Parenting 101 With Pastor Harris: Slap The Gay Out Of Your Children

North Carolina pastor Sean Harris is being featured on many gay rights blogs this week due to his lesson on parenting to his congregation, including his advice that parents should punch and slap the gay out of children.

I doubt I could do the Pastor justice in his approach to child-rearing so here are his own words:

“So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
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. And 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.”
You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?”
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.”

Harris is the senior pastor at the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. According to his bio, Harris is a former paratrooper who promises “bold” but not “rash” preaching to his parishioners:

“‘Rash preaching,’ said Rowland Hill, ‘disgusts; timid preaching leaves poor souls fast asleep; bold preaching is the only preaching that is owned of God.’ ” If Pastor’s preaching can be categorized with any one word, “bold” would be that word. And his boldness comes not from his self-confidence. It comes rather from his belief that consistent, expository preaching of the whole of Scripture will be used by the Spirit to draw people to the Son. And when people are drawn to the Son, they are saved, sanctified, and they become disciples and teachers themselves. Pastor takes you through the chapters of God’s Word. You will learn the passage’s historical intent, literal interpretation, and twenty-first century application. He strives to teach God’s Word accurately and clearly, and he strives to preach God’s Word boldly.

The audiotape shows parents cheering and laughing at the sermon. The tape was originally posted here.

Of course, nothing brings clarity to gender confusion like a good beating in Harris’ view.

82 thoughts on “Parenting 101 With Pastor Harris: Slap The Gay Out Of Your Children

  1. This story came out on the same day that Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman was forced to resign.

  2. I know people like this. So smug and self-righteous they are incapable of entertaining the possibility they might, just might, be wrong. I am a strong advocate of the First Amendment, but draw the line at advocating child abuse publicly. Especially in a public forum where there is a high likelihood of the sheeple following his pathological instructions.

    Authoritarian personalities seem to be attracted to employment in certain fundamentalist ministries.

  3. This guy sounds like he is gay. The most virulent anti-gays are trying to keep that part of them from coming out in public. If I were there, I would like to find his gay lover and put a detective on his tail. I’ll bet we would find one

    The late unlamented Roy Cohn used to give anti-gay speeches, and have his current boy friend out in his limo waiting for him to finish so they could make love afterwards..

  4. He’s got some theological backing you know:

    23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
    23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
    23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    God-fearing folk, these fundie Christians.

  5. I don’t have the energy to find polite words to comment on this ignorant excuse for an actual human.

  6. We can only hope that the folks who attend this church are smart enough to love and care for their children for who they are, no matter what. In my mind, true parenting is teaching, learning, and developing a child into a responsible adult. There is more nuance than that, but it’s the basic idea.

    If this loving higher being does exist, you’d think he would be telling these prophets (but should be “profits”) to stop hating people for no real reason. Luckily, I know many Christian parents that are wonderful and encourage their kids to be themselves without force, thank Whomever.

  7. What a hateful man.

    His bio (link above):


    Pastor Sean Harris has been the Senior Pastor for Berean Baptist Church and Academy in Fayetteville, NC since 2006. He served as a member, lay teacher and deacon at Berean from 1987 until he became the Senior Pastor position. As the Senior Pastor, he oversees Berean’s ministry to over 1000 residents of Fayetteville, the education of over 400 students, and a staff of 80 employees. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in US History from Thomas Edison State College and a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, VA.

    Now retired from the military, Sean entered the US Army on May 5, 1987 in Boston, MA, trained as a fire support specialist, and graduated US Army Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA. Most of his career was spent in the 82d Abn Div where he served as a forward observer, team sergeant, platoon sergeant, firing battery first sergeant and division fire support sergeant major. His tours outside the Division include observer/controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center and ROTC instructor at Central Michigan University. He graduated from the US Army Sergeant’s Major Academy (Class #55), completed all levels of the NCOES, and numerous other courses relating to his specialty in the fire support community. He is a member of the All American Centurion Club and a lifetime member of the 82d Airborne Division Association. He was the 1993 82d Abn Div NCO of the Year and is a member of the SAMC, the Honorable Order of St. Barbara, and is a distinguished member of the 319th AFAR.

    His personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 7 oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with 7 oak leaf clusters), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (with Arrowhead), Southwest Asia Service Medal (with 2 bronze stars), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Master Parachutist Badge (with bronze star), Air Assault Badge, and Ranger Tab. He has deployed to combat four times with the 82nd Abn Div in Panama, Southwest Asia, and Kosovo. It was during his last deployment to Iraq that he sensed God’s call to the ministry.

