The FBI is investigating after an El Monte, California church known for its anti-LGBTQ sermons and misogynistic views was bombed using an improvised explosive device (IED) at 1:15 a.m. on Saturday.
The San Gabriel Tribune reports: “The church, a target of recent protests, has asserted that the government should execute gay people, San Bernardino hate-speech expert Brian Levin said Saturday. … First Works Pastor Bruce Mejia previously filed a report with police after receiving a threat of arson on social media. Mejia said his doctrine since the church was launched three years ago includes condemnation of same-sex relationships. Some residents earlier this month called Mejia’s sermons and the church’s stance hate speech during public comments at the El Monte City Council meeting. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization specializing in civil rights litigation, lists the church as an anti-LBGTQ group on its watch list.”
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis released a message on Facebook: “Violence is never the answer, even in response to hate speech. Although we do not yet know the motive, I am aware of the anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic sermons given by the pastor of First Works Baptist Church; and my office has referred concerning matters pertaining to the pastor to the County’s Human Rights Commission who has been working in collaboration with the City of El Monte to deescalate the situation. I value inclusivity, diversity, and equality. I also support the right to peacefully protest; however, this attack is wrong and it is dangerous. I urge city leaders, church leaders, and civic leaders to come together and work together to address hate issues in our community. I want to thank the law enforcement agencies partnering on this investigation. If you have any information about this incident, please reach out to the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565 or tips.fbi.gov.“