The conclusion of a preaching conference held Sunday at the controversial Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento drew about 50 protesters holding “love conquers hate” signs and rainbow flags.
No violence was reported at the protest, and there was no police presence, though Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies did arrive at one point to talk to protesters about staying off private property. The church’s pastor, Roger Jimenez, made national headlines in June when he appeared in an online video praising the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“All human love, no matter who you are or who you love, is worthy and valid and should be celebrated,” said Love is Love movement founder Beverly Kearney, who helped organize Sunday’s protest. “Human beings can’t survive without love.”
The preachers’ conference drew participants from around the country and as far as New Zealand. That included Steven Anderson, whose Arizona church was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center after Anderson called for the death of President Barack Obama.
Jimenez preached Sunday morning that “love hates,” meaning that upholding positive values meant hating what he characterized as negative influences such as alcohol, abortions and homosexuality.
About 1,000 protesters flocked to the church in June after Jimenez backed the executions of what he called “Sodomites.” Some activists have continued to protest at the church’s Wednesday evening service.