Pastor Sean Harris interviewed by atheists!?!

The protest at Berean Baptist was well received by the community and surprisingly well covered by the media. Apparently something is coming on tonight on CNN’s AC360 with Anderson Cooper.

Initially, Sean Harris said that he would not be doing any interviews, but that the press was welcome to come inside to talk to the church members. I pleaded with their people to allow me to sit down with him, and they huddled. I told them that I did lots of interviews all day, and it was in their best interest to get their side out too. They agreed, and then I alerted the various local news stations. They filmed my interaction, but few used any substantial portion – the media always minimizes the atheists role in any ‘good’ story. It’s unfortunate, because it was eye-opening.

To be fair, he said “never beat your child” and similar statements many times. He even criticized the pastor who praised his now retracted comments – Mark Rowden. However, he’s got little control over the things that come out of his mouth. He doesn’t think of the words before he says them.

Sean Harris on how to beat your child

I asked him about ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’-

Justin Griffith: “But you wouldn’t literally use a rod would you?”

Sean Harris: “No, of course not. We may use some instrument of discipline in a careful and appropriate way. Depending on the age of the child, depending on the weight of the child.”

What sort of formula is at play here? If a child is heavy, and old enough, you use a baseball bat? What an odd statement.

Steering the vote, even at the urinals

I’m told that the women’s restrooms did not have voting signs up – whatever that means.

Let the video play out… It gets weird, especially when we discussed his ‘hypothetically gay son’. I asked him: “Can one man and one woman be proud of their gay or lesbian child?”

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  • Mriana

    He seems to be deliberately watching his words now and completely under control, but still seems to be condoning abuse. At the same he can’t give a child unconditional love, esp if he thinks they’ll grow up to be homosexual? He can’t love an adult child unconditionally either. IMHO one can’t say, “Oh we may use an instrument to punish a child, based on their weight…” So while the parent is fuming, they are to do the calculations and get the right size Hickory stick? Oh but the hand is OK too, esp if you can’t find a Hickory stick and the parent reserves the right to whip them with that Hickory stick for whatever reason including childhood signs of homosexuality, which might not be signs? Seems to me, he still condones emotional/psychological, religious, and physical abuse to me. I feel sorry for any children growing up around him, esp if their parents listen to him.

  • Priscilla Parker

    My concern is that he used his position from as a pastor to misrepresent what the Amendment is about. It is already illegal for two people of the same gender to be wed in the state of North Carolina. What is the need for the amendment? Why do they want to make a marriage between one man and one woman the ONLY civil union recognized in the state? You need to put up the clip where he asked about this. In his sermon, he tells his congregation that not voting is a sin. He also addresses the single men and tells them they either need to get married or give their lives over to the service of Christ as Paul did. The comments he made about how to handle “stereotypical homosexual behaviors” in 4 year old boys was by far the worst comment he made but it’s not the only one he should be answering for. He needs to retract his whole sermon.

    When he uses the pulpit to steer his audience to look at the amendment in a specific light, he misrepresents the issue. The people in his congregation vote, and if they vote as many of them do, on how he presents the issue, they are, perhaps unintentionally, denying other citizens of this state their constitutional rights. This was the point of the protest. It was more than about child abuse. It was about abuse of power. Please put up his sermon so everyone can see how he presents this issue.

  • Steve

    >”It is already illegal for two people of the same gender to be wed in the state of North Carolina.”

    Strictly speaking, that’s not true. It’s not illegal to have a wedding. The state just won’t legally recognize it.

  • Justin Griffith

    Strictly speaking, neither of us are speaking. We are both typing.


  • Matrim

    Just out of curiosity, aren’t the signs in the bathroom and some of the statements about how people should vote violating rules for non-profit organizations? Or do those only apply to the endorsement of candidates?

  • Mark

    This was probably the first time “Pastor” Harris answered questions from someone with a different opinion. Part of the IFB cult is that there is little debate on issues of theology.

    There is not one verse in the bible that supports monogamist marriage. Most of marriages mention in the Old Testament was polygamist and most of the major figures in the New Testament never got married.

  • Priscilla Parker

    @5, No. He is within his legal rights to endorse issues but not candidates.

  • Christi Lowe

    Shame on you, Justin. The pastoral staff at Berean graciously allowed you to come in and sit down for a talk. They didn’t have to. They wanted to – because they care about all members of the community, including athiests and homosexuals.

    But what you’ve done here is deliberately spin Sean Harris’ honest answers to your pointed and clearly slanted questions to suit your own needs. “Sean Harris on how to Beat your child?!” Sean Harris never said the word “beat”. Just because the church believes in a loving form of corporal punishment does not make them child beaters. Shame on you!

    In the future, I will advise Berean not to entertain your laughable approach at covering news fairly.

  • jaimey

    Christi, Sean Harris is the one who made the statement about beating boys for being effeminate and not allowing girls to be “butch.” Justin didn’t do that. If you don’t like the negative coverage it’s gotten your community, blame the good Reverend. The words came out if HIS mouth.

    And what’s laughable is this: “a loving form of corporal punishment.” Hitting is hitting, whether you love your kids or not. Using and “instrument” to hit them pretty much always qualifies as beating.

  • jaimey

    *an instrument, not “and instrument.” Typos.

  • Paul

    Tolerantly intolerant? RUFKM!?!? Ha! Wow, this guy is off his rocker.

  • N. Nescio

    @Christi Lowe:

    I still have belt buckle scars on my body from my Christian parents’ Bible-based “loving form of corporal punishment” administered ‘for the good of my soul’.

    Fuck you.

  • Justin,

    I never said anything about a baseball bat. You need to edit your blog. To suggest that I said such a thing is libelous, defamatory, and slanderous. In my sermon, I used two words, crack and punch, both of which are being completely blown out of context. And for which I have also issued a global retraction and apology on CNN.

    Why not be honest the real issue with my sermon is that it is a pro-heterosexual marriage sermon; where marriage is defined as one man and one woman. The real issue is I believe there is a God who communicated a moral standard to humanity in a book called the Bible. And in the NT, this book it defines homosexuality as a sexual sin. The real issue is I was performing my duties as a pastor and leader of congregation and you disagree with my position. Why can’t we just mutually agree to disagree?

    Why not just agree to let eternity reveal the truth? No one is made to come to my church and no one is made to come to your events. Each of us has the freedom to speak our minds.

    I was not advocating for child abuse. I said, never beat your child. You said, “that in your blog.” The HuffPost and many others are misquoting me. They are putting words in my mouth that I never said.

    If I am wrong I will rot in a box in a grave.

    If you are wrong you will burn in hell.

    Can we just leave it at that?

    If this is the way you write about people after you do an interview with them why would you ever expect to get a second interview?

    Sean Harris