Sean Harris, the Baptist pastor in North Carolina who advocated that fathers ‘punch’ their sons if they start to act effeminately, is suffering backlash from other Christians who say ‘violence and child abuse can never be justified by the teachings of Jesus Christ.’
As of Monday (7 April) evening PST, more than 12,000 people had signed a petition on Faithful America that includes a short statement assuring LGBT youth that faithful Christians are ‘appalled’ by Harris’ ‘hateful tirade.’
On April 29, the senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayettesville, North Carolina, said to his congregation: ‘Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.’
Harris suggested similar treatment of girls not behaving what he considers to be feminine enough.
‘When your daughter starts acting to Butch you reign her in. And you say, ‘Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.’
Audio of the comments soon went viral then video of the sermon also surfaced. This led to Harris issuing an ‘official retraction’ of his comments via his blog.
He stressed that he wanted to retract any 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’ [or] ‘punching,’ he wrote. ‘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 petition condemning his comments states a far different philosophy: ‘All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should be assured in church that they are beloved children of God.’
Below is audio of Harris’ tirade: