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."
Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. retracted the statements of violence but continued to defend his comments about the "importance of gender distinctions that God created," as well his condemnation of homosexuality, citing the Bible. But he was not able to explain other passages in the Bible, such as those condoning slavery, saying he didn't realize the interview would "slant and redirect the conversation."
"I had no idea that the video would be chopped and posted in the blogosphere in a such a manner in which the entirety isn’t understood," Harris said in an interview on my radio program on SiriusXM OutQ yesterday. "Those were not the best choice of words. If I had to do it over again again I would not choose those words. I was using hyperbole in an effort to communicate the importance of the gender distinctions that God created. I would offer an apology to anyone I have offended. I don’t make an apology for those gender distinctions that are the word of God."
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."
Harris said the comments were taken out of context because in the rest of the video of his sermon, "I get ready to tell the church, 'We are not to be homophobic. We are to love the gay person.'"
Nonetheless, Harris defended his condemnation of homosexuality by quoting the New Testament and the Old Testament. When asked about passages in the both the Old Testament and the New Testament condoning slavery, however, he said those passages are taken "out of context."
"I didn’t realize this was going to be an interview on slavery," he added, when asked why he selectively used the Bible. "It's unfortunate that [I was not told] you were going to slant and redirect the conversation. It's unfortunate that I accepted this phone call."
Check out other statements made by right-wing pundits about LGBT people below: