Published October 21, 2004
(RNS) In the face of public backlash and concerns that have reached Canadian broadcasters, Baton Rouge, La. televangelist Jimmy Swaggart said he regrets telling his congregation at a recent televised worship service that if a gay man ever looks at him romantically, "I'm going to kill him and tell God he died."
"It was a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid. I won't make it anymore," Swaggart said in an interview Sept. 21.
A Toronto television station's broadcast of the service produced a complaint before the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a private, self-regulating industry group that enforces broadcast standards, said Ann Mainville-Neeson, the group's executive director.
Audio clips purporting to be of the Sept. 12 Swaggart service have begun circulating on gay-oriented Web sites.
"I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry," Swaggart says to audience laughter on one Internet link. "And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died."
Gay advocacy groups say such language encourages violence against gay men and lesbians.
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