Lawrence O'Donnell laid into Evangelical preacher Sean Harris, whose horrific sermon suggesting parents "punch" their gay-acting children caused public outrage.
Harris urged his congregation to physically respond to when their sons "act girly" or their daughters "act butch." After his sermon raised many eyebrows, Harris told his local paper that he was joking during the sermon. He issued what he called an "official statement of retraction," which O'Donnell read on air during his Wednesday night show.
Harris wrote that he'd like to retract "any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate for any and all types of behaviors including (but not limited to) effeminacy and sexual immorality of all types. I should not have said what I said about "cracking," "punching," and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words "special dispensation." I did not say that children should be squashed."
O'Donnell replayed lines from Harris' sermon and contrasted his incendiary statements against his retraction. During his sermon, Harris said, "Your little son starts acting a little girlish and instead of squashing that like a cockroach, you take pictures." O'Donnell asked, "Wait - isn't the four-year-old boy you're talking about there the cockroach that should be squashed?"
Sean Harris' statement also included, "I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion."
O'Donnell then played a clip from Harris' sermon in which he said, "Dads—the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that limp wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch, okay?"
Harris also said he did not mean to intentionally offend anyone. "What does this man look like when he is trying to offend someone?" O'Donnell asked.
O'Donnell then wondered, "What kind of holy man, what kind of man of God lies about what he has said in a video taped sermon when he is apologizing for what he said in that sermon. He did say that if your son has a limp wrist, you should punch him." O'Donnell later added, "He lies about having said that."