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. 1amazed2u

    All churches should open their doors to anyone. To deny God to anyone is to deny him yourself.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  2. William Thorne

    Christians that want to promote hatred of others would be wise to really read their own Bible rather than listen to Christian demagogues–
    "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” –Matthew 12:36,37

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  3. Coder Lang

    Christianity is a faith that holds false beliefs and leads to actions that are damaging. To believe something without question, and then to take actions on it, has been shown to be unhealthy, wasteful and hurtful. By promoting reason, science and free thinking, over indoctrination and oppression, the hope is to improve the quality of life and have a better world for future generations.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  4. lenojames

    PRIEST: "Great Wall of Prophecy! Reveal to us god's will so that we may blindly obey!"
    CHORUS: "Free us from thought, and responsibility!"

    PRIEST "We shall read things off of you!"
    CHORUS: "And do them!"

    PRIEST: "Your words guide us!"
    CHORUS: "We are dumb!"

    May 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • PVS1

      epic reference

      May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  5. Reality


    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  6. LookAndSEE

    Too much news like this will make the Bible hate literature.
    Don't laugh too fast because that will be a precursor for the Government and the WORLD Church to unite.
    Force everybody to obey.
    Soon after financial disaster strikes, CASH will DISAPPEAR.
    Anyone who causes a problem will have a financial embargo applied to them

    May 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  7. Franklin

    The only reason CNN gives so much press to these kinds of nuts is to marginalize those who have principled reasons for believing that marriage is between a man and a woman. Contrary to what CNN seems to suggest, not everyone who has beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman is an irrational bigot.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Snow

      so there is a logical rational reason for keeping two people who love each other dearly apart? There is undeniable rationale for denying them the rights to become a family (and most importantly what they are enti.tled to after being a family)?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • KMAN821

      So, you're claiming that you're just irrational then?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • nobikiniatoll

      No, but almost.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • bibi

      You are so right. The world of Christianity is being grossly misrepresented by these so called news items that ar constantly being brought forward on CNN. I am disappointed by CNN but not surprised.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  8. JohnKs21

    I am in favor of a 3 strikes law. Gays should be given the opportunity to rid themselves of the mental affliction called h o m o s e x u a l i ty. Gays should only be executed if the treatments do not work. The pastor should realize we are a compassionate country. We will always give opportunities for offenders to redeem themselves.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • PVS1

      not sure if troll or criminally insane

      May 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • ChazH

      "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone." ~ Jesus

      May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Taylor

      By your logic, we should also try to cure people of having blond hair and blue eyes

      May 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • JWT

      I'd go with mindless troll.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • jo

      Last I looked the 10 commandments mentioned nothing of being gay. Adultery, yes. Gay, no.

      Bible makes no true mention of marriage. It is a church manufactured item.

      If 2 people (gay or straight) love each other, are true to each other and live thier life through good works (like adopting kids/raising kids/ volunteering) then they are lviing a life that the Bible states we all should live. Is it not?

      Until these so-called men-of-god (can't capitalize because God doesn't condone violence) rid the 'straight marriages' of adultery & abuse, then they should not be claiming to try to save marriage.

      I'll put it simply for the folks who can't think on their own: Do you believe that God loves us all and is perfect (Therefore God does NOT make mistakes)? Then why would he make some of us gay? A mistake in YOUR eyes! Okay, we'll get back to that.

      Have you beaten your slaves, wives and daughters today? Do you even own slaves? DId you make a sacrifice today. What about 1 this week (and I don't mean the Memorial day bbq)? No. No. No. And No? Why not? The Bible tells us to do these things.

      But, I bet you coveted something of your neighbor, lusted after another and maybe even committed adultery. So, it would seem that you and the 10 commandments need to get reacquainted. While you are at it please let me know when you find "being gay" on the list.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  9. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

    Good ole religion strikes again.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Lisa C

    Well Pastor Knapp is sending my gadar off at a massive frequency, so the government needs to start with him. My gadar has a 100% accuracy rating.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  11. Jackie

    Or wait............is it little boys from the looks of him?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  12. MashaSobaka

    More love and tolerance from our dear Christian brothers.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  13. Colin

    Dear Christians:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the Centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it”. I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Oh, the egos. Also, if I had an issue with gays, why would I keep creating gay people?

    Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.


    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Jackie

      Good job!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Rosieo

      Brilliant. Thank you! But don't count on the pugnacious bible thumpers to let go of their divine fantasy.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • bob from CA

      this made me laugh! thank you so true....

      May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Indri

      Best thing I've read in days. Thank you.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • blahblahblah

      Your comments are elementary at best. I would take the time to go through your post point by point, but it would take a while to write, and the comment would end up on page 2 or 3. The same would have been true of yours if only you would have written something original instead of a paste job from another source.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • TheTruth

      "And the fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

      May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • G$

      God, I wish there was a thumbs up button!
      Spot on mate!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • PVS1

      oh my you! brilliant!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • ChazH

      That was a tall and refreshing glass of ice cold truth on a hot summer day.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      Colin, this was the most brilliant thing I have read in a very long time. If you authored this yourself you deserve the Nobel prize for common sense. Very well done.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • whatacrazyworld

      Very funny and very true. Thank you.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • DrJellyFinger

      Funny. You made me laugh too!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  14. Ron

    There is a sickness in this world, and it is called organized religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  15. thewhyteman


    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  16. Jackie

    Hummmmm sounds to me like these so called Preachers got a little "gay" running through their veins!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  17. WOT

    Help, America is on fire with hate of all kinds: God Help America!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  18. Lexagon

    This guy is no more a christian than Bin Laden was a muslim.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      The faith is defined by its followers.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  19. rinsac

    If he, or anyone else said this about the President they'd be in custody by now. This is illegal hate speech about killing people. Lock this guy up now!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • JWT

      I don't know that he needs to be locked up. But he does need a long time downtown with a couple of tough lesbian or gay detectives before being charged and released.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  20. noodlez

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:30 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.