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. Gary C.

    Five bucks says this dude is gay.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lori


      May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  2. Breck5

    Well, if you're taking every inch of the Bible literally, "aint no liars, cheats, sloths, adulterers, those with impure thoughts, etc." getting into heaven either.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • maestra730

      Absolutely right

      May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • anon

      Well, according to the bible, (If you believe it) then no they won't. At least the nonrepentants.

      Well, whether he is right or wrong, I hope he doesn't back down. There has been WAY too much backing down and apologizing lately by right wingers. Over and over they will say something, and not back it up. The worst he could do is not what he said. Apologizing and backing down is the worst possible thing he could do at this point.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  3. desstro

    buddism hinduism are the religions of peace. Christianity Islam are religions meant to kill by means of war.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  4. Jay Ramkumar

    People like this guy who preaches this stuff; brainwash some individuals who knows no better that would actually go out and kill innocent people. ( Jim Jones)

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  5. Gibb

    The more gays try to force their agenda on society, the more extreme the opposition will become.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • TC

      You mean the agenda of living productive lives free from harrassment, and forming loving families?

      You know, the SAME agenda everyone else seems to value?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Victor

    Ask him about the abolition of the OLD LAWS... I seriously doubt he will be preaching about the Death Sentence prescribed for Adulterers or any other Sinner. Ask him about Women's rights... and most importantly ask him about Israel's isolation and sole connection to GOD... ask him of what JESUS taught... ask him about casting the "first stone"...ask finally him if he follows OUR LORDS COMMANDMENT "Love your neighbor" .

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  7. person no. 6,654,478,761

    I look forward to the day when all the religous fools and their followers will be outcasts from society. Anybody believe in Santa Claus? He's as real as Jesus is.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • anon

      No one who believes in Santa clause is an outcast of society. Heck, even the military every year does a report where their radar has picked up Santa's sleigh. They even tell his exact location at any given time on the eve of Christmas.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Deist

    If your "Religion" teaches you to want to kill other people, you do not have a "Religion," you have an ILLNESS.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  9. gerry doire

    And we point our fingers at fanatics in Iran, we have just as many dangerous paranoid delusion self appoint righteous fanatics right here in the good ole US of A...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Lori

    I am So sick of hearing people use religion as a excuse for hate, judgment, and discrimination. Bigotry wrapped in prayer is still bigotry.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Gibb

      Who's being the bigot now?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • clarify

      I'm afraid bigotry wrapped in self-righteousness towards the beliefs of the religious is just as bad.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Lori

      Me. I'm sick of it.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Can someone please explain this whole 'Gay Agenda' thing?
    I'm pretty sure it is one of those made up conspiracies like the 'liberal media', right?
    Is the Gay agenda something like this... "If they get them their rights like them womens and blackfolks did, the next you knows they're gonna want us to quit killin' 'em for sport and beatin' on 'em for fun! Then who is we gonna beat on?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • tb63

      I'm gay and I have no idea. I didn't get the memo I guess.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  12. Crystal

    I'm not for or against gay relationships, but it's not my place to judge. I was raised Christian and it's sad to see that all of these soo called Christians or even non Christians are judging.. What right do we/you have to judge. You claim to be Christian then maybe you should read your Bible a few more times...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  13. ALI

    As there is a Heaven so surely there is a Hell, as there is a great almightly God so surely there is an evil pervasive Devil. In this case it seems the Devil has managed to get his evil wicked spawns infiltrated into the church pews and pulpits, disguised them as Christians. But alas, a truly good Christian can spot the devils spawns wherever they may be, even when they are in North Carolina, Kansas or Indiana.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      The No True Scotsman fallacy lives!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  14. desstro

    Romans had the right solution to Christianity. They knew what bigots it could produce. Wish they were around more when Islam sprang out of nowhere.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • frank


      May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • clarify

      You sound akin to the National Socialist Party of Germany 50+ years ago. Do you feel that extermination of any human makes you morally higher? If you wish that Christians would be killed than you are actually no different than this pastor. Pot calling the kettle black.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Les

      The Islamic faith did not just "appear" out of nowhere. It was originally an early Christian sect that was not welcomed by the Christian world at that time. Mohammed and his followers took up their own standard based on his teachings and writings to become what is known as Islam today. So far as the pea brain minister in this news story is concerned, he knows absolutely NOTHING about Xtianity as it was practiced in the early church. His views are clearly based on the King James Version of the Bible which is riddled with so many holes and errors that it looks like moldy Swiss cheese. He is a prime example of the "doing things which seem pleasing to a man" creeps the Bible warns us all about in the "end" times.. Both he and his church should be shut down for committing hate crimes.

      BTW, I was a Xtian for many years before "converting" to paganism some 40 yrs, ago.. Ra is the Sun God! Rah! Rah! Rah! and all of that.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  15. kenchandammit

    I believe there is a giant man who lives up in the sky. I believe he is invisible AND that he looks just like us. I believe I don't need to wonder how that might be possible. I believe the invisible giant loves me so much that he will make me burn for eternity if I look at my neighbor's boobs, which he created. I know all this is true because someone told me when I was a little kid.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Colin

      yep, pretty much sums up the 2,000 years of self-delusion we call Christianity

      May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Mary Manuel

      LOL! No doubt!! Does the name Jim Jones ring a bell for anyone?? When you blindly follow what someone else tells you as so many of these "drink the kool-aid" types do, you might be surprised what happens to you.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  16. sup

    Anyone needs anymore proof that religion is a deadly and dangerous thing? BAN IT!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • clarify

      Denying individual liberty is more dangerous. History proves that.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  17. desstro

    Time to subdue the church. They have got enough of a pass. I am all for curbing religious views in public.I dont care if people say if some amendment is violated or not. I for one can live with less religious freaks in this world.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Les

      Agreed. At least 3 (Washington, Jefferson and Madison) of our founding fathers believed that an "unbreachable" wall should separate government and religion. Given that fact, this man clearly has broken the laws forbidding "hate speech" and the full brunt of the law should be brought down on his shoulders leaving him with neither 2 pennies to rub together no a pot to p*ss in..

      May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  18. ckerst

    Churches should be taxed and anyone that attends a church should have to pay a $50.00 tax for each visit. We can call it the stupidity tax. It will offset the cost having to deal with the idiocy the churches generate.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Greg693

      Amen, brother, Amen!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  19. Colin

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between Christianity and rational thought.

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Astronomy;

    (b) Medicine;

    (c) Economics; or

    (d) Christianity

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) A mafia boss

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mary Manuel

      Nothing more to say to that than AMEN!!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • kenchandammit

      I love you! But I'm a man so that means the government must now kill me!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Chuck

      This is awesome.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • highnoon

      touche... well done

      May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  20. AverageJoe76

    I have a proposal; Let's form a new country called 'Intolerencia'. Any and every bigot on the face of the Earth can find a spot and never be bothered by no one that doesn't look, think, worship, love, poop, whine, drink, and breath like they do. In Intolerencia, they can wage war against any other group of bigots and vey for supremecy (AND this FUN/ carnage is EVERY stinkin' DAAAY, Yayy!!)

    May 31, 2012 at 4:27 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.