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. eno1

    I say get that pastor in the ring with a tough gay dude ...and should the pastor win ...well then round them up just like the other pastor's plan ...but should he loose and get knocked out...well then... it gets really interesting... the gay dude should.... f$$# the s$%$@ out of the looney preacher guy... "I BET HE WOULD LIKE IT"

    May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Susie

      And C N N thinks Christians are crazy?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  2. Andrew Barron

    When does saying, in the United States of America, that a specific group of people should be killed and it not be considered a hate crime or uttering of threats and be dealt with in a court of law? Is this freedom to hate and spread hate? Is this a Christian value?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • hello

      Gee...do we really have answer that for you?? This man is hateful and stupid, and does not represent the christian community – Hello. There are people of faith all over the world who would never stand beside this man. Of course this is NOT a christian value – Hello. You know who looks after people dying of aids in the hospital – Christians!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  3. pleazenufalready

    My dog refused to crap on the bible, saying "that would be redundant"

    May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok, that made me laugh out loud.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • White

      This horrific excuse for a christian is not an example of our community....we are talking about milliions, and millions of people....remember Obama is a christian – right?? Just as you pleasenufalready are not a great rep for the human race

      May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • derp

      "This horrific excuse for a christian is not an example of our community"

      That is what other muslims say about al qaeda. I don't believe either of you.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Bo

    What these Christian ministers don't seem to realize is that they are playing right into the hand of Satan.

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

      Oh, I think they know EXACTLY what hands they are playing into, and it has NOTHING to do with Jesus, God, or Satan.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  5. Jessy the Gnostic

    How very Christian of these individuals. Follow their views or face execution. Reminds me of a certain group of church officials that advocated the extermination of Jews. Oh yeah, the Spanish Inquisition.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  6. MCJNY

    Its one thing to disagree with changing the definition of marriage that has stood since the dawn of written language and killing people because they are different then most. This is life. People always take a notion to the Nth and craziest degree.

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

      Which definition is that? One or multiple wives?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • derp

      It's funny how the jesutard fundies conveniently forget that most of the marriages in the bible are polygamous.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  7. billsf

    I believe all of this hate will backfire and end up turning people away from religion instead of towards it.

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

      You are right. Its about over now. All denominations are losing bodies and budgets. France and England already gave up on it. I have no sympathy given this nonsense.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • anon

      Actually, what this is doing is causing an even more distinct separation and divide in our culture. We are no longer at the point where liberals and conservatives can get along and live in peace. We are at the point where we HAVE to make a choice, and get on that side, dig our heels in and fight for it. This was prophesied centuries ago. It was referred to as the separating of the sheep from the goats. That prophesy wasn't JUST concerning one specific moment.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

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

    According to Jesus, to this day, Christians may not wear cotton blends or eat shell fish, must murder gays and non-virgin brides, stone their disobedient children and women must marry their rapists.

    If the pastor takes seriously what the Bible says about homosexuality he must also take seriously what the Bible says about not eating pork.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Stop With Your Same Post

      The New Testmanent does not negate the Old Testament, rather it teaches that certain rulings no longer apply in the age of grace. That does not nullify the OT, it merely states that some rules no longer apply.

      For example, the OT ruling for adultery is stoning. Yet Jesus Christ himself showed us how to act when he said "let him with no sin cast the first stone." There are many similar verses (for example the verse "it is not what goes into a man's mouth that defiles him, but rather what comes out" which shows that the deitary laws of the OT no longer apply in the age of grace) that tell us which parts of the rules in the OT no longer applicable.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Susie

      Please read the whole Bible...the Old Testement law as a covenant between Israel and God. It had nothing to do with gentiles and the Law was fulfilled at the cross. From the verse you posted "will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." and again

      John 19:30
      30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit"

      All was accomplished through the cross.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

      Quote one single verse where Jesus clearly repeals the Law as clearly as he upholds the Law in Matthew 5:17-19.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

      @Susie, the full verse you quote is:

      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.

      When Jesus talks about everything being accomplished he is talking about the final destruction of Earth which is why it says "until heaven and earth disappear." Why would Jesus say that the Law stays in place until the Earth is destroyed then contradict himself in the same sentence?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • derp

      Yet Jesus Christ himself showed us how to act when he said "let him with no sin cast the first stone."

