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. JJ

    All i can do is laugh and them pray for someone as stupid as these ministers...not really sure i should call them ministers. they act and sound more like cult leaders. I just don't understand why so many of these people think two men or two women marring will affect them in any way. You don't like to see two men together...fine...don't go around any. There are a lot of straight couples that make me sick to see them together...so what do i do..i don't go around them..........do the same.
    this is an example of people using the bible to support their own biggoted ways!

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

      Well, they are on your team.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  2. chad

    He's obviously gay. He's prayed to santa Jesus but it hasnt helped, the repressed ones like him are the "weirdos". Always.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Enjoy!

      Go ahead and keep your faith in man...he's not been wrong before!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  3. Joebob

    Yea and I think he should shut his fat mouth. What kind of minister is this jerk. Does this guy preach for the KKK or what.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  4. elmondo

    why is that christians will always tell you that you don't need to follow the old rules of the old testament i.e. stoning disobedient children, brides who aren't virgins etc yet CONSISTENTLY cite levitacus to justify their opinion that killing gays is wrong – could someone explain this please.

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

      It's a small group that get's hyped up in the media who even think such things.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  5. tjc360

    all religion is a lie...it spreads war, hate and everything in be-"tween"

    May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • clarify

      You're spreading hatred right now.

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

      I know plenty of non-religious people who spread hate.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  6. solex

    White said:

    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

    But how about all of the Christians who say that all Muslims are evil? Can't they have good people as well as bad or is that just for Christians?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Gibb

      No, they cannot. They belong to a false religion.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Gibb: and you know your religion is the correct one because...that's what you were told when you were a child? Thing is, Islam says that there is only one God, and recognizes Moses, and Jesus as prophets of that one God. Still think Islam is false? Islam says that Mohammad was the greatest of the prophets of the one God, not the only prophet. Juadism, Christianity, and Islam are all devoted to the same God. Don't believe in Islamic law? Take a look at the Old Testament laws. Basically no difference.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  7. A Sepent's Thought

    Gay "spiritualism" is nowadays a commonality of and in many "cultures"! Ya think?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  8. Jim Frost

    I'm beginning to think that many of these preacher men have a vanity issue, and are making these statements to see their names in print.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  9. gmad

    this christian isn't very christlike

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  10. maestra730

    I am a conservative Christian Republican, and these so-called "ministers" like Curtis Knapp do NOT speak for me or my Christian friends and family. In fact, I think Knapp and others like him are wackos, hate mongers who use their pulpits to spread unrest, anger, and even violence. What a complete embarrassment he is. He makes me sick.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • derp

      Yes, but your support of the GOP and christianity in general provides support for him.

      You are by definition complicit.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  11. Robairdo

    So what did Christ say to the only hom ose xua1 he met?

    "You have greater faith then anyone in the whole of Israel " FACT IT IS IN THE BIBLE under both Mathew and Luke!

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

      If you claim a "fact", include the source (book, chapter, verse). I contend that you are twisting and corrupting scripture.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  12. Jason

    Yep, Religious fanatics around the world are all the same; eliminate everyone that is not like me. Muslims, Christians, it makes no difference. These religions are based on intolerance as they specify a specific type of god to worship, which can only lead toward intolerance, anger and then conflict. The proof is in history and in the news today. The only religion worth a darn to modern humanity is Buddhism as it doesn't require worshiping some fantasy creature. Of course there will be no Buddhists left if Muslims and Christians have their way.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jon Hull

      Universalist Unitarians also believe in the dignity of each and every person. If you have to be religious, be Budist or Unitarian!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Trumpy

      Sadly, it is those that believe in the dignity of each and every human being who are first to be crushed beneath the boot heels of those that do not.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  13. kenchandammit

    I believe every word of the bible must be taken literally, except 'Thou shalt not kill' which is up to interpretation.

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

      I am the same.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  14. rousch15

    Remember that this is the situation you will find yourself in if Romney becomes President of the United States because he will be controlled by religious freaks as well as corporate hacks.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • rousch15

      Tax religions so that we can pay down our debt.

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

      Wow are we asking what rednecks think about gay marriage, I mean come on!

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

      This is all the more reason to vote Republcan in November.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • rousch15

        If you want to live in a theocracy, I suggest you that you should move to Iran.

        June 11, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • rousch15

        Democrats have to rebuild everything that Republicans ruin. See FDR, Clinton, and Obama.

        June 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  15. eno1

    With the money made from pay per view ....pay down the US debt... yeah baby!!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:43 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 4:42 pm |
  17. Jay

    Wow, what happened to thou shalt not kill? Thou shalt not judge? Love thy neighbor as thy self? What if thy neighbor is gay? Is there an exception to the rule? This man is truly sick. I would love to know what he does in private. I'll bet it involves sheep!

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

      You're right Jay – but I would feel terribly bad for the poor sheep.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  18. Mike

    Ironically this guy is probably a small government, self described 'libertarian' dominionist wingnut.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  19. rob

    The religious nuts in this country are getting crazier by the day. We need to rid society of this dangerous vermin.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  20. solex

    Thou Shalt Not Kill
    Love thy neighbor
    Turn the other cheek
    The meek shall inherit the earth

    Guess these parts of the bible don't apply when hatred and fear rule the day

    May 31, 2012 at 4:42 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.