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. Pastor Knapp

    Does anyone find it interesting that so many religious people would make for the perfect poster children of the pro-choice movement?

    "Don't you wish someone had aborted this. See sometimes abortions do work out for everyone"

    May 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Tekpilot

    83 percent of the worlds population believes in a supreme being. This has been said before. It is more preposterous to think that 17 percent are correct in saying there is no God then it is to believe in a God. Reverent fear of God is healthy. I would indeed be cautious of any powerful leader that did not think he has to answer to a much higher power for his actions. It is part of the social Gospel that thinks all mans search for Justice and peace in society can be found in the Bible, yet the truth is, all societies are sinful because it is in the very cry for justice that sins arise, much of the time.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • sam

      Ok, so, let me get this straight (no pun intended): because the majority believes in something, that makes it true?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • GrowUp

      You are sick and anyone who advocates or condones slaughter is definitely not going to any version of a heaven.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • One one

      It's funny how the discussion with believers so often boils down to "BELIEVE OR BURN !!!"

      Bottom line, that's pretty much all they have. Oh yes, the false promise of heaven. They have that too for people afraid of death and gullible enough to buy it.

      The carrot and the stick. It works for a lot of people. But for non-believers, we are no more concerned about the threats of your god than you are about the threats from Muslims about their god.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Jen

      The majority of the world's population lives in poverty with little to no education. I probably would believe in an afterlife too if I lived in a hut wondering where my next meal was coming from.

      Bottom line is that people don't want to believe they will cease to exist after death so have invented a fairy tale to be able to face the inevitable.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Medana

      "if a million people say something stupid, it's still something stupid' anatole france. anyone justifying killing anyone else is not any different in their mentality than a serial killer. that's what serial killer does – they decide that others r subhuman and they r superior and thus killing is justified. all these hard core anti-gay people r serial killers in the closet, and most definitely, psychologically, to me, also gay in the closet – you have to have some deeply suppressed gay desires to be so anti gay.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  3. Judy

    Any church that preaches what the government should do or tell their members how to vote, should lose their tax exempt status immediately. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" The old testament was the old way, the new testament the new. The new was to take precedent over the old. Jesus never said anything about gays.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  4. LovingAtheists

    Explanatory links between atheism and mass murders by leaders of nations

    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 7:19 pm |
    • Jen

      Strange then that almost all wars (ie mass killings) have been in the name of religion......

      May 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • LovingAtheists

      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 7:24 pm |
    • Rebutting Christian Liars

      It's just painful watching a Christian try to think.

      I totally slammed your point, and you just repost your lies.

      Christians sure are dishonest.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jen

      And where are you getting this information? I hope you aren't including Hitler as he was definitely a Christian.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • GrowUp

      So how do you explain this "man of God" calling for mass slaughter? You are a sick dude.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • One one

      Hmmmm, mass murder. Do you mean like wiping out the entire planet with a great flood? Or like killing the first born male child of a major city ? According to the bible, God was the biggest mass murderer of all time. Was that because he was an atheist ?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  5. Billie

    Why do they care? According to christians, gays aren't going to heaven anyway, so why are they worried about this issue at all? It's not like gays are going to be in heaven "gayin' up the place". People being gay has no effect whatsoever on anyone else. How would they like it if people advocated rounding up all the christians and putting them in a camps or killing them? – it's ridiculous! If you want to believe in a man living in sky, that's your problem, but don't try to tell the rest of us how to live our lives!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • DennyRay

      But the christians were rounded up; and fed to the lions. Wait a second, how many lions do you think we could get a hold of? Yea, I agree with you. Christians, stupid is as stupid does.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  6. Pastor Knapp

    We need to get rid of the gays. They keep raping my mind with pictures of me sleeping with men and forcing me to be aroused.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  7. Jim Stanek

    These people are ideological terrorists from a worldview cult. No amount of reason, logic, or arguments can persuade them otherwise. It's time to quit arguing with them and just ignore them. Just. Walk. Away. If we stop giving them our attention and time, ultimately, they'll just go away and leave the rest of the world in peace.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  8. Bill55

    It's no surprise that with garbage like this, Western civilization is walking away from organized religion.
    As far as the left loving gays........ Jesus was a socialist and he loved everyone. Now if you hate gays and the left, you cannot be a true Christian, just a pathetic tea bagger.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  9. Tyler

    Deuteronomy 22:22 "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die."

    Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death."

    'nuff said.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  10. the_dude

    Free speech...so sorry gays most people hate your guts. So sorry to speak the truth. You can have as many left-wing judges and lawyers you want but normal people will never accept this behavior.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Tyler

      Deuteronomy 22:22 "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die."

      Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death."

      So why are adulteres allowed to live? I mean, if we're going to follow the bible and all. Or do we just selectively follow the parts we like the most.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Jen

      About half the country supports gay marriage. That's a lot of 'abnormal' people.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam

      He means "most people in my tiny redneck community".

      May 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • GrowUp

      You are one sick, pathetic excuse of a man.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  11. Jay Honeyman

    Christ got lost somewhere in the video.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  12. Jim Stanek

    The sad thing is, the only moral high-ground these fundie idiots have to stand on is their unshakeable belief that the way they live and believe is "right," "moral," "godly," and "good." Nothing else but their own faith exists to support this. How sad. It's time to stop treating them like they're correct and start calling a bigot a bigot, and a terrorist a terrorist.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  13. Eric

    That's why they call themselves "Christian" (which has absolutely no definable meaning, and was actually a derogatory word used in the Bible for followers of Jesus) ... instead of "disciples" .. which is certainly very well defined in Scripture.

    for all of them.... "and the greatest of these is LOVE" ... " By this shall all men know that you are my disciples"

    as one who aspires to be a disciple and often (if not always) falls short .. i'm sorry for the hurt these people inflict and assure you that God loves you no matter your sin, and wants you to be with him forever.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  14. Debra

    And now you understand why I denouce religion.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  15. whatawonderfulworld

    Do they not understand they are committing a huge sin by spreading hate? And it also turns upright walking humans from being a part of what they call religion. It's disgusting and I would love to see him try to explain this away when he meets his God.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  16. Ran

    Christians are fast becoming the laughing stock of the world.

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

      I wish there was a like button here.....

      May 31, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      Unfortunately, Ran, they praise the Lord for it every day. Their Bible teaches them that when they become the laughing-stock of the world, it is proof that they are living the true Christian life. Sigh. Circular logic, pyramid schemes, and brainwashing all lead to the training of ideological terrorists from a worldview cult.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  17. Not Religious

    So, what's next? Witch burnings?

    May 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • sam

      Probably. But not much will get done, because they won't be able to decide which fuel to use, where to hold the burnings, what part of the bible answers these questions, etc etc

      May 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Pastor Knapp

      We definitely want to go after witches, but you can't imagine what we have in store for the gay witches

      May 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • sam

      I hear gay witches are super flammable.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • tb63

      Watch out Uncle Arthur!

      May 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  18. bikepro

    Hey Adolf, is that you? I didn't recongnize you without the 'stach and the blond hair. It's a good thing you found someone else to pick on cause them Jewish folks are pretty ornery these days.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  19. Chrisitans hate gays

    Please continue to put more pedo pastors and heinous pastors on national TV, so the world knows christians are BS. Good Job!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  20. Justice

    It's funny to see all the people here fighting and blaming it on religions, but the fact of the matter is this is not a fight about religion, the real cause of this fighting is between those who like gays and those who doesn't. The word Gay is the cause of all those fights ad not the religion. In a very short time from now the real war will be between Gays and anti-Gays, so let God out of your fights because he's not the cause of this.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • sam

      This is the funniest post of the day.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • GrowUp

      Take your meds imbecile.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:37 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.