Sacramento — A pastor at the center of a controversial video praising the deaths of nearly 50 people in an Orlando gay nightclub shooting is standing by his sermon.
Pastor Roger Jiminez spoke to CBS13 a day after his remarks saying Orlando was safer after their deaths drew universal condemnation on the CBS Sacramento Facebook page.
The video from the Verity Baptist Church’s YouTube page has since been removed by YouTube as a violation of the site’s policy against hate speech.
The pastor claims he’s being misconstrued, and says he’s not trying to incite hate, or saying let’s go arm up and kill people, despite saying in the Sunday sermon hours after the Orlando massacre, “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.”
Instead, he says the deaths shouldn’t be mourned because if the victims were gay, then the Bible calls them sinners, and they deserved to die.
Before getting to his new remarks, it is important to note that California law makes it a crime for any person to threaten to commit an act resulting in death or great bodily injury. Local law enforcement says because Jiminez didn’t specifically threaten anyone, his statements are considered to fall under First Amendment protections and are not a hate crime.
“As far as the Bible is concerned, they crossed a line. The sin they performed is worthy of death,” he said.
He also doubled down on his remarks that Orlando was safer because of their deaths.
“Absolutely I think they are safer now because of these deaths, and the reason I think that is because I believe all of these homosexuals are pedophiles, and the Bible—see our culture and our society puts them in these categories—gay, lesbian, whatever, but that’s not found in scripture. And I understand the world does not want to accept that, that’s fine. I’m saying as a Christian, the Bible puts people in two categories: normal/natural, unnatural,” Jiminez said.
Jiminez bases that last portion on a passage from the book of Romans, a New Testament epistle from the apostle Paul that is separate from the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The book is commonly referred to as biblical proof against gays and gay marriage.
Scientific research has repeatedly repudiated the claim that gay people are more likely to be pedophiles.
Jiminez says with the hate mail, he’s seen support and calls from the Baptist and Christian communities thanking him for speaking out.
But that’s not the case with many Sacramento area pastors who say they feel betrayed by this man of the cloth.
Dr. Phillip Goudeax of Calvary Christian Center says Jiminez’s hateful sermon is embarrassing to the Christian faith.
“It’s really about walking in love and grace and passion and mercy. It’s about compassion,” he said. “My heart was broken. Nobody deserve to be murdered.”
The Rev. Samuel Rodruquez of New Season Church in Sacramento and William Jessup University President John Jackson released a joint statement condemning Jiminez.
"We stand resolved in our condemnation of the heinous attack that occurred in Orlando. We also condemn the detestable statements made by a pastor in Sacramento.
The pastor’s statements do not reflect genuine Christian faith, and as followers of Christ we disavow his bigotry. Also as followers of Jesus Christ we stand in unity with our nation in offering love, prayer and a helping hand to the gay community. Everyone in America deserves to live their lives free from fear. It is the heart of Jesus to save, heal, and deliver. Christian leaders lead people to the love, grace, truth and healing hope of Jesus, not to insensitive judgment. We pray for the gay community to experience the love and grace of Jesus and His people, both in Orlando and across the United States. We pray for safety for their community and for all Americans during this violent and unsettled time. As leaders in ministry, we are united in our grief and in prayer for those who have lost loved ones and those—even now—fighting for their lives. May God’s truth, love and effective grace reach into our collective pain and suffering to bring beauty from the ashes of man’s depravity, for the glory of God’s name alone."
The City Pastors Fellowship of Sacramento released this statement on Tuesday condemning Jimenez’s remarks.
"This past Sunday morning, there was a heartless and heartbreaking statement made by a Sacramento pastor to his congregation related to the shootings in Orlando. It was then posted online and broadcast on the nightly news. These comments, applauding the death of innocent people, are completely contrary to the Bible’s teaching and God’s heart. His statements do not represent Jesus nor hundreds of Sacramento pastors whose hearts have been broken and are praying for the loved ones so tragically affected by this cowardly act. As Sacramento pastors, we are united in our prayers and sadness for those who have lost loved ones and for those even now fighting for their lives. May God’s love prevail in this tragedy."