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. TPN51

    Further proof that the Bible is nothing more then a good comic book followed by people that believe in fairy tales and live in never never land. The new breed of hypocrisy has arrived spreed by idealistic individuals that call themselves "Men of God". If this is the messages they choose to teach their followers, they are no different then Hitler, Caresh, Jones, or any other fanatic group. But remember it's OK to hate your next door neighbor , but don't forget to say grace. What a laugh.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      There is nothing new about this hypocrisy. If anything to tolerant all loving Christian is the new hypocrite.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  2. Alex

    Why don't we just kill all the pastors?
    Seriously ill pay anyone who kills pastors like this.

    I mean the religion is dying anyway, why not speed things up a bit?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  3. Seb

    Quite ironic that Christian and Islamic extremists, who both hate each other so much, share so much in common.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Alicia Townes

      If you are not a christian then at least you should treat everyone as you would like to be treated

      May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  4. inewt

    with a last name like "Leatherman" how can anyone take him seriously?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  5. Barn

    Preacher McBigot here does realize that although the Bronze Age Israelites of the Bible could find any number of reasons to pummel one another to death with stones for imaginary transgressions, modern Israel has no such taboos.
    In fact, it has one of the most liberal LGBT mindsets on the planet–gay soldiers serving openly since 1993 (in what many consider to be one of the most advanced and powerful militaries on the globe), gay adoption rights, gay spousal benefits, recognition of gay marriages from other countries, common law marriage for gay couples, immigration benefits for gay spouses of Israeli citizens, etc. They don't allow gay marriage civil ceremonies on Israeli soil, but that's about it (but even then, they will allow gay couples to have common law marriage and legally recognize such ceremonies performed elsewhere).

    This is just another disingenuous, hypocritical Christian selectively reading the Bible because, by his own admission, his own flesh "kind of likes the idea" of killing gay people. He's sick, he's primitive, and he's a bigot and that people go listen to him speak every week is sad and pathetic.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  6. tipsana

    Why do CNN and other news agencies believe these type of ignorant and hateful speakers deserve a broader platform than their own congregations? I think stories such as this wrongly legitimize this type of belief.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Why do you believe this type of ignorant and hateful speech should be hidden?

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

      It isn't hidden - it is shared in a very small forum (the local congregation). CNN is broadcasting them worldwide simply because they are so outrageous. My point, and fear, is that this type of coverage will "elevate" this type of idea to the point of normalcy. Remember, "free speech doesn't mean careless talk." (WWII poster).

      May 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Keeping it in the congregation is no different than keeping it in the family. Congregations are families after all..right? Your theory is that this will draw others to their cause but the evidence suggest otherwise. There were protests against this people.. not in support of them. It sounds a lot like the other posts I’ve read from Christians who don’t like their dirty laundry being put out for everyone to see.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • tipsana

      1. While I am a member of the Episcopalian faith, I do not identify with the so-called right-wing "christians".
      2. My faith compels me to embrace the new covenant of the New Testament, rather than wallow in the morass of the Old Testament's wrath and brimstone.
      3. In keeping with your family metaphor, I would compare this man's ranting to listening to grandma remarking on all the problems with the "coloreds", and don't believe either one of these statements deserves the attention that CNN brings to them.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      I made no statement about your faith so your first and second points are moot. Your final point is just a repeat from above having now been shown the logic behind it to be false. You are enti.tled to your opinion of course, however if you wish to back it up with logic (not a strong suit of theists I grant you) you’re going to have to do a lot better. Nothing in your above statement repudiates my commented about Xtians and their dirty laundry or keeping this kind of hate speech hidden.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son


      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Diane

    My heart weeps for my country when I read things like this.

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

      The entire planet acts this way, cry for planet earth.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Yes Tom, but we are supposed to be better than the rest of the world …right?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  8. Jer

    Judge not lest ye be judge
    love your neighbor as yourself

    I guess he forgot those parts of the bible too, what a POS

    May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  9. irock110


    I bet they'd change their teachings if money or the loss of money was a consequence

    May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  10. Steve

    Where does it say in the bible it's okay to kill another human being?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Because the bible is not filled with the loving hippy version of Christianity that many modern Christians wish it was.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Proud Agnostic

      Are you serious? The bible is full of "if someone does this stone them to death" verses. It is actually a very violent book, and if modern Christianity followed it more closely our country would feel much more like Iran. This is why the least religious nations in the world are typically the most prosperous and peaceful. Do some research.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  11. NorCalMojo

    Sick freak. He should by a koran and move to Saudi.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  12. Sir Ivanhoe

    Most gays are born that way as Lady Gaga song says - so God shares some of the blame. Read more about this in book - king of Bat'ha -- and sequel due out by summer 2012 -- Tales from the East.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Rich

      You cite a Lady Gaga song and a book nobody has read for your proof? Show me a peer reviewed scientific articl that supports this (if you're interested in credibility that is).

      I have no doubt that nature is involved but nurture and choice probably play a significant portion too. Sorry, but not everything is as cut and dry as a Lady Gaga song.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      >have no doubt that nature is involved but nurture and choice probably play a significant portion too.

