A quick response to something I became aware of today.

An American pastor has suggested that parents punch and beat their effeminate sons. Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. has since offered a retraction and an apology for what was clearly advocating abuse of children. He suggests he would not use such words again, although no apology was offered for the thinking behind it.

Hearing his angry rant in his sermon comparing effeminate boys to cockroaches (“girly” four year old boys should be sent outside to dig ditches) – echoed by “amens” and whoops from his church, which the pastor in interview suggested, unbelievably, didn’t mean they supported his opinions – suggests that he was all too clear in his views about what he termed the importance of divinely created gender differences. The man clearly has no understanding of issues of gender identity or of the intersex condition (see link below), let alone same sex attraction. But put that aside for the moment.

He uses in support of his views the Biblical image of cutting off one’s hand if it is causing one to sin. While he recognises that this passage is itself hyperbolic, he misses the point that this is about voluntary spiritual discipline and not something to be imposed on another. The passage does not have Jesus say, “If what someone else is looking at offends you, poke their eyes out!”

He later suggests that the gay person in the house should be loved. He has a strange idea of how love might manifest itself. I’ve never equated punching someone with loving them, but maybe I’m just being soft, silly and a woolly liberal again.

When, O when will there be an end to this sort of thing?

Views such as those expounded so hatefully by Harris contribute to the bullying, abuse and even death of many, many children. Their pain and their blood are on his hands and the hands of those like him. Enough!




Huffington Post reports that another church, Judson Baptist in New York City will be sending “Cards of Hope” to Barean Church. The aim of these cards is  “to let the children of Berean Baptist know that “there are those of us in this world who believe God loves everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that there is no such thing as “dispensation” when it comes to physical violence against any child.”


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