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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
A Charlotte church is facing backlash after a case of mistaken identity connected it with a preacher whose controversial sermon about homosexuality has gone viral.
The controversy started when video of Pastor Charles Worley's sermon suggesting that gays and lesbians placed in electrified fences until they "die off."
The video of the sermon went viral, setting off a firestorm of opinions on both sides of the aisle.
But a Charlotte church says the sermon has cast a shadow on his church because of the similar names.
Worley is a pastor at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, Dr. Al Cadenhead is the Senior Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte.
""We would never, from our pulpit - and I speak not only for myself, but for other ministers as well - that we would never preach or advocate the hatred or violence even from the pulpit," Dr. Cadenhead told WBTV via phone on Tuesday. "That is not who we are."
Church officials told WBTV the church and Dr. Cadenhead had received dozens of angry emails, phone calls and other messages from people mistaking the two churches.
"In recent hours we have been incorrectly identified as the church in another town where hatred and violence have been advocated from the pulpit," a statement from the church read.
The statement refers to a portion of Pastor Worley's Mother's Day sermon where he preached about homosexuality.
"I had a way... I figured a way out - a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers - but I couldn't get it past the Congress," he said.
"Build a great big, large fence - 50 or a 100 miles long - and put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food," his sermon continued. "Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals - and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed 'em. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
"That kind of language would never be advocated from our pulpit [...] regardless what their position might be on this issue," Dr. Cadenhead told WBTV.
He says his congregation recognizes the right of every church to reach out or not to reach out as it "deems itself to be led."
"Jesus is our model for living and His presence is our source of strength for life. Jesus preached a Gospel of love. So do we," he told WBTV. "Jesus preached that we love our neighbor, whether that neighbor is like us or not."
Reverend James Martin, the Charlotte church's Business Administrator, told WBTV that church officials sent an email to members after the video went viral - in an attempt to clear the air.
He said they wanted members to know that it wasn't their pastor in the news and asked that they help spread the word.
The church even had to post a message on their website to help eliminate the confusion.
"Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina has been mis-identified with a Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC," the statement read. "The Pastor of Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC HAS NOT made any negative remarks concerning any specific lifestyle! NO Minister at Providence Baptist Church of Charlotte,. NC has made any negative remarks concerning any specific lifestyle!"
Reverend Martin said there were other churches with similar names in North Carolina, and they may be going through the same confusion as well.
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