Police and the Fire Department of Los Angeles were called in when a home made bomb exploded at the premises of the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte, California, in the early hours of Saturday morning. No one was injured.
Windows were shattered and there was smoke coming out of the church windows. The FBI is investigating the explosion. They said that an improvised IED has been thrown in. Graffiti was found on the walls.
The pastor had received threats on social media of an imminent arson attack. Locals said that the pastor’s rhetoric against gays could be construed as hate speech. A group of them were planning a peaceful protest on Sunday but cancelled it due to the violence on Saturday.
Following Saturday’s attack the Los Angeles County supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement that she knew about the pastor’s “anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic sermons” but also said that “violence is never the answer.”
— Jay Tea (@Josh_TheBoss2) January 23, 2021
The pastor Meija and the church have been preaching against gay relationships from the past three years. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled it as a hate group.
The pastor has a harsh stance against the community saying that the Bible justifies the execution of LGBT persons. He also says that it is justifiable to murder a pedophile or a thief.
He has also told his followers not to follow coronavirus safety measures. He told them not get vaccinated.
He also spoke in favor of the Illinois teen, Kylie Rittenhouse who shot dead two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha and whose bond conditions were enhanced recently after he was serenaded by a group singing a song that is considered an anthem by white supremacist groups. He had also flashed symbol that has been co-opted by white supremacists in a video.
The group that organized the recent protests against the church is called “Keep El Monte Friendly.” It said in a statement: “Our intent is to unite the community and keep El Monte a safe place for all regardless of gender identity, race or sexual orientation.”
Photo Credit Twitter Nathan Percy