Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church Fayetteville, North Carolina is the latest pro-Amendment One pastor to demonstrate just how virulently anti-gay the campaign is. In his sermon this past Sunday, he gave the parents in his congregation “special dispensation” to use violence against their children if they violate gender norms. For example, if you see your four-year-old son “dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist.” Pastor Harris says boys should have their girlish behavior “squashed like a cockroach” and similarly advises forcing girls to conform to female gender norms. Listen to it:
Pastor Harris now says he was joking and wishes he could take back the remarks:
HARRIS: If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt. Those weren’t planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I’m not going to compromise on that.
Harris oversees the Berean Baptist Academy, a K-12 school, and the church’s code of parental discipline endorses spanking, but Harris said he “would never ever advocate hitting a child.” Children’s advocates and LGBT advocates are unimpressed with the unapologetic “explanation.”
In a post on his own blog, Pastor Harris claimed that the media is “misquoting” him. Feel free to relisten to the audio clip to see if it misquotes him.
Harris has offered an official retraction of his statement (PDF), apologizing for promoting violence against children, but not for his virulently anti-gay remarks that the homosexual “lifestyle” is “sinful” and an “abomination”:
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.