A video showing a North Carolina pastor calling for gays and lesbians to be placed within an eclectic fence and fed until they die out has gone viral and is drawing criticism from Christian pastors who insist that it stands contradictory to the message of love Jesus preached.
"Jesus preached a Gospel of love. So do we. Jesus preached that we love our neighbor, whether that neighbor is like us or not," said Dr. Al Cadenhead, senior pastor of Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte, in a statement Tuesday.
Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte has been mistakenly identified by the media and public as Providence Road Baptist Church of Maiden, N.C. – the church where Pastor Charles L. Worley preached the controversial sermon on homosexuality earlier this month. In the mix up, Cadenhead and his staff have in turn received angry calls and emails.
Cadenhead made it clear in his statement that they reject spreading messages of "hatred and violence."
"We at Providence Baptist Church grieve with our community any time a message of hate triumphs over the love of Christ."
The sermon in question was preached on May 13, following President Barack Obama's historic announcement that he supports same-sex couples getting married.
Worley told his congregation he was disappointed by Obama's position and said the Bible is against homosexuality. He then stated, "I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it past the Congress."
"Build a great big, large fence – 50 or 100 miles long – put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them. And you know what? In a few years, they'll die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce," he continued, as shown in a video which has drawn more than 500,000 views on YouTube as of Wednesday morning.
The pastor's comments came two weeks after North Carolina passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
"I'll tell you right now, someone asked who are you going to vote for. I'm not going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover," Worley added in the sermon.
Rejecting Worley's message, the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "I see nothing Christian about it, and I see nothing American about it."
The Interfaith Alliance defines itself as celebrating "religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism."
"It is about as contradictory to a religion based on love and acceptance and welcome as you can imagine, and it violated everything that we understand about the constitution and its affirmation of diversity and freedom for people to live out their identity," Gaddy asserted.
A video of the sermon has been taken down from Providence Road Baptist Church's website, and the website itself was down Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. However, people wishing to vent their anger at Worley have apparently been contacting another N.C. church of a similar name by mistake – Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte.
Seeking to clarify the confusion and distance themselves entirely from the views expressed by Worley, Providence Baptist Church posted a statement on its website.
"In recent hours we have been incorrectly identified as the church in another town where hatred and violence have been advocated from the pulpit," Cadenhead stated.
While recognizing the right of every church to "reach out or not reach out as that church deems itself to be led," Cadenhead stressed that his church looks to Jesus as their model for living.
"The Bible is our guide for daily life and makes it clear that all people, all of us, have sinned and fallen short of God's expectation. And the reason we can claim our place as children of God is a result of grace, mercy and love extended to all people," he stated. "That love is best demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As Providence Baptist Church we believe that we are to offer that same grace, mercy and love to all people."
Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte is part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and describes itself as a "moderate" congregation of approximately 2,000 active members. While the CBF organization believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, it says it does not hold any "official" positions on homosexuality or other social issues and instead "respects the autonomy of each individual and local church to evaluate and make their own decision regarding social issues like homosexuality."