The Charlotte Observer reports today on some controversial remarks a local pastor made about gays and lesbians that have rightly sparked outrage:
A Catawba County pastor’s sermon in which he called for gays and lesbians to be placed in a form of concentration camp has spurred a protest planned at the church this Sunday.
A group calling itself Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate says it plans a peaceful protest Sunday outside Providence Road Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church where Rev. Charles Worley delivered his controversial homily on May 13.
Worley’s sermon on Mothers Day has received more than 165,000 views on YouTube.
The church originally placed the video on its website, but it was removed late over the weekend. Providence Road Baptist’s website was not operating Tuesday morning, possibly due to the large number of people trying to access the site. But the video is still posted on YouTube.
It appears as if the May 13 sermon by Worley was aimed as criticism of President Obama’s announcement days earlier that he supports the right of gay couples to be married. Worley told his congregation that he couldn’t vote for a “baby-killer and a homosexual lover.”
After using Biblical passages that he said supported his argument, Worley then outlined a plan to put gays and lesbians in confinement.
The 71-year-old minister suggested building a large fence, 100 or 150 miles long, he said. He said lesbians would be put in one area, “and the queers and the homosexuals in another, and have that fence electrified, so they can’t get out.”
“Feed ‘em, and you know what?” Worley continued. “In a few years, they’ll die. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Some members of the congregation can be heard saying “Amen” in response to the pastor’s remarks.
I watched the video (you can too – below). The congregation did not say “Amen” in response to his concentration camp suggestion, but some did say “Amen” to some later remarks that also should not be said in a Christian church.
Longtime readers of this blog know my position on alternative forms of marriage, which includes gay marriage and polygamy. I am a proponent of the traditional one man one woman couple marriage, because I think that is the ideal setting in which to raise a child. For a healthy balance, I believe a child ideally needs both a mother and a father to raise it. Longtime readers of this blog also know how I despise it when liberal pastors, and politicians like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi grossly distort God’s word and try to use it to justify their support for gay marriage. I’ve said more than once that I believe the term “liberal Christian” is an oxymoron. I’ve also made it clear in prior posts that the church is not the place to be “politically correct” about any issue. The Bible is very clear as to how “tolerant” God is of any sin, including adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, etc. Which is to say He is not tolerant of it at all, and wants to you to ask for forgiveness for your sins and accept Him as your savior.
But I also despise it just as much – if not more so – when conservative pastors use the pulpit to preach about homosexuality in a way that goes against Jesus’ teachings. What Rev. Worley did is one of the worst things a pastor can ever do, if not THE worst: In short, he played God. In essence, what he said was (paraphrasing): “If I had my way about it, gays and lesbians wouldn’t be able to wait for God’s judgment at Heaven’s gate. I’d take care of them myself.” It was as if the pastor fantasized about gays and lesbians starving to death as a way for he himself to purge them from society.
This is highly offensive to me both as a conservative Christian and as a human being.
The way things work from a Biblical perspective, as Rev. Worley should know, is that all sins are equal in the eyes of God (with the exception of the sin of not believing) and that only God himself is the decider of whether or not you get to go to Heaven, or spend eternity you-know-where. God puts your fate in your hands: If you want to go to Heaven, you ask forgiveness for your sins and accept Him into your heart as your Lord and savior. But seeing as there is no perfect being outside of God, we’re all human and we are prone to sin even once we have asked Him into our hearts. And we are supposed to ask for forgiveness daily as part of the growth process associated with being a Christian.
That includes ALL sins, btw: Worshiping false gods, being envious of another man’s property, cheating on your spouse, homosexuality, etc. Any (sinning) Christian who has accepted the Lord as their savior will have to ultimately answer to God for their sins when their time comes. They do NOT have to answer to the Rev. Worleys of the world. Their fate is NOT in the hands of any person here on Earth, especially a false god like Worley. It is not up to any pastor to decide which sinners get to stay here on Earth and which ones should die right now and go to hell.
When I watched that video, outside of knowing right away how wrong he was from a Christian perspective, all I could think about was: What if there were families in the congregation who had gay family members or friends? What if there were gay congregants in attendance that day? And their pastor is telling them he’d shove them and/or their loved ones in a concentration camp and starve them to death so they couldn’t reproduce, if he had his way about it! In my 40+ years I have gone to many a traditional Christian church and I have NEVER heard a single pastor at any one of them talk the way Worley did about fellow sinners, and certainly never heard them express a desire to take matters into their own hands. Worley is most certainly NOT representative of most conservative pastors.
People go to church to learn about the word of God, and to mingle with other imperfect Christians who are also learning and trying to walk along a righteous path. Churchgoers rely on their respective pastors to help gently guide them along a Godly path via their expert interpretation and discussion of scripture. Pastors who veer wildly off course when it comes to God’s teachings and who, in effect, have appointed themselves as the deciders of who should remain here on Earth and who shouldn’t are doing a tremendous disservice to congregations hungry for knowledge of God’s word, not to mention to those who are lost and who are considering turning to a church but who get turned off when they hear vindictive sermon’s like Worley’s.
Preaching about sin in all forms, its consequences, God’s intolerance of it in all forms, and what will happen to you if you do not ask forgiveness for your sins and accept the Lord into your heart is both a moral and spiritual obligation for every Christian pastor. Preaching about and encouraging hatred and non-forgiveness towards other sinners mixed in with fantasies about personally purging them off the face of the planet, effectively “promoting” yourself to a God-like figure and decider, is most definitely NOT – not from the pulpit, not in the pews, not anywhere. I am not ashamed at all to be a conservative Christian, but I AM ashamed of Rev. Worley.