The pastor for Vancouver’s Sure Foundation Baptist Church is drawing online condemnation after a Tuesday sermon during which he said “it’s a good thing” five people were killed in a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, in what he acknowledged are hate-filled views.
“I really don’t care that those people got killed. And you’re like, ‘That sounds really hateful, pastor.’ Well, it is hateful. Because I do hate them,” Aaron Thompson said.
The recorded sermon, which is now private on YouTube, was first reported on by OnlySky Media, a secular digital publication. Video snippets of the sermon were also shared by OnlySky.
The Nov. 19 shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., also injured more than a dozen people. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is facing murder and hate crime charges. Authorities said the attack was halted by two club patrons.
“We are once again, heartbroken over yet another senseless act of violence toward the LGBTQ+ community. We are once again, angry that these acts of hate continue to result in death,” the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation said in a statement Monday about the shooting.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified Sure Foundation Baptist Church as a hate group. It is an offshoot of Verity Baptist Church, which according to the Anti-Defamation League, is among the New Independent Fundamental Baptist movement, a loose network of churches “connected by their belief in certain religious doctrines and a shared brand of deeply anti-LGBTQ+ and antisemitic teachings.”
Roger Jimenez, Verity’s pastor, drew condemnation for telling his congregation after the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Florida it was a “tragedy … that more of them didn’t die.”
This is not the first time the Vancouver church has made headlines for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
Oak Harbor’s Tyler Dinsmoor, who sometimes attended the Vancouver church, was arrested earlier this year, accused of making homophobic threats. Thompson previously denied Dinsmoor frequented the church, in an interview with OPB. He said Dinsmoor attended a couple of times and that Dinsmoor participated in a “soulwinning” excursion in Northern Washington over Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s just disgraceful that any person that is a messenger of the church would ever make a statement like that and be able to keep their job. I’m just lost for words,” Michelle Bart, president and co-founder of NWCAVE, said in a phone interview Friday after learning of Thompson’s sermon.
“As a proud, out lesbian who runs an anti-violence organization, I can honestly say that people like that worry me,” she continued. “And a statement, whether it’s a sermon or free speech or whatever people want to hide behind, the bottom line is when you do something like that and say something like that, that’s a threat. And why aren’t we taking it more seriously as such?”