Pastors call for beating up gays and putting them behind electrified fences

You know, this kind of stuff doesn’t even raise my eyebrows any longer, so common is homophobia in religious America. But perhaps non-U.S. readers will still be shocked at the insane lengths to which American pastors go in denouncing gays.  In the New York Times article that brought my attention to the Pew survey below, “Down with religion?“, author Charles M. Blow mentions two recent homophobic videos of Baptist sermons. I’ve embedded them below and they’re short (about 2 minutes each), so have a look.

Here’s Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC.  As the NYT says,

One pastor from North Carolina suggested that fathers should punch their sons if they showed any sign of being gay. He said, “the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist.” He continued, “Man up! Give him a good punch.” He also warned against daughters “acting too butch.”

But see for yourself:

PuffHo discusses Harris’s subsequent notapology for what he said: it was a metaphor!

The North Carolina pastor whose violent anti-gay rant blew up across the blogosphere, said in an interview that his message to parents in a sermon — to “punch” a boy who is effeminate and “crack that wrist” if he is limp-wristed — were taken out of the “context of a ministry,” and that he meant them “figuratively,” claiming that Jesus, too, in the Bible, “conjures up violent images. . . In trying to explain why he used violence to convey his message even though he is now retracting the statements, Harris said: “In the context of the scripture, Mark, chapter 9, Jesus conjures up violent images as well, when he says, ‘If your hand is causing you to sin, cut it off.’ He’s not speaking literally. He’s speaking figuratively, using hyperbole to convey the importance of the offense.”

Yeah, I really believe that.

And here’s God’s pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina. The video is unbelievable; only part of it’s transcribed in the Times:

I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it passed through Congress. Build a great big large fence — 150 or 100 miles long — put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed them, and you know what, in a few years they’ll die out. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce.

Somewhere among the ranks of accommodationists we’ll find someone who will excuse these views, saying that they don’t derive from religion but from social or political conditions.  That’s bogus. While we rarely see this kind of anti-gay vitriol coming from atheists or even the liberal religious, we see it all the time in evangelical churches.  And of course the Catholic Church, while unwilling to mandate concentration camps for gays, still considers their behavior a grave sin.  And what is Hell but an eternal electrified fence with flames?

Religion just can’t keep its hands off the sexual behavior of consenting adults.

111 Comments

  1. AndrewD
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Of course in those benighted countries which don’t have a 1st amendment, these people would be in court on charges of inciting hatred and facing a prison sentence. (I do like UK law sometimes)

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      +5

    • stevehayes13
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I very much doubt it. The Bishops in the United Kingdom frequently trot out homophobic nonsense and it is widely reported in the media, but, to date, not a single one has been charged and held legally accountable, even though similar assertions made by ordinary people do result in prosecutions.

      • latsot
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        “The Bishops in the United Kingdom frequently trot out homophobic nonsense and it is widely reported in the media, but, to date, not a single one has been charged and held legally accountable, even though similar assertions made by ordinary people do result in prosecutions.”

        True, but nothing like this. They don’t (in public) advocate beating children if they look a bit gay. I don’t think they’d get away with that here.

        But I’ve been wrong before.

        • Marella
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          I heard the Archbishop of Sydney (C of E) on the radio yesterday talking about gay marriage. He was trying so hard not to say anything nasty about gays, while still trying to explain why they shouldn’t be allowed to get married that it was almost comical. In the end his reason seemed to be that we couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t lead to complete societal collapse (see Dan Dennett)! I felt quite sorry for him really, he seemed like a lovely bloke who’d just been completely confused by religious crap.

        • stevehayes13
          Posted June 19, 2012 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          Do you recall Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s barely coherent rant on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme on March 5 2012? In it he compared homosexuality to slavery. He claimed that the government had no right to legislate for such an abomination. He asserted that the only concern of the Catholic Church was for children, who had the right to two parents and the abortion Act 1967(logic was not his strong point, as you may have noticed) had ‘killed seven million children and further aberrations’. Do you not think that such a rant on national media against say a racialised minority might have resulted in a prosecution?

    • bernardhurley
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I can never understand why Americans are so fond of their idiotic constitution.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        let me guess, you’ve never actually read the thing you decry.

        • RFW
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Bernard should read it. It’s quite a short document and still makes good sense as an outline for the formation of a national government.

          • Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            Most of it is good, but some – the right to bear arms – are really out of date since the Wild West days.

