A Baptist pastor has been forced to defend his sermon after advocating for traditional marriage through Amendment One, the North Carolina legislation that would outlaw same-sex marriage, which is up for vote on May 8. For his fiery defense of marriage, Pastor Sean Harris was attacked by gay advocacy groups, who maintain that the minister advised violence toward effeminate children.
"If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt," he told FayObserver.com, noting his words were taken out of context. "Those weren't planned words, but … the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I'm not going to compromise on that."
Pastor Harris, of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, apologized for the comments in a formal statement, but not the Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin, as put forth by the Bible. However, he says the exaggerative tactics of his sermon — in which he suggested to "crack" or "punch" a youth — were sorely misconstrued, and easily twisted by those looking to confuse the issue.
"I did not say anything to intentionally offend," he told The Christian Post. His statement also advocates that he "never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion."
However, gay advocacy groups are still attempting to paint the influential pastor as a hateful person ahead of the imminent vote to decide the terms of traditional marriage in North Carolina.
"I feel like we have our very own Westboro Baptist Church right here in Fayetville," said Storm Silvermane, an LGBT activist, comparing Harris' church to a radical group that most Christians disavow.
Furthermore, other pro-gay media sources decry Harris' sermon on traditional marriage — and any other endorsements of Amendment One — as hate speech.
"A North Carolina pastor's horrific anti-gay tirade is making the blogosphere rounds," reads a Huffington Post article. Preceding the article's opening is a heavily edited two-minute clip of the 55-minute sermon, which omits the pastor's next statement regarding the treatment of homosexuals.
"If you have a gay person in your house, you love them with Jesus Christ. Your job is not to be homophobic, and be rude, and inconsiderate," said Harris following his controversial comments.
Harris says the attacks against him has more to do with Amendment One than his actual sermon. The vote to protect traditional marriage is May 8, and the minister feels gay advocacy groups are using his words as a livewire to stimulate opposition.
"If [the vote] was not happening this would not have exploded the way it has. We are the last Southeastern state to vote this in. Every effort is being made to communicate misinformation," Harris told CP. "If we remain silent … who provides the balance?"
Regarding the proper discipline of children, the independent Berean Baptist Church outlines how to raise up a child on their website.
To see Pastor Harris' fiery sermon, click below. The comments can be found at about 46 and 48 minutes into the video.