By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com May 31 2012 5:10 PM ET
A Maryland church pastor accused of wanting to kill gay people says his words are being misunderstood and taken out of context by LGBT news sites.
The Good as You blog posted audio Wednesday of Pastor Dennis Leatherman of the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church saying of murdering all gay people that "my flesh kind of likes that idea."
But in a statement posted on the home page of the church's website, the pastor clarifies that thoughts of the "flesh," in his faith, are the "fallen" and "sinful" part of human nature. So he actually meant to condemn other pastors who had suggested hurting gay people is the Christian thing to do.
"Pastor Dennis Leatherman and the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church never has, does not now, and never will advocate the incarceration, mistreatment, and especially not the killing of homosexuals (or any other group of people)," the statement said.
In its original post, the Good as You blog included Leatherman's note that it would be "wrong" to kill homosexuals. But blogger Jeremy Hooper also called out the pastor for harboring any inclination that it might be appealing to kill a gay person.
Here's the entire quote, as reported by Good as You:
"To be … have a tendency to be effeminate or homosexual is just as wicked as to have a tendency to be a womanizer. Sinful nature does not justify sinful behavior," Good as You excerpted. "Now what is our take? What is our response? I appreciate your bearing with me tonight. First of all, there is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the holy spirit. It violates scripture. It is wrong."
Hooper wrote in response, "Well, I'm glad you were honest with us. I guess. Let's just hope you never lose your faith, Pastor. I hate to think that your personal belief is the thin rope that separates my mortal life and your 'kinda like that idea' whims!!"
The church's statement is several paragraphs long and repeatedly emphasizes it doesn't want anyone killing LGBT people.
"You cannot get any clearer, 'it is wrong' to respond to homosexuality in any other way than a scriptural, spiritually mature and firmly compassionate way," the statement continues. "To suggest that Pastor Leatherman or the church advocates violence of any type toward homosexuals is to completely misconstrue what his message was saying. We DO NOT advocate (or like) the idea killing of any individuals or group of people. Though we understand the Bible to teach that homosexuality is wrong (like many other sins mentioned throughout scripture), we also understand that the Bible teaches we are to be kind to all men, regardless of their lifestyle."
The clarification from the Maryland church comes in the wake of several hateful statements made from pulpits across the country. Pastor Charles Worley in North Carolina called for concentration camps for gays and lesbians. That sermon followed one by another North Carolina pastor named Sean Harris, who laughed at the idea anyone could be transgender and suggested cracking the wrists of a son who acts effeminate — a statement he later claimed was some kind of joke. In Kansas, the leader of the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, pastor Curtis Knapp, expressed frustration that the government won't just round up LGBT people and kill them. Also being shared widely online is a cell phone video of a child being cheered on by his Indiana church while singing, "Ain't no homo going to make it to heaven."
Listen to audio of the Maryland sermon: