NC Pastor: Telling Parents to Punch Their Gay Kids Was a "Joke"
North Carolina's Amendment One vote (banning same-sex marriage) is stirring up the crazy something fierce this week, as the state prepares to vote on it on May 8th.
Here, the good pastor says he was only joking when he encouraged his parishioners to beat the hell out of their kids if they see them exhibiting effeminate or behavior contrary to their god-given genders. Or something like that. All in good fun though.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fayetteville pastor said Wednesday that he was joking when he told parents in a Sunday sermon to punch their sons if they acted effeminate.
Rev. Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church said he's been overwhelmed with angry emails and phone calls after comments he made while preaching about marriage. The sermon was tied to next week's vote on a state constitutional amendment that would make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal domestic union in the state.
The group Vote For Marriage NC urged church leaders to preach a marriage-themed sermon last Sunday and encourage church members to vote early this week in favor of the constitutional amendment.
Berean Baptist Church posted a video of the sermon on its website, and the congregation can be heard laughing when Harris tells fathers to "crack that wrist" if they see their sons "dropping the limp wrist."
"Man up. Give them a good punch. (Tell them), 'You're not going to act like that,'" he said in the sermon.
He also suggested that parents should be "squashing that like a cockroach" if their children are cross-dressing.
On Wednesday, Harris said he regrets his choice of words and doesn't advocate hitting children.
"If I had to do it again, would I say it differently? Yes, I would," he said, noting that he was talking off the cuff. "Sometimes when you do that, you say stupid things. For that, I am sorry. For all of those I offended, I am sorry.”
Harris said he was only trying to make the point that parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children act like their gender, and he said he wouldn't apologize for that.
"Everyone in the congregation on that morning understood that there was no intent in any way, shape or form that I meant to break a wrist," he said. "I was using hyperbole to strengthen the argument that parents have responsibility to maintain the gender distinction that God created in them.
"The Bible makes no compromise on effeminate behavior," he continued. "God created you a male; God created you a female. If you were created a male, you are to act like a man."
Yet, Harris closed the sermon by preaching tolerance.
"If you have a person in your house who is gay, you love them with Jesus Christ. Your job is not be homophobic," he said.
Such rhetoric could backfire though, as the deeply conservative state could end up rejecting the bill with all the crazy talk and actions surrounding it.
Political analyst David McClennan said Wednesday that these examples of impassioned rhetoric against the gay and lesbian community could backfire.
"For people on the fence, it really pushes them in a way that these folks – the minister or the guy in Cabarrus County – don't want them to go," he said. "They (might) see it as so extreme and such an emotional response to the issue."
He warned that extremism could push potential voters away from the polls.