          • lezurk
            Posted June 19, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            Bernard is right, it is an idiotic document. It is anti-democratic in its’ bicameral legislature that gives sparsely populated areas 2 senators that have the ability of veto power over the majority of the populace. Checks and balances result in gridlock and unaccountability. The federal judiciary has far too much power as the constitution very difficult to amend as a check on bad judicial decisions. The inability of senators to hold executive cabinet offices concurrently results in a revolving door in which they become lobbyists. The president has too much leeway in grabbing power, especially in war making. Lastly, the document is ambiguous and weasel worded allowing just about any interpretation to pass muster – as long as the ideology has a majority on the Supreme Court. Conbstitutionalism is a form of religion in the US. Is it any wonder that the US system is not copied much anywhere, and parliamentary systems are the norm in western industrialized societies?

            • tomh
              Posted June 19, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

              lezurk wrote:
              Bernard is right, it is an idiotic document.

              In the context of the original post, and the comment that Bernard was responding to, I took his comment to be a criticism of the 1st Amendment free speech clause and in favor of UK-style hate speech laws. Regardless of your other criticisms of the American Constitution, do you agree? That there should be laws against the speech this pastor engaged in?

              • lezurk
                Posted June 20, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

                A legislature should be able to pass any laws it sees fit to forward a policy as it sees necessary, and this would include hate speech laws. This is government by the people. But in the US it is the Supreme Court which decides what policy promoted by a given law is valid by a minimum of 5 justices. The 1st amendment is what this unelected branch says it is. And this is according to the dominant ideology at the moment, which at this moment is a conservative block of 5 justices. The 1st amendment is worthless.

              • tomh
                Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

                So now that state legislatures have passed laws banning same sex marriage, for instance, you would just have the minority who is affected hope for a different legislature someday to change the law? If the Court declares the laws unenforceable, because they contradict the Constitution, that’s what you object to and call “legislating from the bench.” I can’t agree that investing absolute power in the legislature is a good idea. It just invites repression and discrimination of minorities by the majority.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted June 21, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

                And the United States is hardly the only government system that uses judicial review. If anything, ours isn’t strong enough. Up in Canada I believe they have judges review laws after they are passed but before they go into effect.

                If we didn’t have judicial review, police wouldn’t have to give Miranda warnings and interracial marriage would still be illegal in some states.

            • tomh
              Posted June 20, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

              lezurk wrote:

              A legislature should be able to pass any laws it sees fit to forward a policy as it sees necessary, and this would include hate speech laws. This is government by the people.

              You would have no check at all on a legislature? That would seem like an invitation for the majority to oppress a minority. In the US the Constitution is the fundamental law, and legislatures must pass laws that comply with it. When legislatures passed laws that banned interracial marriage, for instance, federal courts declared that they contravened the Constitution and were unenforceable. Currently, the Defense of Marriage Act, legally passed by Congress and signed by the President, has been declared by federal courts to run counter to the Constitution and therefore must be struck down.

              I guess I have a problem with the absolute power you would grant the majority in a legislature, to pass any law it sees fit, with no recourse by minorities who might be affected by these laws. As far as the Supreme Court acting on the “dominant ideology at the moment,” how is that not also true of a majority in the legislature?

              • lezurk
                Posted June 21, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

                Your “check” on the legislature is dependent on luck. Luck that when a justice dies or retires she is not replaced by an ideologue who would have no qualms about legislating from the bench to impose her vision of the good society. Luck that a nitwit like George w. bush would not have 8 years to pack the court with ideologues. If you look at the history of Supreme Court decisions the most significant were not to strike down overreaching by the federal legislature, but to “correct” previous decisions such as Lochner or Plesssy. In fact, when the court does impose its’ will on congress, it is usually to strike down progressive laws such as campaign reform. Most countries get along without an all-powerful judiciary, why can’t we? Because the people in this country need “gods” to believe in.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        To be fair, the very reason gays can marry in Massachusetts is because two ordinary women (a gay couple) pointed out to lawmakers that denying two people the right to marry is unconstitutional because it treats gays as second class citizens. It’s thanks to our constitution that we have certain freedoms. Remember, the Republicans want to amend it so it DOES NOT promote equal rights for gays.

        • tomh
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          amelie wrote:
          i>Remember, the Republicans want to amend it so it DOES NOT promote equal rights for gays.

          A very good point, and an important one. Federal courts are already moving in the right direction by declaring DOMA unconstitutional, and eventually will go further and declare laws banning SSM unconstitutional. Romney and the GOP want a constitutional amendment in order to put the issue beyond the reach of courts, or legislatures, or popular initiatives. It’s kind of on the back burner now, but I think when the SC rules for SSM there will be a huge push by the right wing for an amendment.

          • Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            Yes – and the Republicans will surely distort the Constitution to get what they want.

            • gbjames
              Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

              Actually, they will do just about anything to get what they want.

      • tomh
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        I can never understand why Americans are so fond of their idiotic constitution.

