  16. al

    WOW what a man of God, I always thought love is to be in your heart, not hate.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  17. Lola

    Oh yeah, one more thing....

    The bible is just a bunch of stories invented to keep people in line. Back in olden days, they needed a non-governmental way to keep order in society.

    The bible is nothing more than stories that people made up a long time ago. Maybe some of the people in the stories really did exist, but the stories are myths invented to instill fear and complicity in the general (poor uneducated) population. If Jesus really did exist, he would not be happy with the way things turned out.

    I can't believe that, in this modern age, people still live their lives according to these myths. Some of the ideas are good (love each other, etc). But when you get down to the level of granularity and start quoting passages and persecuting people based on that - it's just insane.

    Seriously - if you hang on the bible just to be able to get through your day, you are a pretty messed up person who has been brainwashed.

    And I agree that what these preachers are saying is no different than Naziism or radical Islam.

    The bible is full of contradictions because it was written by a large bunch of men over a long period of time.

    I have no respect for bible thumpers. I think they are all a bunch of brainwashed idiots.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  18. Mike

    Not even worth getting angry about.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  19. FigureItOutPpl

    Nice Generalizations. Oh, and you're an idiot.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  20. nancy thompson

    Don't call yourself a man of God. You are not!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • 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 3:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "In Matthew 5:17-19 Christ makes it very clear that all Mosaic Law is to be upheld."

      No they don't it's part of a ritual manual for Israel's priests.. So are you going to tell women now they have to marry their rapists and all the other sins listed in that particular scriptures? Duh!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • tb63



      May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • n8362

      According to Jesus the Mosaic Law stands, so yes women must marry their rapists.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • tb63

      You're no fun.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:18 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.