      Show me a peer reviewed scientific articl that supports this (if you're interested in credibility that is).

      Pot meet kettle?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Rich

      I don't have one. That's my point. The fact that one doesn't exist shows that the issue isn't quite as clear as Sir Ivanhoe and Lady Gaga think it is.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      So in other words the original poster opinion is wrong but you have nothing but your own opinion to offer.


      May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  13. mklsgl

    Find a Christian who hasn't violated the authority of the Bible. Just one.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Matt

      You won't and I am a Christian. These Pastors are put in place to discredit the true teachings of Jesus.

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

      You won't. That's the point of Jesus.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  14. what is he hiding

    This pervert probably has little kids hidden away somewhere playing sick games with him. Anytime someone makes such bold statements it is to cover up a terrible truth about themself.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • buddycouch

      Notice how these people are digging up the fringe right nutjobs like this to combat the fact that Obama came out in support of Gay marriage. They are trying to make this a huge issue to keep independents in the fold. Shame Shame. You lefties have just as many nut jobs as righties do. I can't stand either side because they are all liars and thiefs. Obama is one of the few I can muster some respect for. I like John Mccain as well. The reason I have respect for Obama is that he bucked his own party many times to their dismay. Well John has done that for years.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  15. DaveJ

    Why are athiests the quickest to post? If you are athiest please tell me why you feel the need to correct naivety? Why are biblical stories not believed, but you believe in Roman history? The same man had written about both.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • what is he hiding

      Let me explain why I don't believe the "bible stories." First, many of the stories were actually stories used by other groups before the bible was written... this makes these "stories" out to be fables. Second, many of the new testament books were written by not so holy men... Paul was actually a murderer who later claimed to have been blinded by the light... how many cons have we heard come up with a story like that?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Fetchez le vache!

      Naivety? Concentration camps for gays is naivety?

      Roman histories are not taken as absolutely untrue – historians openly recognize various credibility issues with writings from that era. However, the Roman historians don't have lots of magic and supernatural occurances, whereas that is what defines Christian fictions.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • BJ Blumpkin

      What's an athiest? The fact that you can't spell such a simple word explains a lot.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Fn0rdz

      1. Roman history is corroborated by multiple independent and RELIABLE sources.
      2. People (generally) don't base their lives on Roman fairy tales.
      3. No one that I know of thinks that we should all live our lives by Roman fairy tale rules or claims that they are the "one true path" to "salvation"
      I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  16. palintwit

    Christians are @ssholes.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • ModernMan

      Careful, your ignorance is showing. Didn't your mother ever teach you that two wrongs do not make a right? You are the @55hole here

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

      Fighting bigotry with bigotry. Good plan, Einstein.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  17. steve

    as long as churches can make money fleecing their sheep we will never rid ourselves of religious nonsense. These organizations are parasites on mankind. spewing hatred and exclusion under the banner of "heaven" with fear of eternity in something they call hell. imho, they create hell on earth for all the rational humans. and to think these cults are tax free, what a sham.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  18. Matt

    What's really funny is he thinks that straight people can't produce gay people.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Matt

      On top of that he's actually making a case for incest and polygamy, but not pedophilia.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Mike


      May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  19. Hale Mary

    "full of grace", that Mary is.

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

      "Full of Sh!t" is more like it.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  20. RebelTexasDemocrat

    Has anybody noticed that all of these "pastors" who spout this hate and intolerance all seem to be "Baptist" in some form or another? All Christians hate – Christianity is based on hate and intolerance, but the Baptists seem to be more hateful and intolerant than all of the other Christians combined. My suggestion is that we label the Baptists as hatemongers and take away their tax exemptions and treat them as a hate group and have the Southern Poverty Law Center, who do FABULOUS work, go after them.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • LC B

      At last – a sensible, thoughtful human arises – and speaks – from the typical, ignorantly biased masses produced in Texas!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • John

      Amen Brother.

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

      Yeehaw! I like your thinkin'!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • FritzfromPa

      All of those 1,000+ new white militia groups the FBI just recently advised us on (formed since Obama was elected) think f themselves as "Christians" and they seek to kill all people of color and anyone who doesn't prescribe to their way of thinking and their "justice". American Christians who want to kill anyone not like them are just another form of the Taliban, ignorant, racist, amoral, and backward. If America doesn't start taxing these hatefilled phony religious groups advocating violence against others, then none of us should be taxed. These are not religions, they are businesses, pimping Jesus for cash and it's a easy way to make money. Gather a bunch of undereducated and racist nutcases, tell them they can only get to white "heaven" if they send in their money, and they'll be saved. It works for Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham and his overtly racist son Franklin, Oral Roberts and all the rest of the Jesus pimpers. Who was the original dirtbag who decided to exempt the religion businesses from paying their fair share of taxes. Throw them to the lions, or as these religious frauds say, put them behind an electried fence and fry them. it worked for the Catholics during the Inquisition.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
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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.