this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven’ in church

Some people ask me why I spend so much time debating the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Apart from the academic side of the intellectual argument, and the textual/theological argument, we often forget that the outcome of this debate and the charges and claims made during the debate itself hurt real people and adversely affects their lives. And I’m not just speaking about those gay individuals who are discriminated against on a daily basis, but I’m also referring to the children who are taught to mock and even hate by their parents from a very young age in church!

For example, watch this latest video taken from the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, the same town where a gay high school student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg IN, Billy (William) Lucas, recently took his own life apparently due to the anti-gay bullying he was receiving from his peers.

Listen to the lyrics of the song sung by the child, and watch the reaction of the adults in the audience.

The child sings the following lyrics:

I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
Romans one and twenty-seven (Rom 1:27)
Ain’t no homo going to make it to heaven.

Watch the room full of white adults stand and cheer and laugh in approval. The pastor nods and laughs. They are celebrating bigotry. They are celebrating their belief that gay Americans are going to burn in hell. One person is even heard to yell proudly, “That’s my boy!” And toward the end of the video, they have the child sing it again. Note that in the first performance, there is another child standing with the boy, and they boy ends after one verse, but in the second performance (see the 1:07 mark in the video), there is no second child, and the little boy sings the verse multiple times. This was no accident or lapse in judgment, it was an encore performance!!!

And what’s worse, from this point on, this child knows that every time he calls a gay individual a “homo,” he’ll have the cheering support of his church behind him. Remember, he’s a child: someone taught him this song! Every time he condemns a gay individual to hell, his parents will applaud. They might even invite him up in front of the church to sing of the gay individual’s condemnation to the church, who will shower him with applause and laughter.

This is child abuse. It is hateful indoctrination at its worst.

The pastor in the video is Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle at 1114 Westridge Parkway W in Greensburg, IN 47240. You can email Pastor Sangl at jsangl@tds.net or call him at the church office at (812) 662-8224. You can also contact him at his family business (I kid you not), the Flatrock Whitetail Deer Farm, where they raise whitetail deer to hunt them at (765) 525-9488.

Apparently, shortly after this video was posted online, and the public outrage began, the pastor abruptly left on vacation. The church immediately posted a statement on its website, stating among other things:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives.

We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

So once again, while the church simply denies that they teach hate, the video shows otherwise. AND, we see that the church is quick to excuse and dismiss its abhorrent behavior by invoking religious freedom stating that “we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” Once again, even in their non-apology, “religious freedom” is used to excuse hatred taught to children.

THIS is why I take this issue so seriously. What “thoughtful conservatives” see as the simple upholding of “traditional marriage” is all too often manifest as teaching children to mock and hate their neighbor…in church. It has to end, and I for one as a scholar of religious studies, will stand with the oppressed on this one.

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15 Responses

  1. This sort of behavior is discouraging, to say the least. One of the problems inherent to seeing any book as being somehow other than human is that it can be used to absolve its adherents from taking responsibility for their own – often negative – actions. Unfortunately, I do not think we will see much improvement in our lifetimes, regardless of reasoned arguments to the contrary. Claiming “scripture says so” as justification is often the easy way out, and for many that is a more attractive option than having to think, confront and debate challenging issues or matters that may make some feel uncomfortable.

  2. How interesting that they believe the Bible about “homosexuals” but don’t believe it when it comes to divine protection (“no weapon forged against us shall prosper”, etc) as exhibited by the pastor fleeing the church for fear of their lives and members of the congregation watching their church building night and day in case someone vandalizes it (see the newspaper article linked above at “public outrage”). Shows you how hypocritical Christians can be and how they cherry pick from their “sacred” text.

  3. The only “consistency” I could find among Christians in their various interpretations of “the Bible” (however defined re: canon, version, etc.) was: inconsistency, with a few paramount rules that couldn’t be justified by logic, common sense, or anything else resembling rationality (even though I’ve asked them to engage in such justification).

