Protesters Gather At Sacramento Church Which Praised Orlando Shooter; Pastor and His Supporters Double Down

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2016

Roger Jimenez, from the YouTube video that has since been removed.

Roger Jimenez, from the YouTube video that has since been removed.

Police were still identifying and removing bodies from the Pulse gay night club in Orlando when Sacramento pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church posted a sermon on YouTube equating gay people with pedophiles and wishing that more people were dead. “If we lived in a righteous government, they should round them all up and put them up against a firing wall, and blow their brains out,” he said. “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 video was removed by YouTube for violating its standards on hate speech. But Jimenez was unrepentant on Tuesday, telling the Sacramento Bee:

All I’m saying is that when people die who deserve to die, it’s not a tragedy,” he added. Jimenez spoke these words in a kind monotone befitting a loan officer discussing interest rates at a local bank branch. …Though he didn’t talk long, he wanted people to know he wasn’t backing down from his words. “There are many people who agree with us,” he said. “In America, you are no longer allowed to have an opinion that goes against mainstream society.”

Sacramento Protest Against Roger JimenezJimenez is wrong on so many things, including about whether he’s allowed to have an opinion. Of course he is, and he’s also allowed to express it. And so do the hundred or so protesters who gathered at the Verity Baptist Church parking lot on Wednesday, for what had been planned as a silent protest. It became anything but silent:

Wearing a small LGBT pride heart on her T-shirt, Sakler watched as congregants filed past the crowd of activists and a line of police officers. They were men and women in church outfits, couples holding hands, parents with crying babies, small children giggling – all of them hurrying inside, ignoring the cries of “We are Orlando!” from the protesters.

For some queer protesters, seeing the families in attendance was a painful reminder that people in suburban California share the hateful and violent beliefs of Jimenez – and that the pastor is not just a fringe extremist preaching to anonymous bigots in the dark corners of YouTube.

“We have so far to go,” said Sakler, wiping tears from her eyes while clutching a rainbow candle.

The tense scene that unfolded outside the church – where protesters screamed “Would you kill me?” as the silent parishioners passed by – offered a window into the anguish of LGBT people across the country, who are coming to terms with the unprecedented attack on the queer community less than one year after same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the US.

And by the way, Jimenez has at least one other pastor coming to his defense:

Manly Perry, a Texas pastor who has given a sermon at Jimenez’s church, said in a phone interview on Wednesday that the Sacramento preacher was a “mentor” who is skilled at bringing people into the church – and has a wide reach.

“That church in my opinion has the best-organized program and outreach in the community,” he said. “He’ll be looked at as a hatemonger, but he’s actually the exact opposite … He’s got a genuine love for people. He wants to see people saved.”

Perry also repeated several times: “The Bible is very clear that homosexuals should have the death penalty.”


June 17th, 2016

I think there are a couple of things that have come out of the Orlando tragedy. One is, as Lin-Manuel Miranda put it, that love is love is love is love is love.

The other is this: rage is rage is rage is rage is rage.

I am so glad to see protestors in front of this church of hate, and like christians (and no, I’m not generalizing) do in front of abortion clinics, I hope that there are protestors outside of this church and every church like it everyday before and after every sermon, asking every one of those people if they would kill us.

If there is anything positive to come out this horrific tragedy I hope it is a return to the concept of silence = death that was prevalent in the early days of the AIDS crisis. I hope that there is not a single politician, religious leader, celebrity, or any one else for that matter that gets a pass. Every hateful phrase, every action against us needs to be called out, made public, and thrown back at the person responsible.

As much as politicians try, as much as the religious right tries, as much as any other group or religious entity tries: Let us not be silent. Let us not be invisible.

Gene in L.A.

June 17th, 2016

One would think pointing out to people like these pastors that their words encourage acts of aggression like Orlando might make them more mindful of what they say, but the truth is they seem proud of their stance and feel that we deserve whatever is done to us. There’s no reasoning with this attitude.

Extending from Rob’s last sentences, it’s time we remember the lessons we learned at the height of the AIDS crisis. Speak out! Act up! Fight back!


June 18th, 2016

How loving and compassionate, to want to make people over in your own image rather than accepting that they are who they are.

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