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NC pastor who advocated violence against gay kids: ‘I was misquoted’

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
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North Carolina preacher Sean Harris, the Senior Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., who is heard in an audio clip telling his congregation that, should their children show any signs of “homosexual” behavior, it is their responsibility to use violence as a corrective measure to prevent that child from being gay or lesbian, now says he was misquoted and just joking.

The audio clip, obtained by Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou.org, and published by LGBTQ Nation yesterday, reveals Harris advising parents to that when their see their “girlish sons … dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist … Give him a good punch. Ok, adding, “And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in.”

Listen:

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Harris has responded to growing criticism of his Sunday sermon, telling the Fayetteville Observer that he was just “joking.”

Sean Harris

And in a post on his blog, Harris said Tuesday that nearly every article had misquoted him:

By now you may know that my words, from Sunday morning’s sermon, about effeminate behavior in children are being completely taken out of context by those in the LGBT community. (Nearly every article is misquoting me.)

Clearly, I would like to have been more careful with exactly what I said, but sometimes I say things without enough clarity. I trust you understood my intent in the context of my total preaching ministry.

[...]

For the record, I want to ensure everyone that I do NOT believe physical force is capable of fixing effeminate behavior or homosexual behavior. Parents should not punch babies or children. (Ultimately only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to deliver one from sexual immorality and behavior including effeminacy; )

I would never advocate for such discipline or actions on behalf of a father or mother. I misspoke. Hopefully, you understood that I was speaking in a forceful manner to emphasize the degree to which gender distinctions matter to God; and therefore, must matter to each of us and especially parents.

[...]

As I emphasized in this sermon, as well as the week before, we must not be hateful toward those whose behavior is an abomination to God. But we also cannot compromise on what we believe the Bible teaches on all sexual perversions and immorality.

“If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt,” Harris said Tuesday, according to the Observer.

“Those weren’t planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I’m not going to compromise on that,” he said.

After listening to the sermon Tuesday, a divinity professor at Campbell University called it “one of the most disappointing and un-Christ-like diatribes I have ever heard.”

“I would not dishonor the word ‘sermon’ by identifying it as such,” said Tony Cartledge, who teaches Old Testament at Campbell, a Baptist university in Harnett County.

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