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. what's a girl to do

    the rev seems like just another closeted child of gOD

    May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. layla

    Grab your life vests and get ready for a much needed flood. What have we become?????? I'm pretty sure this planet was meant for EVERYONE!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Bruce S

    Hitler's ideas EXACTLY!!! Just what we need: restart Nazi ideology in 2012, right?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  4. sbilly

    Government kill gays??? Does that mean he would would raise taxes for this??? Heaven forbid that. That would mean less money donated on Sunday to fuel this kind of completely vile and idiotic thinking.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  5. sottanisse

    I am a gay American, and I grew up in Kansas. I am ashamed and embarrassed of such stupidity as what this moron preaches. Oh, and by the way, this Pastor is a HUGH blip on my gay-dar - I would fathom most of his hatred likely stems from his closeted life in small-town Kansas.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Bruce S

      anyone with ideas like that has to be a closet case.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  6. Colin

    I tell you, it is a CHOICE. They CHOOSE to live a degenrate lifestyle, believing in the most appalling and disgusting of things.

    But enough about Christians, let's discuss gays.....

    May 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Rick James

      LOL that's a knee-slapper right there

      May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • tuamike

      well said...well said

      May 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Snow

      Lol.. thats the most hilarious thing I read today.. hilarious and sad at the same time

      May 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Bruce S


      May 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • cozmetic

      oooo, me likey

      May 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  7. Thatguy371

    It's funny how these preachers claim to be peaceable God fearing people after their stoo-piddd rants are found out. Kind of like a Bart Simpson type "it wasn't me. I didn't do it", right after he lights a fuse of a bomb and runs away.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Lee Dorsey

    Oh Lord, whatcha gonna do
    Bout the people who are praying to you

    May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  9. A Sepent's Thought

    Be in the world but be not of it! Live not the lies of others and know well where the temples of God are truly at!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk


      May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  10. bobby frank- dallas, texas

    What an idiot. This guy doesn't have a clue about what he is saying and who he is hurting. There are so many gay people in loving relationships that have children that he is threatening. There are young people that are dealing with this because they were born this way that could take their lives because they hear this idiot talk about killing gay people. Preachers that talk in this manner should not be allowed to be in the religious business at all. Congress needs to stop this abuse by these idiots by lifting their tax exempt status for threatening any group of Americans. That will stop this once and for all!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bruce S

      Hitler's ideas EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • TC

      Statistically, there are gay kids sitting in those pews during those sermons. Imagine having such hatred drummed into your head at such a young age.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  11. Eli

    This pastor is not a Christian. I am a Christian and no Christian that I know would ever subscribe to such hatred. Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor". Love thy neighbor–straight and gay; poor and rich; young and old; believer and nonbeliever. Love thy neighbor. God bless.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Jim

      Eli....Great comment. You're on point. I couldn't agree with you more!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • D

      Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard "well, that person isn't a *real* Christian" ...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm really glad you don't actually practice christianity. because the pastor is right, the bible very clearly says to kill g.ays. christians, embarrassed by disgusting and evil commands like that, make excuses for the bible in order to bring it up to date with modern ethics. and i'm reallly really happy about that. but it's going against what it says in the bible. just take the next step - drop religion altogether. it'll make you a better person.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Snow

      Actually Eli, reading your comment, sadly enough, you are not the real christian here. Because what the dude above said is one hundred percent out of the holy book. The fact that you disagree with this means you are disobeying the law laid out by your lord and so not a true follower. It does not matter that you are a good person and love your neighbor. But you are not, according to the bible, not a true christian.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • J.W

      You dont have to follow the Bible word for word to be a Christian. A true Christian is one that believes in God and believes Jesus is their savior.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • PDX James

      Jesus also said that the Old Testament laws are still in force until the end of the world, and those are the laws that call for the stoning to death of just about everybody. It's just a cesspool of hypocrisy.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • txmacfan

