BROOKHAVEN, MISS– Churches around the country on Sunday morning addressed the deadly terrorist attack on Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando.
While many churches prayed, wept, or offered help, one baptist preacher in Sacramento claimed that was not the job of the Christian church.
“As Christians, we shouldn’t be sitting there, saying ‘whoa this is a tragedy,” said Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento. “We shouldn’t be celebrating the death of these perverted predators.”
Jimenez attempted to rationalize to his congregation that this act was God’s wrath, and the victims “deserved what they got.”
“The only tragedy here is he didn’t finish the job,” screamed Jimenez from the pulpit. “I wish the government would line them up on the firing wall and blow all their brains out.”
While Jimenez claimed his sermon to be the truth of God’s Word, Brookhaven First Assembly of God Family Pastor Matt Taylor said that the preaching that day could not be further from Christianity.
“I was surprised by it, I was hurt by it,” said Taylor. “Because what he was expressing was not at all, any where near, where any Christian should stand..That’s not God’s heart at all. We’re told in God’s word you’ll be known by how you show love.”
And while Jimenez argued that the church should not be doing anything about this attack, and that “so-called church leaders would be tripping over themselves to unite” during this time, Taylor said the church should be responding in love.
“All throughout scripture, you see love, you see grace, you see mercy, you see redemption,” said Taylor. “You see Jesus entertaining crowds of people that religious folk don’t want to be around. For him to say ‘we as Christians, we as a faith group’ should be celebrating this act, these deaths, is horrifying and couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Taylor said that now, Christians have an opportunity to serve all, even those in the LGBTQ community, with love and grace.
“No where are we given the command to be someone’s condemner,” said Taylor. “We have to get off the high horse for a minute, and look at these people, and show them the love and truth we are commanded to show them. ”
Taylor elaborated on how people could love each other by citing 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“Love is patient, love is kind,” said Taylor. “Doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, it’s not arrogant, it’s not rude, it does not insist on its own way, it’s not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails.”
Taylor added that there is one difference people should know about the Bible’s teachings that was not reflected in Jimenez’s sermon.
“Jesus is not happy with happened. He’s not sitting in heaven saying ‘you know what, I’m glad that happened,” said Taylor. “His heart is breaking. And you know it doesn’t stop at those families. All those friends are hurting, that community is hurting.. and I can’t accept the notion that we (as Christians) are supposed to celebrate what happened..that’s completely contrary to what this Christian faith is about. We need to be a people that comes together to honor and support them. We need to try to show them peace when peace is so very hard to find.”
Here’s Jimenez’s sermon from Sunday:
And here is Pastor Matt Taylor’s response: