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Pastor Who Told Parents to 'Punch' Effeminate Sons Speaks Out: 'I Wasn't Advocating Violence Against Gays


"I don't even believe there [is] such [a] thing as gay children."

A North Carolina-based preacher caused furor last week after his sermon encouraging parents to "punch" their gay sons made its way around the blogosphere.

While Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, claims he was only joking, gay rights activists, among others, have publicly ridiculed his remarks. Earlier this week, Harris spoke out about the controversy in an interview with CNN.

(Related: ‘Give Them a Good Punch’: Pastor Says He Was Joking When He Told Parents to Hit Their Gay Kids)

“Can I make it any clearer?” Harris asked in the original sermon. “Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK?”

In his interview with CNN, the pastor explained -- as he had in previous media interactions -- that he wishes he had been more careful with his wording. He attempted to better frame the meaning behind his commentary.

"I was telling them, in strong words, that we're not careful. What did I learn this week? Be more careful with your words," he said, going on to recap how he would re-frame his words if he could go back and do so. "I would say straighten that wrist...It's amazing how punch has been equated to inciting violence against gay youth. That's not what I meant."

When pressed to provide more information about what, exactly, he intended by his encouragement that parents "punch" those young boys who are acting effeminately, he attempted to clarify.

"A shove, an affirmation. You see coaches give their players a good punch a good slug," he said. "It's a way of affirming the gender distinctions between a male and a female."

On the apology front -- something many in the gay community would like to hear -- Harris is only sorry over his choice of wording, not the Biblical views he holds dear.

"I was apologizing for my failure to say the right thing. To be more careful," he said. "To make sure that no one thinks that Sean Harris is suggesting, as was said, although I never said this, 'Beat the gay out of children.'"

The pastor also said that he doesn't "believe there [is] such thing as gay children."

"I was dealing with effeminate behavior and instructing parents to affirm the manhood or the womanhood in their children," Harris said regarding apologizing. "I don't think I need to apologize for preaching to my people what the word of God says. That's my responsibility."

Members of his church defended Harris, claiming that they knew what the pastor meant during the controversial sermon and that he doesn't need to apologize or change his wording.

"They knew that I wasn't advocating violence against gays, lesbians, youth," he said of his congregants.

Watch the CNN interview, below:

(H/T: CNN Belief Blog)

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