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. Cricket

    The piece that gets me about Pastors like this is that they are what I call "coupon clipping Christians". They cut out the parts that allow them to hate others, but disregard the parts that tell them to leave issues like judgement and punishment to God.

    To be Christian is to be Christ-like, and Christ was loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Guess that message is lost in all the hate. The true sin is to live in a way that is contrary to the way God made you.

    Ever think that Gays, Lesbians, and Transgenders are our test from God? Is it possible that He made them to test our ability to truly love others who are different? If you think it's not possible, then you didn't read the entire bible. The bible says "With God, ALL THINGS are possible". God's love is unconditional, and that's what we have to learn.

    Stop taking your bible out of context and using it as a weapon. Each and every person on this earth is loved by God, God is not hate, so stop teaching and preaching your own personal feelings and saying that it's God's work.

    People like this make a mockery of the thought that we are created in God's own image. They are trying to make God in their image, and push their feelings and perceptions as God's own. Doesn't work that way.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • MyOpinion07

      Could not agree with you more.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  2. Alan

    This guy is like Hitler or something. I may not approve of the gay lifestyle but I don't want people killed or anything. Just ignore them and let them live their lifes.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • MyOpinion07

      I am a lesbian but I respect your position. Wouldn't it be nice if more people in this world felt the same way?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  3. anonymous

    It's nut jobs like these pastors that give religion a bad name. People who take to heart the word of men, that has been passed down for centuries as the absolute word of God, will only be doomed to distort literature. If you're a true Christian, you practice humanity, love, patience, kindness... not hatred toward your fellow man.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • preacherman

      The problem is everybody is convinced that their way is right, that they know what "true" Christianity is. In reality we all need to look Christianity and other religions in the eye and acknowledge that they do indeed provide a rationale and a scriptural foundation that can easily be used to facilitate very very bad things. Many people argue that the moderate or liberal religious community provides the shelter under which fundamentalism and hate find refuge.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  4. Moscowjoe

    Actually, sounds like a real closet case to me; hiding under the basement steps with whomever after preaching and feeling way too guilty!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  5. tokencode

    New Hope Baptist Church – 785-336-6251
    Please call them and let them know what you think of idea of killing all gays

    May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  6. AverageJoe76

    He makes totally no sense at all. "The government SHOULD kill them"..... then to say, "he prays for their salvation, not their death"....... Heeeello? Confusion anyone? Just another example of how the 'unstable ones' walk amongst us.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  7. Mike Botwin

    And the right wing whack jobs just keep on keepin' on. Get fired up!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  8. Jack

    New Hitler on the horizon?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Mikee

      Yep, even Hitler killed those that could not reproduce.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  9. revbates

    These preachers may call themselves Christian, but they definitely don't follow the teachings of Jesus. They sound more like "Taliban" than anything else. But, as Jesus said, it is a "sowing and reaping" universe, so "as they sow, so shall they reap" ... and then they will probably wonder what in the hell happened not knowing that they do it to themselves!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  10. reidepowell31

    Any idea why my posts aren't showing up? I'm a bit new to this forum...

    May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Dev

      How can the congregation simply continue showing up?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Poolchick

      It seems mine hasn't posted either and the worst thing I said was the word "rear". So gonna try this again. ....
      He has his head so far up his......he can't think right. We do not put priests to death because they have abused the children so why would we put gays to death? His logic is so far out there and is wrong on so many levels. I would be ashamed to be part of his church and his whole congregation should be too if they agree with this loser. They should all be awol on Sunday unless of course they have the same poor mentality as this wingnut.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • preacherman

      You probably have unintended dirty words imbedded in other words, like "tit" in "constitution." Check for anything that has letter sequences that correspond to profanity.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • preacherman

      PS – and the simplest thing you can do is break up those letters, like const.itution.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • en passant

      There's a list of banned letter combinations a few pages back or you can google "CNN Tips" and find one of the lists.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • en passant

      oops! Googling takes too much time as it does not appear on the first page when I checked. It used to in the old days. sorry.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  11. irock110

    LOL Thanks Tips

    I figured this out on my third time tryinh to post...I just modified what I thought might be a problem.


