There have been some very bizarre and unfortunate arguments made in service of fighting gay marriage, but one pastor in North Carolina has just taken discourse to a dreadful new low. Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville thinks he's come up with a simple solution for preventing gay people from marrying: you just beat the shit out of small children that you suspect might be gay, and then they start acting as God intended them to and don't do crazy things like try to love one another as adults. Yeah, it's almost like he stole the words right out of Jesus's mouth. Naturally, this "plan" has stirred up some serious outrage, and when you hear the special ways in which he phrased it, you too will be heading out to the garage for your pitchfork and flaming torch.
While Pastor Harris probably has a long history of asshattery, these particular remarks—which were originally discovered by Jeremy Hooper of Good As You—were made as part of a sermon urging people to vote next week for Amendment 1, which would add a ban on gay marriage to North Carolina's constitution. Supporters of the amendment have urged religious leaders in the state to preach in favor of it, and so Sean Harris took to his pulpit and really went above and beyond the call of duty by advocating that gayness be cured through child abuse, just as God intended it. Speaking of God, may He give us all strength as we hear what exactly this monster told his congregation. (The full audio is below if you want to listen along.) According to Harris, you've got to get ‘em young:
So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, "Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do." You get out the camera, and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female, and then you upload it to YouTube, and everybody laughs about it, and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid, is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Ohhh, wow. There are a lot, A LOT of things wrong with this picture—though not the kind of things that you want to upload to YouTube and laugh about. But I think we can all agree that more parents do need send their four-year-old boys outside with very tiny shovels and make them dig very tiny ditches because how else are they going to turn into real men? Admit it, if you look outside right now, all you can see is hundreds of grown men (in pants, obviously!) digging holes in the ground. It's just what men do.
Speaking of acting like a man, Pastor Harris must feel very strongly about "manning up," because after his ditch-digging rant, he continued with this doozy:
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? "You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male."
So now we're just straight up advocating child abuse from the pulpit of a church? How very…what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yes, got it: Unchristian. It's been a while since I read the Bible cover to cover, but I feel confident that the answer to the question "What Would Jesus Do?" in this scenario is NOT "punch a small child." In fact, I think Pastor Harris is digging his ditch so deep on this one that in a second he's going to land himself right down in the bowels of hell, but I digress.
If you were worried that this evil genius wasn't going to address how to handle future lesbians, rest easy because he also has plenty of terrible advice in that department:
And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, "Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up."
Looks like somebody opened up their copy of Stereotypes for Dummies while writing their sermon. Considering that he's advocating beating the boys, it kind of feels like the girls get off easy by only being told they can still play sports as long as they concentrate on dolling themselves up the rest of—ugh, nevermind. Nobody gets off easy because all of these ideas are just 100 percent terrible. So terrible, in fact, that even Harris senses that his audience might be reluctant to embrace them. So he finishes up by addressing that issue:
You say, "Can I take charge like that as a parent?"
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.
And then there is an audible laugh from the audience. Really, people of God? Are you so tickled by the idea of a pastor telling you to go home and beat the crap out of your child that you actually feel compelled to LOL? That is some sick shit. If he were here right now, Jesus definitely would not be running around cracking the "limp wrists" of preschoolers, but he probably would not hesitate to crack the numb skulls of Pastor Sean Harris and his devoted followers. But until our Lord and Savior shows back up to take care of business, the state of North Carolina might want to send a child services worker (or a whole army of them) to the Berean Baptist Church to remind members of its congregation that, in fact, they are not authorized to "take charge" by punching their kid in the face and there's no such thing as "special dispensation" when it comes to abusing children.
Update: Pastor Harris issued a kind of backhanded retraction today in which he says, in part,
I should not have said what I said about 'cracking,' 'punching,' and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words 'special dispensation.' I did not say children should be squashed. I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form of fashion.
No, you didn't suggest it, you just said it outright, dude. He also said, "I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended." But, just so you know, he does not "apologize for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God." You can read the entire statement here.
[Via Good As You]
Image via Berean Baptist Church