Pastor Roger Jimenez delivered the sermon Sunday, just a few hours after 49 people were shot to death at an Orlando nightclub. Jimenez is the pastor at the Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California.
The sermon was taped and uploaded to Verity’s YouTube account right after it was delivered. On Tuesday, YouTube removed the video as violating its decency standards. But as everyone knows, anything put on the Internet never completely goes away.
Jimenez used the figure of 50 dead in the shootings. Later, that number was later reduced to 49 to remove the shooter from the number of victims. Jimenez said the fact that 50 people were shot to death was “great” and wished the shooter could have finished the job and killed more of them. He added in his opinion, Orlando was a much safer city than it was before the mass shooting.
The pastor also told his congregation that if there was a righteous government, they would line gays and lesbians up against a wall and “blow their brains out.”
There was of course a lot of criticism heaped upon Jimenez. Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, said the pastor’s comments do not reflect Christian values and have no place in society. And the City Pastors of Sacramento, a group of 700 pastors in the city released a statement criticizing him. Referring to the sermon as “heartless and heartbreaking” the pastors said the killing of innocent people is contrary to God and the Bible’s teachings. The statement added what he said does not represent Jesus nor Sacramento’s pastors.
But Jimenez is not backing down from his comments. Yesterday he spoke to reporters from the Sacramento Bee outside his home. He said he is not inciting people to murder members of the LGBT community but said God has imposed a death sentence upon them. God is not just loving but punishes sinners and he then quoted verses from the Bible to illustrate his point. He said when people who deserve to die are killed, it is not a tragedy.
Jimenez was not the only pastor to praise the mass killings. The Phoenix New Times reports Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona echoed the Sacramento pastor’s views. Anderson said the bad thing about what happened in Orlando is that there were a lot of “homos in the bar” who were not killed and who will continue to molest children and convert people to their “filthy lifestyle.” Of the dead, he said they were all going to die of AIDS or syphilis anyway.
Faithful Word has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Protests are being organized by the LGBT community and others against Jimenez’ Sacramento Church. And a petition has been started on change.org to remove Jimenez as pastor.