        Really? You think it should be against the law to say the things that are said here? I guess I just disagree. With hate speech laws, I’ve never understood who gets to decide what is allowed to be said and what is not.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Well, I can understand where the sentiment comes from, but you’ve got it wrong. I don’t doubt that if you read the thing you would very likely concede that it is a noble document. Very many people outside of the US consider it to be one of the best of its kind yet created. Particularly in the context of its time. The problems arise in the implementation of the concepts laid out in the document. To many liars, cheaters and thieves gaming the system for too long.

        • darrelle
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          To Too many liars, cheaters and thieves gaming the system for too long.

      • PeteJohn
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Please explain why you find it to be particularly idiotic.

        It contains within it mechanisms to change it should a sufficient number of individuals find it lacking (the Elastic Clause and Amendment procedures). I’d say that’s a good first step.

        Aside from that, there’s a very practical reason to reference it, if not necessarily to be “fond” of it. It is the supreme law of the land, and laws that contradict it are supposed to be struck from the books.

        If I’m missing something, please explain where my appraisal of the Constitution is lacking.

        • L Delaney
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          I may be wrong but I don’t think that there is a specific mechanism for declaring a law unconstitutional written into the constitution. I think the Supreme Court assumed that it could do so. I just read Article III which sets up the Court and specifies it duties and powers. It does not mention anything about declaring laws unconstitutional.

          • tomh
            Posted June 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            L Delaney wrote:
            It does not mention anything about declaring laws unconstitutional.

            You are right that it is not spelled out in the Constitution. The power to declare laws unconstitutional is an implied power, known as judicial review, derived from Article 3 and Article 6. The short version of the reasoning is that the Constitution is “the supreme Law of the Land,” (Article 6), and laws are made “in Pursuance thereof.” Federal judges are sworn to follow the Constitution, so if the Constitution conflicts with a law, state or federal, they are bound to treat the law as unenforceable.

            Judicial review has a long history, and a number of states used it before the Constitution. It was firmly estabished by Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v Madison (1803).

    • Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Be careful what you wish for – crimes against inciting hatred may often work in our favour now, but it’s a small step from legislating hate speech to re-enacting blasphemy laws to protect “religious dignity”. I think there are some times when convictions are necessary – as when preachers in the streets call for homosexuals to hanged – but except for such obvious extremities, this kind of speech, disgusting as it is, ought to be kept free.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Constitutionally, one can always retort “figuratively” and “metaphorically” with robust riposte while laughing “symbolically” at teh stupid.

  2. Posted June 18, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget Curtis Knapp who thinks the government should kill LGBT people.

    • gbjames
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      These guys are too numerous to count.

  3. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Minor point, in case someone tries to bring it up as a defense: If you take everything Worley says at face value, he wasn’t literally calling for LGBT people to be put behind electrified fences, he was nominally attempting to make a (false) point that if you separated all gay people off from the rest of the population, they couldn’t reproduce. And thus gay people would go extinct, even though it’s a choice and not genetic, or something.

    Of course, it’s obvious that this bizarre thought experiment was a flimsy excuse to invoke such concentration camp-like imagery. He and his followers take pleasure in imagining such a scenario, and that’s the reason for bringing it up — even though he didn’t literally advocate for it.

    • DV
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Homophobes can’t make up their mind, if gayness is a choice or genetic. Or maybe they have some Lamarckian concept of evolution. Once you choose to exercise your gay muscles, you can pass them on to your kids.

  4. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Feed them, and you know what, in a few years they’ll die out. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce.

    a) It just occurred to me that that would ALSO work for a fenced-in horde of silly male baptist pastors!

    b) On the other hand, after centuries of celibate, we STILL have priests, so apparently, it’s a slow process.

    • jay
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Actually there would be new gay people springing up outside the fence. Most gay people do not have gay parents.

    • Marella
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I have often thought that making the clergy celibate was the best thing the church ever did for western Europe. Unfortunately the Protestants reversed that decision, we were on the way to breeding religiosity out of Europeans altogether!

  5. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    One could set one’s watch by the predictablity of Christians. Of course, *after* they say such hateful things and getting their hands slapped, they suddenly claim that they only meant things “metaphorically”. They claim that their bible is only using metaphors when it says kill for this god, that violence shoul be used against those who disagree with their god. And of course, they will be just as sure that the nonsense about their “savior” can’t possibly be metaphor at all; it *has* to be literally true or they have nothing.

  6. ArizonaJones
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    You Tube: ‘Punch gay kids’ pastor apologizes
    (sort of)

    There have been many through out history
    (African Americans, Native Americans,
    Japanese Americans …) that are all too
    familiar with the whole “fenced in”
    concept.

  7. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    If I say:

    “.. the second you see your pastor stick his nose in things he shouldn’t: crack that nose!”,

    then I hope this doesn’t get taken out of ‘webpage’ context, because, clearly, I only mean that figuratively.

