Harsch Investment Properties, a property management company, issued a statement calling on Pastor Roger Jimenez to move his church.
The pastor gained national attention after delivering a June 12 sermon in which he urged his congregation not to feel sad for the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting. Islamic terrorist Omar Mateen entered Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, in the early morning June 12 and killed 49 and wounded another 53 before police killed him.
“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” asked Jimenez in his sermon at Verity Baptist Church. “I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.”
Representatives of Harsch Investment Properties, which owns the land on which Verity Baptist is located, have said that they cannot tolerate “tenants who advocate hatred and the taking of innocent lives,” according to abc10.
Although the company cannot legally evict the church under the current lease, officials have asked the church to consider moving. The release also states the church’s lease, which expires March 31, 2017, will not be renewed.
Should the church decide to move out, the lease would be canceled without penalty.
“For decades, the owners and staff at Harsch Investment Properties have supported the LGBT community and many other organizations whose missions are to further respect, dignity, and the ability for all individuals to live their lives as they wish,” the managers wrote in a press statement.
The managers also noted the right of others to hold protests on the property, so long as protests remain peaceful and respectful of the rights of other tenants in the business park.
“Just as we respect the right of individuals to speak their views, as distasteful as they may be, we also respect the right of others to protest as a reflection of their values,” the release states.
On Sunday morning, a crowd of at least 1,000 people gathered outside the church to chant “shame on you” and “love conquers hate” in protest. Another protest was held earlier that week.
The pastor’s comments—and his church—have received national backlash after the original sermon was recorded and posted on YouTube. Since Verity Baptist Church is an independent church, many have begun to question Jimenez’s status as “pastor.”
“He is a pastor because he calls himself a pastor,” Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Snopes. “I condemn his entire presentation.”
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