How Many Sermons Like This Never See the Light of Day?

The thing about people like Mike Huckabee and James Dobson is that they know the spotlight is on them, so even when what they have to say is despicable, it’s toned down from what it could have been. When someone doesn’t think the world is watching, their words are even worse, unfiltered, far from politically correct. (It’s the same reason Mitt Romney‘s “47%” remarks were so devastating for many to hear.)

Someone like Old Paths Baptist Church’s Pastor Sam Morris probably doesn’t think anyone outside his like-minded congregation in Fayetteville, Tennessee is paying any attention. So when his sermon leaks out, the rest of us find out what is really said behind some closed doors.

We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers [via abortion] the same day… I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to try to pull on our heart strings for gun control. That’s what it’s all about.

… in 1963, the government and the schools kicked God out [and said] “God we don’t need you in here!” Now, all of a sudden, they want him back. Have you noticed that? With their little candlelight vigils and so on? I got news for you: When you kicked God out of school, you’re going to be judged for that.

When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution. And I want to tell you what evolution teaches — here’s the bottom line, are you ready? — that you’re an animal. That’s what it teaches. So, you’re an animal, you can act like an animal. Amen?

So, here you are, you’re an animal and you’re a God! So, what are we going to teach you about in school? Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you about how to rebel to your parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God!

If that’s the kind of sermon we don’t normally hear, you have to wonder how many more sermons are just like that, hidden from the public, containing falsehoods (besides the usual ones), and full of wacky conspiracy theories…

This is the image on Pastor Morris’ “About” page on his website

To anyone who has to sit in a church where the pastor says over-the-top offensive, untrue things like Pastor Morris, I have a proposition for you: Record the sermon and share it with me. If the audio’s good, it’s not found anywhere else, and I want to post it, I’ll pay you for it. Let’s expose more of these loons.

(via Good As You)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jennwith2ns

    Fortunately, I haven’t heard any actual sermons like this in a good long time, but you’re right. They’re out there. 

    • WoodyTanaka

      Of course they’re out there.  Christians are, by and large, of a peace with this guy, whether they say it or not.

  • http://twitter.com/JonelB Jonel Burge

    I was 12 when I got to sit through a sermon that said “do not support, be kindly to, or talk with gays, for god loathes them and you should loathe them. They will be punished for their sins, by god or otherwise.”
    I live in Alabama, this stuff isn’t exactly special–but I’ve seen plenty of it before. It’s why I really really loathe going to church(and am glad my parents are too lazy to).
    Another time I sat through a Funeral that focused on how we all needed jesus and were horrible people, rather than you know, THE PERSON THAT DIED.

    Really, this is pretty common–at least in the south. Wouldn’t surprise me if there were some really racist sermons out there too.

    Also that Umbrella image–I’ve seen that before! I’ve definitely seen it to explain why women are property and how to be a “christly” woman–the only way to do so is to marry a man. Yet another reason I’ve never been interested in church. I dunno about other women, but I’ve always felt like my own person, capable of making my own decisions about what to do with my life.
    That image can go fuck itself. I’m tempted to relabel it with something that makes sense.

    • Guesty Guest

      I think demagogues understand implicitly that times of heightened emotion are times of heightened vulnerability to their crap. They can use preexisting emotional trauma (death/funeral/tragedy/illness/etc.) or they can do the hard work of inducing it themselves by appealing directly to emotion (“hate the gays! do it now! do it early! do it often! C’mon, everyone now!”). People, when emotional, look for intuitive explanations that validate their emotions. Demagogues are all too happy to oblige by giving their feelings the stamp of official approval, rather than doing the much harder work of challenging first impressions and intuitions and encouraging humility and self-reflection.

    • Sunny Day

       “They will be punished for their sins, by god OR OTHERWISE.”

      That part right there is what should alarm people. It’s a call to arms to go Beat the shit out of some gays because that’s what god wants.

  • Lee Miller

    Hemant, you have no idea how widely pervasive this kind of thinking is, especially in rural and small town America.  I don’t have recordings, but I have sat through sermon after sermon that were modeled on this same pattern.  I live in a university town where you wouldn’t hear this so much, but I can travel 10 minutes to nearby rural communities where it’s standard fare.  People listen to it week after week, and what’s worse, they believe and support it.