  8. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    These must be some of those talk shows or television mini-series that depict Christians as being superstitious, foolish, reactionary and frightened of change.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      +1

  9. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    .. claiming that Jesus, too, in the Bible, “conjures up violent images” ..

    Dude:

    1) You’re not Jesus.
    2) Jesus ended up being nailed to a cross for all the things he said and stood for.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Sounds like a good precedent to follow.

      Figuratively, of course.

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    …..the Catholic Church, while unwilling to mandate concentration camps for gays…

    If they did, they might run up against a charge of advocating separate but equal facilities.

    • Tim Harris
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      But were the social conditions right (some nice religiously-minded dictators taking charge, for instance) the Catholic Church would return like a shot to imprisonings, beatings, hangings, burnings and castratings (they were being done at RC instigation pretty recently in one instance at least, as I recall – in order to protect priests who abused their charges; it was the young boys who got castrated, not the priests). The Church is not to be trusted.

  11. darrelle
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    What perfect, absolutely breathtaking displays of some of the more disgusting aspects of human behavior. Ignorance, meanness, hate and rabble rousing.

    Just listen to the hateful tone of voice of pastor Harris, especially when he is talking about a son and daughter. If he really does feel about it what his tone of voice conveys, he is a dangerous man who needs to be isolated from others and treated for serious psychological issues. If he is just role playing to achieve a certain effect with his audience, then he is merely a morally disgusting human being who deserves nothing but scorn and ridicule.

    The second guy is the epitome of a true southern gentleman pastor. An ignorant, uneducated, small minded playground bully. Even his sense of humor is stunted.

    The accommodationists really have their work cut out for them. I don’t think they are up to the task.

    • lamacher
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Yeah. The ARRT (Accomodationist Rapid Response Team) has been very remiss, hasn’t it?

      • darrelle
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Ha! I guess they need to expand. To much religious foulness to accommodate, and not enough accommodationists to handle the load in a timely manner.

      • exrelayman
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Close, but no cigar. It’s actually FART (Fervent Accomodationalism Reeks of Templeton).

        • darrelle
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Huh. I always thought FART was a technical term for passing gas. Flatus Advanced by Rectal Transport.

          Ohhhhh! I get it now!

    • latsot
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Yeah, this is the point. It’s not about freedom of speech: people can say any old shit whether we like it or not. It’s about society protecting vulnerable people (for example, children) from people like this who manage to put themselves in positions of authority.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Few or no accomodationists want to accomodate anyone advocating murderous behavior. Accomodationism is always selective.

  12. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Peter Mason in NC has got them both beat. He just kills the kid if he seems gay. He was a cult leader who killed a five year old because he thought the boy was gay. http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/15/2139458/prosecutors-drop-charges-against.html

    Of course, this guy isn’t in “mainstream” religion and doesn’t have some big congregation, just some really deluded women, so Harris and Worley are nothing at all like Mason. Right?

    Right?

  13. Claimthehighground
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “The ancient mind had a hopeful beginning;
    ‘Til it obsessed because others were sinning.
    For ignorance to fail,
    Rational minds must prevail;
    But at present, the other side’s winning.”

  14. Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Somewhere among the ranks of accommodationists we’ll find someone who will excuse these views, saying that they don’t derive from religion but from social or political conditions.

    It is more likely that they will try to avoid the issue by pointing to liberal churches that welcome gays.

    The sort of hate-mongering that you describe completely demolishes the theists claim that religion is the source of morality.

  15. raven
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Is this that “sophisticated theology” we keep hearing about and no one can find?

    The comment about gays not being able to reproduce is just wrong.

    1. A lot of gay men end up married, particularly in cultures where it is demonized and sanctioned. They have kids.

    Quite often the wife finds out about it when the guy leaves for another guy or gets tired of living a lie.

    2. Gay women have children if they want them, a not uncommon occurrence. They either find a sperm donor, go to a sperm bank, or do it the way straight women do.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      They can’t reproduce if surrounded by the electrified fence (unless they put the lesbians in with them, but I don’t think that’s what the good pastor is suggesting).

  16. stevehayes13
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    In law there is the notion of wilful blindness. It is the means by which someone, who claims to be completely ignorant of the fact that certain goods were in fact stolen can, nevertheless, be held legally accountable for receiving stolen goods. It notion has much wider application. Methinks, it is a notion that condemns the accommodationists. They are complicit, either knowingly or through wilful ignorance, in the propagation of such vile immorality – and they should be held to account.

  17. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Reverend Worley’s very existence proves Darwin was correct.

    (My apologies to any living apes who may be offended by this comment.)

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Eh?

