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. Jose Ribeiro

    As a Christian gay man, I believe in a loving God. There is nothing "loving" about preaching the demise of a segment of a population, for whatever reason. Where is all this hate coming from? Not from God, surely.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • erik

      Satan created religion to ensure there would never be world peace. Look it up. God in not create religion in Genesis so it does not exist.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  2. ken

    Just reconfirms why I'm not and never will be religious.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Anthony

      Amen! oh wait....

      May 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  3. Anthony

    Ain't no church people gonna understand proper English.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  4. Quebec

    Nonbelievers should be put in concentration camp.... tired of them

    May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • erik

      Hitler tried and then met his god.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  5. erik

    Government should kill Pastors

    May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  6. MobiusEight

    So gays are free to be gay, why can't people be free to be anti-gay as long as they're not causing damage or physical harm? Since when did freedom of speech become "freedom to say what the loudest shouting people agrees you can say"? You also have the freedom to get over it and let people say what they want. You only get offended because you allow yourself to be offended. You want to be offended because you want a reason to hate. Silly humans.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Jack

      You make a good point. They are just as bad by not liking someone because they disagree.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • erik

      So catholics are free to be catholics, why can't people be free to be anti-catholic as long as they're not causing damage or physical harm? Since when did freedom of speech become "freedom to say what the loudest shouting people agrees you can say"? You also have the freedom to get over it and let people say what they want. You only get offended because you allow yourself to be offended. You want to be offended because you want a reason to hate. Silly humans.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Are you really that dumb?

      You claim freedom of speech in the name of this pastor.. then complain about the speech of others.

      And Christians wonder why they are known as hypocrites.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  7. Paula

    Why do these people profess to be Christians? Do they actually believe the message of Christ? Or are they so busy putting forth their sick and twisted agendas that they have forgotten the basic premise of Christianity is to Love Thy Neighbor as thou loves thyself. I think we need to hit them where it hurts. Since they are making what is essentially political statements, their tax exempt status should be revoked and all back taxes assessed. Make them pay, through the nose for their hate – and allocate their funds towards GBLT tolerance and awareness programs

    May 31, 2012 at 3:27 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.

      According to Jesus, to this day, Christians must not eat pork, wear blended cloth, should murder gays and non-virgin brides, stone their disobedient children and women must marry their rapists.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Christians like to say who is and isn’t a real Christian when most of them don’t even know their own Bible. And there is always another Christian who will claim said first Christian is not a Christian. Just as the WBC.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • blue_bird

      Paula, I could not agree more. People who say such things are not truly Christian, they are just using their own twisted version of Christianity to try and justify their ridiculous views and behavior.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • YeahRight

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

      It doesn't mean that at all since it's part of the Holiness Code, 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 3:40 pm |
  8. New Gawker

    nothing like the opinion of cousin lovin yahoo's.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  9. SilverHair

    These religious jerks have the audacity to tell the rest of the WASPs how to live. A real bunch of closet cases. All of their back room escapades will eventually be on the internet for all to see. Geesh.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  10. GOD

    Gay people don't bother me, but angry, holier-than-thou, hate-filled bigots do. If we really want to improve society, we would take all of the angry christian preachers and put them behind an electrified fence and let them die off.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  11. theredmonphobia

    Why dont he bring them in to church and teach them like the Bible says

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      And what of the non-Christians who don’t want to be indoctrinated?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Follix

    Incredible to see how many crazy christians there is here. Sorry but as much as U.S. was innovative in 1788, U.S. is now a retarded country.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  13. Robert

    People like this are giving Baptists a bad name. Too bad he does not live his live according to what Jesus said "judge not lest ye be judged also".

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Baptists give Baptists a bad name.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  14. Disorientation

    @Yeah Right
    Instances of gonorrhoea were up by 61 per cent among men who have $ex with men.
    Evidence that being gay is a mental disorder not a choice.

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

      [Source needed]

      May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Disorientation


      Personality disorders are defined by experiences and behaviors that differ from societal norms and expectations. Those diagnosed with a personality disorder may experience difficulties in cognition, emotiveness, interpersonal functioning or control of impulses. In general, personality disorders are diagnosed in 40-60 percent of psychiatric patients, which is the most frequent of all psychiatric diagnoses.

      American Psychiatric Association will be releasing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 5 during their 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. Of particular interest are two disorders not currently listed in DSM-IV that are being proposed for inclusion in the DSM-5: Non-Suicidal Self Injury

      May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • fred

      If you are implying that abnormal impulse control or intentional non use of protection as symptomatic then that would only be one factor in the diagnosis. I doubt you would find anyone to support your conclusion.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  15. Keeping it Real

    The fact that he's clearly gay himself makes this doubly awkward.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Bart

    If that is the case, hopefully he follows this one with his own children...

    Deuteronomy 21
    21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

    21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

    21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

    21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Fedup!

      And another reason I don't read the bible. Anyone can interpret this book to they way they want it to fit their views. I know more gays and lesbian Christians that live their lives better than most people. Am I supposed to believe that they not Christians because of what they do behind closed doors? If God is watching that, then I think all you Christian Anti-gays better watch what you're doing because we all know who the freaks really are!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. Jack

    Snow... You're a little slow here. It's glorified on Will and Grace, it's glorified in their parades. It's glorified in all media. Get with it before you post , you're not very aware.

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

      Even the use of the word "glorified" is an indication of the thinking of some people. If something is not condemned, it is "glorified." Oy!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  18. PJC50

    My life experience has shown me that the gays I have met along the way were obviously born that way. It was not their choice. If I were religious I would have to conclude that God made them that way. Who are we to judge His work? Anyway, it doesn't matter since we are a secular country, with specific prohibitions against mixing church and state (for good reason), and marriage, from a government point of view, is about financial and human rights.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Well said!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  19. Tex71

    Before these guys ever get started on other people's s#xual orientation, they need to check themselves against Leviticus and make sure they themselves are not guilty of equally abominable sins like wearing cotton blend shirts, or eating shrimp or cheeseburgers (or anything for that matter that didn't come from the kosher section), or failing to have their home ritually cleansed by an Israelite priest after finding mold on the wall, or forgetting to offer up a sack of grain and a brace of pigeons after confessing their sins, or failing to send the tenderloin to an Israelite priest after hosting a BBQ... the list goes on. Maybe they should just drop the stones for now and work on removing the metaphorical planks from their eyes.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  20. AlexK

    In the same book of the bible, Leviticus it also says that getting tattoos, eating shellfish or pork are also both sins. How many Christians have committed one of those 3 sins? Probably close to 100%. If you believe that following the bible is the only way to get into heaven than you cannot pick and choose which pieces you want to follow. Pepperoni lovers will end up in the same place as gays if you truly believe in the word of the bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:25 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.