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. seebs

    Fred Clark's explanation of the "gay-hatin' gospel" continues to accurately describe and predict this behavior.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  2. bram

    one day we will discard religion, embrace science & mathematics, & explore the universe.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!

      Some of us did that already, which is why we are exploring the universe. It's also why we are creating pharmacceuticals to cure a number of problems, which the religious people can then say prayer fixed.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  3. ShawnDH

    These Christian preachers are pure evil. It's scary.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • torahdude5

      "These", refering to those who espouse like rhetoric, possibly. The true Christian preacher is just as horrified as the rest.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Merry Prankster

      As an atheist i would say you are absolutely correct torahdude5, this is really just the fringe nut jobs spewing their twisted hatred. What would Jesus do and what did he try to teach? – Not this I can assure you!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  4. Reality

    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • 13monkees

      The problem is that gay unions are not the same. I used to think so too, but they don't receive the same benefits.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Modern Man

      @Reality – Time to update your understanding and rewrite some of your posts.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Barn

      Adding "to wit:" every other paragraph actually lessens your argument, not strengthens it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  5. New Gawker

    Protests just give them more reasons to say what they say. They love the attention. Too bad they're not against pedophiles.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  6. satori

    They have a right to express their beliefs just as everyone does in this country. The freedom of speech protects unpopular speech. The mistake is allowing the media to expand their audience. If someone wishes to express an opinion you don't like... don't listen.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • 13monkees

      Absolutely correct.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • TC

      No, their opinions need to be exposed for what they are, as often as possible.

      THEY are the voices and thoughts behind the laws that harm gay folks and their families. People with a bit more common sense need to actually see what they are supporting, when they vote to ban gay folks from marrying, or fight anti-bullying laws.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • AGeek

      Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from repercussions. You may *say* something unpleasant, but when everyone shuns you like the plague, you've earned it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • sam stone

      We have freedom of speech to oppose what we think is hateful, and bad for society

      May 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • 13monkees

      I agree that they have the right to say whatever they want. We do live in a free society where we should be allowed to be a bigot. There are many. We also have the right to expose bigoted beliefs and use them as teaching tools. Also, the people that want to protest idiots like this have the same rights to say what they want.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  7. Wrath of Crom

    Cherry picking cafeteria Christians. I love all these hypocrites who quote Leviticus on hom.ose.xuality, yet blatantly ignore other aspects of the same scripture. Its flat out hate, plain and simple. You eat shellfish, you don't stone adulterers to death, you can't sell your daughter, you can't own slaves. Your bible is fiction. You can't stop progress, drag you feet backwards thinking religious religious, but you can't stop it. Come into the 21st century, there is no god and your bible is a work of fiction.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Oz in OK

      Well as long as THEIR rights are protected (no matter how unscriptural they are) then it's easy for them to cherry-pick, isn't it?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • blackwolf009

      I agree 100%

      May 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ WoC

      I am in the 21st century and very much believe in God. The Bible teaches a Godly perspective on how I myself and society can and should mold itself. As a Christian living in the United States, I eat shrimp, lobster and crab and enjoy every bite. In the same breath, I would tell you that I do not support the union of a man + man or woman + woman because it goes against the intentions of God for human kind. If that makes me a "Cherry Picker" then I am guilty. I love cherries, too!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  8. Religiosity

    I'd much rather see all the theists put behind a big fence.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  9. Q

    Wow. The Christians are at it again with their thoughts of genocide. Real big surprise.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • brian

      good point. Christians were the first anti-semites.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  10. RogueMan42

    And on the weekends, you'll find this pastor on his knees.......praying.............at a bath house......

    May 31, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • 13monkees

      Are we calling that prayer these days?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  11. Primewonk

    This cretin in Kansas is wrong. Leviticus 20:13 doesn't call for the government to kill gay folks. In it, this version of god demands his followers go out and kill gay folks. This putz just doesn't have the balls to obey his god.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • M

      That's a powerful point.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Barn

      But he also says that the Holy Ghost doesn't want him to kill gay folks, even though Leviticus does clearly call for him to be willing to do so.

      He has no idea what he believes. He just morphs the Bible to fit his own preferences and finds select verses to fit. End of story.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  12. James the Just

    First of all; if a Christian is against G-ays receiving tax breaks, medical rights and other legal rights they have an extra-biblical motivation influenced by secular political ideology. All Christians should support Civil liberties and Civil Unions for G-ays. However, G-D's Moral Ordinances cannot be changed. The Bible cannot be reinterpreted to support hom-ose-xuality, period. Another however, this sin is the same exact level of sin as adultery, fornicating outside of marriage and other condemnable sins. Jesus taught us greater and lesser laws..Moral Laws being greater and kosher laws being lesser. Christians cannot preach hate or they're working in iniquity.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!

      Uh, God's moral ordinances were radically changed. That's why you claim you don't have to kill your mouthy teenager anymore, or that ugly people can now go to church.

      And it's a damn good thing they changed, because God's earlier moral ordinances were really cruel and weird and psychotic. Indeed, God's own behavior is very immoral and cruel and inhuman, with mass murders and an eternal torture chamber – heck, if I were God, there is no way I would do any of those sick things. I am more moral than your God. So are you. And neither of us are anything special.

      That argues very strongly against the existence of your God.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!,

      I agree with you that none of us are anything special. In your mind you are more moral than God. What you call good and what God calls good are as different as night and day. This is because you are flesh and blood and those cannot enter Gods kingdom.

      Salvation has appeared to all humans, which means someday you will be given an opportunity to meet God and make a decision.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  13. Michael

    I'm a gay man. I'd like to sue (class action suit) all such Christian pastors and their holdings for creating an unsafe environment for me.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Jesse

      At the very least, This church should be 18+ to attend service and sunday school.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • !

