Over 500 people gathered on Sunday morning to peacefully protest against the pastor who praised the deaths of gay clubgoers at an Orlando nightclub where the worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred.
Pastor Roger Jimenez and his church, Verity Baptist Church, were the targets of the protest where hundreds of people chanted, “Love conquers hate,” after the pastor proclaimed to his congregation that the Orlando shooting should have resulted in more deaths.
The pastor’s sermon was uploaded to the internet, where Jimenez could be heard telling his congregation, “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.”
Jimenez believes that God has put a death sentence on people who are gay. Although he claims that he does not want to incite violence against gay people, he believes that gays are being punished for who they are.
Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, was ambushed by the police and was killed in a shootout. However, Mateen had three hours to terrorize victims inside the Pulse nightclub before police took action to take him out and save the survivors inside.
The protest against Pastor Jimenez began late in the morning with a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the Orlando mass shooting which left 49 people dead and 53 people wounded. The names of the victims of the tragedy were read aloud, and many in the crowd read the names in unison when they were spoken.
According to The Sacramento Bee, when worshippers walked into the entrance to Verity Baptist church, which was protected by police, in an office park on Northgate Boulevard, protesters began to shout, “Love conquers hate!”
The protest stayed peaceful while members of the church entered the building to worship. A man with a “Gay = pervert” sign approached the crowd, but people with megaphones urged peaceful protests to continue.
Many of the protesters who stood in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando shooting held rainbow flags and signs which read, “We are Orlando” and “Pride Over Prejudice,” according to the Associated Press.
Because the Verity Baptist Church enjoys a tax-exempt status, many protesters chanted, “Tax the hate!”
Another church in the area, Lifting up Jesus, allowed protesters to use its bathrooms while they used their voices to support the victims in the Orlando shooting.
“It’s just remarkable how it didn’t matter your race, religion, creed, background or orientation,” Hayden said. “It didn’t matter. We came together as the Sacramento community.”
In fact, people all over the world have been coming together to show support for those affected by the Orlando mass shooting. Vigils in London and Hong Kong, buildings lit up in the colors of the rainbow in Paris and New York, and messages of love in Bangkok and Sydney were just a few places where people from all walks of life came together to support the victims of the shooting in Orlando.
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