Anti-gay N.C. pastor: Amendment One defeat will cause ‘nuclear holocaust’

Pastor Michael 'Nuclear Holocaust' Barrett of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church

A short YouTube video released today contains portions of a sermon delivered by a North Carolina pastor, in which the leader says legalized marriage for same-sex couples will be like a “nuclear holocaust.”

Independent filmmaker Eric Preston compiled the video and titled it “LIES About Amendment One.” The video contains with excerpts from an April 1, 2012, sermon by Pleasant Garden Baptist Church Senior Pastor Michael Barrett entitled, “Marriage: God’s Design.” Preston says Barrett lied to his congregants about the details and impact of Amendment One, the anti-LGBT, anti-family and anti-business state constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, primary ballot.

Preston should be commended for countering the lies and even more so for bringing to light the utterly outrageous anti-gay rhetoric used by Barrett.

A “nuclear holocaust”? Really? I had no idea us gay folk were (a) so dangerous, (b) in possession of nuclear armaments and (c) willing to nuke mommies and daddies taking their kids out to stroll in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. News to me.

Preston’s video is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re the kind that actually can bear to listen to complete nonsense, hate and bigotry, then download the full sermon by Barrett here or use the player below.

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Video below; relevant “holocaust” comments at 3:59.

11 Responses to “Anti-gay N.C. pastor: Amendment One defeat will cause ‘nuclear holocaust’”
  1. Adam says:

    This video takes the sermon out of its proper context. The video starts with the “acknowledgment” that not all church members share the pastor’s views, and that those church members are “loving people.” By implication, this insinuates the pastor is not a loving person. Yet, in the context of the message, the pastor begins by laying forth his “beginning foundation” that God loves everyone, that we’re all sinners in need of a savior, and that he is not intentionally singling out any group as greater sinners than the rest of us. Nor does he insinuate in any way that he does not love those who have same-sex attraction or who struggle with any other sin. In fact, at one point in the message, the congregation claps for something he said, and the pastor stops them while fighting back tears and explains how his heart breaks for those he believes are trapped in the bondage of a sinful lifestyle. One may disagree with his view of what counts as a sinful lifestyle and bondage, but to insulate this pastor is not loving is completely ridiculous. It’s because of his love for God and for people that he would even take such a stand.

    The video then proceeds to point out various “lies” the pastor is telling throughout the sermon. Please note there is a big difference in disagreeing with someone’s conclusion, someone being wrong about some information they present, or someone not making a point as clearly as they could have in the midst of a public address (especially on an emotional issue) verses someone deliberately disseminating false information with the intent of deceiving their listeners in order to make a point. But regardless, lets look at the “lies” presented:

    1) “If the amendment fails, same-sex marriage is legalized in the state of North Carolina.” (creator’s quote)
    The pastor does not say this. He did say, as the video quotes, “And if that amendment does not pass, marriage, for North Carolina, will be redefined.” However, in the context of the sermon, he is referring to a coalition that is organized with the purpose of fighting the traditional definition of marriage. He also references California’s Prop. 8 being overturned by activist judges. Also, anyone who has done any research at all would know that same-sex marriage is already illegal and that the purpose of the amendment is to prevent another Prop. 8 type overthrow by activist judges. Furthermore, anyone who has done any research would know that there are a few lawsuits that have already been filed in NC to legalize same-sex marriage. Given that this information is freely and easily available from the website the pastor references in his sermon (, it seems reasonable to conclude that, rather than lying, the pastor is simply referring to what will likely happen in the future if the amendment fails. Also, considering the fact that is the language he used, rather than the “is legalized” language used in the “lie” presentation, this again seems to be a reasonable conclusion. Now, I agree that I wish he would have phrased this differently, and I can certainly understand why one would think he meant the “lie” he is accused of. But I also know how easy it is, in the midst of a public address, to not say something as clearly as you would like, or to think something has been said clearly when in fact it wasn’t. But to accuse him of lying is simply not called for. After personally speaking with the pastor about this very issue, I can verify that my original conclusion is correct.

    2) “Outside forces are out to destroy traditional families by attacking the institution of marriage.” (creator’s quote)
    I’m not at all sure why one would consider this a lie. The video quotes the pastor as saying, “And so the truth is, the family is under attack.” The video then says the truth is “traditional families are destroying themselves.” The video says this as if the pastor only had same-sex marriage in mind when making his comment. However, the actual truth is, in the context of the sermon, he had talked about cohabitation, divorce, and, to paraphrase, all kinds of things destroying the very foundation of what God intended marriage to be. He also notes that this involves spiritual warfare (regardless of if one agrees with the truth of that or not). So the pastor would certainly agree with the video that many families are destroying themselves, yet he is accused of lying here. Such a charge makes no sense.

    3) “When same-sex marriages are legalized, religious freedom will have to give way to constitutional law.” (pastor quote) & “If the amendment fails, same-sex marriage is legalized and religious freedom is outlawed.” (creator’s quote)
    The video responds by saying, “Religious freedom IS constitutional law,” and that “if the amendment fails, religious freedom is still protected.” If only it were that simple. Again, the video fails to consider the context that he is referring to what will likely happen in the future if we do not have a constitutional amendment already in place. The video also fails to note the religious groups that have been denied tax exempt status because of their stance on same-sex behavior, had to close their doors due to their stand on same-sex relationships, the kids of parents who disagree with same-sex marriage who are taught a genderless view of marriage in school (with no prior notice to the parents), wedding professionals and other business people who have been fined for not providing services to same-sex couples, and the very likely fact that speaking out against same-sex behavior would be deemed as “hate speech.” Just ask Canada. Where’s the lie?

    4) “Citizens have no vote when it comes to the decisions of Legislators and Judges.” (creator’s quote)
    This is the video’s take on the pastor’s comments regarding the possibility of activist judges taking it upon themselves to change the law rather than to allow those decisions to be made by the people. The video responds by saying, “Citizens vote Legislators and Judges into office in the first place.” First, voting a person into office is not the same thing as voting on a decision someone in office is making. That’s talking about two different categories there. Furthermore, we know how politics works. Someone gets into office after making wonderful promises and then they rarely live up to all the promises that were made, or they gain more power and begin making decisions they want to make despite their constituency. Secondly, in the context of the sermon, the pastor makes a very valid point that this very thing happened in California. The people voted, but those in power did the opposite. Where’s the lie?

    5) “Legal experts and scholars across America say(s), ‘This will cause a sea of change in American law if the Marriage Amendment does not pass.'” (pastor quote)
    The video responds by saying, “The ‘sea of change’ statement was written by an attorney and expert on religious liberty law, NOT in reference to the North Carolina Amendment.” It is completely irrelevant whether those lawyers and scholars were writing about the NC amendment or not. Would the pastor have been more accurate to simply say “change in law…” rather than “change in American laws…”? Probably so. Does this mean he was lying? No. The context of the “sea of change” statement is talking about the general legal implications of legalizing same-sex marriage, and thus redefining marriage as genderless. These implications hold true whether you’re discussing it on a national level or state level. For example, the Vote for Marriage NC website mentions this quote as well. And in context, it says:
    “Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that the issue [redefining marriage] has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation’s most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues, ranging from religious liberty, to individual expression of faith, to education and the professions. For example, these legal scholars predict “a sea of change in American law,” and foretell an “immense” volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses and religious organizations.”
    This also undermines the video’s previous simplistic response that “religious freedom IS constitutional law,” considering the “expert on religious liberty law,” as he is called, predicts a “sea of change.” And the video is sure to point out he was writing in favor of same-sex marriage, so we can be sure the “sea of change” prediction is not a biased one.

    6) The video plays the pastor’s quote reading a newspaper article calling people who support the amendment “mean-spirited,” “discriminatory,” “extreme,” “un-American,” “bigoted,” “homophobic,” “reprehensible,” and “stupid.” And the video quotes the pastor saying, “I’m all of those, ’cause I’m for the amendment.”
    It’s so easy to make people say what one wants, or sound like a particular type of person, when one take things out of context. I’ve already discussed the foundational context of the pastor’s sermon, and it’s interesting that right after this statement the pastor fights back tears talking about his brokenness for those he believes to be in bondage. For any reasonable person listening to the sermon, it is obvious that the pastor was essentially saying, to paraphrase, “If that’s what you’re going to call someone who’s for the amendment, then I guess I’m all of those, but that’s certainly not who I really am even though I’m for the amendment.” He was pointing out the poor reasoning and misguided emotion put forth by the article’s writer. He’s obviously NOT those things. So again, where’s the lie?

