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. PulTab

    Now they are just trying to "out ignorant" each other.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  2. grant

    this is sad. I don't recall Jesus Christ persecuting the outcasts of society, rather breaking bread with them.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Death to RINOs

      Jesus will persecute them in hell.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  3. juanmoretime

    This guy would be right at home in Nazi Germany or Iran. Hypocrites!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  4. Tommy Conder

    As a Christian pastor, I am tired of apologizing for those who claim to speak on God's behalf and then say such unloving, unintelligent, and ignorant things as this, but. Sorry to the world. he doesn't speak for all of us! Don't judge the rest of us by a few cooks.

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

      Yep, you're gay.

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

      What are your views on gay marriage and other forms of equality for gays?

      I ask because if you are mostly in agreement with him in substance but only disagree with his tactics, then you are really part of the same problem. Same thing with Fred Phelps – if the tactics are the only problem, if the political position is essentially the same, then you are just a smiling face over an ugly attitude instead of an angry face over the same attitude.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • Tommy Conder

        I am absolutely NOT in agreement with him on anything it seems. I actively campaign for equality for GLTBQI folk and serve a church that is made up of all who choose to come, gay or straight. I believe it requires Exegetical and Hermeneutical gymnastics to actually spout such hateful and hurtful words and shows a great ignorance of any educated Biblical Critical Studies. Hope that answers your questions.

        May 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • This is a sad sad sad sad representation of the church

      AMEN!!! I just said the same thing!!! Jesus loves everyone, it's not our place to judge!!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  5. Louis

    Christian pastors publicly calling for concentration camps and executions for gay people. They make no apologies, and their congregations support them. And yet they will claim that they are the ones being persecuted.

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

      Christians are being persecuted. Just look at the replies on this board.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gibb: Gosh, you christians are soooooo persecuted.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  6. mac

    I knew someone once who is a Deacon at a church. He was married with kids. He and I ran into each other at an event, and somehow we were talking about gay rights. He believes that 'those people' should have the right to 'do what they do" but that they should NOT ever be allowed to get married in a church because God does NOT recognize or approve of gay people. He got up and handed his room key to a woman, who I believed to be his then 22 year old daughter. He made a comment about sleeping with her. So, I HAD to ask, "So, you were married in a church and took vows in front of God? You vowed to be faithful to your wife?" He reluctantly answered. "But, what you are showing me now, is that gay people are not recognized by God even though they have been completely faithful to each other for many years and decide to want to keep God in their lives and take the very SAME VOWS you took with your wife to be faithful and yet, you have the arrogance to bring that girl to this seminar and show her off like she is a prize while your wife is at home with your children?" Isn't that a worse sin than being gay?? This man got up from the table, and excused himself. Now, a few years later, he is divorced. That young girl left him for someone else. I say that we can teach tolerance and love and caring and morals to each other and our kids and to just accept everyone for who they are without religion. I grew up in a very strict Catholic family. I am married and have my own children who I have raised to be teenagers who volunteer and who are learning to form their own opinions of God and the universe. This 'pastor' in this article is no better than Hitler or any other world leader who wants to kill people for no reason. Maybe we should send him to another country if he hates the people here. Let him fight for his beliefs elsewhere.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Jake


      May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • ??

      mac: good points. Hypocrasy seems to be a staple in our species.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • kirby

      Don't be alarmed, the "marriage agreement" was blown off centuries ago, but yet those fickle Christians keep hanging on to the sanity of marriage........what a joke..! They all screw around and thinks its OK........ever notice the preachers never come out against that. Also, I being a gay man have had several encounters with married supposedly straight men..........LOL..!!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Lol

      Can you wake me up when you're done with your story?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • This is a sad sad sad sad representation of the church

      to answer your question, all sin is equal in the eyes of God. So God wouldn't judge one any harsher than the other because every human being is different God deals with each person different.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  7. Taylor

    If they kill gays, they should also kill people with blue eyes and other genetic traits... and highly fertile women, because their excess of estrogen tends to produce gay men

    May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  8. Chortle

    They are no different from any of the Nazis that went before.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  9. Mark

    The govt should kill dudes like this.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  10. Abe

    This is horrible. It's the same ideology democrats have towards republicans and is equally as sick and disturbed. Hate is hate and it needs to stop somewhere. Love your enemies, don't kill them.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • PulTab

      Look at the post right below yours and tell me again that dems want to kill repukes.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  11. Jake

    Hollyweird should be next.

