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. Norm

    Maybe we can send this guy a rattlesnake?
    Hey facist biggot, here, Jesus really wants you to give this snake a big hug!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  2. bob

    They should execute people who preach ignorance

    May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  3. Norm

    I wonder how all the "small government" religious conservatives feel about using Big Government to round up undesirables? Is that an infringement of our freedoms, and government interference in our lives?

    Nah, it'll probably be part of this year's GOP presidential platform. The Tea Party will have Romney calling for the death of gays in about a week.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Freedom to them means "freedom only for us, everyone else can suck it".

      May 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  4. BDK1023

    It's truly pitiful how these bigots use 2000 year old "religious" verses to propagate hate towards fellow humans. It really makes me wonder what is the true purpose of such a religion? It certainly isn't connected with love and spirituality. Only hate, misery and discord.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  5. atomD21

    Wow. Just wow. The culture of hate and ignorance in our churches today is appalling. Not surprising in the least, but appalling. This "pastor" is a person no one should take spiritual leadership from, but it's obvious that this moron has a herd of blind sheep following in lock step with him. Add this to the list of reasons why I have trouble calling myself a Christian anymore...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  6. Retina

    I'm just going to have to post along with probably about 2,000 more people how funny I think it is that a guy named Leatherman "kinda likes" the idea of killing Gays.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Jennifer

    I wonder if they eat shell fish

    May 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • atomD21

      I bet they do, and ham! But that stuff is covered by the New Testament, so it's all good. Just like Jesus reiterating the "abomination" of same gender relations. Wait... that's right, he never did...

      May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  8. tepeters

    Wow what hateful, evil people many so called christians are – I am glad not to count myself among their numbers. What I read in this one verse tells it all: Matthew 7: 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Yerevan

      So you are a Christian who hates hateful Christians, are you?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • atomD21

      Ah there's the rub..er problem... If you really want to call yourself a Christian, then you're not allowed to hate anyone, even hate monger preachers and their congregants. They have all bought into the lie that we were somehow given authority to condemn others for what we decide are their sins. As frustrating and angering as they can be, repaying hate with hate is just as wrong. Best course of action is to just ignore them, as no one is going to convince them they are wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Tim

    They go viral because CNN continues to post them as if they're news. Really, so few Christians actually think it is consistent to follow Jesus and kill others, so why continue to post these things?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • atomD21

      Because it makes people spend time on their site...

      May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  10. willy

    Judge not, lest ye be judged

    May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  11. mikrik13

    Nazi-speak. This is why the holocaust is always in the media. There are still many people as ducked as Pastor Knapp.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    The sad thing is 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.

    So 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.

    Matthew 5:17-19:
    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 4:15 pm |
    • Steve

      Thats a bunch of BS. The God I know is a loving God and hates no one. He is all about peace and love not what you say I am sorry that you are misguided individual. It is sad. And the Bible was written by people not God.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      You're not following the same god of the bible then lol.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  13. eno1

    Do all you idiots really believe in those fairytales written hundreds or even thousands of years ago ... I like the reading the bible and now starting with the Koran ... at times the stories are way funnier than my sunday comics... so far both seem to be full of %$#@t

    May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Mister Jones

    This is so weird. Christians are usually so tolerant ...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Chris

      You would see tolerance if they were Christians. However, these people are religious fanatics like al-qaeda and osama bin laden and just claim to be christian. A hint to help you spot these types of fanatics just look at the name of these churches like "Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church" or "Mt. Zion Communion Holy Spirit Church of the Lord". If a church has more than 2-3 names like "First Baptist" or "St. Mary's", etc.. It is a group of religious fanatics claiming to be Christians and Americans and are neither.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  15. HenryMiller

    I don't know if this sociopathy under the colour of Christianity, or if all Christianity is this sociopathic, but, either way, this jerk should be locked up.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • rcroeder

      Now I understand why the Romans killed so many christaina. They are so annoying

      May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  16. SlaveWorld

    My God is so powerful, blah blah blah but he needs ME to do something for him because, well, he's busy hiding.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • God

      I'm a bit short on cash again. Stand and deliver.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  17. Erisian

    So is it just a coincidence that this guy's picture is right next to Charles Manson's on the CNN homepage?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Yerevan

      That's not nice! At least Charles Manson is honest about who and what he is!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  18. Jim Ryan

    The only thing this guy understands about "straight" is his left eye.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  19. PaulC

    He would have been an inspiration in the inquisition. God save me from self appointed holy men.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  20. Monty

    Maybe government should execute ignorant people who are unproductive to the society. Yes, start with red neck pastors from the south.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:11 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.