    These rules ? (1) If the verse purports to come directly from God, and they LIKE the verse, then it was meant by God to be taken literally, (2) if the verse purports to come directly from God but they DON’T like the verse, then it was meant by God to be limited to a specific cultural context (which has now passed), (3) if the verse purports to come directly from God and it makes no sense, then it was meant metaphorically, not literally, (4) if the verse is from Paul, and they LIKE the verse, then Paul was speaking on behalf of God, and (5) if the verse is from Paul, and they DON’T like the verse, then Paul was just giving his own opinion and it doesn’t bind anyone. … there are some other rules that I’m forgetting, but those are the ones that come to mind. NOTE that no one has yet been able to identify for me a specific statement purporting to come from God whereby God appoints Paul as his official spokesdude.

    Too bad this kid is reciting this stupid ditty. He reminds me of Marjoe in the old days. Here ya go:

  4. of course such disrespect is wrong, but that has no bearing on whether or not homosexuality is sin. this site constantly harangues and rants about everything BUT answering the basic premise, God and the writers of the Bible, throughout, do not endorse homosexuality. the world may of course make gay marriage legal, that is already probably a done deal; however the church should stand apart from the world. we should not be spreading hate or disrespect, we should with a quiet and gentle spirit encourage people to follow God and do as he commands. you are constantly trying to drum up other reasons for gay marriage, while ignoring the admonition to the church: do not call sin righteous.

  5. henry,

    the question before us is not ‘is homosexuality a sin?’

    the question before is us ‘should the bible’s view of homosexuality be used in support of legislation banning same-sex marriage?’

    the latter question simply cannot be sustained in the affirmative.

  6. “the question before us is ‘should the bible’s view of homosexuality be used in support of legislation banning same sex marriage?”

    Constitutionally, the answer is “No”.

  7. Is homosexuality a sin? The answer is no. A sin is depriving innocent people of justice.

    The bible was written by mortal men with mortal failings. We know it is not the infallible word of God because of the many evil deeds committed in his name. God is Good. God did not tell Moses to exterminate the Midianites any more than God told Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

  8. Susan-Hey don’t get me wrong, I’m on your side here. I don’t believe it is a sin either. But for every person who will use the bible to defend their position on this subject, there is one who will use the bible to defend the opposing view. And since our constitution states plainly the “congress shall pass no law “respecting one religion or belief system over another (paraphrased). I didn’t write it, it’s the law of the land that we don’t use the religious beliefs of one group over another. There shouldn’t be a ban on gay marriage because it infringes on the rights of individuals, whatever the bible says about it.

  9. henry: If you want to believe that “the Bible” is The Word of God” … that’s fine. Ditto for Muslims and the Koran. Believe what you want.

    But there is NO right to take those beliefs — which are based in folklore and not on fact and history — and to try to enact them into law and compel everyone to obey them. There is NO RIGHT to do so. There is also no right to enact into law a requirement that everyone recognize the validity of the Santa Claus story or the Easter Bunny story or “such like”.

    Also, I’d be interested to know which VERSION of “the Bible” is the, uh, “true” one. Well, in YOUR belief-system.

  10. Natalie, I was not responding to your post that correctly points out the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. I was addressing the elephant in the room; is the bible the infallible word of God? My writing is not one of my better attributes. I have other gifts :)

  11. The Bible is neither infallible, nor inerrant. There are hundreds of contradictions and dozens of commands that today by any standard would be ethically reprehensible (genocide, slavery, etc.).

  12. Henry-I have a question for you. And I’m asking in all sincerity. What specifically about homosexuality is a sin? I’m not trying to be a smart ass. It just seems that if you take the fundamentals of the 10 commandments, it turns out that there was good reason for the Hebrews to be following these laws, not the least of which was it kept them from infringing on each others rights to life, property and all around health and happiness. So what specifically about being gay makes it a sin?

  13. The Abrahamic religions will never be able to accept LGBT people as long as the Sodom and Gommorrah narrative remains part of their backgound narrative

  14. Do you really think that if the bible was destroyed or was it written there that homosexuality is ok and God loves it, people would change their mind about homosexuality??

  15. [...] this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna mak… [...]

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