    7) “If we redefine it [marriage], it will be equivalent to a NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST!” (pastor’s quote, emphasis by the creator)
    Again, the video gives no context for this statement, but it does provide a nice video clip of a nuclear explosion (which was pretty cool I must say). In context, however, the pastor clearly explains why he uses such an illustration. He says the Supreme Court of the US themselves said marriage is fundamental to the very existence and survival of the human race. Thus the nuclear holocaust parallel and imagery.

    The video then proceeds to misapply some Bible verses. I also find it interesting that the video plays the audio of the pastor encouraging everyone to know the facts. Of course, this is not emphasized in the video at all, but it is interesting that it’s included. He certainly wants people to know the facts, and I have no doubt that he wouldn’t want anyone to simply take his word for it. Likewise, I encourage everyone to know the facts before accusing of him of lying.

    • Matt Comer says:

      Adam, Your disturbingly long diatribe (in which you prove nothing) isn’t worthy of a response, other than to say that using the Bible and God to justify discrimination against any person or group of people does not constitute “love.” Just because the pastor says he is operating “in love,” does not negate the fact that he is actively attempting to use the Bible to ostracize an entire group of people — the complete antithesis to the Christian Gospel message of inclusion, mercy, forgiveness and fellowship.

      I pray that your eyes and heart might be opened and that you might find a place in your heart and mind for your brothers and sisters in Christ, gay or straight.

      Matt Comer

      • Eric Preston says:

        Matt, your response to Adam was perfect. As the designated defender of his pastor, any response would be a sincere waste of your valuable time. Not only that, but when a pastor says he is speaking for God, which this pastor did, you quickly realize that you are dealing with a fool. All that being said, we invited Adam to come onto our podcast and defend his attempt at damage control, but he refused. He knows that we would prove him to be just as much of a liar as his pastor.

        P.S. – the week after the video was released, Pastor Barrett quoted you as calling him Michael “Nuclear Holocaust” Barrett and the congregation applauded (audio available if you’d like to hear). If that’s not demented, what is?

  2. Sandy Russell says:

    Pastor Barrett is right. I voted “for” Amendment One and I would do it again tomorrow. He is right when he says that gays and lesbians have the right to live their life the way they want to but do not have the right to change the tradition of marriage. Yes, there are a lot of divorces in our country but let’s leave that statistic to the men and women who choose to do so. Why increase those numbers by including same sex divorces? Leave him alone.

    • Matt Comer says:

      Sandy, do you not see the hypocrisy in attacking gays — who currently cannot even get married — in order to “preserve” marriage, when straight people are currently can get married and are having divorces at alarming rates and actually causing real damage to marriage right now? If the goal really was to “preserve” marriage, there would be mass movements to make an impact where it really matters. Instead, people attack gays. It makes no sense.

      • L Millsaps says:

        Matt thank you for speaking up. Disturbing as these views are they cannot last. Younger thought patterns will prevail eventually if not next week. I say bring on the holocaust.

  3. FAYE TOWNSEND says:

    I support Ammendment one. Knowing Pastor Barrett personally, I assure you that there is no malice in this man. He has a heart for God and follows the word of God. Selective Biblical passages that tickle the ears of the reader must not be taken out of context of the whole message of the Bible. Partial obedience is like being a little bit pregnant. I have friends who are of the gay community and people of color who are dear to my heart also, but God’s word says marriage is for one man and one woman. God is a loving Father. We need to love our neighbors. But God’ Word is absolute.

    • Matt Comer says:

      Faye, I find it somewhat troubling and disconcerting that, while talking about what you see as sinful, you include the statement “I have friends who are of the gay community and people of color who are dear to my heart also…” Do you mean to imply that African-Americans and other people of color are somehow sinful?

  4. Amy says:

    I have known Pastor Barrett since 1989 and I can say that he is indeed a man of God. The excerpts in this video are taken out of context! People who stand up for biblical truths in the Word of God are not bigots, hateful, or homophobes, we simply are standing for what we believe to be true. I stand with Pastor Barrett on this one and will be voting for Amendment One on Tuesday, May 8th.

  5. Eric Preston says:

    As I’ve said to others who have made this same argument, Pastor Barrett may be a great guy, but he lied about the Amendment. His beliefs were never attacked; his lies were simply exposed.

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  1. […] it was Pleasant Garden Baptist Church Pastor Michael “Nuclear Holocaust” Barrett, who claimed in a sermon claimed that legalized marriage for same-sex couples will be like a “nuclear […]

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