So says NC Pastor Sean Harris.
I'm not paraphrasing here; these are real quotes from a sermon heard by hundreds of church-goers Sunday as their trusted pastor worked to fire them up to go out and vote FOR the constitutional amendment on the ballot Tuesday, May 8th. And it was just one of the messages preached, to just one of the many North Carolina congregations that participated in the statewide project called Marriage Sunday last weekend. The right-wing organization promoting the event, Vote For Marriage NC, claims to be in partnership with 6000 churches in the state. It's not clear exactly what that means, and perhaps not all of them take a line so hard. But it's frightening to imagine even a fraction of them preaching this sort of message.
Sean Harris, (above left), Senior Pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, took the opportunity to urge his flock Sunday to root out any sign of homosexuality in their children early, and with all applicable force. While he has since stated that he "would never, ever advocate hitting a child", he advocated just that from the pulpit Sunday. "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. Okay?" Tell your effeminate sons: "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."
I ask you: how can it be possible in these times to not know that you are planting the seeds of despair and abuse with those words?
Harris later told the Fayetteville Observer that he was joking. He said he believes members of his congregation know the difference between "when (I'm) saying something seriously and when (they're) supposed to just understand the intent and not the application." In order to make that distinction clearer, Harris said, in the future he would say it differently. But he has no regrets about the message itself. ""Those weren't planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I'm not going to compromise on that."
Imagine this sermon falling on the ears of a parent who has lost a gay teen to suicide. There's a local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, (PFLAG) just up the road from Berean Baptist Church. I wonder if Harris would be willing to stand in front of one of their support groups and repeat this rant, in the same tone, with the same vehemence, and then take their questions and comments.