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. DarrellSF

    You can always tell a Christian apart from others in the Good Ol' USofA. They're the ones who want to kill everyone who doesn't see eye-to-eye. What a bunch of mentally ill people. They should be locked up and kept away from civil society!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      This pastory deserves a taste of his own Santorum, rather than forcing it down the ears of the rest of us.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • CamNYC

      Please don't think everyone who call themselves Christian reflect Christ. Ignore the self-righteous, ignorant proclamations and just ask yourself if their conduct is in keeping with the way Jesus tells us to live – usually it's the polar opposite. Those making the most noise, wearing crosses while spewing this kind of hatred could not be further away from Jesus' message of compassion, mercy, non-judgment and unconditional love. ONLY God can judge. I'm a devout Christian, and I'm reasonably confident that Christ is banging his head against a wall right about now.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  2. Patriarchae

    This is hate speech, pure and simple. It doesn't matter if you dress it up as religion, it is still hate. These pastors should be prosecuted and their congregations disbanded. All these people are doing is hastening the inevitable end of Christianity.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • marv

      There will not be an end to christianity until Jesus return to earth to take His church home. He will come again.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Carbon

      Agreed – I can hardly wait for 'the inevitable end of Christianity'. Evangelical Christians are the most intolerant, bigoted people I've ever met. They cloak their intolerance in 'the Bible says it and it's the word of God' and force their bigotry on others in the guise of religious faith. Other Christian religious sects and other religions do the same but to a lesser extent. It makes me sick.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  3. A Little Common Sense

    "You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do"

    – Mark Twain (I believe)

    May 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Heywood Jablome

      Responses don't get any better than this.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  4. ghaleon

    Religion of peace.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  5. Johnny

    I would love to do an A&B on this feeb.

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

    Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …

    The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

    The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

    There is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them.

    If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      Moron. Take a History 110A class at a community college. Or have you never heard of "the Crusades?" "the Inquisition?" etc and so forth. Bigoted fool.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined."

      Religion has killed more people in human history, 480 million people so your point is moot.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Hey genius, just because they were atheists doesn't mean they killed in the name of atheism. NOBODY has ever died in the name of atheism. On the other hands, millions have died in the name of your god.

      By the way, by your logic we should blame any killing ever done by a Christian even if it wasn't done in the name of Christianity. So by your logic most murders committed in this nation are because of Christianity. You really are stupid.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • A Little Common Sense

      What do you expect from a group of people who believe trying to attain knowledge is what screwed things up in the first place (eating of the apple).

      At the beginning of their doctrine, it pretty much expressly says "Remain ignorant or suffer the consequences"

      May 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • One one

      The biggest mass murderer of all time is god himself. Are you saying god is an atheist ?

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

      And you are the reason I have no tolerance for religion or any of it's followers. Blatant stupidity and ignorance abound in the face of black and white facts. You and all the rest are pathetic excuses for human beings. FO and die.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Susie

      Yeah right-Have you taken a history class? The crusades happened over 700 years ago. An estimated between 300,000 and 3 million people died but no one knows for sure. The crusades began because the Muslims had overrun Jerusalem and they were murdering people left and right. The later crusades were definitely twisted, mostly motivated by greed for the treasures they heard about. However that does not come anywhere near the deaths from atheistic governments.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • jaylee

      Dude.... you REALLY need to get a job, a life, or get back to work!!!!

      You have WAYYYYYY too much time on your hands!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • sam

      Susie, I doubt there's anything such as a strictly atheistic or christian government, historically. People say one thing and do the other. I realize it's convenient for your argument to decide who is and isn't atheist, but you're not really making your case.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Rebutting Christian Liars

      You are one tall stack of stupid. You are referring to communism. The reason these people killed was not because they were atheists but because they were communists. The number of people killed for religious reasons would have been tiny – the deaths were political. By your logic, every murderous banana republic dictator did all his killing because they were Christians.

      Starting right with Marx, communists have always been totally incapable of dealing with any rival groups. Religion was identified by Marx as an impediment, so it became one of many groups targetted. To give you an example of just how narrow minded they are when in power, Stalin was so obsessed with wiping out rival factions of communists and socialists and anarchists in the Spanish Civil War that he lost the war! Far more communists were killed by communists in Spain that clergy. That's how freaking nutty they were.

      It's the politics, stupid. Communists are murderous oppressive narrow-minded jerks because they are communists. Banana republic dictators are murderous oppressive narrow-minded jerks because they are dictators, not because they are Christians.

      It's the politics, stupid! The problem is that, atheist or Christian, Left or Right, totalitarian regimes always wipe out their rivals. That's the pattern, you fucking idiot.

      But thanks for dropping by and perpetuating a lie. We expect no less from Christians.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • sam

      @'Loving' – which orifice did you pull this out of? Did it hurt?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Susie

      These governments all denied God and took up atheism as their belief system. At least own your errors.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • sam

      Susie, I'm becoming vicariously embarassed for you.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • One one

      50 million people died as a result of WWII. And guess who started it.

      "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."

