Pastor Donnie Romero of the Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas delivered a fiery sermon to his congregation in which he called for the survivors of the horrific massacre at the gay Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida last week to die and burn in hell. He began his inflammatory sermon, which was uploaded to the church’s official YouTube account, by referring to the 50 people who were gunned down by Omar Mateen as “sodomites” who were killed by “another sodomite himself”.

   His unfortunate words would have been harmful enough had he simply stopped there, but tragically he was compelled to keep going. Below is a transcript of the rest of Pastor Romero’s opening sermon:

These 50 sodomites were all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now. And I’m going to take it a step further because I heard on the news today that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care, and I will pray to God like I did this morning and I will do it tonight. I will pray that God will finish the job that that man started. And He will end their life [and] by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell just like the rest of ‘em, so that they don’t get any more opportunities to go out and to hurt little children.

All along as he’s saying these demonic things, congregants can be heard chanting “Amen” in apparent agreement.

   Since he spoke these words and his sermon went viral, Fox 4 News caught up with the Fort Worth pastor and asked him if he’d either had a change of heart or regretted saying any of those terrible things, to which he replied, “if there was a building that had a bunch of rapists and a bunch of murderous evil people, and the building collapsed on them, or something happened where they all were killed, I don’t think that’s something we should mourn over, because they’re evil people.”

   Pastor Romero is not alone in his vicious assessment however. In fact, he says he was motivated to come out and make this awful declaration only after the backlash that another Baptist preacher in Sacramento, California faced after he essentially said the same thing. This was Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church, who had this to say regarding the Orlando killings: “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die… I’m kind of upset that [Mateen] didn’t finish the job.”

   Ever since Omar Mateen walked into Pulse night club’s Latin night in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12 and killed around 50 people and injured at least another 53, the media – particularly right-wing media – have latched onto the fact that Mateen had contacted the police during the attack and reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS. This has allowed them to frame his actions primarily through a lens of “Islamic terrorism”, tying this attack to the ones in Paris and Brussels last year and even to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City. What has been consistently minimized however is the fact that anti-LGBT attitudes and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are quite often the norm in the United States.

   Recently, when an openly gay journalist named Owen Jones appeared on the British-based Sky News the night following the massacre at Pulse, he became so frustrated with the presenter’s refusal to acknowledge the massacre for what it was – an attack on the LGBT community – and walked off set. The next day he attributed this to the fact that the “’we only care about LGBT rights if Muslims are involved’ brigade are out in full force.” And who could argue differently? As the bodies of gay and lesbian men and women along with their friends and allies lay covered in blood, piled one on top of the other on the blood-drenched floor of Pulse night club hours after the shooting came to a halt, some of the voices of the Christian right wasted no time blaming the club patrons for their own deaths. First there was Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who immediately tweeted a bible verse stating that “a man reaps what he sows”. This was soon followed by the Beach Cliff Pentecostal Holiness Church in Johnson City, Tennessee putting up a sign declaring, “God’s wrath may be getting started to fall on the gays.”

   Islam or no Islam, homophobia reigns supreme. For what is it that would motivate several men in Dallas, Texas to kidnap a man against his will as he leaves a gay pride parade, throw him in the back of their truck and take turns beating him with a bat while calling him a “stupid fag”? What motivates a man in Georgia to throw boiling hot water on a gay couple while they're asleep in bed, causing third degree burns to their bodies? What compels nine young men in the Bronx to invite a 30 year-old gay man over to what they tell him is a neighborhood party, only so that they can strip him to his underwear, tie him to a chair and burn his penis with a cigarette as they shout anti-gay slurs at him? And what causes “police, courts and school officials” around the country to mete out disproportionate punishment to youth they perceive as being gay, lesbian or transgender? Are we to attribute this all to the pernicious influence of “radical Islam”, or is there something much closer to home at the heart of this?  

Published by Caleb Gee