Following the devastating mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando last week, a California pastor delivered a sermon praising the anti-LGBTQ hate crime that led to 49 deaths. After hundreds protested in front of his Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, he’s still not backing down.
The weekend of the massacre, pastor Roger Jimenez told his congregation that they “shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites.”
For him, “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!” He added: “I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight."
The sermon was unsurprisingly heavily criticized. In fact, hundreds of people showed up outside the church on Sunday to protest what they are describing as “hate speech.”
“If he’s taking everything literal, then he should know that you’re not supposed to kill!” Deacon Toni Washington from the United Church of Christ, who was among the 700-plus demonstrators, told CBS Sacramento.
The backlash hasn’t stopped Jimenez, however.
“As far as the Bible is concerned, they crossed a line. The sin they performed is worthy of death,” Jimenez told the outlet. “I realize our society doesn’t take that, but that’s what the Bible says. If someone does something that’s worthy of death, and they end up dying, I’m not going to mourn them.”
While there’s no doubt that there are other people of faith who share the pastor’s hateful and homophobic beliefs, it must be noted that his views aren’t of the majority, even among religious leaders. Christians and Muslims alike have showed up for the victims and survivors of the mass shooting in troves, praying, donating and leading sermons of love, not hate.