  18. Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Frankly I think this is a good sign. A dying beast always fights back.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I wonder the same thing, but I just can’t completely convince myself that wishful thinking isn’t clouding my judgement.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        I may also have a distorted view living in a state where it’s already allowed.

    • gbjames
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I can’t see it as a good sign. I think of 1930 and Germany and how the “dying beast” fought back. Things can get worse.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        True enough although I genuinely think the tide is turning with gay marriage.

        • gbjames
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          One can hope. Right now I’m in a pessimistic mood, living in Wisconsin.

  19. mordacious1
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Maybe I shouldn’t point this out, since I believe that what these pastors are doing can, and probably will, lead to harm or even death to innocent people and therefor nothing to laugh about. But I have to chuckle when a NY Times article about homophobic preachers is written by C. M. Blow (if you know what I mean Mr. Haggard).

  20. eric
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    We already have something like his fenced-in compound where gays and lesbians can live. Only the fence is several thousand miles long, not several hundred, and the area in it is called “United States.” If he doesn’t want to live in said compound, I suggest he pick a direction and start walking.

  21. Kevin
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Most of the gay men of my acquaintance have been quite the opposite of “limp-wristed”. In fact, if you go to just about any NYC gym below 23rd St., you’ll discover that the most-buff, least-limp bodies there belong to gay men.

    So, the pastor is calling for the deliberate beating of kids who aren’t good in gym class. Whether or not they’re gay.

    He’s calling for the beating of the quiet kid, the intelligent kid, the small kid, the shy kid, the nerdy kid — whether or not that kid is gay. And in my experience, the majority of those kids are, in fact, not gay.

    The only kids who don’t get beaten are the football players. Some of whom are most definitely gay.

    Just when I think my disgust at the conservative Christian community could not get lower, someone sets a new standard of vileness.

  22. friendlypig
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    A few months ago in the North of England there was a piece on the regional news of two young US preachers who took on the local residents in the main street, berating them that unless they turned to Jesus they were surely hell bound.

    Apart from semi-interested loiterers who just took photos one pedestrian walked into a record shop they were standing next to and all of a sudden the sounds of Black Sabbath drowned everything.

    He was a game lad and lasted about 30 seconds before giving up the ghost.

    (It was a quiet day – as far as the news was concerned that is)

    • Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, I once had a similar experience about a year ago while standing in a queue to buy tickets at the Colosseum in Rome. There were a couple of boys in front of me, who got into a conversation, telling me they were attending college in the USA, and that they were in Rome only for a few days, and then asking me for my opinion on whether it would be possible for them to both the Vatican and the Colosseum in a single evening.

      They then asked me where I was from, and from there just launched into a proselytizing session about if I knew whether I had been “saved” and whether I had heard the “good news”, and so on and so forth. It was rather awkward for me with so many people just behind me in the queue, and I was rather relieved when I somehow managed to lose them at the next branch in the queue.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        “Put it this way, gentlemen. If I were here 1900 years ago, I’d be on the side of the lions.”

        • Posted June 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          🙂 That’d have been almost “Churchillian”, though I am not sure I’d have been able to say it even if I had had the wits to come up with it.

          We did get into a scripture shouting match for a while as I tried to convince them that their John 3:16 wasn’t the only poetic religious pronouncement around, giving them examples from the little bits I know of Ecclesiastes and the Rig Veda, but then I didn’t want to look like some kind of bible-thumper myself, and was also a little afraid that they might get a bit too zealous.

  23. Egbert
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Hate the sinner, but love the sin, is the motto of these particular gentleman.

  24. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The “out of context” is such booleschitt!!

    Jerry Falwell claimed he was taken out of context re his remarks on 9/11. The definitive rebuttal to this was by Al Franken in his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Religious Right”.

    He reproduced the !*entire*! Falwell remarks, and then remarked “The only way this could possibly be taken out of context was if it was preceded by the phrase ‘I’d be fucking nuts if I said…'”

    As for violent imagery being metaphorical, I don’t see how violent imagery can be a metaphor for something gentle. For example, with regard to Jesus remark that if your eye or hand cause you to sin cut it off, Friedrich Nietzsche remarked “It is not really the eye that is meant here”…if you get his drift.

  25. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    On a separate note, I’m OK with selective accomodationism for this reason.

    If you are fighting war against two enemies, say Germans and Italians, and one enemy commits terrible wartime atrocities horribly butchering innocent civilians and the other enemy is fairly diligent in !*not*! doing this, then both in battle and after victory you will treat that second enemy differently than the first. So a qualified/conditional accomodationism is still OK with me.

  26. darrelle
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    You may treat them better, but your primary goal is unchanged in either case. Render them incapable of continuing to cause damage.