      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

      May 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  7. Rixhard Sutherland

    I take thjne Bible seriously, but not literaly

    May 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • zod

      you're still a dope.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  8. lroy

    It has been my observation that lesbians are that way because they come from a fractured home...there was no male role model, no devoted father, or the parents' marriage was not good–perhaps divorced and remarriage many times. It's not the way you're born or a choice but the environment from which you lived in as a child.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      No rational, decent person gives a damn what your "observation" has been. Go out, befriend many lesbians, and truly walk a mile in each one's shoes after setting aside your pre-conceived, antiquated notions, and then come back and post what you just said, in good faith. I dare you.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Susie

      Actually many studies supported this notion, until people started suppressing the data and journals refused to publish these studies due to pressure from gay groups.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • sam

      Nice try. Can't tell who's the bigger idiot – you or Susie.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  9. ummyeah

    just more wackos looking for their 15 minutes. i am not religious but know these people do not represent religion. they are a few in a dying breed and of no consequence.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  10. Chris

    It may be time for some backlash against Christianity. This man is inciting hate and arguably trying to get others to commit a crime.

    Time to get a list of his parishoners and start not doing business with them. Time to start listing those parishoners in the local papers as those who support hate speech etc.

    These are the tools of fanatical Christians – why shouldn't they be used against them, especially when they are fanatical?

    The first amendment works both ways. Its time we start using it to silence those who would happily cast the first stone.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  11. Someone

    Let's see – put gays in concentration camps, put them to death – sound familiar? Remember, a certain political group in Germany did EXACTLY the same thing...

    May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  12. rubywyld

    Time to start taxing these idiots! People like this want nothing more than to make the US their version of Iran with religious laws to hide their hate and bigotry behind.

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

    Finally, CNN has done something praiseworthy. Whatever lies beyond this world, the most beautiful and righteous judgment has already been passed upon this arrogant and heartless son of a b itch bigot: the whole world sees his actions, ridicules, condemns, and hates him, and somewhere, deep down, this resonates with him and even if he doesn't feel any shame, he suspects that, perhaps, he should, and wonders if, perhaps, he really is no different than Joseph Kony. Which in reality, he is not.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  14. A Little Common Sense

    Wow. With all that hate some of these people think their god has in his heart, I don't get why they'd want to go to heaven. The way they describe him, he sounds like a pretty sick SOB & I'd stay as far away from him as possible.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      The answer's easy: A. they are brainwashed into not being able to recognize their God's actions as "hate-filled," B. they fear him more than they love him, though they won't admit this, C. they truly believe that THEY are going to heaven when they die, D. they have too little self-respect or self-esteem to dare to question the authoritay of the Bible, and so are quite comfortable in their lifestyle, thank you very much, and E. they really, when it comes down to it, don't give a good God damn about non-Christians. And THAT, my friends is why they have no problem longing for a heaven created and inhabited by this so-called "God."

      May 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  15. VB

    This guy is hilariously idiot. Why do we still believe in any religion which is nothing but a stupid man made philosophy to put constrains on human imagination. A bunch of shrewd people made some laws to fool people and to control their minds, portrayed the whole thing as the laws were made by the God himself who everybody is afraid of but no one has witnessed.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Dana P

    We do have to remember that we live in America, with freedom of speech. These people are allowed to say whatever they feel, just like Nazi's are allowed to speak their mind. I just hope the FBI has this church listed as a terrorist hate group.

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

      Freedom of speech means the government won't come and drag you away to a secret dungeon for what you say. It doesn't mean dickheads get to run rampant and spread hate without getting heat from the decent part of the population. Do you get the difference?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  17. Chris

    I don't know about you but this scares the crap out of me...are we really a nation of people like this? The ignorance and stupidity are epic...makes me want to move to another country...

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

      "are we really a nation of people like this?" –Yep.
      I AM moving to another country this year to get away from the insufferable plague of Christianity.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  18. Vince

    According to the Bible, killing someone is a bigger sin than being gay so all those people preaching it are going to hell. They were going to hell anyways. God says in the Bible. Jesus told his apostles to not market his beliefs. If faith is true, there is no need to preach it.

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

      The bible doesn't teach one sin is worse than another. Sin is sin.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Anvil of Reality

      @ Paula

      Actually, I guess it just depends on which bible/sect you subscribe to. Catholics, among other denominations, have stratified sin into venial (lesser) and mortal (more serious).

      May 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Heywood Jablome

      @Paula: Yes makes perfect sense to me, steal a piece of candy or murder someone else...it's all just sin, silly rabbit.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  19. max

    All religion is a joke and I fear those who actually spend time defending it. These are the same people who burned the innocent at the stake for being witches and dropped bombs on innocent people based on some lie about WMD's. I wonder, if you accused them of a crime based on believe if they would just go quietly or if they would demand their day in court, with the facts and the evidence and so on. Gee, I wonder? Too bad there is like zero archeological proof to support about 95% of the bibles little stories...

    May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Jimmy

      There is a lot of archaeological proof of stories in the bible. I myself am not a religious person, but before you make comments like there is zero proof to support stories in the bible then maybe you need to actually take the time to research it yourself or even read a real history book. Stories like the Ark as well as the stories of Moses did happen, maybe not exactly as it was written in the bible, but they scientists do believe such events happened based on when earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions took place. It doesn't mean these things were performed by God, but the events did take place which means that archaeological evidence does exist.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Well if you believe in the Bible, then you should live by the Bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • sam

      Which one? Which parts? Just the contradictions?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:48 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.