California Forum

Messages of exclusion and hate should offend us all

The Rev. Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., last month. He, and the like-minded fellow pastors, plan to take part in what Jimenez calls his “Red Hot Preaching Conference” this week.
The Rev. Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., last month. He, and the like-minded fellow pastors, plan to take part in what Jimenez calls his “Red Hot Preaching Conference” this week. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Every Sunday at my church, St. Michael’s Episcopal in Carmichael, our rector ends the service with this prayer: “Life is short and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us, so be swift to love and make haste to be kind.”

I never hear it without thinking of my wife, who died seven months ago. That was the way she lived her life, or as a former Bee colleague wrote me in a note, she was “warm, loving, kind, funny, nurturing and oh-so smart.”

But this month the prayer took on an even more special meaning in the light of two events that would have appalled my wife – the Republican nomination for the presidency of a narcissistic, intellectually bereft and fear-mongering candidate and the news that a local preacher who rejoices in the killing of gays is sponsoring a gathering of like-minded bigots.

I can’t help but marvel at the fact that evangelicals appear to be lining up behind Donald Trump when, by all rights, he should be anathema to anyone who calls himself or herself Christian and follows the teachings of Jesus.

In order to solidify his standing with the fundamentalists, Trump also chose an obscure Indiana governor as a running mate who claims to be a Christian first but whose actions as a congressman and as governor speak louder than words. Not only is he strongly anti-gay rights, he has cut or underfunded virtually every program designed to help people. That doesn’t strike me as very Christian, at least not as I understand the meaning of Christianity.

Trump’s message of exclusion, discrimination and isolationism unquestionably has an appeal to certain segments of the population, but it will not, as he boasts, “make American great again” but take us in precisely the opposite direction.

It’s also a message that no doubt resonates with Roger Jimenez, the local preacher who praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., last month, and the like-minded fellow pastors who plan to take part in what he calls his “Red Hot Preaching Conference.”

I’m hesitant to say any more about him and his ridiculous hate-mongering, since he seems to revel in the publicity. But he remains an offense to all people of good will and needs to be ignored and be allowed to fade from sight as rapidly as possible.

Which brings me back to my wife and a letter she received before her death from the Rev. Rodney Davis, an associate rector at St. Michael’s. “Simply put,” Rod wrote her, “you are a treasure that has brought so much life and light to us all … You have and continue to live in the way God intends and hopes for all of us to live.”

I don’t think anyone will ever write that about Donald Trump or Roger Jimenez.

William Endicott is a former deputy managing editor of The Sacramento Bee. Contact him at bendicott01@comcast.net.

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