By John Bacon, USA TODAY
Some members of a Baptist church in North Carolina are rallying behind Pastor Charles Worley and the sermon he delivered calling for the elimination of the gay population, WCNC-TV in Charlotte reports.
The sermon video has gone viral and Worley has drawn plenty of criticism. Several groups even plan a protest for Sunday at Worley's Providence Road Baptist Church. But church member Geneva Sims tells WCNC she's been listening to Worley preach since the 1970s and says she supports the 71-year-old pastor -- and his message.
"He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food," Sims says. "The Bible says they are worthy of death. He is preaching God's word."
Another church member, Stacey Pritchard agrees.
"Sometimes you've got to be scared straight," she tells the TV station. "He is trying to save those people from Hell."
Pritchard said Worley's message isn't one of hate. Instead, she interpreted it as tough love guided by Good Book.
The May 13 sermon video, posted on the church's website then taken down, shows Worthy speaking out against gay marriage and President Barack Obama's support of it. Most of the backlash, though, is focused on a portion of the sermon where he details a way to "get rid of" the gay population.
"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," he says. "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 in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
Worley went on to say homosexuality makes him "puking sick."
Brent Childers of the non-profit organization Faith in America, tells WCNC that such statements hurt Christianity in the eyes of the public.
"When they see this type of rhetoric coming from a so-called Christian pastor, they aren't going to want anything to do with the church-now or in the future," said Childers. "If you defend this pastor's comments, you are mocking God's love, God's understanding and God's knowledge."