MAIDEN, N.C. -- Members of Providence Road Baptist Church are standing behind Pastor Charles Worley and the sermon he delivered earlier this month calling for the elimination of the gay population.
Geneva Sims said she’s been listening to Worley preach the Gospel since the 1970s. She wasn’t surprised by the 71-year-old pastor’s now infamous sermon. In fact, she supports him and his message.
“He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food,” said Sims. “The Bible says they are worthy of death. He is preaching God’s word.”
Providence Road Baptist Church member Stacey Pritchard agreed.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be scared straight,” she explained. “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.
His words are viewed as hurtful and offensive to many people around the world. The May 13 sermon video, originally posted on the church’s website (it has since been 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 said. “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.” According to Brent Childers of the non-profit organization Faith in America, statements like that are detrimental to young people in America.
“That is what makes young LGBTs feel there is no hope,” said Childers, who also believes religious leaders like Worley hurt the public’s perception of the Christian faith.
“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.”
In a portion of the sermon that appeared on the church website but does not appear on YouTube version, Pastor Worley follows his rant against homosexuals by saying, "I'm against the sin, but I'm not against them! I want them to get saved, but I will not accept that way of life here, nor hereafter."
Newschannel 36 tried to reach Charles Worley by phone and email. Reporter Dianne Gallagher stopped by his home Tuesday to speak with him, but no one answered the door.
“He has nothing to hide,” said Pritchard. “He’s not afraid of anything he said. He’s a good man. It’s a good church and he speaks the truth. He doesn’t tiptoe around it.”
She told Newschannel 36 her pastor is being unfairly judged, in her opinion, and has even been threatened since the video went viral.
Several groups have come together to organize a peaceful protest of Pastor Worley’s sermon. That protest is scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m.
Those interested in participating are asked to meet at Maiden Elementary School at 9 a.m. Shuttle service will be provided to the church. Pastor Worley has reportedly invited the protestors to attend his service. Local law enforcement will be on hand.