- Notorious misogynist and homophobe Steven Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, quickly mocked the Orlando shooting victims. "The good news is there are fifty less pedophiles in this world," he said in a video, according to Phoenix New Times. Anderson went on to blast the victims as "disgusting perverts" who seek to recruit youngsters into "their filthy homosexual lifestyle".
- James David Manning, pastor of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York, insisted that gays posed a greater threat to America than Islamic extremists in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. "The sodomites are more dangerous to America and its well-being than the jihadis ... Show me how Muslims are stronger than the sodomites in terms of their destruction, their forces, their political power?" he said, according to Pink News.
- In Sacramento, California, the pastor of Verity Baptist Church heaped scorn on the "sodomites" who died in the Orlando shooting. According to the Sacramento Bee, Roger Jimenez reportedly told his congregation that Orlando "is a little safer tonight," adding that, "The tragedy is that more of them didn't die. I'm kind of upset he didn't finish the job." Hundreds of Christian clergy members from the Sacramento City Pastors Fellowship condemned Jimenez' cruel rhetoric. Several days later, hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside Jimenez' church to show solidarity with the Orlando victims, according to the Guardian.
- In Johnson City, Tennessee, Pastor Jesse Price of Beech Cliff Pentecostal Holiness Church put a message on the church's sign that read "God's wrath may be getting started to fall on the gays," according to WCYB.
- In Buford, Georgia, the Back to the Bible Holiness Church posted a sign that read "God created man & woman; Satan made gays & transgender Gen 5:2", according to NBC 11 Alive. Vandals later covered the sign in black paint, reports the Associated Press.
- In Fort Worth, Texas, Stedfast Baptist Church pastor Donnie Romero demonized LGBTQ people as "predators" who are "wicked" and "all worthy of death", reports CW 33.
- Author Timothy Buchanan penned a commentary piece for Barbwire entitled "Orlando: What No One Wants to Consider". Buchanan wrote that homophobia "is a normal and natural response to something abhorrent" and cannot be eradicated. Rather than promote unity in morality, America has promoted diversity, which he calls a "weakness". Buchanan's angry, rambling column concluded than LGBTQ people should go back in the closet because their "defiant wickedness" is dangerous. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"It’s worth considering that homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals might be safer returning to the closet. Flaunting gross immorality and defiant wickedness that is hideous, odious and wretched to an overwhelming majority of people is a foolish and dangerous course of action."
This is the fruit that bigotry bears. This is the rotten, festering underside of the Religious Right. While some Religious Right voices feign sympathy for the Orlando victims, these hateful responses show the Religious Right's true colors.
When believers promote homophobic interpretations of religion that denounce same-sex intimacy as sinful and LGBTQ people as "abominations", this hatred is the result. When churches idolize heteronormative, patriarchal families and denigrate anyone who deviates from the paradigm, this hatred is the result. When fundamentalists demonize and dehumanize an entire community, this hatred is the result. A belief system infused with so much blind hatred is not only spiritually corrosive, but dangerous.
The silver lining here is that bigotry is driving more and more people away from fundamentalist Christianity. As more Americans learn to coexist with their LGBTQ neighbors, bigots will find themselves increasingly marginalized. Let that day come soon.