    Sean enjoys running, cycling, skiing, and writing. He is married to his wife of over 20 years, Pamela Sue (Gilbert), and they have one son.

  8. anon nurse,

    “It was during his last deployment to Iraq that he sensed God’s call to the ministry.

    “Sean enjoys running, cycling, skiing, and writing.”


    I think Harris suffers from PTGD–Post Traumatic God Disorder. His biography should be revised:

    It was during his last deployment to Iraq after he suffered several concussions that he sensed God’s call to the ministry.

    Sean enjoys running, cycling, skiing, writing…and smacking the gay out of children.

    What a hero!!!!!

  9. According to Christian Reconstructionisism, the prescribed Biblical punishment for gays is stoning…

    How far from “…crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch…” to stoning?

  10. How about we educate the stupid out of our children so they don’t think beating someone – let alone children – for their sexual orientation is appropriate, civilized or Christ-like? On the other hand, I’d like to forgive this guy for being an ignorant violent asshole, but Jesus told me I shouldn’t let it slide when people endorse ridiculous things in His name. Apparently it was just this kind of stunning hypocrisy that caused Him to throw the money changers out of the temple. You know Jesus. He loves Him some love, but ignorance, hypocrisy and stupidity not so much. He was, after all, a teacher after that carpenter gig didn’t pan out for Him. I guess Reverend Slap ‘Em here was asleep the day “God is love” was being taught.

  11. It’s strange to see a bio include so many details of a military background. One paragraph on his education and religious background; two longer paragraphs on his military background. Maybe it was his way to “man up”?

  12. How come the wife in the photo looks just like him. Is this that second cousin once removed aint incest thing we see so much of down there?
    We need 101 Dalmations to poop in his yard.

    Randy Newman: Went in dumb, come out dumb too, hustlin round Atlanta in their alligator shows, we’re Rednecks, Redneck, we dont know are arse from a hole in the ground….

  13. Gene,

    As much as I try to refrain from using obscenity on comments, you took the words right out of my mouth. This man is an asshole. Anyone who thinks corporal punishment is effective for child rearing is an asshole, much less for sexual preference. I also believe there is truth in Arthur’s comment:

    “This guy sounds like he is gay. The most virulent anti-gays are trying to keep that part of them from coming out in public.”

    The insularity and ignorance of Fudamentalists, frightened by life today, is trying to return us to the oppressive times past.

  14. Mike S.,

    “The insularity and ignorance of Fudamentalists, frightened by life today, is trying to return us to the oppressive times past.”

    I call folks like Harris “Taliban-lite.”

  15. Uh, a little geography lesson — Fayettevile is in NORTH Carolina as you identify several times in the post — except for the first sentence, which has already been picked up as such by Religious News Service and others. South Carolina has enough problems with quirky news without adding this guy to the mix.

  16. Need a little help here. Does anyone else recall seeing a recent news report referring to a study suggesting that strong homophobia may indicate repressed inclination.

    Can’t seem to locate it now, but I am sure I saw it recently.

    Not sure whether the report is solid or pop-junk science.

    I would also criticize the Reverend’s technique. The proper approach is to place both palms on the subjects forehead and calmly but firmly recite: “Out, out gay devil, Out out.” No reports on whether this is any more effective, but it is much less physically painful.

  17. Mespo and Gene and Mike S. said it best. This excuse for a man of God is nothing but a child abuser wrapped up in minister’s vestments.
    Swarthmore Mom, you are correct that the religious right is rallying around Romney and I think it will be an additional reason why he will lose in November.
    anon nurse, thanks for the bio. I thank him for his military service, but he needs to love children of all types, not beat them.

  18. Elaine, I don’t know how much longer they qualify for the “lite” part of Taliban. Some were arrested yesterday while trying to buy ingredients for an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

  19. AP just reported that the Reverend corrected himself and clarified he was joking when he advised hitting children.

    Anyone thing he might work on his delivery at bit? But I was laughing, sort of.

    Do you think he reads this blog?

    Do you think there is any chance he will counsel against ridicule and public humiliation or is that the Christian way?

  20. Casting the actions he encourages as “child abuse” is fairly strong rhetoric. Either spanking is child abuse or it isn’t.

    Or does whether it qualifies as “child abuse” somehow turn on the action of the child that is being punished?

  21. @Steve ‘either spanking is child abuse or it isn’t’

    There are some who claim that spanking is never necessary.

    But, isn’t the level of force relevant the question of abuse?

    @Steve ‘turn on the action of the child’

    Isn’t the activity being corrected and how it fits into a host of other relations an important factor in determining a proper response by parents, teachers and others responsible for discipline?

  22. The DJ in Cleveland referred to up thread literally told the father, who was worried about his teenage daughter’s sexuality because he saw her kissing a girl, to get one of his friends and have him “screw her straight” … in other words, rape a teenage girl.

    Dominic Dieter is the rape enthusiast DJ on WMMS-FM/100.7, Clear Channel. He’s apologized and been off air since the complaint was made.

    Interestingly enough, it was a repeat show … the actual comment was made months ago and replayed last week. This time a complaint was made … loudly.

    Dominic Dieter and Clear Channel may be apologizing now but anyone who believes they’re sincere is nuts.

  23. Steven, advocating “beating the gay out” or breaking a “limp wrist” does not qualify as spanking even under the most generous definition of the term.

    The fail is strong on that strawman.

  24. Steven,

    “Casting the actions he encourages as “child abuse” is fairly strong rhetoric.”


    I’d say that Harris’s “rhetoric” borders on hate speech.

  25. Oy! What are they doing or thinking? They, pastors who are prejudicing against the gays or lesbians or whatever you call them. They should respect them and love them no matter what they are. They need to move on and get a life to get a better job than doing this to preaching us or them, sheeessh!

  26. Elaine, that does not “border” on hate speech. It crosses the line and disappears into the distance in a cloud of vile bile. If he said that out loud in a public forum, I really don’t even want to consider what he thinks to himself or says privately.

  27. No one said “breaking” or “beating.” Is there more to the speech that I’ve missed – honestly, I want to be sure. I thought he just said “punch,” which I interpreted to mean a congenial “punch on the shoulder,” a common sign of camaraderie among men. Did he mean to break bones by “cracking” a wrist? I was confused by that…oops…

  28. I agree with OS and Elaine that the words of this so-called man of God do advocate child abuse. He didn’t say you should discipline the child or spank the child, he said “beat the gay out of them”. Sounds pretty clear to me.
    Great Stooges clip!

  29. @rafflaw “Man up. Give him a good punch. “

    Apparently we all misunderstood and this was really a joke. Well that’s the story in the AP anyway.

    I hesitate to ask, oh heck, I’m going to man up and ask any way:

    If ‘give him a good punch’ is what fundamentalist Christians say when joking with children, exactly what do they say when expressing hostility or fighting words.

    It is essential that I receive this vital information so I will have something powerful to say in my next bar fight.

  30. Didn’t Tammy play with some porn star actors after the steam room incidents……

  31. raff, good catch. There is a world of difference between beat and punch. As the late Mark Twain said, “There is a world of difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

    Next time I want to take a swing at a kid, I will explain to the authorities that it was only a punch and not beating. I am sure they will be persuaded by that explanation and not haul me off in Smith & Wesson bracelets.

  32. I raised 17 children and didn’t avoid appiying corporal punishment as appropiate. I had one rule for myself when giving out punishments. Never punish a child when or because you are angry with them. Put off the punishment until you can rationally decree a punishment which is consistant with the severity of the offense. Discuss with them what they did and tell them that you love the them very much, but wont tolerate bad behavior, and since they have exhibited poor judgement , they must suffer the consequences. They knew I had no problem with spanking them. Incidentally , I probably didnt give more than approxamately 10 spankings total for all 17 kids, but I had credability and they knew what would happen if they broke the rules.
    they all grew up to be normal adults. None went to jail, or are agressive.

  33. OS,
    Thanks. I just wanted to be precise. I was afraid if I wasn’t accurate, the good minister might come here and “give me a good punch”. Or was that “how about a nice Hawaiian punch? ” :)

  34. @bettykath

    The main issue in this story is mis treatment of the LGBT community by citizens and by public officials.

    But it also highlights reprehensible medical treatment of prisoners at all levels of incarceration. Doesn’t matter if you are at the county jail of with the FEDs or in a facility run under contract by a private company. If you are inside, your life may depend on not getting sick or injured.

    Oh, well its just perps. Does anyone really care?

  35. How can a preacher talk about Jesus while advocating violence? It’s also teaching the John Wayne concept of dispute resolution: bring on the fists and the guns.

    Great concept to teach the kids. (sarcasm, again)

  36. The kingdom of God is not in word (Bible), but power…it’s not food and drink…but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit….St Paul.