    By the analogy you offer, do you mean to say that you prefer to be polite and respectful about it, but you do agree with opposing religion in an effort to render it incapable of significant impact on society? If that is how you actually think of it, then I wouldn’t consider you an accommodationist at all.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Well, I don’t mind religious support of the Occupy movement or gay-friendly churches (most here in San Francisco are) or churches that feed homeless hungry people.

      But in my experience, such churches often tend to the ones with fairly minimal creedal requirements and flexible in their belief systems, advocating what Dan Dennett calls “belief in belief” or what the Ethical Culture movement, Quakers, and Unitarians call “Deeds not Creeds”. They tend to view (a very selective picture of) Jesus (or perhaps Buddha) as a spiritual model.

      Regrettably, even rather benevolent churches tend to have folks who disregard science (usually appealing to postmodernism if it’s a liberal church) and/or advocate dubious alternative medicine practices, etc.

      Such communities are at worst what oncologists call a “benign tumor”, though such entities occasionally become subsequently malignant.

      I’m probably in an insular bubble in the Bay Area here.

  27. Tim
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Accomodationists won’t say anything about this now, except that they will agree this behavior is reprehensible. But they certainly won’t be mentioning this abominable bigotry when they’re blaming Gnus for being strident. If things go according to the accomodationist modus operandi, they’ll start talking about all this after gays have won the war (and they will win). Then theists and accomodationists will say the war was won because liberal churches led the fight.

    • Andy Dufresne
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and looking at these videos, it really gives the lie to the accommodationist talking point that says the rhetorical “extremism” and “intolerance” of gnu atheists is somehow cut from the same cloth as some of the worst religious extremism and intolerance. Part of the gnu argument is that these clergy are claiming their words carry a (magical) authority that is utterly phony. Accommodationists don’t think that point is terribly important and refuse to make it.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Well, if the intolerance of the atheists is cut from the same cloth than these guys, then I must say the atheists have a far far better tailor!!!

        • truthspeaker
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Well said.

  28. Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    That quote from Charles Worley reminds me of a great sign supporting gay marriage from the Proposition 8 protests last year:

    “If you don’t like gay marriage, blame straight people. They’re the ones who keep having gay babies.”

  29. Cody Porter
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Goddamnit. I’m considering Duke for grad school, but North Carolina just keeps getting more and more unappealing as a place to…exist.

    • Andy Dufresne
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s understandable. I’m a northerner who did part of my grad work in the deep south (deeper than NC even). The cultural milieu in which the university exists is definitely something you need to be thinking about, as you seem to be doing. I’ve heard people say to prospectives, “It doesn’t matter; just do your work.” And certainly, I was able to do that. But some students will be driven crazy by a particular region’s arch-conservative mores (e.g., places in he south where you can’t buy a six-pack on a Sunday—the Lord’s day!—etc.) of certain areas. Academic reasons for attending a certain program should absolutely be considered alongside its local eccentricities.

  30. MadScientist
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Of course Coren would say that those folks are No True Christians – after all, the jesus religion isn’t homophobic.

    • Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t for them. Just like the bigots say the liberals aren’t true Christians. Because, for them, it’s true.

      Religion is nothing more than a window to the inside of a person. Bigots believe in bigoted religious interpretations. Nice people believe in nice religious interpretations. It’s probably been like this the first religion was invented before the dawn of history.

      • Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Except that religion is enough for good people to believe (and do) evil things.

  31. Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Somewhere among the ranks of accommodationists we’ll find someone who will excuse these views, saying that they don’t derive from religion but from social or political conditions.

    I’m certainly not an accomidationist, but how a religion is practiced very well does come from social and political conditions. And there is a ton of good work done on this issue. It turns out that religious beliefs follow personal beliefs, not the other way around. Liberals will find the parts of their texts that support their liberalism. Conservatives will find the parts that support their conservatism. Bigots will find the parts that support their bigotry.

    It’s been this way forever. The only thing I see religion doing in these cases is giving bigots and misanthropes a ‘socially acceptable’ means of expressing their bigotry.

    • Tim
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      The only thing I see religion doing in these cases is giving bigots and misanthropes a ‘socially acceptable’ means of expressing their bigotry.

      Since religious institutions provide a socially acceptable venue for bigoted views, there is no way to disentagle whether religion causes bigorty or bigot exploit religion. Since the “flock” observes the bigoted views coming from the pulpit, religion can’t be absolved from being both a source and conduit for bigotry.

  32. PeteJohn
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I heard that first clip on the radio a few weeks back. Pretty disturbing. I don’t give a rip if it was in “the context of ministry” because the guy was advocating the violent abuse of a child for merely behaving in an effeminate manner. Give me a break!

    The second one I had not heard… but oh boy was that nauseating too.

