Nearly 100 people gathered outside Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento on Wednesday evening to protest Pastor Roger Jimenez.
Jimenez gained national attention for a sermon given on the day of the Orlando massacre. In the sermon, Jimenez celebrated the killing of the 49 LGBT victims, whom he called “sodomites” and “pedophiles.”
One churchgoer entering Verity Baptist on Wednesday told ABC10 News he agreed with the views Jimenez expressed in his hateful Sunday sermon.
“If you read Judges 19 and Genesis 19 … People can come to their own conclusions. But I recommend everybody who says they’re a Christian or reads the bible, read Genesis 19, Judges 19. But you have to read the bible if you say you’re a Christian,” the churchgoer said.
The protest was organized by Sacramento resident Kaylynn Parkinson, who runs a campaign called “Still Loved.” The campaign’s purpose is to let people in the LGBT community know they are still loved by God.
“I have a huge faith in God. I always have, since I was younger. Coming out, that was the hardest thing for me, having that ultimatum. Choose God or choose your happiness. I don’t believe there has to be one,” Parkinson said.
The protest drew many gay people of faith, including Neil Galimba. Galimba now attends Trinity Cathedral, an Episcopal church, but was raised as a strict Pentecostal.
“Gay – there was just no room for it. It’s heaven or hell, yes or no, wrong or right. In my adulthood, I’ve found there’s so much more love out there. The Episcopal church here in Sacramento, as well as the Lutheran and Methodist church, welcome gays and lesbians,” Galimba said. Galimba held a sign that said hate was not a Christian value.
Liz Fitzgerald was also among the protesters. Fitzgerald, who was raised a Baptist, said she had never before heard views like those of Pastor Jimenez.
“He needs to read his bible. He needs to get down on his knees and pray, and ask God for his forgiveness for saying such appalling things,” Jimenez said.
The protest was intended to be silent, but emotion eventually won out as Jimenez and churchgoers were seen entering the Verity Baptist Church. Protesters chanted “We are one Pulse,” referencing the gay nightclub in Orlando where the massacre took place, and sang “Amazing Grace.”
Another protest is planned for Sunday, when Verity Baptist Church will next hold services.