'Beat the gay away': One pastor's advice for parents
Gay rights proponents condemn a North Carolina preacher for suggesting that parents punch effeminate sons — words he now claims were a failed joke
The video: A North Carolina pastor, Sean Harris, is facing an angry backlash after telling members of his flock to punch their sons if they show signs of being gay. In a Sunday sermon at Berean Baptist Church in Fayatteville, Harris said: "The second you see your son dropping that limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist." Harris, who was preaching on marriage ahead of next week's state-wide vote on the Amendment One gay-marriage ban, continued: "Man up. Give him a good punch." After his words were posted on several blogs (see the clip below), Harris apologized for his comments, saying he was making a misguided attempt to be funny. "What I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly," Harris said. "I'm not going to compromise on that."
The reaction: This is "a dreadful new low" for the anti-gay-marriage crowd, says Cassie Murdoch at Jezebel. Not only does this "sick" preacher advocate trying to beat the gayness out of children, but his hateful flock actually titters at his tirade. "Really, people of God?" Hold on, says Tony Cartledge at Baptists Today. "Not every person who supports Amendment One, nor all who believe homosexual behavior to be sinful" endorse Harris' extremist views. "His pompous and poisonous words are an affront to Christ and the people Christ loves." Yes, but Harris is far from alone, says James Causey at the Milwaukee, Wisc., Journal Sentinel. Plenty of macho, supposedly righteous men try to "beat the gay" away to get their boys to "man up," and their butch girls to act girlish. "Now you wonder why young people have a problem coming out?" Listen to Harris' sermon for yourself: