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. stanton


    May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte


      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 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 and murdering adulterers.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  3. clarify

    So, it's okay to call Christian's "religious freaks" and wish to ki ll them, but it is not okay to say derogatory things about gays and wish them dead? Neither is okay! If you think the one, you are no better than the other.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Rick James

      Of course it's not OK either way. The difference you seem to miss is that while most of the people talking about Christians are doing so in jest, this guy is dead serious and can influence people.

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

      Are many of the posters here proclaiming themselves to be the voice of God, standing in front of congregations they are tasked to teach, and calling for the death of an entire minority group?

      It's never okay to call for the death of people you disagree with, but you have to admit the scope is a bit different.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  4. Feanor1

    The crux of the problem is this:
    Christians (mostly) think that eternal torture is a fitting punishment for the thought crime of failing to believe in their God. That is essentially pounded into them from day one. So, if you think that punishment fits that act, you will think any punishment fits any act and you are free to propose and carry out all sorts of monstrous things.

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

      WHoooaa there is alot about Christianity you don't know!!!!! Jesus took all of our punishment......that is really old school dude!! THe dude who is saying cr-ap about killing gays is nuts too!! Looneys all over man!! Jesus stopped people from killing the woman in adultery – and said – Go and s-in no more!! He is all about love

      May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • sam

      @Fox – yep, all love. Except the burning in hell part.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Feanor1

      OK then Fox. Tell us all. What does the Bible say happens to non-believers after they die. And I mean purposeful non-belivers, those who have heard the word and still "harden their hearts" and do not believe.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  5. Lawrence of Arabia

    I do not know one Christian in twenty eight years who would ever think or talk that way......not one! How sad that a man of faith would become like a terrorist and bring shame on the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ would never condone this message, these are the type of people who killed Jesus in his day.....

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

      The interesting thing will be if the gay community will admit this or try to use this – and lump everyone together. That would like saying they are all child mol-esters

      May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Afghanistan Bananistan

      Jesus is going to torture the majority of the human race for the rest of eternity in his lake of fire, for not obeying. The crime is not being bad – you can be an outstanding human and still be going to hell – it is failure to conform.

      Jesus is a bigger terrorist than any human. And his dad! Shall we discuss his Biblical mass murders?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  6. Sarda

    We are souls with human body. souls is not male or female...read "Philoshophy of Divine Love" by Swami Prakashanand Saraswati... it is a wonderful book for those who really want to know who we are and why we are born as human.... Respect every souls in the earth.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  7. Rick James

    Wow, first concentration camps, now it's is straight up genocide with these Christians. I long for the day that religion finds it's way off the planet. It's has prevented my from having a flying car and I won't stand for it!

    And before Christians come at me saying, "Just because you take away religion does not mean people won't do bad things", well I know that but remember,

    "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. " -Steven Weinberg

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Brad76

      Not all Christians are like that. I'm from Canada, and to be honest it only seems to be Southern American Christians, they are extremely aggressive and intolerant.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Feanor1

      I actually don't agree with that quote, though I am a vocal critic of religion. Good people can be motivated to do awful things in the name of racism, regionalism, tribalism, nationalism, or any other -ism that dehumanizes the opposition. Religion is definitely one of those things, and perhaps the most pervasive of those things – but it is not the only thing.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Rick James

      Brad, I agree, since I'm from the South (VA) and this kind of thing is not uncommon in some churches here. My church actually had pretty nice people who would be against this sort of crap.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Rick James

      Feanor, I agree that religion is not the only thing, but you also have to understand that everything on your list has been supported by religion at one point or another. Gay people face discrimination , more or less, because of one verse in an archaic book. Religion is used as justification for bad behavior.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • GlenBeckyourGod

      @Feanor1: Exactly, and until we see each other as merely human, not American, European, Asian, Sikh, Muslem, Christian, Black or White this sort of crap will continue, and it will cause conflict of all sorts.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  8. Mary

    How about government should kill the haters?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • TC

      How about we do everything possible to marginalize them in society, and work to teach their chidlren differently.