      You want to sue a man for having the guts to speak truth that will save your soul? You must be deaf.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • sam stone

      Save their soul? Let them worry about their soul just grant them equal rights

      May 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  14. Madtown

    This is becoming a joke. I think these guys may be trying to tap in to the media buzz, and get some attention for themselves. The old "any publicity is good publicity" way of thinking.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  15. Fred

    Sometimes, while I'm reading about fellows such as these pastors, I wonder how it sounds to people in these "heathen" countries in the Middle East. Everyone reacts to headlines about religious leaders in, say, Iran, calling for the stoning of an adulterer. They say "what a backward country ... and nothing like that happens in America". Well! How do people in Iran and other countries in the Middle East react when they hear one of our "men of God" singing the praises of jailing people and letting them die out behind bars?

    Americans like to say they have freedom of speech but for some people, like these various "men of God", it's a license to inflame and degrade. I don't disagree with freedom of speech, but I would really like to see people held accountable for what they say. Perhaps, when these people meet their maker in the afterlife, they'll find out how misdirected they were.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • J.C.

      Mostly they are down with it because they have the same backwards views about gays. They just take it a step further and actually persecute them.
      And it's not just the theocracies...check out how gays are treated in Russia, a fairly secular state as one measures these things. Sometimes it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with "culture" to use the term loosely.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • LaTuya83

      Well here in the US is all rhetoric, in the middle east they actually stone you to death, they don't just talk about it. I think that is a significant difference.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Barn

      The difference is that in America, this guy is an outlier and the government won't actually kill gay people like he says he wishes they'd do. In the Middle East, when a powerful Imam calls for a stoning for adultery or an honor killing, people often actually go out and act on it–up to and including governments.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  16. golfjabroni

    Sadly, CNN won't run a story on my church, where a gay man is the music leader and multiple gay couples regularly attend and are not treated any differently. That would not be good for CNN's attempt to show just how horrible Christians are.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • TC

      Some people who call themselves christian ARE horrible, and it's necessary to show the voting public just what sort of depraved thinking is behind all the adds and such that work to deny equality to gay American taxpayers.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • YeahRight

      "That would not be good for CNN's attempt to show just how horrible Christians are."

      Unfortunately it's the many horrible Christians that are blocking the civil rights of gays which is the issue.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!

      Do you not recognize that your church's commendable attitude is the extreme minority of Christianity?

      And do you approve of and vote to support gay marriage? If not, your argument is pretty hypocritical.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Adam C

      golfjabroni, why don't you film them, even with a camera phone, and then upload it as an iReport. I think that would be very interesting to see. In particular, I'd like to hear from those individuals on how they are treated in your church. Sounds like a very tolerant place.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Mike Breen

    I think it's time we brought back that fine old Roman tradition of feeding Christians to the Lions....Score at the old coliseum , Lions 14, Christians 0.....

    May 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Peter

      We could televise it. It would be bigger than American Idol!

      May 31, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • pdough

      And you wonder why Christians are against gays and their enablers (liberals).

      May 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • sam stone

      pdough: you do not speak for christians, or conservatives.

      i am a conservative and i fully support marriage equality.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • pdough

      @ sam stone – and you certainly do not speak for Christians of Conservatives either. You speak for yourself and by your comment, you apparently endorse Breen's sentiments about feeding Christians to the lions, which makes you a moron.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  18. James

    These reader's comments sections of news articles are never more entertaining than they are after a piece on religon. Especially ones concerning those kwazy kwis-chuns. Sometimes I think CNN does this on purpose just to make Americans look alive. Temporarily.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  19. Trini-Joe

    Sodomites.... that's the correct name.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • sam stone

      Trini-Joe: Wow, what an insighful comment.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • preacherman

      Funny, then, how no marginally sophisticated person uses that.

      If all you can do when see someone is imagine them in sexual positions, then you are the pervert. So, keep it to yourself, perv.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Michael

      And, on the flip side, with straight men that do their women from behind (80% of straight men), this would be called what?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • KK Denver

      Who's it hurting? What makes you think anyone should care what you think?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • preacherman

      Michael, I think it's called "Gomorrah-ing" as in "Dude, last night I accidentally walked in on Jake and Samantha and he was totally Gomorrah-ing her right there in the kitchen." Of course, the person who accidentally walked in would "totally" be turned into a pillar of salt.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Primewonk

      Sodomy is simply non-pènile/vàginal sèx. The gender and orientation of the participants is irrelevant. 50% of us straights have had ànal sèx, and 80% of us have oral sèx.

      In reality, we're all sodomites. YEA!! Go Team Sodomy!

      May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  20. lance corporal

    the kinsey report stated there was a lot of bi se xuality out there that wasn't being discussed, ancient societies where frequently bi, you see it in restricted societies like prisons, you see it in nature, you see it joked about on TV all the time.
    and OMG just check craigslist to see all the "MWM" and "sr8t" guys cruising for hookups. OK so why mention this????
    well it kinda explains the christian hyper focus on s e x, they are doing it to push down their own desires, of all the "abominations" in the bible WHY the focus on this ONE, why???

    May 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Trini-Joe

      Because it is a direct attack on the genesis of the family.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • sam stone

      How is this a "direct attack on the genesis of the family"?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • preacherman

      I predict that with all the amazing anthropological, historical, biological, sociological, economic (and on and on) research on the origin and function of human families, Trani-Joe will say "duuuh, cuz God said so."

      May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • tom

      more importantly, what the h*ll is the the genesis of the family. the worse sin of all is speaking for g*d.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:49 am |
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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.