  33. Living Fossil
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    As sickening as this is, it helps move the uncertain toward inclusion of the GLBTQ community. Our Pride Parade Saturday had a record turnout including at least one hundred organizations with tables in a local heritage park, including several religious groups–churches and a synagogue.

    As we marched the mile and a half route past the local farmer’s market, many shoppers cheered, applauded and some joined the parade, making the ultimate sacrifice to stop shopping for a while.

    It’s interesting that the Mormon Church is losing members in droves according to a USAToday op ed by Carrie Sheffield at

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-06-17/mormon-lds-ex-mormon/55654242/1

  34. Dave
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I only watched the first video because I can take only so much Xian love at a sitting. As Hitchens said, you can get away with the most horrific moral abuses if you just get yourself called”Reverend.”

  35. Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    What appals me is all the “Aymen”s. Wasn’t even one person in that crowd prepared to stand up and walk out, let alone stand up and say “Who the FLICK do you think you are?”?

    • Ludo
      Posted June 19, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      It looks like these creepy pastors and their equally creepy flocks share similar sexual frustrations and pathologies.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted June 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Umm, didn’t Pastor Niemoller make much the same point in an era of Nurmburg rallies. And he too was right, for the same reasons that you are right.
      First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
      Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me.
      And, yes, I have just Godwinned and compared the Nazis with some bunch of American religious mainstreamers. I apologise to any Nazis who I have unintentionally offended, and assure them that if they want to come along and be Nazis, I’ll be especially and intentionally offensive to them to make them feel better. Sort-of.

  36. Watching the Deniers
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I’d hestitate to indulge in Godwin’s Law, but doesn’t this sound like some sort of “final solution”:

    – Ghettos
    – Fantasising about eliminating a class of human beings?

  37. Logicophilosophicus
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    “Somewhere among the ranks of accommodationists we’ll find someone who will excuse these views, saying that they don’t derive from religion but from social or political conditions.  That’s bogus… we rarely see this kind of anti-gay vitriol coming from atheists…”

    But on the other hand (source is the not necessarily unbiased Wikipedia):

    “Most socialists and members of other left wing political ideologies have supported LGBT rights, while many Communist or Hard-line Socialist regimes including the USSR [from the advent of Stalin], People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, and Zimbabwe, have opposed them.” [That was the governments of over a quarter of the world’s population (1985).] “Hundreds of thousands of homosexuals were interned in gulags during the Great Purge, where many were beaten to death.”

    As W. C. Fields remarked, “On the whole I would rather be in Philadelphia.” Or even North Carolina.

  38. Larry Gay
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    I haven’t bothered to do a full accounting, but I find it reassuring that both these videos have gone viral. There are duplicate videos of these pastors on YouTube. A quick glance shows views of Worley well over 1,000,000 and Harris not far behind.

  39. Posted June 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Christians find it harder than atheists to recognize their own faces

    by Tomas Rees
    June 9, 2012
    Read Later

    Christianity, many people would agree, encourages adherents to think less about themselves and more about their group of co-religionists. Yina Ma and Shihui Han, of Peking University in Beijing, China, wanted to know if these teachings actually had meaningful psychological effects.

    They recruited pairs of students: 10 pairs of atheists, and 10 pairs of Christians. All the pairs were matched for age and gender, and each pair of friends had known each other for at least two years during which they were roommates or classmates.

    The did two tests, on of which was quite straightforward. They flashed up photographs of either the subjects own face, or their friend’s. The task was to recognised them by pressing an appropriate key: fast reactions on this one indicate that it was easy to recognize the face.

    The second was a version of the Implicit Association Test. In this test, the subjects had to match either their own or their friend’s faces with positive (e.g. “good”) or negative (e.g. “bad”) words.

    The theory goes that if you have a good opinion of yourself, or your friend, then you will find it easier to match the face with a positive word, and harder (i.e. take longer) to match it with a negative word. So this test is a measure of your gut feeling towards them.

    Ma and Han found that atheists and Christians were equally fast at recognizing friend’s faces. Atheists were faster at recognizing their own faces but, remarkably, Christians weren’t.

    They also found that atheists and Christians had equally positive feelings about their friends. However, while atheists were even more positive about themselves, Christians weren’t.

    They went on to show that the results of the Implicit Association Test explained the results on the first test. In other words, the relatively low opinion Christians had of themselves was linked to their relatively tardy reactions on the self recognition test.

    Ma and Han note that previous research has shown that Christian belief and practice that
    emphasize human sinfulness seems to weaken positive attitudes toward the self, and suspect that this is what their results have shown:

    …our results suggest that the implicit positive view of the self can be reduced by Christian belief and practice that repudiates the distinctness of the self and friends and this in turn can eliminate the advantage of self-face over friend-face in the believers.