      Awesome, so if you have never sinned you can pelt the crap out of somebody with huge rocks and it's all cool?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Susie

      Sigh...please again read the whole Bible, especially the part about the Old testament laws applying only to Hebrews. The Law applies to those who are not saved by Grace through faith. Read Acts and Romans also. Now go educate yourself.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Susie

      * The Old Testament Law only those Hebrews not save through Christ.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |

      @Susie, those verses only talk about salvation. They say the Law is not needed for salvation however it never repeals them.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  9. Susie

    I guess the pastor who wants lock up the gays doesnt realize, we are already in the prison of the world where we will all die if we don't accept God's salvation.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  10. What?

    How is this not a hate crime!?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Jeff

      Having a stupid idea is not a crime...

      May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  11. Dr David

    Wow.....this is full on as-sault by CNN. There are Christians and missionaries and ministries all over the world feeding the poor, caring for Aids patients, taking in orphans and the only story we see repeated over and over again are the most barbaric, backwards people of faith you can find...? This is more than staggering and sad – it is an as-sault on millions and millions of people. This blog says CNN is "covering the angles" of faith.....just not true. You are taking special care to cover to your agenda for the gay community- no longer journalism

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Jeff


      May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • solex

      Advocating murder is not an agenda.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Susie

      True out of the millions of pastors in the world, CNN found three kooks. They must be spending millions to hunt these guys down, while the govt is about to collapse due to our debt.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • sam

      Susie – 'spending millions to hunt these guys down'? Seriously? These whackjobs ended up going viral via social media for posting crap on their own websites. They were found for free. Pull your head out.

      And just because these kooks are the only ones saying it out loud doesn't mean they're the only ones who feel that way. Seems a lot of christians like to hit the polls these days and vote away the rights of gays, but that's ok since they don't SAY they're doing it, right?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  12. Paul

    Does God really cast a person out of heaven just because they're gay? Seems petty to me. But then again, I'm not God.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Gibb

      Yes, Paul. He does.

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

      How would you know Gibb? Heard from God lately?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Jataka

      @ Gibb – You don't know God, or what it thinks. Go phuck yoruself.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  13. eno1

    allah ahkbar....alllah .......ahkbar!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  14. Jim

    Some of the most unchristian behavior that I have seen in my life has come from many of the very people who claim to be Christians. I consider myself a Christian, even though many of those same Christians would exclude me from Christianity because I am a Mormon. Many so called "Christians" have put themselves in the place of God by choosing to judge who is and is not a Christian and where they will be going in the after life. My advice to them is to be more concerned about their own spirituality and their actions in this life and less concerned with others. We will all stand before God for any judgement that he may have for us for our actions in this life, but he is the only judge and I believe that we may all be surprised when we meet him personally. Perhaps we will find that we are not as perfect as we have told ourselves that we are and perhaps, His compassion for people that we call sinners will be much greater than what some local nut job preacher thinks it should be. We are all accountable for our own sins in this life and should mind our own business. God knows his children and will deal with each of us in the way He sees fit, regardless of what some idiot that went to divinity school may think.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  15. Gene

    That's it. Kansas has officially hit its quota of crazy pastors.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  16. The Master

    I say who cares what some id10t from north Carolina thinks? Seriously?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  17. Snow

    To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes from Steven Weinberg: "With or without religion, good people will do good things and evil people will do evil things; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion".
    .. I should add, "and dumb hate preachers like this wipe"

    May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Steven


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

      It sounds like such wisdom, however it does not explain why millions of good Chinese and Russians were complicit in killing 100 million of their country men under atheistic regimes.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  18. Mariamve

    this is like pre-nazi germany. all of this hatred.
    as for the church; religion is the problem not the solution

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

      Yes, it's 1938, and the 2012 Christian version of the Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan, has just shot the German ambassador to France...Now the True Believer Atheists and Obama Nationalists will use a lone extremist for propaganda to create a frenzy of anti-Christian persecution.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • mommadoc

      I agree with you. This is scary. I support free speech, but to think that some Christians believe this is OK is frightening. The consciousness of these people is not Christ-like.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  19. Colin

    A person believes he can communicate telepathically with an immortal being, we call him a lunatic

    A dozen do, we call them a cult

    A billion do, we call them Christians

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

      No we don't. Psychologists have no problem distingiushing between crazy people and people who believe in God. That is why the APA has an entire division dedicated to spirituality.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  20. Flipse

    Does anybody question the fact that the bible was written by people and not God? Of course any male would condemn gays because if they don't they will be viewed as gay. And even if they are not gay, they will have secret fantasies about two women together. watching this video I have to wonder about this pastor ....

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 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.