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

    The government should kill all the bigot pastors so they will stop spreading their hate. Why do people care so much about what other people do?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • kirby

      How about placing all of these ignorant hateful bigot preachers behind an electrical fence and wait for them to die off..........they steal money from dumb parishioners, abuse the little boys in the church, discriminate women, tell you how to vote for their own best interest, and worst of all spew prejudice, hateful ideology from the pulpit all in the name of JESUS. Wow...!!! Scary and there are thousands of spiritual pigments following these clowns every week on Sunday morning. Now that's scary..................

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  13. PaulMc1981

    Religion based on fear, hate, and the belief in sin is no real religion at all.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Glen

      Well said.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  14. Glen

    Imagine a world with no religion.

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

      It will be fantastic. Imagine to live around people who make sense. Imagine...said John Lennon.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Gibb

      Imagine a world with no ho-mos-exuals.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      here's an essay on that very topic by Dawkins:


      May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      imagine a world where Gibb came out of the closet.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Gibb

      Hawkins is heading straight into hell.

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

      The gays could turn all those churchs into fabulous lofts!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • J.W

      Hawkins must be a weird hybrid of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • TRJ

      It's extremely difficult to remove religion from our society because it has threads in everything. From the society you live in, to the government that you enjoy, to some of this countries favorite past times. Unfortunately, people can't see the wonderful threads that do come from religion, while focusing on some of the more bizarre incidents that shouldn't come from it, but nevertheless do. Case and point...this guy

      May 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • PulTab

      Gibb is so s t u p i d he's funny. Keep up the good work gibbs.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gibb: Straight people keep on making them. Now, shove your bigotry up your canal

      May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    jesus never got with a woman, hung out with 12 dudes, had long hair and washboard abs.... hmmmm.....

    May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  16. Zeus

    We are all alike. I just believe in one less god than you for the same reasons you don't believe in Zeus.

    Religion has become fast food. Addicting and unhealthy.

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

      That's why I never try fast food, I cook good staff at home.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Gibb

      Do you have any thoughts that are uniquely your own?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • ??

      Gibb, do YOU have any thoughts that are uniquely your own? Tell us why gay is bad without citing the Bible or anyone else's thoughts.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Hobbling Bob Dobbs

      Well Gibb, if you think about the reality that there are 7,000,000,000 people on this Earth and most of us are getting our information from the same sources, I think it is pretty safe to say that a truly original thought is incredibly rare. In a controversy like this that is well established and long-standing, an original concept is nearly impossible for either side.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  17. Dave Jones

    Sad...That this is this man's conception of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ has two laws; Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. May God give me the grace to do these two things

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

      the bible has a whole bunch of laws. where does it say you only have to obey the 2 you listed?

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

      People can obey any laws they want. Those two are the main themes of the bible, the rest are controverisal to say the least.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Religion is becomming more and more, just a social club..like the Elks, and Shriners. They hang around togther, have bingo nights, and one in a while do a little charity. It's only a matter of time. No one even knows what is actually meant by "salvation", much less. actually believe it, (except for a very few nerds).

      May 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • J.W

      Matthew 22:36-40. It does not exactly say that but it does say that basically that you will keep all of the law if you follow those two commandments.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  18. musician

    Yeah, gimme that ol` time bigotry, gimme that ol` time bigotry.......

    May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. Justin17

    Well everyone has human rights so gays have the right to practice what they want even tho its gross they are still humans.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • J.W

      Lol the 17 must represent your age by the way you said that. But it is good that you at least believe in equality even for people you disagree with.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      And you actually think what you do isn't gross ?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • ??

      I love gerbils! They're extremely cute.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Justin17

      I think its gross seeing other men kiss each other but again its there life and everyone has human rights so people should get off there backs and just let them live there life.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Justin17

      i know some gay people in my school and they live happily thats why im saying they have there equal rights

      May 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  20. Jackie

    They have to attack someone to keep the attention off of them!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 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.