It comes as no surprise to readers of The God Blog that different Christians think different things about homosexuality. And even among those who think the people condemns homosexual activity, there is a split about how Christians should treat gays.
The spectrum is wide, but I honestly couldn’t conceive of a point on it that would advocate for create a gay version of the Warsaw Ghetto. Not until I read about a sermon that Charles Worley, pastor of a small North Carolina church, gave earlier this month.
Worley was upset with President Obama’s announcement supporting gay marriage—something that some Christians actually applauded. Totally understandable, though, because, as I just mentioned, lots of Christians think homosexuality is a direct affront to God. Or, as Franklin Graham put it, Obama’s support amounting to a “shaken fist” to heaven.
But Worley went much further and said that gays and lesbians should be boxed in and left for dead:
Build a great big large fence 50 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. You know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.
You can hear Worley’s sermon in the above video. It is, to say the least, theologically misguided. Worse, it seems to take the same view of gays that Hitler had. And thousands responded with protest. But Worley’s church congregation greeted him Sunday with a standing ovation.
From the Hickory Daily Record:
Church members and about 100 visitors from in and outside the area gave Worley a standing ovation when he approached the pulpit. A few members stood up from the pews and spoke out in favor of Worley as officers watched and intervened when one particularly longwinded member spoke.
The atmosphere was a vocal and jubilant one. The sanctuary was mostly full, with the vast majority of the crowd singing and crying out in joy. Many threw their hands up in praising the Lord and in support of the pastor.
“I appreciate all the support,” Worley said, buoyed by the loud cheers and applause of the congregation.
Barely touching on the subject of his May 13 sermon that sparked the controversy, Worley did not apologize. “I’ve got a King James Bible,” Worley said. “I’ve been a preacher for 53 years. Do you think I’m going to bail out on this?”
You can read the rest here.
I try not to make too much of crazy statements from previously unknown ministers with small followings. (See Terry Jones.) But as both an evangelical Christian and someone who had three Jewish grandparents, Worley’s statement struck as offensive, intolerant and historically insensitive.
Fortunately, it doesn’t even rise to the level of being a minority view. No Christian theologian is going to defend Worley’s position.