      Stories like this are a first step. You can't try to fix things if you can't see them for what they are.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  9. Decima

    The world is going to be a truly amazing place once Christianity dies out.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • sg


      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  10. honestcontractor

    In 1964, Barry Goldwater stated that the GOP was wandering into waters that would destroy the country. He said that pastors trying to get into politics would be the end of democracy as it had been fought for and developed. Idiots like this guy prove that the old guy from Arizona was dead on. Having been raised in a Christian home, the reality of people like this convince me that more and more deductively reasoning people are staying out of the churches, not because of lack of faith, but fear of these idiots. Jefferson and Franklin are tearing the ground off the tops of their graves.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Tom

    Shouldn't they be stoning their non-virgin daughters too? Like Leviticus says? Here's a news flash "Leviticus was an a**hole and Jesus and God didn't want his words in their mouths."

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

      I like your statement, but for one small problem... Leviticus wasn't a person. Leviticus is the set of Rules for the Levite Priesthood.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  12. Brad76

    Jesus would not want Christians to slaughter gay people, He would want Christians to forgive and be merciful. These pastors who advocate violence against gays are living in the Old Testament, they may as well ask them to be stoned to death.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Brad76

      Also, if pastors are preaching that their flock should hurt or kill people, they should be fined or thrown in jail. That is getting ridiculous, we call this terrorism. It is no different than what Muslims extremists advocate.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • GlenBeckyourGod

      Stoning them to death would use a lot of pot, and besides pot is illegal so he is out of luck there unless he wants to break into his personal stash.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  13. nolimits3333

    I am suprised a Republican would want the government to kill gays.

    I would think they would want that left to private industry.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Rick James

      That's mighty true. Government for them has to be small unless they want to kill someone

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  14. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong,” the boy sings near the pulpit of a church. “Ain't no h0m0s gonna make it to heaven."

    You're right, kid! You're the somebody that's wrong! The bible is so wrong on so many counts.And ain't nobody going to a place that doesn't exist, so you're right about your second statement, though bigoted.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  15. RGCheek

    While I oppose gay marriage and am a traditional Christian, this goofball preacher is a disgrace to the faith. He is obviously doing viarl marketing trying to generate a bunch of free publicity for his church all the while dragging the name of Christianity through the mud like others have done so often.

    But what is really the most interesting are all the lying secular fanatics that insist that nutballs like this guy are the epitome of Christianity when anyone with more than two functioning brain cells should know that that is simply slander.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Afghanistan Bananistan

      Interesting. You agree with 90% of his position, but are mad at seculars who think you mostly are like him.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 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 4:50 pm |
  17. Please Grow Up

    Can anyone identify this quote for me (who wrote it, where does it appear, etc.):

    I believe in God; I have no need for religion.

    Can't recall where I read it.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Afghanistan Bananistan

      Well, you might google it.

      However, it is a self-negating phrase. The definition of religion is the belief in a god. You are confusing "religion" with "organized religion", and you seem to be following the trendy cop-out of pretending that you don't follow an organized religion, that you are somehow pure, when in fact the vast majority of your beliefs conform to an organized religion.

      We get that one a lot here. But it is a cop out.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      No, belief in a god is "faith". Religion and Organized Religion are synonymous

      May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Colin

    The moon is made of green cheese. I know it is, because 2,000 years ago, some people enshrined that concept into their mythology in the Middle East. I know nothing of these people, but I believe what they wrote about the Green Cheese Moon with all my heart.

    I am also woefully ignorant as to how the original Hebrew stories about the Green Cheese Moon came to be compiled, filtered, altered, translated into Greek, then from Greek to Latin, from Latin to Old English and Old English to modern English. In fact, I cannot name one person involved in any of the above steps, but I accept the end product with blind adherence as, well gospel.

    I do this because the end product tells me I must. I believe in the Green Cheese Moon because it says so in the Bible and I believe the Bible is the inspired word of the Green Cheese Moon God. Circular reasoning is satisfying logic to me.

    When a logical flaw is pointed out in my belief, I simply interpret the Bible to fit the new facts. I also like to think that the Green Cheese God is “beyond understanding” or "moveing inmysterious ways". Issues like where he came from or why he spies on human beings all the time are “matters for theologians” and simple people like me could never understand them.

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

      Imagine the size of the crackers.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  19. begreen3850

    Lot of psychopaths are running churches these days. Wonder if that's the new requirement for becoming a minister?

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

      If the choice is psychopaths or pedophiles, I would prefer the psychopaths, them you can medicate to a level of normalcy.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  20. Reasonable1

    The pastor says the government should kill gays. Well, God created the gay people - So, it is all god's fault. Sue god and put him in jail for creating gays. Why not kill god to make this pastor happy.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 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.