Property owners have asked Pastor Roger Jimenez to leave.
CHR Comment: A backlash, backlash, backlash development as persons in America reflect on the significance of the Orlando shooting. The Verity Church Website describes the beliefs of this independent Baptist congregation (see second link below). The third link is to Yelp reviews of the congregation, which include further backlash and a statement from Yelp that the review page will be cleaned up.
Source: Pastor Who Praised Orlando Shooting May Lose His Church
People in Orlando have dressed as guardian angels to protect the funeral of one of the Orlando shooting victims from homophobic protesters.
CHR Comment: The Westboro Baptist Church has about 40 members and is notorious for demonstrations at funerals. In this case they are protesting at funerals for the homosexuals killed at the Orlando club shooting. The church members seem unconscious to the offensive nature of their protests, which only seem to undermine the Christian message.
Source: ‘Angels’ protect Orlando funeral from anti-gay Westboro protesters – BBC Newsbeat
CHR Comment: The shooting in Orlando at a homosexual club is causing some religious leaders to reflect on the potential influence of religion in such mass murder events. The two examples I have linked below are (1) a blog post by Bishop Robert Lynch of the St. Petersburg Diocese and (2) an interview with Megachurch Pastor Joel Hunter. The bishop wrote:
“Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets…and often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people.”
Both leaders express some sense of guilt about this horrifying event. As human beings we all have a gut reaction, that sickening feeling when we see something wrong, know it is wrong, and wish something could be changed. Hunter’s comments were introspective, worried that his preaching and teaching might unintendedly lead to harm. The bishop’s comments linked the horrible event directly to “religion, including our own [Christianity], which targets . . . and often breeds contempt.”
I do not recall ever meeting a fellow Christian who said that mass murder was an acceptable or even a considered response toward homosexuality. On the contrary, Christianity very clearly teaches that we should not murder. That commandment is repeated throughout the New Testament. I do not see that religion itself is to blame in this case. Sin, anger, and hatred are to blame—the very things that genuine religion would help us overcome. We need not less religion. We need true religion more than ever (James 1:26–27).
Source: Bishop Calls Out Homophobia In Religion… And He Isn’t Blaming Islam
Eleven golden retrievers headed to Florida.
CHR Comment: The Comfort Dogs are turning into a popular and widespread service. The article explains that the dogs are trained and supported through Lutheran Church Charities, a service organization of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I’m grateful to see the Huffington Post share the story of the Comfort Dogs and information about the faith-based organization that supports them.
Ironically, I heard a local radio station report about the Comfort Dogs this week. The radio report said nothing about the faith-based nature of the charity and their work. I find that news reports that might positively mention the role of religion in public life often do not do so. In contrast, when religious persons act badly (as the shooter did in this case), the person’s religion seems to get more attention. Perhaps this is because religious persons in general do not act in these extremely violent ways so that the examples of bad behavior seem more exceptional and therefore more newsworthy. (If a religious person consoles someone, that is no surprise. But if a religious person kills someone, that is shocking and makes the news.) In any event, this was indeed a good news story.
Source: Comfort Dogs Provide Emotional Support After Orlando Shooting