Harris, a pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., made recent headlines for a sermon he gave on Sunday, April 29, when he went on a tirade on speaking out against homosexual children.
A viral video of the sermon shows Pastor Harris encouraging parents to punch children exhibiting gay tendencies, like sons who have limp wrists and daughters acting butch.
After his sermon raised many eyebrows, Harris told his local paper that he was joking during the sermon. He issued what he called an official statement of retraction, which O'Donnell read on air during his May 2, evening show.
I misspoke, Harris wrote on Pastor Sean's Blog.
For the record, I want to ensure everyone that I do NOT believe physical force is capable of fixing effeminate behavior or homosexual behavior. Parents should not punch babies or children. (Ultimately only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to deliver one from sexual immorality and behavior including effeminacy). I would never advocate for such discipline or actions on behalf of a father or mother...Hopefully, you understood that I was speaking in a forceful manner to emphasize the degree to which gender distinctions matter to God; and therefore, must matter to each of us and especially parents.
O'Donnell went on to replay clips from Harris' sermon, where he said, Your little son starts acting a little girlish and instead of squashing that like a cockroach, you take pictures.
The MSNBC newscaster then asks, Wait -- isn't the four-year-old boy you're talking about there the cockroach that should be squashed?
In the retraction, Harris goes on to defend himself by saying, I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion.
O'Donnell then played a clip from Harris' sermon in which he said, Dads -- the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that limp wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch, okay?
Harris also attempts to make it clear that he did not mean to intentionally offend anyone. What does this man look like when he is trying to offend someone? O'Donnell asked in his report of the sermon.
What kind of holy man, what kind of man of God lies about what he has said in a video taped sermon when he is apologizing for what he said in that sermon, O'Donnell said. He did say that if your son has a limp wrist, you should punch him. O'Donnell later added, He lies about having said that.