Editor’s note: Pastor Harris gave an interview to veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile today. Read: “Pastor Harris To Signorile: My Words Were “Chopped” And Taken Out Of Context“
Pastor Sean Harris, who Sunday advocated beating the gay out of children as young as four years old, has issued two statements of apology that are far from apologies and do little to quell the damage he has done to children and families, to his ministry, to his religion, and to the people of North Carolina. Harris, undaunted, continued to bash gay people throughout his two “apologies,” claiming God can make gay people straight. Harris claims he “can understand how these words could be misunderstood without the context of years of ministering to the people of God at Berean Baptist Church.”
Falsely claiming “[n]early every article is misquoting me,” despite nearly every article having embedded the audio of Harris’ sermon taken directly from his church website, Harris issued an “Important Clarification” on his blog, sometime yesterday, falsely claiming his words “are being completely taken out of context by those in the LGBT community.” His sermon has been denounced by a divinity professor and by the public at large, far outside the LGBT community. One news report states Harris told them he had been only joking.
The general public, as well as LGBT people, activists, and allies, were disgusted to hear Pastor Harris deride parents who don’t “squash like a cockroach” the gay out of their children on Sunday at a sermon designed to get parishioners to vote for North Carolina’s Amendment One, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“Give them a good punch,” and “crack that wrist,” Harris told parents if their four-year old boy, for example, “starts acting a little ‘girlish’.” Pastor Harris added that parents should tell their four-year olds to “man up, son, get that dress off you get outside and dig a ditch because that’s what boys do.”
LISTEN to Pastor Harris’ Sermon in: “Anti-Gay Pastor: Parents Must ‘Squash Like A Cockroach’ The Gay Out Of Kids“
“Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK? You’re not going to act like that — you were made by God to be a male and you’re going to be a male,” Harris said in this audio originally provided by Jeremy Hooper at Good As You. (Hooper also points us to the official transcript of Harris’ sermon, which has edited out the offensive portions.)
Then, earlier today, Pastor Sean Harris was forced to issue an “Official Statement of Retraction,” which looks more like a legal document than an apology:
The purpose of this document is to issue an official statement of retraction of any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate for any and all types of behaviors including (but not limited to) effeminacy and sexual immorality of all types. 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 that 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 or fashion. The gospel is the only source of power sufficient to deliver anyone from the power, penalty, and presence of all forms of sin including, but not limited to, all forms of sexual immorality including homosexuality.
Claiming he “did not say anything to intentionally offend anyone in the LGBT community,” Harris went on to attack homosexuality in his Official Statement of Retraction:
The gospel is the only source of power sufficient to deliver anyone from the power, penalty, and presence of all forms of sin including, but not limited to, all forms of sexual immorality including homosexuality.
I do 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. Nothing in this official statement of retraction should be perceived as an apology for the overarching intent and message of the sermon and the need to define marriage as one man and one woman and to maintain the gender distinctions that God created from the beginning when He made them male and female (Genesis 1). I recognize that there are those in the LGBT community who believe that their sexual behavior is not sin. I do not agree with them and this official retraction should not be misunderstood as an apology for the gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God.
I do not apologize for the manner in which I emphasized the importance of one man and one woman getting married and staying married for the benefit of their children and society.
Claiming “we also cannot compromise on what we believe the Bible teaches on all sexual perversions and immorality,” Harris wrote yesterday:
The opposition is revealing their complete lack of toleration toward those do not approve of the LGBT lifestyle or agenda. However, we must be tolerantly intolerant. Jesus our Savior provides the perfect example of grace and truth.
Apparently, the Pastor has yet to hear his own words.
In his “Important Clarification,” from yesterday, Pastor Harris claimed:
I would like to have been more careful with exactly what I said, but sometimes I say things without enough clarity. I trust you understood my intent in the context of my total preaching ministry. If you did not, I would be more than happy to meet with you privately to provide clarity.
Reverend Sue Clark, Interfaith Minister/Advocate for equality and human rights today attempted to contact Pastor Sean Harris, via Twitter, but received no response.
You state, @Pastor_Sean, u will meet w/ anyone in your congreg abt your comments. How about meeting with me? Clergy-to-Clergy.
Is anyone surprised?
What Pastor Harris said was perfectly acceptable to his parishioners. The problem is that there was audio and he got caught.
Conservative Christians are claiming outrage because Dan Savage used a few inappropriate words during a journalism lecture. A dozen conservative journalism students walked out when Savage supposedly assaulted their religious sensibilities. Here we have a pastor advocating the assault of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender infants and children. Did one parent walk out?
The hypocrisy from the so-called Religious Right is abominable.
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