    • Octoberfurst

       You got that right Lee. I grew up in a small town in rural Pa and I have been to a number of churches where stuff just like that was preached every week. ( There is also something about fundie churches where the pastor thinks he needs to yell a lot and say “amen.”  Maybe he thinks it gets his point across better.)  But in my youth I have heard many a sermon where gays were denounced as “abominations”, women were told their place was in the home raising children, other religions were called “demonic” and secular humanism was said to be the cause of all the troubles in America. We just needed to get “back to the Bible” to make this country wonderful again—-like it was in the 50′s supposedly.
        There are a LOT of crazy Christians out there and they believe without question whatever BS their pastor is spewing.  Sad but true. That is why we always need to be on our guard because those idiots vote.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      That’s what always confuses me because I’ve lived near small cities and big cities for most of my life and the churches are always very normal. I sometimes get confused hearing people talk about all the crazy, hateful, racist, homophobic, misogynist things those awful Christians say because c’mon, they don’t actually say that, those are just stereotypes! There’s hints of the homophobia and misogyny at times, but for the most part, they avoid those topics.
      Then again, I hear horror stories about the rural churches we went to once upon a time where drum beats and pants for women were satanic…

      • Octoberfurst

        Julie, you have to go to evangelical/fundie churches to get fire-breathing sermons like that.  Most mainline churches are sane.  So I am going to assume you went to Lutheran, Presbyterian or Methodist churches. You need go to an Assemblies of God or Pentacostal church to hear the really “fun” sermons. (Or any independent evangelical/fundie church.)

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Actually, I’ve been going to Evangelical/Baptist/Bible churches all my life and I’ve been to a lot of different ones too. They do believe that homosexuality is a sin and that women should be submissive, but they recognize that these are controversial issues and they rarely preach on them.

          • amycas

             I did too, and the preachers wouldn’t out right preach it, but they would talk about it in Sunday School, and it was explicitly stated by church leaders at meetings with employees (I worked for churches as a nursery worker for a long time). The churches I worked for even tried to make us sign a back ground check* that asked questions about our past sexual experiences (have you had sex before or outside marriage, have you have sexual experiences with those of the same sex etc.) and questions about personal beliefs regarding abortion and other political topics (thankfully they didn’t ask whether or not you have had an abortion). I never signed it, and they pretty much ignored this because I was good at my job.

            *this was not an official background check, this was separate from the official check for criminal activity…more of a purity questionaire.

  • Bellj

    Is it me, or is the Christian religion getting more primitive every day?  The should  just substitute the word “appeasement” for “worship” and be done with it.

    • Tom

      Primitive?  I’m not sure if this alleged Pastor is even using the word “amen” properly.

      • C Peterson

        He apparently thinks it means “period” (“full stop”).

    • RobMcCune

      Stuff like this drives decent people away, so all that’s left is the hateful authoritarian malcontents. When they’re concentrated they encourage each other in a game of horrible one-upmanship.

  • BrianE

    You’re already an animal Sam – you’re an ignorant baboon.  Actually that’s insulting to baboons. 

  • Johnathan Fullman

    I like how Christ has no roles or responsibilities in the umbrella diagram. I wonder why that is…

    • cathouseumbrella

      Haha, true. I also like how the grammar is inconsistent between the men’s and women’s responsibilities.

  • Brian

    This part is hilarious: “When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution…”

    I’m going to start calling evolutionary biology “kingdom phylum stuff.”

    • http://IAmDanMarshall.com/ Dan Marshall

      Dr Who it up… “Wibbly wobbly kingdomy phylumy stuff.”

      • Miss_Beara

        I would take that class.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        That should go on a t-shirt.

  • Dejan Dzinic

    Is it just me, or would it be really funny to see a random guy start a gun fight at a gun show. 

    • Reginald Selkirk

       I read a scene like that in a novel, I think it was The Venerable Bead by Richard Condon. It happens at a convention of the National Gun Carriers Association.

      When the stream of bullets from the Heckler & Koch blew Senator Aukins backward to crash into the cyclorama with such force that the bulky remnant of his body tore a gaping hole in the backdrop, riotous anarchy took over among 5,314 NGA delegates. From somewhere, crazing the membership, the public address system kept rasping out two sentences at top volume over and over again, saying, “Gund kill people. People don’t kill people.” It seemed like forever before somebody found a way to turn it off.
      There was a confusion of action and reaction. More than four thousand armed delegates, including several hundred women who produced pistols from their shoulder holsters and handbags, threatened each other with the guns in the sheer excitement of panic because no one knew who had fired the terrible shots that had destroyed Senator Aukin or if the guns would be turned on them…

      link

      • Amazing Sandwich

        Reginald, that’s amazing.

    • Godlesspanther

      I go to gun shows, mainly because they are part of antique shows. 

      I’d rather not think about that. 

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    This guy is the poster child of why we need to keep religion out of public schools.  Just imaging having this guy for a public school teacher or having a public school run by this guy and setting policy for what is said in classrooms.  I feel sorry for his actual kids.

