A Baptist minister in the U.S. has expressed regret that more people weren't killed in the Orlando massacre at a gay club over the weekend, calling the victims "Sodomites," drawing harsh reactions from community leaders.
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Videos of the 45-minute sermon have been uploaded to YouTube, at least one of which was taken down for violating YouTube's hate speech policy.
Pastor Roger Jimenez, delivering his Sunday sermon at Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, told his followers that he had heard about the "killing of 50 Sodomites" on the radio on his way to church, referring to the 49 people who were murdered at Orlando's Pulse gay club by gunman Omar Mateen.
He explained to his flock that he wanted to tell them what the Christian response should be to news of the murder.
"When people ask me if I'm sad that 50 sodomites died. Here's the problem with that, it's like the equivalent of asking me, hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Uh, no, I think that's great," he said. "I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Florida's a little safer tonight," he stressed.
"The tragedy is that more of them didn't die, I'm kind of upset he didn't finish the job, because these people are predators, they're abusers," he added.
Community leaders met the sermon with scorn, some calling it “hateful propaganda” and “bigotry,” according to the Washington Post.
Jay Brown, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said there is “nothing whatsoever Christian” in the pastor’s sermon, the Post reported on Tuesday.
“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.”
Verity Baptist does not admit members of the LGBT community, which its “What We Believe” page refers to as "sodomy."
The church did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to the Post. Jimenez declined to comment when a CBS Sacramento camera crew came to his home on Monday.