      @Eli I would say that this preacher is more of a christian then you are. You just pick and choose what you like from the bible and he does not. While the bible is a great story to read and does have some sound lessons it contradicts itself in so many ways. Old vs New testament, angry god vs loving god. There are so many examples of injustice and cruelty in the bible. I know I know your gonna say what about Jesus? Jesus was probably historically a good man, but even the Jesus story has so many contradictions, its difficult to believe. If the bible was written during modern times it would have been labeled as fiction and made into a blockbuster movie staring Tom Cruse as zombie Jesus. If you truly believe in the bible then embrace the good and the bad and don't fool yourself by saying " I don't know what bible this ....person is reading". Its the same bible your reading he is just honest about what it says.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  12. Jim

    I'm glad I'm not a Southern Baptist. They must put something in the water in those churches to mess up the mind. The pastor's comments are insane!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  13. wildmangreen

    dear Jesus: please save me from your followers....

    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  14. chris smith

    These "pastors" are not Christian, they are sick disturbed wackos. The governement should not offer any incentives to these cults, such as tax exempt status. There is nothing wrong with being gay.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  15. jamison

    Nothing like taking the word of Jesus to heart – love thy neighbor. I think someone should just TORCH this SOB's place of so called worship. He , and possibly those followers who listen to him are no better than the radicals in the mid-east.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Russ

      @ jamison: pot... meet kettle...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Rodricus

      I needed to post you that bit of note to finlaly say thanks again for those incredible thoughts you have shown here. It was so tremendously generous of you to offer without restraint just what a lot of folks might have marketed for an electronic book in making some money for themselves, specifically considering the fact that you could have tried it if you decided. The concepts as well acted as the fantastic way to be aware that many people have similar dream like mine to understand whole lot more with respect to this matter. I'm certain there are some more fun situations ahead for folks who read carefully your blog post.

      September 9, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  16. sandy

    REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Are you kidding me. As the mother of a gay daughter this just boggles my mind. She is a productive citizen of society, works, is monogamous in her relationship, is raising a adorable boy, is kind to everyone she meets and yet you have straight people out murdering, raping, living on welfare, and yet they should live more than a gay person. Makes me sick to my stomach. It bothers me that there are those on here claiming all chrisitans are evil and bad you sound as wacked as the pastor.....you can't judge an entire orchard by one bad seed.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  17. Colin

    Which of the following is the most barbaric act imaginable, that only a sick psychopath would condone?

    (a) Cutting off the hand of a thief

    (b) Hanging a convicted killer

    (c) torturing and burning a woman as a witch; or

    (d) burning somebody for all eternity, simply because they do not believe something you could easily prove to them, but choose not to?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • jamison

      ALL of the above.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  18. CCB

    The problem with these kinds of "preachers" is that some small minority of people truly believe what they say about the consequences of such sins. Christ teaches us to hate the sin but love the sinner. I am still waiting for the Christian leaders that The Lord has given influence to stand up against such voices of hate and speak the truth from God's Word, the Bible,
    and not some fanatical preacher's unbiblical comments. To let such comments go unchallenged is to embolden more
    to say the same things. God forbid!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  19. D. Peterson

    The other day I asked a friend if they thought the holocust could happen again? In the same question I added that it happens in many countries but the United States does its best keeping its eyes on such things. And here we have a pastor of a church...avocating death....god help us and God may he ...he help that man.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  20. Colin

    Who is most likely to think they will live happily ever after they die in a magic place where only good things happen:

    (a) A seven year-old girl who has just read Cinderella;

    (b) a ten year-old boy who has just read Harry Potter;

    (c) a fundamentalist or evangelical Christian who has just read that collection of Bronze Age mythology we call the “Bible”; or

    (d) all of the above?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • fred

      Actually, one thread that runs through the Bible shows only a few, a remnant make through to the Promised Land. Jesus made it clear that few are willing to do what it takes and follow Christ. “the gate is narrow and few find it”
      Now, atheists on the other hand have a delusion that the world would somehow be a better place without God (real or imagined). That is a pipe dream as the modern world has never experienced a godless existence. Your fantasy is all in your head.
      Upon death your fantasy is that there is no accountability or soul and that the essence of Colin is that of a dead frog. We all have a vision of the afterlife and you simply prefer yours over some other promise.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:39 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.