Religious leaders will gather in front of Disney offices to “end anti-religious hate.”
World Religion News received an email overnight from Los Angeles Faith Coalition about an emergency press conference/protest to take place in front of the Disney offices in Burbank, California today at 3:30 pm to “end anti-religious hate.” The press conference, spearheaded by leaders of the Los Angeles Faith Coalition, ultimately attempts to appeal to the Disney CEO Bob Iger and will be held “to demand Disney cancel A&E’s anti-religious media programming, which is resulting in hate crimes and fatalities in houses of worship across faiths,” according to the advisory. The advisory also states, “A&E airs more anti-religious shows than any other media outlet, and one such show has now directly contributed to a killing—a heinous hate crime that follows on the heels of hundreds of anti-religious threats linked to A&E.”
From the “Detail” section of the email…
“Christian ministers, Scientology ministers, Imams, Rabbis, Sikh leaders and other members of the Los Angeles Faith Coalition are holding an emergency press conference demanding an end to religious violence and delivering a letter to Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, insisting he stop supporting hate through Disney-owned A&E Networks. A&E airs more anti-religious shows than any other media outlet, and one such show has now directly contributed to a killing—a heinous hate crime that follows on the heels of hundreds of anti-religious threats linked to A&E.”
The LA Faith Coalition of California invites you to its first round table on religion, media, and hate, on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, at the Church of Scientology of the Valley pic.twitter.com/5nXIUk8rHj
— LA Faith Coalition (@la_interfaith) January 20, 2019
The march to Disney offices leading to the press conference will be live streamed on official media channels of the group Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination (STAND).
Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray Pastor Emeritus, First AME Church of Los Angeles declared, “Enough is enough. We are family.” In a letter to Iger on December 13, 2018, Murray brought the issue of hate and violence to his attention, asking “Do you have to wait until something worse happens to stop this hate-mongering?” Three weeks later Scientologist Aaron Yeh was killed in front of the Scientology headquarters in Sydney, Australia. The attacker reportedly had “intent to burn down the Church” and “was inspired by an anti-Scientology website” that “included a link” to Leah Remini’s A&E TV show, Scientology and the Aftermath.
On the Los Angeles Faith Coalition blog, the group announces its “first roundtable on religion, media and hate” which will occur before the emergency press conference from 11:00am-3:30pm at the Church of Scientology of the Valley on Burbank Boulevard in North Hollywood. The roundtable will include a discussion with members of law enforcement regarding security in houses of worship. The Los Angeles Faith Coalition includes Christian ministers, Scientology ministers, Imams, Rabbis and Sikh leaders.
Rev. Frank Jackson, Jr., a community outreach organizer for the Institute for Violence Prevention at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, posted a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger on the Los Angeles Faith Coalition blog. He mentioned the Leah Remini Aftermath reality series, which is currently airing a third season about the Church of Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He asserts that this series “has “a strong connotation towards promoting hate.”
Jackson closed the letter with:
“Taking into consideration the country’s current climate, the recent shootings not only in Pittsburgh but many other houses of worship, I believe we must take extra precautions and responsibilities with the content we subject our youth and young adults to. For this group contains Our Seed for Our Future. Our organization’s mission statement is based on Mark 4:20 “A Seed Planted on Good Soil Shall Grow.” Our God-given assignment and responsibility are to till and nourish the soil. Their Ideals, Actions, Reactions, and Consequences will be a direct result from what “We’ve Fed and Watered” into the soil. Selah!”
In a Facebook post, the Los Angeles Faith Coalition uses hashtag #StopTheHate while featuring photos and information about the recent hate-fueled killings in houses of worship in the United States. Among those mentioned were the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which killed 26 people and wounded 20 others; the shooting at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina which killed nine worshippers; the destruction of Church of Scientology property by Erin McMurtry who “drove her car through the glass front door panels” of the church in Austin, Texas; the murder that occurred at Keystone Fellowship Church in North Wales, Pennsylvania, where 27-year old Robert Braxton III was fatally shot by gunman Mark Storms; and the killing of Dr. William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reat outside Overland Park, Kansas Jewish Center by Neo-Nazi and former Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Miller.
The Los Angeles Faith Coalition declared in its blog: “We are Baptist, we are First AME, we are Scientologists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and many more denominations. We are united. And we are here to say: shame on you Disney for supporting hate, when love is what conquers all. We ask you to meet with us. If we do not hear from you, we will be forced to demand an international boycott of Disney through the power and reach of our combined faiths.”