Excerpts from Verity Baptist Church in Sacaramento, CA and pastor Roger Jimenez’ sermon this past Sunday:
“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um no. I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job – because these people are predators. They are abusers. . . I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put the firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out.”
I am a Baptist like you. I am a pastor like you. I spent over 20 years of my life in California, where you live and minister. I also take the very unpopular stance and hold to the biblical teaching on human sexuality. We’re similar in several ways. But the words of bile and hate that you spewed from your pulpit on Sunday were beyond the pale. You think you were standing for truth and doing the Lord’s work, but in fact you have allowed Satan to use your words of hate to disparage the good name of millions of pastors in this country and inject hate into a conversation desperate for heartfelt sympathy, grace and hope.
I am a good natured person. I prefer hope to hate, love to condemnation. I’ve never publicly chastised or called out a fellow minister, and hopefully I’ll never have to do it again. But following the example of my Savior, the angriest Jesus ever got was not when he encountered sinners, but when he confronted religious leaders who destroyed the work of God in the name of their religion. That is what you did on Sunday.
I could get technical and rip apart your proof texting of Scripture or your convenient disregard for the context of the passage in Judges that you preached from. I could start poking holes in your logic. You said, “There is not one Scripture that speaks positively of Sodomites (homosexuals).” The implication you made is clear: homosexuals are deserving of whatever ‘punishment’ they received from the killer because the Bible speaks so clearly against it. True, but you won’t like where that logic takes you if you actually held to those beliefs. Why? The Bible never speaks positively of any sin in the Bible, ever. And we’re all sinners. By your logic you need to bring that message of hate to the hospital when Aunt Susie finds out she has cancer and you tell her she’s getting what she deserves. Where’s the firing squad for the precious child with leukemia? They’re a sinner too. You don’t get to pick and choose which sins are worse than others. All sin is sin. But you did it anyways because you’re sloppy in your biblical exegesis, flawed in your logic and an overflowing fountain of judgment, condemnation, and hate.
Like I said, I could get technical with you, but I won’t. Those 50 people that died weren’t “Sodomites getting what they deserved.” First and foremost they were children of our Creator, created in His image and infused with intrinsic worth regardless of their age, race, gender, and yes, even their sexual orientation. I know you have several children yourself. If one of your children died tragically in an accident and a fellow pastor came by preaching the bile you poured out Sunday, saying they ‘got what they deserved’, I know you would punch his lights out, and rightfully so. You’re a father who loves your children. Every child and every life is precious to our Heavenly Father. When people perish, God doesn’t rejoice. He weeps. If you think what you said on Sunday honors God, then you don’t know God.
It’s convenient for you to preach words of hate when you’re safely tucked away on the opposite side of the country. How about you hop on a plane and go visit those fifty families, go sit with their grieving families and see what words come out of your mouth? I bet you there would be a few fathers and older brothers that would like to have a ‘private word’ with you. You treated those victims as subhumans, objects of wrath because of their lifestyle. Those are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They’ve got family, man. Have a heart and a little common sense. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and judge. We’re called to love, not hate. James 3:1 says that we who teach will be judged more strictly. Hate to break it to you, but you will have to answer for the hate you spewed that in no way reflects the heart of Jesus.
Now, I know you can probably go to the Old Testament and cherry pick a few verses to justify your condemnation, but the last time I checked, we both claim to follow Jesus. So, let’s look at Jesus. How did he interact with the woman at the well (John 4) or the woman caught in adultery (John 8)? In the opposite way, how did Jesus interact with the religious leaders who weren’t reflecting the heart of their Heavenly Father (Matthew 23)? What did Jesus actually teach? 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-44
Roger, at the end of the day, you’re a father and a pastor. You’re supposed to weep with those who weep and be a source of solace and comfort, not a purveyor of hatred. You can do all of those things without condoning sin. Hopefully you do it every week when a bunch of selfish, broken, sinful people fill your church buildings on Sunday.
What you did Sunday was not brave or courageous. It was foolish and hateful. It set us all back because now you’ve become the caricature the LGBT community will hold up to illustrate the antagonism that the evangelical world has towards the LGBT community. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to judge and convict, bro. It’s your job to love. And now my job as a pastor is harder because of you. I’m crazy enough to think that everyone is a sinner and everyone needs Jesus. Moreover, I’m crazy enough to think that anyone can come to Jesus. No one is beyond God’s reach. But you drove the wedge a little deeper between the evangelical and LGBT community, and for that you need to repent.