Following the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, a Baptist preacher stood at his pulpit Sunday night in Northern California and delivered an impassioned sermon praising the brutal massacre at a club in Florida designed for those who live a toeivah lifestyle.
Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento told his congregation that Christians “shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites.”
“People say, like: Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?” Jimenez said, referencing the initial death toll in Orlando, which authorities later clarified included 49 victims plus the gunman. “Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me – what if you asked me: Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?’
“Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight.”
He added: “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!”
The sermon has drawn scorn from community leaders and others who have called it “hateful propaganda” and “bigotry.”
Jay Brown, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said there is “nothing whatsoever Christian” in the pastor’s sermon.
“He’s preaching hate from the pulpit,” Brown said in a statement to The Washington Post. “His words offer no comfort to the survivors of the attack, to the family and friends whose loved ones they’ll never see again.
Members of the toeivah community are not allowed to join Verity Baptist or attend its services, according to the church’s “What We Believe” page. It states the church believes it is “a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty.”
“I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out,” Jimenez said during his Sunday sermon, which Verity Baptist posted on its website under the title “the Christian response to the Orlando murders.”
Jimenez declined to comment Monday when a CBS Sacramento camera crew showed up at his home.
Video of the sermon, uploaded to the church’s YouTube channel, was removed late Monday or early Tuesday “for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech.” A copy of the video was later uploaded by a different YouTube user.
The sermon runs for 45 minutes.
Hours after a lone gunman went into the club and shot and killed 49 people, Jimenez suggested that their deaths were well-deserved.
“As Christians, we should not be taking a sympathetic approach to these types of news and saying: This was a tragedy, this is something that we’re sad about, we should be mourning these people,” he said. “The Bible teaches that they’re all predators. That’s all the Bible says about them: They’re wicked, they’re vile, they’re predators. And God says that they deserve the death penalty for what they do . . .
“I’m not saying that we should be doing that. But in God’s government, where God set up the laws and God set up the rules and God set up the people in charge, God said: When you find a sodomite, put them to death.”
“Let me say this: As Christians, we shouldn’t be advocating the killing of Sodomites. I’m not standing up here tonight and saying: Let’s go get some guns, and let’s go get ’em. That’s not what I’m saying at all. People will sometimes hear people like me preach, or other pastors, and say: You guys are advocating violence. We’re not advocating violence. We’re not saying we should go do this.
“But we’re just saying this: If we lived in a righteous nation, with a righteous government, then the government should be taking them. There’s no tragedy. I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.
“If we lived in a righteous government that loved God and loved children and wanted to protect them, that’s what we’d do. I’m not saying we should do it. I’m not saying we should go, you know, blow up Planned Parenthood. I’m not saying that at all. All I’m saying is this: If God has his way, that’s what he’d do. And by the way, in the millennium, that’s what will be done. God’s laws will be re-established.
The pastor’s sermon drew a strong rebuke from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson who tweeted:
“The hateful comments made by a preacher in Sacramento do not reflect Christian values and have no place in our society.”
Austin Webster, communications director for California Community Colleges, said that he was “absolutely disgusted” by the “message of hate.”
Angry commenters flooded the church’s Facebook page.
Sandré Nelson of the Davis Phoenix coalition, a nonprofit group that works to prevent hate-motivated violence in the Sacramento Valley, told CBS Sacramento that he was stunned by the pastor’s sermon.
“He’s not a man of God,” Nelson told the news station. “He’s not a man teaching a true religion.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Lindsey Bever