  • Bdole

    Gosh Hemant, I thought you were teaching math. Now, I learn you’ve just been teaching about gay sex stuff.
    Since, you know, those are the only subjects: Jesus or The Gay.

    • Reginald Selkirk

       Fuck off, troll.

      • John

         Sarcasm and trolling are not at all the same thing.  Unless you thought he was being serious?

        • RobMcCune

          Poe’s law strikes again, Bdole’s post does kinda seem like something one of the more incoherent trolls would say.

        • Bdole

          Yeah, I would’ve thought “gay sex stuff” would be a dead giveaway. I wasn’t even attempting a POE, just run-of-the-mill sarcasm in response to this part of the good rev’s quote:

          “Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you about how to rebel to your parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God!”

          • Nate Frein

            I thought that the line “Since, you know, those are the only subjects: Jesus or The Gay.” made it pretty clear you were being sarcastic.

            But right now this is a touchy subject.

  • Highlander

    I was visiting my parents in Az one year for Christmas and they asked me and my wife to go to church with them.  We got a sermon something like this, but it was anti-Muslim and other non-Christian religions.  Not quite as vitriolic as this one, but more along the lines of those poor misguided heathens, we should pity them because their heads are filled with wrong ideas.  The pastor never outright said they were going to hell, but he implied it.  My wife and I looked at one another during the sermon and shook our heads in disbelief.  I told my parents the next day that I would not attend church with them anymore if that was what I was going to hear.  I don’t think they understood why I had a problem with it, but at least they never bring up going to church with them anymore.

    • Barbara

      Ugh, what a scary situation you had to be in. That’s why I avoid church mass like the plague. If I heard a sermon like that, my ADHD self would likely leap up and chew that pastor out in front of everyone. How can so many people in church listen to hatefulness like that and stay obediently silent?

    • Godlesspanther

      Your folks will not see how crazy and bigoted that stuff is because they have heard it so often. If they were to take a couple of months away from that church and then go back — they would see it. 

      • cipher

        Nah, highly doubtful. I’m convinced it’s largely genetic, and to the extent that it isn’t, by the time one has reached their age, the damage is irreversible.

    • cipher

      I don’t think they understood why I had a problem with it

      They never do. My family is Jewish, and one of my young cousins became ultra-Orthodox. He doesn’t think we’re all going to hell, but whenever I point out something particularly egregious about their theology, or something stupid said by someone in his sect, he absolutely cannot understand why I find it offensive.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Why do Christians have this obsession with wanting to feel superior to other animals?

    • Alt+3

      Bees. You want a good, cohesive, internally peacefully society? Ask the bees. My personal hunch is that we’re not dancing enough.

      • wright1

         That is wonderful. Saved for my personal inspiration list.

    • cipher

      Their “baser instincts” (largely their sexuality) frighten the crap out of them. By positioning themselves as being superior to animals, they’re attempting to suppress them.

  • Barbara

    People like Sam Morris horrify me. These Christians think the deaths of elementary-aged children, with developed nervous systems that allow them to feel pain, are INFERIOR to the aborting of fetuses who do not have the developed nerves to feel pain. All because of a belief in the Bible – what amounts to an ancient book written by men with bigoted and crippled minds. The Bible SHOULD by now be considered a juvenile attempt to understand the world. But still the stupidity lives on. SMH

    • Miss_Beara

      With parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, perhaps brothers and sisters and friends. 

      “I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to try to pull on our heart strings for gun control. That’s what it’s all about.”

      What the heck!? Yeah, we are all using the violent deaths of 20 children to make everyone sad and take away your guns when of course everyone should be sad for the zygotes and fetuses. 

      It is scary to think how many people believe this nonsense. 

  • smrnda

    A problem with this guy’s point is that it presupposes an increase in violence or some sort of actual moral decay, and there’s pretty weak evidence that the US is more violent now than in the past (hasn’t crime decreased since the 1970s?)

    Nice nod to the “umbrella theology” of Baptists. I wonder if he would put the slaves under the master’s umbrella? 

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      When you point out the decline in violent crime they point to abortion and gay marriage as proof of our ‘moral decay’.

  • Sue Blue

    What passes for a conscience in these people I can’t even imagine.   I want to just ask them straight to their faces if they could seriously look another human being in the eye and kill them where they stood for being gay or atheist or having had an abortion.  If they found out someone in their congregation was gay, would they go from being friendly and helpful to driving the person out of town and burning his house in an instant, without a qualm?  Are these the kind of people anyone wants for friends or neighbors?  They are people  who would be stoning other people if the law didn’t prevent it.   I remember reading somewhere recently that religious ministry, among a few other professions, is a magnet for psychopaths because of its unrivaled opportunities for fleecing the gullible, sexual, psychological, and emotional manipulation, and abuse of authority. 
    Worse, they are everywhere, not just hiding in little hillbilly hollows in Tennessee.  They could be your neighbors, and mine.

