I've been tracking these recent calls by pastors for the death of LGBT people on my blog, and a few readers are saying my headlines are misleading, but in doing so they seemingly excuse these pastors' behavior by stating, among other things, that they were "just quoting Scripture" or "thinking out loud." I disagree. Pastors are held in high regard by many in our society who look for guidance in their lives; therefore, a higher level of accountability is necessary. These "I wish they were dead... just kidding!" tactics ought to come with consequences that discourage further use.
Here's where we are:
Pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kan. said that God said that LGBT people should be put to death and that the government should be the one doing it:
"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death." Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should.
Pastor Knapp continued:
Is it His word or not? If it's His word, he commanded it. It's His idea, not mine. And I'm not ashamed of it. He said put them to death. Shall the church drag them in? No, I'm not say that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?
Charles L. Worley, Pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., says an electrified pen will do the trick:
Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile 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 till they can't get out. Feed 'em. And you know what? In a few years they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce.
But he wasn't done yet: "It makes me pukin' sick to think about -- I don't even know whether you ought to say this in the pulpit or not -- could you imagine kissing some man?"
Fortunately, in this case, more than 1,000 people showed up in this small town to protest Pastor Worley's hate-filled sermon.
Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson, who is reportedly a minister at an undisclosed Baptist church, made a recent post on Facebook invoking Leviticus 20:13, a passage from the Bible that allegedly requires the death of LGBT people: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." In the ensuing uproar Gipson refused to apologize, saying he has overwhelming support: "To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God's Word."
Pastor Dennis Leatherman at Mountain Lake Baptist Church in Oakland, Md., is intrigued by the idea of killing effeminate and LGBT people:
To ... have a tendency to be effeminate or homosexual is just as wicked as to have a tendency to be a womanizer. Sinful nature does not justify sinful behavior. Now what is our take? What is our response? I appreciate your bearing with me tonight. First of all, there is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong.
Leatherman would like to kill us but won't, because the Bible says it's wrong. What a nice, reassuring thought from a man of God.
I am hoping for a quiet Sunday this time around.