Skip to main content

If you'll remember, back in May--just a few days before North Carolina voters approved the blatantly discriminatory Amendment One--Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville preached a sermon urging a "Yes" vote.  Nothing out of the ordinary, since Berean Baptist is an independent fundamentalist Baptist church.  But then Harris went several miles off the deep end by encouraging the parents in his flock to give their kids "a good punch" if they display gay tendencies.  The video went viral, and in the face of almost universal criticism, Harris took to his blog to claim his words were taken out of context.  But apparently someone must have told Harris that he would have been in deep legal doo-doo had any of the parents in his congregation actually taken him up on his advice, because the next day he issued a retraction.  There's just one problem.  It wasn't sincere.

Three months later, the video of that sermon is still available on the church's YouTube channel.  See for yourself (the screed begins at the 45:46 mark):

The only thing that appears to have been added is raw video of Harris walking the aisle while preaching.  If you'll notice, there's scarcely any sign of apprehension from the congregation--indeed, more than a few "amens."  Maybe it's just me, but if Harris were a bit sorry about this, you'd have thought the first thing he'd have done was to delete that video.  But it's been three months now--well beyond any good-faith explanation for why it's still up.  The only plausible conclusion one can draw is that Harris still believes it's OK to beat the gay out of children.

Now here's the really disturbing part--this church operates a full-fledged Christian school, Berean Baptist Academy.  Is this the kind of environment that is at all appropriate for a school?  I should say not!

Even without the video still being up, there is pretty good reason to question the environment in that church.  After all, Harris told The Fayetteville Observer that the majority of his flock knew that he was only joking.

Harris said he polled his pastoral staff and members of the congregation Tuesday after he started getting telephone calls and abusive emails once his comments went viral.

From within the church, Harris said, "the response was, 'Pastor, we know you didn't mean that.' "

"We know when you're saying something seriously and when were supposed to just understand the intent and not the application,' " Harris said.

During my freshman year at Carolina, I was suckered into joining a hypercharismatic campus ministry that found it perfectly acceptable to out-and-out lie about its true nature so as not to scare anyone away.  So I'm used to seeing disconnect between what the fundie world and the normal world finds acceptable.  But even if you allow for the nature of a church like Berean, there is something fundamentally wrong (the pun was intended) with a church where a pastor can even think joking about child abuse is acceptable.  To my mind, that's about the only plausible explanation for why that video is still there--the congregation "knows" it's a joke.  I find it hard to believe any fair-minded person would agree.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site