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This Week in God, 6.18.16

Most religious leaders responded to the Orlando with sorrow, but a handful of evangelical pastors went in a direction so ugly, it has to be seen to be believed.
Rev. Pat Robertson, center, talks to attendees at a prayer breakfast at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. on Jan. 16, 2010. (Photo by Clem Britt/AP)
Rev. Pat Robertson, center, talks to attendees at a prayer breakfast at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. on Jan. 16, 2010.
First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the reactions to the mass-shooting in Orlando from some evangelical Christian leaders, who didn't exactly respond with compassion and grace. Take TV preacher Pat Robertson, for example.

[Tuesday] on "The 700 Club," televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by making the absurd claim that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned themselves with radical Islamists and are now reaping what they have sowed. Robertson said that liberals are facing a "dilemma" because they love both LGBT equality and Islamic extremism, and that it is better for conservatives like himself not to get involved but to instead just watch the two groups kill each other.

"The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves," he told his audience.
As the Right Wing Watch report added, Robertson's show later clarified that the televangelist was "referring to politics -- killing themselves politically." I'm not entirely sure what that means.
He was not, however, alone. As Rachel noted on Tuesday's show, Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento told his congregation that Christians "shouldn't be mourning the death of 50 sodomites." From the pulpit, Jimenez called the massacre "great," adding, "The tragedy is that more of them didn't die. The tragedy is -- I'm kind of upset that he didn't finish the job!"
The same day, preacher Steven Anderson in Tempe also celebrated the mass-murders, saying that he thinks it's "good news" that "there are 50 less pedophiles in this world."
For the overwhelming majority of Americans, the massacre was a gut-wrenching tragedy, but for some Christian extremists, this attack was a blessing to be cheered. That shouldn't be considered the norm among Christian preachers, but this doesn't make their radicalism any less offensive.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* State of Washington: "Former Mars Hill Church elder Sutton Turner has filed a motion to dismiss the civil racketeering lawsuit brought against him and former pastor Mark Driscoll by four former members of the now-defunct Seattle church."
* The nation's largest Protestant denomination makes an interesting move: "The latest push against the Confederate flag is coming from the pulpit. On Tuesday, the US Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the country, voted that members [should] stop displaying the Confederate flag."
* Quite a story: "A hotly contested, supposedly ancient manuscript suggests Christ was married. But believing its origin story -- a real-life Da Vinci Code, involving a Harvard professor, a onetime Florida pornographer, and an escape from East Germany -- requires a big leap of faith."