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. GySgtG

    i don't gay bash, but watching it is funnny

    May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  2. glenda

    Matthew 16 verse 23, Beware of false prophets in sheeps clothing, inward they are ravenging wolves. Kings 8, chapter 46, For there is no man that sinneth Not! God hates hypocrites, and true christians let God do the judging. People walking the face of this earth are not qualified to do God's job.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      At least your heart appears to be in the right place, unlike so many of these bigoted a$$ holes.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • fred

      Actually, we are to confront our brothers and sisters within our own congregations that are living a life that does not bring glory to God. This is different than judging which clearly goes against the way of God.
      Would you confront someone in your church that is living a life of sin?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Ok

      Bill 4:14-15 "You're an idiot."

      May 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  3. neguys

    straight people have done so much damage to this world....

    May 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  4. Rover Litchfield

    Everyone has a right to their stupid opinion

    May 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      NOT if it is intended to incite violence....THAT is a crime. Even free speech has limits.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  5. Daph18

    It's a shame, the people that go to this guys church are just as guilty as he is. It's better they stay in Kansas and make up their own rules for living.
    I wonder if this church is connected to the Westboro Baptist church?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • One one

      They are not just as guilty, they are MORE guilty because they are paying for him to be there. If they didn't like what he says, they could end his contract. But apparently they like what he is saying.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Meki60

    this is certainly wrong, gay people are humans and deserve the same rights, but don't kid yourself the black ministers are preaching the same thing toward whites, just don't get the press.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Why don't you post a link then? Oh you won't? Didn't think so. Because you like to make things up to support your paranoid worldview.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. Jim Stanek

    Poor fool. I wonder how many young women in his congregation have already lost their virginity, and are not yet married? According to his holy book of Deuteronomy, this pastor should be advocating that "the government:" kills all those young hotties, too. What a hypocrite. May he die someday realizing he has been a fool and his life has been wasted. F him.

    "But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  8. magnetizeblessings

    The Bible also says that adulterers should be stoned. I wonder if these pastors would be as fervent in judging, condemning, and stoning their own congregants who are in adulterous relationships.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  9. cliff

    Thank God someone teaches the truth and speaks that which needs to be spoken. maybe these abhorrent people will turn from their evil ways.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • magnetizeblessings

      Cliff, that is going to be an interesting statement to defend when you're standing in front of Jesus.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      I agree. Except that the person speaking truth is not this bigoted, hate-filled "pastor" and the "abhorrent" people are sitting in the pews of churches like his across this nation.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      WHO? Those who preach hatred and violence ?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  10. Mike

    Maybe the government should kill religious fundamentalists instead. They actually cause a lot more harm to society. Never heard of a gay man bombing an abortion clinic, organizing a lynch mob or other such acts of terrorism.

    "Thank god" for secular government.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  11. LovingAtheists

    Explanatory links between atheism and mass murders

    There are causal links between mass murder and atheism. Atheism, lack belief in God, have the following characteristics that can lend itself to mass murder and can explain why the greatest mass murderers were atheists

    lack of recognition of an ultimate judge of moral actions and a judge who sets injustice aright in a last judgement, and thus do not recognize the immorality of murder.

    lack of seeing the importance of human beings as images of God and so easily discarding them as merely material things, products of mere chance.

    lack of acknowledging an external standard of moral perfection, thus ending up with self-created standards which can include killing for political survival.

    absence of guidance by divine revelation of the moral law, such as "Thou shalt not kill".

    following an ethic of atheistic evolutionism that is based on the survival and victory of the fittest, which is ultimately a "bloodthirsty ethic", the words of Joseph Ratzinger, that is an ethic that is eager to kill and to maim.

    This ethic is about conquering others rather than self-conquest.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • OOO

      Don't listen the the above bullsh.it. These ideas are dangerous and have been totally debunked.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • yeahalright

      I tend to the belief that true morality is what you do when no one is looking.

      That includes your invisible sky daddy, without whom you would apparently be a murdering sociopath. OMG NO GOD NO MORALS OMG OMG. You have no morals. You have fear of punishment.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Realist

      It's clear by your post that you have the intellectual capacity of a fourth grader. I'm guessing it took you hours to write that out and type it. Just keep doing that. We don't need people like you on the street; they're dangerous to themselves and others.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  12. aladinsane

    Religion is based ... mainly upon fear ... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand...

    May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  13. Closet Search

    It has often been said that those who speak the loudest against Gays have some skeletons in the closet to contend with.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      or simply are " in the closet"

      May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  14. neguys

    reading & listening makes me embarrassed to be an American.....

    May 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  15. Daph18

    Do not to others....

    May 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  16. Pete/Ark

    He doesn't intend to "lay a finger on them".....but inciting OTHERS to violence is a crime equal to the crime itself in most jurisdictions. "Real Christian" of him to hang others out for his hatred....wonder how it will work in court ?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  17. Follix

    More there is gay men more there is girls for me, I love gay men!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  18. Big Love

    Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Unless he's the same gender as us in which case if we love that person we should be put behind electrified fences like the Jews in World War 2.

    God loves concentration camps.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  19. BostonBruinsGuy

    Very glad that I live in New England, and Massachusetts in particular!!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      Dudes in KANSAS....home of the Westboro sociopaths who disrupt funeral of dead troops....something in the water????????

      May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • lroy

      What about Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots, Guy. Not too far from you.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  20. patin reno

    If these bigots understood science they would understand that this is not a choice but the way people are born. No one wakes up one day and decides to make their lives miserable and sudenly 'turn' gay. their is a quote that goes...." How many gays does God have to create before you understand it is not an accident.?" I would add...."It is a test from God and many of you are failing".

    May 31, 2012 at 6:35 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.