Saturday, September 11, 2010

All Saints @ 9th Anniversary 9/11 Vigil, Islamic Center of Southern California

The 9th Anniversary of 9/11 was observed today at the Islamic Center of Southern California with an Interfaith Peace Vigil. All Saints' rector Ed Bacon was one of the featured speakers and a number of members of the All Saints community were in attendance.

Here are photos from the event along with the text of the rector's remarks.

Video to come.

Assalamu alaikum. Peace and shalom to all.

I am moved and honored to be in this sacred place where members of the Los Angeles interfaith community gathered today nine years ago to stand in solidarity with our sister and brother Muslims who were the targets hate speech and hate crimes immediately after the Twin Towers were hit. We also gathered to recommit ourselves to the proposition that peace and justice making are not options for the world’s great religions. Rather peace and justice making are central mandates for us all.

I am sick and tired of Christian preachers lying about God.

I grew up in the state of Georgia where I heard as boy some influential Christian clergy preach that God is a segregationist God. In other words, God was a racist God. That is a lie. Now a Christian preacher in Florida, acting in the same spirit of distortion, fear mongering, discrimination, and lies claims that Islam is of the Devil. That is a lie.

There are two ways to interpret the world’s religions today – a fear-based interpretation or a love-based interpretation. Discrimination, exclusion, and violence are the faces of fear-based religion. Compassion, mercy, inclusion, and peace-making are the faces of religion that is love-based. Islam and all the religions represented in this room today are love-based religions.

Where there are practitioners of any religion who demonize another religion, they are perverting their own religion.

Let me give you some advice about Christian preachers. If a Christian preacher is spewing hate and violence in the name of God or in the name of religion, that preacher is lying about his own religion. If that preacher doesn’t know the truth and beauty of his own religion, how can he be trusted to tell the truth about anybody else’s religion? He can’t. Don’t trust a fear-based religious leader to tell the truth about faith. Fear is faithless. A fear-based life has no room for faith. A fear-based life has no room for God. Fear has no vision for a world of peace. Fear cannot understand the compassion and mercy of God.

What we need in our time are people who refuse to give into fear.
people who refuse to be polarized
people who refuse to tell lies about other religions
people who refuse to hate
people who refuse to contribute to the spiral of violence.

Love-based religions and love-based lives are absolutely necessary for the survival of our civilization

Dr. King said, “The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate….It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.”

We don’t need to be burning the Holy Koran. We need to study it That is why at my church, All Saints Church, Pasadena, we will have a muti-week program this fall called Islam 101. I hope you will join us in learning from Islam what millions of other Muslims already know that God is merciful, kind, full of compassion and seeks us to be the same.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam

For more information visit the All Saints webite.

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