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Fayetteville church stands behind pastor after anti-gay sermon

Posted May 6, 2012
Updated May 7, 2012

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— It was Sunday as usual at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville after video of a pastor's controversial sermon last week went viral on the Internet, prompting hate mail and death threats against the church.

"That clip was out of context and didn't give the whole flavor of the sermon," church member Mary Depina said Sunday.

Last Sunday, in a sermon designed to encourage the congregation to vote in favor of Amendment One, Rev. Sean Harris told fathers to "crack that wrist" and "give him a good punch" if their sons start acting effeminate.

"Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist," he said. "Man up – give him a good punch."

Later in the sermon, he added, "when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in."

The amendment would make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal domestic union in the state.  

About 75 protesters rallied down the street from the church Sunday, carrying signs saying, "No child is a punching bag" and  "Who would Jesus punch?"

Berean Baptist Church Dozens protest Fayetteville pastor's controversial sermon

Police officers were called in as extra security at the church Sunday, but the protest ended peacefully.

"This is not just a religious issue or a gay rights issue. This is about what sort of language is appropriate for our children," said protester Micah Royal, who is a member of the Progressive Christian Alliance.

Depina said Harris was simply offering advice on what she called "harmful behavior."

"Well, the limp wrist may not be, but engaging in effeminate behavior and engaging in homosexual activity is," she said.

Harris told WRAL News earlier this week that he would never advocate child abuse and that his remarks were an off-the-cuff joke that have been taken out of context. He stands behind the message of his sermon because the Bible "makes no compromising for effeminate behavior," he said Wednesday.

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  • Bill of Rights May 10, 2012

    What a shameful man. A disgrace to the cloth and to the deity he professes to preach. Jesus' message was one of love and tolerance. Perhaps the only thing sadder than this is that people are actually defending him.

  • djofraleigh May 10, 2012

    People need a villain and this guy was served up and is doing quite nicely.

  • Spartan 136 May 9, 2012

    He was doing what is right for his church. The responsible thing to do. Parents need to watch for the signs in their children just like any mental sickness that shows symptoms in early stages.

  • salinamedlin May 7, 2012

    Oh Dear, give it a rest! The protestors looked as ignorant as the paster. He lied and said he was joking.....do I believe he was joking? Heck no! But there are ignorant people in this world. Let it go, enough has been said. Whats going to be gained by bashing this preacher? I'm sure he won't EVER do it again! Lol Also, for the protestors, are you perfect? You mean to tell me you have never said something you regretted? Amd when you did, were therea hundred people with signs following you around, humiliating your every move? That's harsh people...

  • rlkelley May 7, 2012

    There are no scriptures in The Bible referring to same-sex marriage. There are references to lust, etc. which have nothing to do with marriage. If you are so worried about "the truth of God" and protecting "traditional" marriage, then I suggest you try to live a marriage as outlined in The Bible. Throughout history, people profess to know Christ and then use falsehoods and misdirection to justify their positions on issues not impactful to themselves or the church with which they associate. Government is established to represent ALL the people it governs in a fair and equal manner, i.e. protecting the rights of the individual. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." No person or church can stop my spouse and I from getting married. There are a multitude of religious organizations that will marry us. However, we can be denied equal rights and protections under the law established to protect the life we build together as a family.

  • dwntwnboy May 7, 2012

    "The old saying 'not while you live under this roof' applies quite well. Heard it quite a few times myself growing up on other matters (smoking, watching R rated movies, etc.)"- so a child who is gay should just "act" straight because that's what mommy and daddy want? That's just silly- let people be who they are going to be. Watching a movie or smoking isn't like being gay- you don't CHOOSE to be gay, you either are or you aren't.

  • ligonmaterial23 May 7, 2012

    If his whole church backs him, why did they hand select the ones to be interviewed by the press? If you watch some of the interviews, it sounds and looks like they were rehearsed.jburack
    May 7, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    I have made the mistake of being interviewed before , it seems they edit out everything smart and air or clip the dumb remarks , they make it what they want it to say . TRUST ME Sloan may be pretty but no more interviews for me lol

  • corey3rd May 7, 2012

    I don't think the beat the gay out of your child routine works that well. If anything it creates the kinda repressed creeps that are in Congress.

  • fayncmike May 7, 2012

    The man and his followers should be run out of town.

  • nighttrain2010 May 7, 2012

    >>"Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist," he said. "Man up – give him a good punch."

    >>Later in the sermon, he added, "when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in."

    Sorry but anyone with more than three brain cells should see that as a father 'punching' the son in a friendly manner on the arm as well as telling him to man up and act right. Not child abuse.

    Is this what the NO gang has resorted to? Finding every colloquial off the cuff phrase and twisting it to fit their agenda?

    The old saying 'not while you live under this roof' applies quite well. Heard it quite a few times myself growing up on other matters (smoking, watching R rated movies, etc.). And somehow 20+ years later I don't feel I was abused....

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