An American pastor who was filmed encouraging parents to punch effeminate sons has been forced to apologise after video of his sermon went viral.
Sean Harris, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in North Carolina, was preaching about marriage ahead of next week’s vote on an amendment to the state’s constitution that would make marriage between a man and a woman the only legally recognised domestic union in the state.
“Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist,” Harris said.
“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.”
Parents who had daughters perceived to be butch were also not spared from Harris’ parenting advice.
“And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you rein 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,'” he said.
After widespread condemnation of the comments by gay rights campaigners in North Carolina, Harris said he did not advocate hitting children but stood by his belief that parents need to reinforce traditional gender roles in children.
“If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt,” he said Tuesday.
“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.”
In a further retraction of the comments on his blog yesterday, Harris continued with his non-apology by claiming the message behind the sermon was still valid.
“I do not apologise for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God,” he wrote.