Reporting Serene Branson
PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — All Saints Episcopal Church has received hate mail after agreeing to host the national convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council next weekend.
Reverend Ed Bacon said he’s received emails that are inflammatory and filled with inaccuracies: “…scapegoating Muslims, totally misreading what Islam is all about, telling us we can’t call ourselves a Christian body because we’ve allowed Muslims into our church.”
“They’re saying we have abandoned our Christian roots, that we are gullible and being used by terrorists, all of which is totally unfounded,” Bacon said. “It’s toxic stuff.”
The reverend said the hate mail isn’t coming from members of his church; he said it’s been sent by people identifying themselves as fundamental Christians.
“I have a lot of sadness about this, that a lot of the mail is from Christians,” Bacon said.
Salam Al-Marayati, of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said this kind of reaction is common.
“It’s, unfortunately, the typical ignorance and fear that you hear a lot,” Al-Marayati said.
Al-Marayati said his organization has worked with All Saints Episcopal for decades and having the church host their convention, for the first time, made sense to both sides.
“We’re out to convert people – not to be part of our religion, but to convert them from having fear about Muslims and Islams to having understanding,” Al-Marayati said.
Former Revered John Burt was attending an interfaith group meeting where Bacon spoke Wednesday night. He said he was one of the few white preachers willing to sit with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 60’s in Los Angeles.
Burt said, “It’s very heartbreaking to me that there are Christians in the world that still think that, in order to be a Christian, you have to hate someone else.”