Los Angeles Religions Joining Hands for the Community
January 18, 2006
Los Angeles, CA - Nearly 2,000 religious and community leaders gathered in Inglewood, California on Saturday, January 14th -- one of the largest interfaith prayer breakfasts in the nation -- to reaffirm their commitment to building a united community.
The annual Multi-Faith Prayer Breakfast grew out of the attacks of September 11th 2001 when people of Middle Eastern descent began experiencing discrimination solely because of their ethnic or religious background. Bishop Edward Turner, chair of Sheriff Baca's Executive Clergy Advisory Council, took the lead to end this dangerous trend by bringing together the religious community of Los Angeles in order "to strengthen and unite all people regardless of race, color, creed or religion."
Now in its sixth year, the Prayer Breakfast includes representatives of all the major religions of the city. Clergy from the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Scientology, Buddhist and Christian communities attend and focus on their common goals.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended the event this year and received a standing ovation from the crowd after acknowledging the participation of every sector of society working to accomplish a common goal of tolerance and cooperation.
The array of officials, dignitaries and religious leaders attending included State Assemblyman Mark Ridley Thomas; State Controller Steve Westly; former Governor and now Mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown; movie and TV star Jenna Elfman; Tony Mohammad, head of the Nation of Islam for Southern California; H.H. Brookins, former head of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Los Angeles Councilwomen Jan Perry and Janice Hahn; Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke and Lynwood Councilman Alfreddie Johnson.
Reverend Heber C. Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International and a member of Sheriff's Executive Clergy Advisory Council gave the invocation by reciting the Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom by L. Ron Hubbard, which states: "We pray that human rights will be preserved so that all people may believe and worship freely, so that freedom will once again be seen in our land. Freedom from war, and poverty, and want; freedom to be; freedom to do and freedom to have. Freedom to use and understand man's potential — a potential that is God-given and Godlike. And freedom to achieve that understanding and awareness that is Total Freedom."
In his speech, Rev. Jentzsch showed an award-winning music video aptly called "UNITED" thus echoing the purpose of the event. Created by Los Angeles-based Youth for Human Rights International, the video communicates that by uniting, people of goodwill can defend their human rights and overcome intolerance and bigotry.
A guest speaker at the event was actress Jenna Elfman. She emphasized the need for people of all faiths to be active in the community and shared her personal experience as a Scientologist in helping prisoners successfully reintegrate into society. Ms. Elfman works with Criminon, a program based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard, which assists thousands of prisoners to regain their self-respect and return to society as valuable citizens.
Community Day and the Sheriff's Clergy Council Prayer Breakfast were created by Bishop Ed Turner, pastor and founder of the Power of Love Christian Fellowship.