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. Freedom From Religion

    If these Christian pastors and their theology are troublesome to you, I encourage you to read about the Mormons, who are running the entire State of Utah and surrounding communities in other states that are predominantly LDS.

    After living in Salt Lake for almost 20 years, I learned that LDS dogma is unbelievably warped, its "members" are extremely intolerant of "non-members" and its long-term goals involve taking over America and applying their dogma as law of the land (including polygamy, which is also alive and well in Utah). Of course, they deny this but, like Brigham Young said, the Mormons are the biggest and best liars in the world!

    Don't believe me? Then PLEASE research this American-grown religious cult and educate yourself about their beliefs before you vote for Mitt Romney. The "saints" in Salt Lake City are secretly celebrating because they believe Mormon prophecy is about to be fulfilled by the election of Romney as POTUS!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  2. sam

    No Christian in his/her right mind would accept this doctrine of hate. Here is what is happening folks, in case you don't get it. Soon, there will be legislation introduced at the Fed and State levels, to ban "hate speech" - which will be very broadly defined. The media (of which major factions are controlled by the government) is starting to point out these fringe lunatics, so we all get so disgusted that we will gladly support these new laws. Once we are sold on them and they are in place, we will realize the real evil at work, here.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  3. dugg

    The bible also says that woman cursed and that you can wipe out whole cities of people if you think your god is down with it. If you are a bigot, you can always find something in there that can support your twisted world view. Jesus must be so proud of these alleged christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  4. vereiste

    Dang, harsh. Good thing I'm a Satanist so I can live and let live.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    Thank god we have the Bible for a moral compass.

    Without religion we would not know we are supposed to murder gays, non-virgin brides and disobedient children.
    We would have to rely on critical thinking and common sense.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Murder is a legal term. The Bible calls for capital punishment.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Robairdo

      You are completely sick Evangelical! Go play with a SNAKE!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • William Poole

      I am not a Bible freak or anything, But it clearly states in the Bible, "All are Sinners"!!! No one is right with the Lord!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  6. BILL

    What is sad is that when any person or persons from any christian religion say these bad things all of us that are Jesus loving people are blamed along with them.Let Christ be the judge and just love your neighbor.There is mostly good Christians than bad ones! Always weeds mixed in with the wheat!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  7. $


    May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Horus

      Forced upon our nation in the 1950's by a small but influential evangelical group........

      May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  8. Joe Cirillo

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi

    May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • awasis

      According to these "Christians", Gandhi, the father of the non-violent movement, that freed a nation by non-violent means, is going to.hell.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  9. a

    obviously these people aren't anyone of god because god doesn't condone killing his children.....maybe you need to read the bible a little deeper to really understand his words....maybe we should kill you so the rest of us can live HATE FREE!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Evangelical

      What are you talking about? The Bible prescribes capital punishments for ho-mos-exuality.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Robairdo

      Evangelical it calls for the death penalty for wearing mixed fabrics and for naughty children. Have you killed any of your children?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  10. BC

    It is this kind of garbage that re-affirms my belief that Atheism is the only true religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • anna

      But it is a good idea!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Anon

      Atheism is NOT a religion. It is the lack of belief in a religion. There is a BIG difference.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  11. Craig

    Typical christian behavior. Hate and kill everything that is different then you or that you don't agree with.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Kay

      No, Craig, this is NOT typical Christian behavior. I'm sorry you've allowed the bad seeds to make you condemn all Christians.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  12. JustWho

    I thought it is against the law to advocate or promote murder.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • NoobozaurusRex

      Well, advocate would be the wrong word, it's illegal to solicit or to conspire any degree of murder. None the less, most "religious" people are far from representing anything their bible or such teach. This trash is a perfect example.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • b

      More than that, the bible says Though shalt not kill. Judge not lest you be judged! I think he just put himself out of heaven with those preachings!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  13. Rick

    Government should just kill ALL ignorant people taking this piece of work with him. To suggest such a thing PROVES how worthless this low life pastor and his religion really are !!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. awasis

    The more you read the Bible, the more it rots your brain.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

    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.

    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 3:39 pm |
    • YeahRight

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

      No that is not what it means, 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 3:43 pm |

      According to Christ the Law of the Old Testament stays, so yes women must marry their rapists.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • J.W

      Lol we know it is you n8...

      May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • b

      Where did it say anything about murdering gays?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • EAC

      There's a lot of other laws that I guarantee are not being followed either. But that law is not required to be followed any longer because Jesus came to put an end to Old Testament law. In place of the Old Testament law, we are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.” The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. If Christ fulfilled some of it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  16. D. Zacek

    Live in the dark ages and die in the dark ages. Hope that your children evolve and their children evolve. After a few thousand years, those plagued by the intellectual laziness caused by religious dogma, the current religous communities, will be followed by enlightened genes. Presently, there is no hope for them. They will burn at the stake any person who dares to defy the dogma handed down to them by lonely monks sequestered in monasteries. They wrote "the word of God" hundreds of years after the death of Jesus Christ. And, of course, they added none of their own bias to the text.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  17. Evangelical

    There's a lot of people here hating on Christianity while at the same time trying to condemn hate. lol

    May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • sam stone

      We are condemning bigotry, Evangelical.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Evangelical

      yes, by being bigots.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Snow

      Oh Eve.. we don't hate christianity.. we just hate dumb christians..

      May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "There's a lot of people here hating on Christianity while at the same time trying to condemn hate. lol"

      No we are pointing out that the experts have proven Christians wrong and that all they are doing is continuing to fuel the hate and bigotry towards this minority group. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • n8362

      So Evangelical shall we assume you support the preachers talking about killing gays. Being you are an Evangelical I am not surprised.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Intolerance of intolerance is a good thing. We don't tolerate you (or any other christard that hates hom.o.se.xuals) because you are intolerant and bigoted and your only back up is your buybull. There are decent christians on this board, you however do not fall in to that category. When you learn to put your book down and treat everyone equally, you will gain acceptance.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      Sorry, Evangelical....there are some decent Christians on this thread, and I have no problem with them. You are not any of them. You are a hateful little dweeb. So, shove your persecution complex far up your canal

      May 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  18. Trent

    The real problem is these Baptists. Westboro Baptist Church, the NC idiot, this idiot. A pattern emerges.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  19. sadie456

    Anti-gay Christians rely on Leviticus for their position. Here are some other things Leviticus proscribes: All adulterers must be put to death. Slaves must come from the nations around you, and you can bequeath them to your children. If a member of the community sins unintentionally, they must sacrifice a female goat. Rabbits and pigs are unclean and may not be eaten. After delivering a baby, the mother must bring a lamb and a pigeon for ritual sacrifice. A woman is unclean during her period, and anyone touching her will be unclean until evening. The wearing of clothing made from two types of material is forbidden. A medium or spiritist must be stoned to death. Anyone who injures their neighbor must be injured in the same manner, an eye for an eye. So the question is: why are Christians not obeying these laws???

    May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Read the lovely article at the top of this page to find out why Christians focus on ho-mos-exuals.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Snow

      @Eve.. try paraphrasing your argument on why you focus oh gays in two sentences? dare!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  20. mike

    Time to bring back the "LIONS"/ remember the good ole days? Mabey THE JUDGEMENTAL CULTIST'S Will simmer down!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:37 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.