    The kingdom of God is within you…..Jesus.

    The great prayer says, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.

    As time goes on I believe we’ll learn more about these things concerning “the kingdom” and then we’ll learn not to be so enthusiastic about anything or everything that’s written down from old times.

    Jesus said, “the Holy Spirit will guide us into all things”. Thankfully, that’s what’s going on in the world today. And many are not happy about it.

  37. Professor Turley, Contributors, Others with connections, please arrange for this parody song to find its way to those who can compose parodies and broadcast them.

    I offer this song into the public domain and waive all interests in it. If any consideration is needed, Angering Pastor Harris would be all I ask in return. My post is late and I hope others read it. Here it is.

    Sung to Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific song “I’m Going to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair.”

    Nellie (Pastor Harris):
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    And send him on his way.

    I’m gonna punch that dyke right outa my girl,

    Nellie (Pastor Harris): and Girls:
    I’m gonna punch that dyke right outa my girl
    I’m gonna punch that dyke right outa my girl
    And send her on her way.

    Don’t try to patch it up

    Tear him up, tear her up!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    knock him out, cast her out,

    Push him out, throw her out,

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    Cancel him and let her go!

    Yea, Pastor!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    I’m gonna slap that gay right outa my son,
    And send him on his way.

    If a boy don’t understand you,
    If you fly on separate beams,
    Waste no time, make him pay,
    Ride that boy and show him the way.
    Rub him out of the roll call
    And shame him out of his dreams.

    Oho! If you laugh at different comics,
    If you root for different teams,
    Waste no time, weep no more,
    Show her what the door is for.
    Rub her out of the roll call
    And shame her out of her dreams.

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    You can’t light a fire when the banned books are wet,


    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    You can’t make a butterfly manly.

    Hmm, hmm!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    You can’t lay an egg when it ain’t quite a hen,

    And you can’t fix a boy when he’s sinned!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    You can’t put back a petal when it falls from a flower,
    Or man up a boy when he starts swinging’ sour

    Oh no! Oh no!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris): and Girls:
    If his eyes get sad and sullen,
    When you look for glints and gleams,
    Waste no time,
    Make him switch,
    Drop him in the nearest ditch!
    Rub him out of the roll call,
    And drum her out of her dreams
    Oho! Oho!

    Nellie (Pastor Harris)::
    I went to slap that gay right outa my son,
    I went to slap that gay right outa my son,
    I went to slap that gay right outa my son,
    ‘cause God is on my side!

    He went to punch that dyke right outa his girl,
    He went to punch that dyke right outa his girl,
    He went to punch that dyke right outa his girl,

    Nellie (Pastor Harris): and Girls:
    ‘cause God is on his side!

  38. Some good material:

    Pastor’s Various Favorites

    Person: Best friend and wife, Pamela (and son, Austin)

    Restaurants: Outback, Cracker Barrel, Texas Roadhouse, Jason’s Deli (Reuben Sandwich)

    Desserts: Breyer’s Black Rasberry Ice Cream, Mint Chocolate Ice Cream, Brownies and Ice Cream, New York Factory Cheesecake

    Candy: Good and Plenty Candies

    Authors: Anthony Hoekema, Ravi Zacharias, Mark Dever, John Piper, Stu Weber, Dale Harvey, C.J. Maheney, John MacArthur, and others (check out great book recommendations under the Resource Tab above)

    Movies: Amazing Grace, Luther, End of the Spear, Glory Road, Pistol Pete, Courageous

    Songs: “Before the Throne of Grace” by Sovereign Grace Ministries; I’ll Fly Away O’ Glory, Amazing Grace and anything by Michael Card

    CD: Come Weary Saints by Sovereign Grace Ministries

    Books: When Sinners Say “I Do,” Tender Warrior, Desiring God, 9 Marks of Healthy Church, Saved by Grace, Spectacular Sins, Leadership by MacArthur, ESV Study Bible

    Missionary: William Carey

    Missionary Martyr: Jim Elliot

    Preachers: Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur

    Camp: The Anchorage on Lake Waccamaw, NC

    Sport: To watch high school basketball; running

    Quotation: “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything; for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen” (Martin Luther, April 18, 1521 at the Diet of Worms).

  39. Elaine M. on May 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I think Harris suffers from PTGD–Post Traumatic God Disorder. His biography should be revised:

    It was during his last deployment to Iraq after he suffered several concussions that he sensed God’s call to the ministry.