    May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  12. Pope on a Rope

    Republicans are subhuman creatures. But I wouldn't go so far as to say the government should put them to death.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  13. xyx25

    It is so sad to see how the so called "preachers" and the "congregations and denominations" still don't know how to interpret scriptures. There is only one methodology to interpret scriptures, which is "comparing scripture with scripture". All the punishments in the old testament are teaching that the "wages of sin is death", death in hell. Stoning to death even for disobedient children in the Bible. But remember what Jesus said, who ever is sinless cast the first stone which points out the fact we are all sinfull and desperately wicked. Only God can cast the stone and that will happen on the judgement day. Until then we preach sin as a sin and reach the sinner with love bringing them the message of the Bible. Not just about the love of God but about sin of man, righteousness of God (given in Love through Jesus) and the Judgement of God.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Hail Mary

      What a great catch-22. Sinners should be put to death (by people, obviously), but only by people who have not sinned. But all people have sinned. So, no one should be put to death.

      This is religious thinking for ya...

      May 31, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      typical. "my way or the hiway".
      Problem is, comparative exegeis leads to history. History leads to dumping. You're still at the beginning. At least you're on the road.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!

      The only sane interpretation of any scripture is to take it and throw it through the open hole of a porta-potty.

      Ashes to ashes, sh!t to sh!t.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      Except, that the story of the prostîtute in John is a made up fable. It wasn't in the original version of John – it was added, edited in, much much later.

      And, your Jesus, himself says several times that all the OT laws and rules would remain in play until heaven and earth pass away. Earth is still here.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  14. Monk Owen

    Church's should pay income tax.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Church members already do. That would be double taxation and a violation of separation of church and state. I'm sure you do not want that.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • seraphim0

      Sir, you are making the issue more complex than it actually is. Church members, as INDIVIDUALS pay the taxes they owe as INDIVIDUALS. The Church, as an ORGANIZATION should pay taxes–like any other business, be it non for profit, or for profit. Churches want to tryto direct politics, they should be brought out of exempt status. Period.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • grumpymedic

      Wrong. these same taxed parishoners commonly give their money to other people and establishments that do charitable work who are required to pay tax. Why should churches be any different? the company I work for routinely donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable needs every year, wayyyy more than what many churches donate, yet we're not tax exempt.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      Bill, according to thatbn logic, business should not pay any taxes, because the owners and employees and shoppers already pay taxes.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Barn

      Oh, Bill, that's cute. Anything to defend your petty fiefdom, eh?

      As the others said, that logic is not only flawed and silly, it simply does not apply. People pay taxes as individuals, churches should pay as organizations, same as an employee at a business pays taxes as an individual and then the business pays on its income as well.

      Being logically disingenuous doesn't actually win you the argument, it only exposes your willingness to be logically disingenuous.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Neuromap1004

      Hello Monk – Yours is a valid point for many churches. The person, who made the absolutely ridiculous statement which made the news, is not tax exempt. The individual church he represents as an organization is tax exempt for as long as it is determined the church is not promoting a political agenda, candidate, or acting against non-profit rules.. A church I am affiliated with welcomes gay membership. The church provides free services to those in need by providing food and clothing for the homeless and underemployed, and tutoring services for struggling students. I endorse their tax exempt status. They save taxes for the rest of us by providing services the government will not.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. U see me rollin

    Haters gonna hate

    May 31, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  16. if it looks like a Zombie ...then chances are ....it is.

    U don't have to be for it ....U just don't need to be -->agin' it!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  17. ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

    Wooo Hooo.
    A Federal Court, today, just struck down DOMA !
    They will be pooping bricks today.
    Satan is winning, and the end is near. 😉

    May 31, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • if it looks like a Zombie ...then chances are ....it is.

      poop.... another brick! ....poop....etc etc....

      May 31, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • serveJBR

      Indeed, Satan is winning, but we have so much fun and can impress with our super cleverness, way to figure out how to invert your name (very cool).
      Life is hard enough, leave judgment to God, LOVE everyone as best we can, the Bible is clear, Stop saying stupid, incendiary, confusing things.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  18. Mike Mazzla

    Religious people are Fd up but its become almost laughable now. And although they seem to get a lot of press for the stupid things they do and say..the fact is that religion is a dying thing in the US. You may still have people believing in a God of some sort, but churches are less ad less filled, the demographic is older and older. Lets hope that continues

