- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Baptist pastor is under fire after celebrating Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando during a scathing sermon delivered later that day to a congregation in California.

During mass Sunday evening, Pastor Roger Jimenez praised the terror attack that unfolded hours earlier inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and told members of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento that Christians “shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites.”

“People say, like: Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?” the preacher asked. “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, Florida is a little safer tonight,” the pastor added.

Video footage of the blistering 45-minute sermon was uploaded to the church’s YouTube channel, but has since been removed by the website for violating its policy against hate speech, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. Copies of the clip spread online in spite of YouTube’s removal, however, triggering condemnation from local leaders early Tuesday while others mourned the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

“The hateful comments made by a preacher in Sacramento do not reflect Christian values and have no place in our society,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said on Twitter. Darrell Steinberg, mayor-elect, similarly condemned the “unacceptable remarks” in tweet Tuesday. 

“Statements like this can cause more harm to our youth and people in the closet; it causes them to feel worthless,” Sandré Nelson, a member of a local anti-hate group, told Sacramento’s CBS affiliate.

Forty-nine people have died so far as a result of Sunday morning’s shooting, and dozens more remain hospitalized.

Elsewhere during Sunday evening’s sermon, Mr. Jimenez told church goers he was “kind of upset” that the perpetrator of the Orlando shooting “didn’t finish the job,” and described homosexuals as “wicked” and “vile” predators who deserved to die.

“We’re not advocating violence,” he said. “… 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.”

“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.”

Human Rights Campaign spokesman Jay Brown told the Post that there is “nothing whatsoever Christian” about the sermon.

“He’s preaching hate from the pulpit,” Mr. Brown told the newspaper. “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.”

Mr. Jimenez declined to comment when approached outside his home Monday by a CBS camera crew, the network reported.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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