Pastor’s anti-gay rant goes viral, condemned widelyTop Highlights, Around the Nation Thursday, May 31st, 2012
MAIDEN, N.C. (CNN) – Just about everyone here is talking about the local pastor who made national headlines last week after a video that features him telling congregants how to “get rid of” gays went viral.
Neighbors of the Providence Road Baptist Church – where a sign advertises “old time religion” – say Pastor Charles Worley is known for being over the top, with one neighbor describing him as “fire and brimstone” whose views are out of sync with much of the surrounding community.
“I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the Congress,” Worley told his church May 13, in a video that has been seen half a million times on YouTube.
“Build a great big, large fence – 50 or 100 miles long – and put all the lesbians in there,” Worley said. “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 in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Some church members, who declined to give their names, defended their pastor, saying his words had been taken out of context. “He said he would feed them!” some church members told CNN, referring to Worley’s idea for rounding up gays.
The pastor’s sermon also attacked President Obama, with Worley saying that “I ain’t going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover.”
Last Wednesday, the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that Worley violated the rules of his church’s tax-exempt status by engaging in political speech against a candidate.
“Pastor Worley’s vicious and mean-spirited assault on gays and lesbians is bad enough,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “His pulpit command that people not vote for President Obama is a violation of federal tax law. I urge the IRS to act swiftly to investigate this matter.”
Video of the sermon had initially been posted on Providence Road’s Web site but was recently taken down, according to CNN affiliate WBTV-TV in Charlotte. The phone line at Worley’s church has been busy since last week.
The church’s Web site has also been down, but it had described the house of worship as fundamentalist, meaning it represents a Baptist tradition that’s more conservative than the Southern Baptists.
Worley’s sermon was posted on YouTube by a group called Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate, which is planning protests at the Providence Road Baptist Church.
Addressing his congregation last Sunday, Worley referred to his earlier controversial sermon.
Both the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), have condemned Worley’s comments and been working to gather criticism of his words.
“I am angry and sick at heart over Pastor Worley’s comments,” said the Rev. Dennis Teall-Fleming, pastor at Open Hearts Gathering in Gastonia, N.C., in a statement distributed by GLAAD.
“Nothing he says has anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Teall-Fleming, who leads a Disciples of Christ congregation.
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