Monday morning, a video from Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina shocked the nation. In it, pastor Charles Worley said that he wanted lesbians and gays to be forced into concentration camps until we all die. Most people were taken aback, if not by the general principle (shared, unfortunately, by many), then by his brazen adherence to Nazi rhetoric and Nazi solutions.
A couple things have happened since then. The first is from Jeremy Hooper at Good As You, who found a sermon of Worley’s from 1978.
It saddens my heart to think that homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of people. Lesbians and all the rest of it? Bless God, forty years ago theyâ€™d have hung â€˜em, bless God, from a white oak tree, wouldnâ€™t they? Amen.
I would usually say that we really shouldn’t judge someone by what he said nearly 34 years ago, but as Jeremy points out, it’s one of the very few sermons of Worley’s from that era that Providence Road Baptist Church has made available online. They are representing to the world that this sermon matches his and their current teaching, and I am obliged to take their word on it.
Then there’s this video from local NBC affiliate WCNC’s Tuesday night newscast. Their reporter had the chance to talk to two of Worley’s followers, who stand by Worley’s message. (Both wearing gaudy jewelry and the younger wearing her hair up quite immodestly and provocatively in direct violation of 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Just sayin’.)
Geneva Sims said sheâ€™s been listening to Worley preach the Gospel since the 1970s. She wasnâ€™t surprised by the 71-year-old pastorâ€™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 Godâ€™s word.”
Providence Road Baptist Church member Stacey Pritchard agreed.
“Sometimes youâ€™ve got to be scared straight,” she explained. “He is trying to save those people from Hell.”
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.”
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, Geneva Sims and Stacey Pritchard of Newton, North Carolina and Charles Worley of Maiden, North Carolina think that carrying out a Nazi plan to force a group of people into concentration camps for their eventual extermination is “tough love.”
(P.S. Of course he has a right to say it, Ms. Sims. No one said he doesn’t. That doesn’t improve the deadly quality of his rhetoric.)
I hasten to add that no one should believe for a second that this is just a North Carolina problem. People who think like Charles Worley, Geneva Sims, and Stacey Pritchard exist in every community and every state in the union.