    Sean enjoys running, cycling, skiing, writing…and smacking the gay out of children.

    What a hero!!!!!


    Yep, an all-American hero, Elaine M. (We probably haven’t heard the last of this guy.)

    (His “favorite missionary martyr”?: Jim Elliot Philip James Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Waodani people of Ecuador. — Wikipedia)

    I’m guessing that “Pastor” Harris might be one of the “time is now” ten percent…

  40. Harris makes me sick to my stomach. He really does. What makes me even more ill is that there is an entire congregation saying “Amen.” In addition, he has a host of supporters. I’m not sure how you battle a hate that is so deeply ingrained and protected by their “religion.”

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”

  41. God, the greatest figment to one’s imagination. I don’t believe in him or his son who supposedly rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. While we’re at it, let’s kick the minorities in the ass for being minorities. Or the homeless, for being homeless. What about those people who listen to Rob Zombie, Judas Priest, Metallica, etc? Since some of us do not live in God-given North Carolina, I guess an ass kicking is in order for not following the Tar Heels if you’re from one area of the state and for not following the Blue Devils if you’re from…Wait a minute, no one should follow a devil, especially if he’s blue. Oh, and that part about not believing in God or His Son the Saviour of the world. Well, my comments were taken out of context. Of course I believe in the Son of Man, just like I believe in his Mother Mary. Wait another minute, if Jesus is the Son of Man, then that makes Mary, the Mother of Man. There, said like a true Catholic. OK, I’ll take my place in line. The one that has the bonfire around it. Because God knows we just can’t kick the crap out of Catholics, we need to burn them at the stake! Right pastor? In conclusion, we do have this document that has kept this country together for 236 years that allows us to believe what we want, speak what we want, write what we want, and to openly exercise one’s orientation. And until something better comes along, the United States Constitution trumps all other laws, including the Bible’s. And that was not taken out of context. I believe in the Bible, but I believe in the United States Constitution more. Oh yeah, lest I forget, Amen.

  42. This pastor’s rant has nothing to do with Christianity but it sure gives the haters something to squeal about. As the name of his church suggests, God put the information about the Bereans into the Bible as an example to His people and those who search the scriptures know where this brother fails.

    Jesus Himself provided His followers instructions for how to handle these inevitable human mess ups: “”If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. (Matthew 18:15, NLV)” That undoubtedly has happened and his retraction is in accordance with holy scripture. It’s one of the beauties of Christianity.

  43. Alan,

    Since when do you point it out privately? If you point it out privately, you don’t get much attention.

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  46. @Malisha

    I am surprised you can even spell chitlins. You might convince me that your favorite Christmas dinner is pastrami on rye or General Tso’s chicken. But chitlins – I don’t think so.

  47. BigFatMike, here’s the sorry truth: I love chitlins but can’t get them very often. A friend took me to a restaurant near DC one time (in a building that had apartments and a BANK in it, believe it or not) named Adelis, and that restaurant is now closed. Here was their buffet menu:

    Junk with lots of salt
    Junk with lots of sugar

    I LOVE CHITLINS! But I can’t make them myself — you have to cook the sh*t out of them!

    I do like pastrami but don’t get any very often; when I worked at Sarge’s Deli in NY, staff wasn’t allowed to have pastrami for their dinner.

    I don’t like General Tsao’s chicken. I do like most other Chinese chicken dishes so long as they’re not sweet. WHO MIXES SWEETS WITH MEAT ANYWAY; that should be illegal; it’s a crime against nature!


  48. Malisha,

    I don’t like Goose. Never had it. Maybe it tastes like chicken.

    Try smoked sardines. You have to eat it guts and all.

  49. OK, here’s my goose story, you knew it was coming sooner or later, right?

    My kid is about 3 when this story takes place. I read him some kind of story before bed the night before and it ended with a prince and princess married, living happily ever after, and roast goose at the wedding, and blah blah blah. My kid used to remember books verbatim!

    So the next day, he had a play-date at a friend’s house and they lived on the right side of town and apparently the mom asked my kid what he would like for lunch and he announced, “roast goose please.”

    The mom actually phoned me and said Danny wanted roast goose and she didn’t have any! I told her to let him know that we could have goose for supper and that for lunch, he should have whatever HER kid was having, and he agreed. So then we bought a goose — either that night or the next — and I roasted it, and served it. He ate a tiny bit. Then he said, “we should probably save the rest of it for a wedding.”

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