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. crsmejia

    Though the bible does say this, the pastor failed to mention the new covenant that God made with us sealed with the blood of his son Jesus Christ. That all are forgiven when they come to claim the grace that God has given. Christ died for sins once for all, righteous, for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit. Romans 5:8 So advocating that people be put to death then would be doing God's work, and the only work God left for us after Jesus is to bring people to Him not to judge them. That's his job because he judges with impartiality.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • OOO

      How morbid your story is. God put his own son to death. And this forgives someone elses sins?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • drbob66

      We are a nation of many religions and many beliefs so it really doesn't matter what the Christian bible says or what a select group of bigots believe it to say. Christianity is shooting itself in the proverbial foot and will ultimately blame gays and liberals for its fall.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • curt

      You are wasting your only life believing in this junk

      May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  2. drbob66

    Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of Christianity. It could have been such a beautiful, caring, loving, and helpful religion but is turning out to be evil, hateful, and just plain disgusting. It is very sad that true Christians across the globe allow ministers like this to represent them.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • steve

      They don't represent me at all! They say these hateful things because we have freedom of speech in this country, and we cannot stop them. It is a shame that CNN feeds the hate machine by giving this small, tiny minority of Christians a national stage to spew their hate. Shame on you CNN, they should be ignored.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Trish

      These village idiots are not mainstream Christianity...they are a select few zealots that are making news and being heard, making the rest of us true Christians cringe with embarrasment and shame that we are being represented so wrongly. They will be judged harshly by God for spewing hatred and for turning so many away from the love and MERCY God so wants to share. They make it hard for the rest of us. Just like the old saying about bad apples spoiling the whole barrel.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      WRONG they represent what is in the hearts of the majority of Christians. This idiot is just vocal about it. Your Christ was born from a wh ore or ra pe. He was a loon that help create a religion of hate. While a few say OH THIS IS NOT CHRIST LIKE. History shows how your Christianity has trampled and killed numbers beyond what the Hitlers of the world have done in the name of your GOD. I spit on your bible of hate and use to to wipe my a rse.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • nadinesh

      I would only point out that CNN didn't invent this story: it got posted because the YouTube videos became so wildly, instantly popular - viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  3. steve

    I'm a Christian and I find these redneck pastors to be offensive and evil. THEY DO NOT REPRESENT CHRISTIANITY! They blatantly disobey the teachings of Christ and are WRONG!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      Give it a rest...acts speak louder than words...history shows quite well your religion of hate and power.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  4. VonDoom

    The most unnerving issue isn't that he says this or believes it, it's the fact that he preaches and advocates this to people who believe and follow what he says only because they think he's some kind of advocate for a higher power. I love free speech but, those in positions of authority who advocate hate, bigotry and acts of violence against others should be held criminally accountable for what they say. I also believe that the more religious groups stick their noses in civics, the stronger the argument becomes to tax them like everyone else.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      The stronger legal argument is to point out that they are being subsidized by the government using these special tax breaks.
      Our government is not allowed to subsidize any religion. The tax code is already illegal and must be corrected.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  5. Steve

    How can he be a true believer in one God since he ignores the Ten Commandments? Did God say to Moses "Pick any of these you want to follow and ignore the rest"? One of first 5 clearly prohibits murder. Time to cart him off to jail for incitement to commit murder.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  6. MaryAnn in VA

    I think all these Johnny come lately pastors are just shooting their mouths off for publicity. Bet they don't turn down money from adulterers, thieves, or gays or other non-worthy folks for that matter. They are disgusting and will be judged on the last day along with everyone else.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Laugh my gluteus off

    Where's the story about the snake handler pastor who just got killed by a timber rattler?
    Faith can move mountains! NOT.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  8. ron

    The hate machine keeps rolling along. I hope it backfires.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  9. bibi

    One day the editors at CNN will be held partially responsible for the hatred and persecution that will be directed towards people of faith in this country. I am tired of these ridiculous stories about so-called pastors and how much they hate gay people. These pastors and their churches do not represent the whole of Christianity. I have been a Christiany for many years and I don't know any Christian in my community or any pastor in my church who would consider the killing or harming of any gay person to be something that God would like us to do. Just because someone believes that marriage is between one man and one woman does not mean that they also think that gay people should be harmed. Shame on CNN for feeding such negative views of Christians.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • sam

      CNN is just reporting a story about a loony saying nutty things. What the hell would they be responsible for? Persecuted, much?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Automatic translator

      "Just because someone believes that marriage is between one man and one woman does not mean that they also think that gay people should be harmed."