    May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Barn

      Anyone who says "My flesh kind of likes that idea," when referring to killing gay people and claims the Bible is the only reason they don't do it is a danger, straight up.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Mike, you and others on this article may not care what happens to your soul as it gets blotted out in the lake of fire. No eternity for you. However, I will never share nor believe the lies that cloud your mind. If you have an ounce of gray matter left, you'd listen to Pastor Knapps video over and over again until you get what he's telling you (and everyone) how to save your soul.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  19. Hoopla12

    lol , believers are so naive.. they believe in a bunch of fiction stories.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Jesse

      yup, I'm agin'it

      May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Tell us then Hoopla. What are the spiritual truths which guide your life?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • cucookie

      Bill Deacon – spiritual truths are subjective... depends on which belief system you choose right. Must we all fall in line with a specific religion based on false truths and historical contexts not in line with basic human rights... I say no, but then again I may be biased since I believe all religions are false – not saying I don't believe there may be a god btw. But what that god is, and how it all works, well... that is to be determined.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jim

      What is more naive than 'something' coming from NOTHING? The theory of evolution has no ground, literally, to stand on. I takes much more naive faith to believe in evolution. The complexity of the most basic cell is far beyond anything Darwin ever imagined. Everything living has its own specific code for creating life. Life evolving from nothing, better yet, matter/ existence coming from nothing is an extremely shallow belief. Time can't cure that.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Neuromap1004

      So how would know fiction if you read it? It is naive to lump together all believers as naive. Admittedly some are misguided, and make the news for their ridiculous speech.. It is naive to believe our comments here have any significance. Science shows each person first develops a a belief in an idea, then searches for, and interprets, evidence they belive supports it. This is called "confirmation bias" Keep searching Hoopla12. I predict, based on scientific studies, that you will continue in this naive belief concerning the naivete of believers! 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Jim, again, why do people who purposefully choose to be ignorant, come onto message boards and demonstrate that ignorance for all to see?

      You, like most ignorant fundiots confound cosmology, abiogenesis, and evolution. The Casimir Effect demonstrates that at the quantum level there is no cause needed for effect. Particles pop into and out of existence. Even high school students can do the experiment.

      As for evolution, it is the single most confirmed theory in all science. The folks who study the theory of gravity wish they had 1/10th the evidence for their theory as the folks who study evolution. It has never been falsified. Never. Ever. Not even close.

      Unless, of course, you have some valid peer-reviewed scintific research showing evolution to be false?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Neuromap1004

      @ Primewonk – why do responders resort to name-calling when they have a perfectly informative and cogent reply that stands alone. It only seems to cloud their point and generate a bias against their explanation. I, for one, appreciate your "theoretical" based information. I would agree that despite my ignorance of quantum mechanics, as are incompletely understood among peers themselves at this time, that particles can appear to " pop into and out of existence", limited by our ability to measure such, given subjective judgements involving the Eisenburg Uncertainty Principle.. This generates many fascinating questions, but misses the point of "what or whom" led to those appearances and disappearances, and indeed the mechanics themselves. If their is something infinite how can any finite being ever hope to understand it. I would object that evolution is a well confirmed theory. Were it "confirmed" it would be a fact, not a theory. Human evolution will never be understood as a fact until time travel becomes practical and it can be observed by humans. Adaptation in other species is easily observed and helps a great deal. I think it to be an extremely well substantiated theory. It has had opportunities to be falsified, and indeed evidence to support the theory has often be falsified and misrepresented, but there is too much study, careers, grants and publications at stake to refute on a practical level. Evolution, like religion, once thoroughly "believed" will never be falsified. Again, there is both ignorance and arrogance displayed in online posts. Both are unfortunate. Hopefully we are all here to learn from each other. 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Neuromap1004

      @primewonk – apologies. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I was uncertain. 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  20. Jason

    I'm really starting to question the tax exempt status for these people.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • KeCoLa

      No kidding!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • hahahahaha

      Totally agreed... If being ignorant allows you to be tax exempt, then either the entire South should stop paying taxes, or the church's need to start.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Neuromap1004

      The person who made the absolutely ridiculous statement is not tax exempt. The individual church he represents as an organization is tax exempt for as long as it is determined the church is not promoting a political agenda, candidate, or acting against non-profit rules.. A church I am affiliated with welcomes gay membership. The church provides free services to those in need by providing food and clothing for the homeless and underemployed, and tutoring services for struggling students. I endorse their tax exempt status. They save taxes for the rest of us by providing services the government will not.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:06 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.