    • Godlesspanther

      It makes my stomach churn when I think that the answer to that question is — yes. If this creep found out that one of his congregation were gay — even if they were is best friend the previous moment — it would be pure rage the next. 

      Being a cult leader is very appealing to a sociopath. Just look at the historical track record. There is a hair’s breadth between Charles Manson and this asshole. 

    • Ford Prefect

      They don’t have a conscience. They have a sky fairy and 2000 yr. old fantasy novel to tell them what to do.

  • Amazing Sandwich

    Wow, coming from a Catholic background, it’s hella annoying to have those constant murmuring “AMEN”s in the background. 

    That was some impressive sermonizing. I’ve heard priests go on like that but they’re more the exception than the rule.

    Funny thing, though, he got something right: I’m an animal, AND I’m my own god. :D

  • Nick Franco

    Wow. The Friendly Atheist just put out a bounty on crazy sermons. 
    C’mon, my fellow ex-Southern Baptists, just one day back in the churches we left and we’re gonna be rich!

  • Russian Alex

    The scary part is not that these sermons never see the light of day. What’s really terrifying is that they very much do, and there are plenty of people who agree wholeheartedly. I can almost hear those words in the voice of our former priest, who was finally kicked out this past spring, for saying shit like this and more. Worry not, though, he formed his own church on one of the main streets in town, and their congregation doesn’t seem to be running out of the faithful. I live in a small town in Georgia. There are hundreds more that harbor sentiments just like that — and worse.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    That umbrella graphic is something else. I’ll never understand how these people can claim that their religion isn’t sexist.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Don’t you see? We women have it so good! We don’t have to deal with any rain. We don’t have to worry our pretty little heads about nothing!
      If it’s sexist towards anyone, it’s sexist towards all those men who have to work so hard and take responsibility for someone else.

      ^That’s how :P

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I got that same serious explanation from a Muslim co-worker once.

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        Don’t forget, we’re still equal. It’s just that we have different roles, and our role is to be submissive to men. But we’re not inferior, of course not!

        This brand of Christianity is straight out of 1984: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  • C Peterson

    So strange, this conflation of Christianity (using the term loosely) and gun rights.

    All I know is that if they’d allowed the money changers in the Temple to carry arms, history would have gone down very differently…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      And the conflation of Christianity with republicans in general is a bit strange. The two have nothing to do with each other…they just find each other very useful if either of them ever wants to have any political influence.

  • Jan Kafka

    Jesus is a Travelers insurance agent?

  • newavocation

    What about some liberal religious sermons, like some UU’s that preach tolerance of the intolerant?

    • Thackerie

       What about them? Maybe you can supply a sample or two of such sermons? I’ve attended plenty of UU services but I have no idea what you’re referring to.

      • newavocation

        Its the anything goes attitude that many UU ‘churches’ seem to be embracing and the discouragement of critical questions that challenge beliefs or religious practices. I no longer participate in UU activities but will post examples as I find them.

  • Tez Skanza

    Looks like I’m going to find a church this weekend with iPhone recording. This outta be easy…

  • Aspieguy

    What is wrong with these people? I listened for years how god made christians more compassionate, more loving, and more moral. They are obviously full of BS. 

  • Alt+3

    Has anybody noticed that in that little diagram with the umbrellas Jesus is the only one without specific responsibilities ascribed to him?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    4000 abortions PER DAY?

    Wowzer.

    As for his guns at a gun show nonsense…ever seen the Jackass segment where they fill a room full of mouse traps and set one off? Sort of a painful version of domino toppling ;-)
    Id love to see a computer modelling of that based on behavioral probability, like the traffic and crowd modelling programs.

    Im pretty damn sure what the result would be though.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Hm, looks like disqus ate my comment.  This particular sermon, like many others, is available online.  No hiding.  No need to sit on a hard pew with a covert recording device.

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermonstopic.asp

  • TrinainUS

    What a very venomous sermon! I emailed the ‘good’ pastor, remaining polite but making a few points about his sermon. Geez, the hate & anger he has (not to mention lack of logic) … Now I’m preparing for the possibility of a nasty reply.  I’m typically not very confrontational (just not my personality), but there are times when something needs to be said, whether it’s heeded or not.   (Expletives deleted)

  • B Todd

    I am ashamed to say it, but I used to go to a church like this.  They tend to use the words “fundamental”, “bible-believing” and “King James is the ONLY true word of God” in their descriptions.  It was not unusual for the pastor to say something like, “It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” at least once a month.  The sermon above is probably typical of what was heard this past Sunday all over the country, especially the South, sorry to say.


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