      Translation: "Just because I think gay marriage is wrong, and that means I think them below me on the sin ladder, doesn't mean they should be physically harmed. After all, we can flock to the polls and vote their rights away. And that's not so bad."

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


      The problem is people actually listen to these pastors and respect them. Some people simply can't think for themselves. Having pastors like this think for them is horrifying.

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

      Bibi, this stuff is really going on - in Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana - and people by the hundreds of thousands are watching the videos of these speeches on the internet. It's wishful thinking to blame CNN for simply telling the truth.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "or harming of any gay person to be something that God would like us to do."

      You are harming them by blocking their civil rights in protecting their families through marriage. Those rights include:

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  10. teresa

    how could the govy kill all ho mos? wouldnt they be killing themselves?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • busterny

      @ teresa.....that is a stupid nonsensical comment. What an idiot.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  11. Katie

    This is horrifying. Isn't "Thou shalt not kill" one of the commandments? How can these so called Christ-ians promote such thoughts? I'm with Ghandi, who said words to the effect of: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christ-ians. They are so unlike your Christ."

    May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Gibb

      Ghandi is no doubt burning in hell. I hardly think he is a role model.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Nah

      What's also horrifying is your generalization about all Christians.

      Bigotry goes both ways, remember.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • jennifer

      Gibb, I'd rather burn in hell along with Ghandi. Why? He was an advocate for peace and love, unlike your selfish, vain, and insecure god.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Gibb


      Be careful of what you wish for ....

      May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • nadinesh

      Geez, Gibb, you're a gasbag blowhard for Christ, ain'tcha? And the man's name was Gandhi. He was a saint, inspired by God. What's your excuse?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  12. ChazH

    Conservatives support Nazis like this while calling Obama a Nazi. And that the Republicans have let these religious fanatics hijack their party is why they won't win the White House again for a long time-and that's the silver lining.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Gibb

      People should get out and vote Republican!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • sam

      @Gibb – find us a decent one and we'll think about it. Good luck with that.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  13. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    ho'mophobes are latent ho'mose'xuals. Google the NIH. There are studies that prove it.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Bippy, the Excommunicated Ex-Lesser Squirrel-God of Rodental Blasphemy

      Google "Roy Cohn"

      May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Joseph

    Too many Christians, not enough lions.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Katie

      LOL, good one, Joseph!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • NicPayne

      Great response Joe! Religious people can be so heavenly bound, that they become earthly useless!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • just sayin

      Christians could make for a great energy source on treadmills with generators behind electric fences.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • just sayin

      Okay being serious now. It would be great to bring back lions to arenas and feed the delusional Christians and Muslims to them. Have family night...put whole families down there with the lions. Sell christian action figures that come apart at the limbs and head.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • DB

      So, you all stand in judgment of this preacher while yourselves wishing for the harm of an entire group of people with whom you disagree. Is this not the epitome of hypocrisy?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  15. Claude Gothic

    Hey, maybe we could start the slaughter with Ted Haggard??

    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  16. Claude Gothic

    Notice that these pastors don't advocate getting rid of folks with very low IQs, because they'd be dooming themselves and all their parishioners.

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


      May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  17. Kobol

    "...Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea..."

    The fact that a Christian minister can flat-out say that disturbs the hell out of me. I feel like half of the Christians out there missed the entire Sermon on the Mount. There's no way to reconcile hatred and disgust for other human beings with Christ's teachings.

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

      Can one truly be a Christian while at the same time harboring unrepentant sin (such as hate)? I think your absolutely right about this.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      When it comes to the South...you can't fix stupid

      May 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • nadinesh

      I certainly agree, Kobol. But there has been ferment in evangelical congregations in recent decades calling for a warrior kind of Christ - one that cuts down sinners with a flaming sword - that kind of thing. I sometimes think, with all the inconsistencies in the Bible - that people have a hard time reconciling the Sermon on the Mount with their view of Christianity. I mean do we follow the Jesus that overturned the tables of the moneylenders or preached that Sermon? It isn't always easy to follow both - especially when you have the fundamentalist's intolerance for ambivalence.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Nadinesh...sorry, but you got it woefuly wrong–its exasperating. Name one inconsistency...just one. I guarantee you I can beat it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  18. Iconoclast

    I think this is one church that might want to try snake handling as part of it's services. Instead of passing the plate they should just pass the rattlesnake, the most saintly pastor should go first!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    yet another reason i do not believe in this organized religion crud. all a bunch of self righteous scamers

    May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  20. JJ

    Nothing to see here, just another washed up wannabe trying to get some free airtime for his failed religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:54 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.