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 gay nightclub in Florida.
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.
“And to think of the LGBTQ youth in his own church, it’s simply heartbreaking.”
Members of the LGBT 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 “sodomy” — referring to homosexuality — 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.”
Verity Baptist describes itself as an “independent, fundamental, soul winning, separated, King James Bible believing Baptist church.” It’s unclear exactly how many members it has, but in late March, the church wrote on Facebook: “Praise God for 206 attendance this morning (our new record!).”
The church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
The sermon runs for 45 minutes and focuses on the Bible, homosexuality and the deadly rampage at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.
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.