    Of course, Christianity is very much a minority religion in China, and Chinese have a collectivist culture, compared with Western individualism. So we can’t necessarily extrapolate these results to Christians and atheists elsewhere in the world.

    Nor can it be assumed that all Christian sects have the same effect. Other research has shown that Calvinists seem to be ulta-individualistic compared with both atheists and Roman Catholics, for example.

    However, it is intriguing to think about these results in the light of theories which propose that religions were invented as a tool to increase group cohesion.
    ResearchBlogging.org
    Ma Y, & Han S (2012). Is the self always better than a friend? Self-face recognition in christians and atheists. PloS one, 7 (5) PMID: 22662231

  40. Neil Schipper
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The first guy — wha’d you say his name was? Sean Carrol, Sam Harris or something like that? — was in my view just being hyperbolic for theatrical effect.

    I base this in part by the audience reaction. It doesn’t sound like they’re being whipped into a holy fervour to go home and start punching and whipping four-year-olds. Rather, it sounds like they, being familiar with the guy’s style, are getting a charge out of hearing a gloriously anti-PC middle American evangelical perspective.

    To say this is not accommodationist; it’s culturally informed.

    A lot of xtian sermonizing these days is edutainment that wraps their (not my) moral message in a form that tries to complete with the secular fun of modern life — sports, movies, gaming, shopping, sex, etc. — fun that keeps people out of church. He’s using a (very American, I’d also say) comedic style which derives as much from Lenny Bruce and George Carlin as from traditional terror-inducing fire and brimstone sermonizing (which we do still find in some quarters of the Abrahamic universe).

    I concede that this kind of sermonizing contains weak elements of dog-whistling and goalpost-moving that might nudge a handful of sociopaths to misdeed. But the center of gravity of this guy’s message is: pay attention to the kids, and exert yourself to guide their personality development in ways that favour traditional gender roles.

    So I think Prof. Coyne is overreaching here.

    Here’s a polite grilling of the guy by an atheist:

    I’m on board with seeing the second guy as hate-mongering: he’s promoting the idea that homosexuals are essentially evil, which is distinct from being wayward.

    • gbjames
      Posted June 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, Neil, that’s bullshit. Complete bullshit. Substitute “Blacks” for “homosexuals”. Would you be explaining away the racism?

      • gbjames
        Posted June 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Oh. You meant the kid-beating video. I still say your position is bullshit. Kids have died at the hands of Christian bible-banging parents under the influence of preachers like this. Killed, as in dead.

        Explaining this away as just some innocent drama to retain church membership is to ignoring the real world consequences of this kind of insane religious practice.

      • Neil Schipper
        Posted June 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I’m taking a position on whether violence is being called for in this specific instance.

        I’m not arguing that speech against homosexuality should be acceptable. It’s with us, and will be for some time.

    • Neil Schipper
      Posted June 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Wrong vid. My err, or did wordpress screw up the url?

      try again:

      and in case this is also screwed up, copy, paste & fix-up:

      ht_REMOVE_ME_tp://www._REMOVE_ME_youtube.com/watch?v=Wvzv5uc5ftE&feature=player_embedded

  41. shakyisles
    Posted June 20, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    What the f*ck!!!??? This is shocking

  42. shakyisles
    Posted June 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sorry but I would like to see Sean Harris thrown in the ring with a bunch of WWF wrestlers and some All Blacks..see how tough HE is

  43. David Leech
    Posted June 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Can’t we round up all this religious hate and keep sending it to the accommodationists? The snowball affect should at least cover them even if it doesn’t shut them up.

  44. Dermot C
    Posted June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    JAC is obviously wrong when he writes, “Somewhere among the ranks of accommodationists we’ll find someone who will excuse these views, saying that they don’t derive from religion but from social or political conditions. That’s bogus.” It’s evident that they derive from the times. Only a post-Faraday Christian could imagine an electric fence to deter ‘homosexualism’, as Gore Vidal might say. The pastor lacks historical perspective and imagination.

    Had he sought inspiration from his co-religionist ancestors, he might have considered instead the dunking stool (which horrified contemporaneous Muslims), the rack, quartering by horses, rhinotomy (nose-slitting), eye-gouging (very effective in nullifying the career prospects of Byzantine Augusti), head-crushing, the rather uncreative burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel (the Mick Jagger torture of choice), slavery (having the advantage of putting all that labour power to good use), the unkindest cut of all – the promulgation (if you’ll pardon the expression) of eunuchs, as in early Constantinople.

    There are plenty of pre-scientific resourceful ways to make the Godless suffer, but contra JAC, Christians de nos jours lack the ‘social and political conditions’ to put those means into effect. But these Christians’ solution to the problem of homosexuality are precisely determined by the historical provincialism of their outlook, their ‘social and political conditions’. Shame on you, JAC!


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