At Least 1,000 Protesters Swarm Church of Pastor Who Celebrated Orlando Massacre
A legion of demonstrators showed up Sunday outside the California church where a pastor had praised the Orlando attack just hours after 49 people were murdered in a gay nightclub.
At least 1,000 people protested Pastor Roger Jimenez at his Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento Sunday, many of them waving pro-LGBT signs and rainbow flags as parishioners struggled to maneuver through.
Jimenez is seen a YouTube video of his June 12 sermon calling the clubgoers who were killed at the Pulse nightclub "pedophiles" whose deaths have made the world a safer place.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the protest, and a smaller demonstration that took place Wednesday, an organizer wrote:
"Our community is built on love and trust. We have our intra-social issues as any other community does, however we can band together when our community is hit with intolerance, indecency, hatred, ignorance, and blatant bigotry."
In the YouTube video, which he posted the same day Omar Mateen sprayed the Pulse nightclub with bullets from his AR-15 style weapon, Jimenez wondered aloud to his congregation "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."
A week later, at least a few protesters had to be dragged from the church by authorities as the LGBT community in Sacramento and neighboring areas showed up in force.
Following his sermon, Jimenez defiantly addressed the press.
"We had a record-breaking attendance here this morning," the pastor told reporters outside his church. "Normally we have about 200 people...today we had 281.
"And I just wanted to thank the media for all the free publicity."