December 13, 2018

Rev. Dr. Cecil (Chip) Murray Letter to Disney

By condoning the airing of this series, Disney makes itself a party to the violence resulting. I understand that the Church of Scientology has had hundreds of threats of death, violence or vandalism incited by the show.

December 13, 2018

Mr. Bob Iger
Chairman and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Dear Sir,

I have recently become aware of a program being aired on the A&E Networks, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, which is hateful towards several religions. This is Leah Remini Aftermath reality series. This is apparently its third season. A&E’s recent programming persecutes American religions—Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other denominations. They say they are “looking” into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their programming is one-sided and does not attempt to show the other side.

I have worked beside the Church of Scientology for over 25 years when they helped greatly to bring calm during the Rodney King riots, with their tutoring of underserved children, work to get the anti-drug messages out as well as teaching human rights.

By condoning the airing of this series, Disney makes itself a party to the violence resulting. I understand that the Church of Scientology has had hundreds of threats of death, violence or vandalism incited by the show. Including their Church in Twin Cities being set on fire, another church having a car driven purposefully through their front windows, etc. Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses episode was announced there have been five of their Kingdom Halls burned down. I am sure you are aware of the recent shootings in the synagogue in Pittsburgh and other such incidents against churches around the US. That Disney would sponsor programs that incite hatred against religions from my perspective is unconscionable.

I have worked beside the Church of Scientology for over 25 years when they helped greatly to bring calm during the Rodney King riots, with their tutoring of underserved children, work to get the anti-drug messages out as well as teaching human rights.

Combating religious intolerance, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief is a matter of the highest importance as United Nations global policy.

Do you have to wait until something worse happens to stop this hate-mongering?

Ephesians 4:32, says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I respectfully request that you look into this from a dispassionate perspective and a broader vision of the world, not just ratings. We need to allow other views than yet another hateful assault on peaceful religions.

It is time sir, to act with courage and compassion—as would the great Walt Disney and many of his contemporaries—and not merely turn a blind eye to the discrimination and persecution by the few with a mouthpiece, against the many who diligently seek to follow their religious convictions.

I respectfully request that you look into this from a dispassionate perspective and a broader vision of the world, not just ratings. We need to allow other views than yet another hateful assault on peaceful religions. During my 30 years of being in contact with executives of Walt Disney, I know that you are dedicated to community outreach and applaud the diversity that our country stands for. You are respected beyond your campus, but in any outreach service that models the American dream of diversity without adversity. Will you please consider full cooperation with the above churches and because chemistry is at risk, will you please respond positively to my request.

I look forward to hearing from you and will pass on your response to the hundreds of pastors who have completed our 13 weeks of training at our Cecil Murray Center for Religion and Community Engagement at the University of Southern California; each has received a certificate of completion upon graduation, and goes out to the community to implement what they have learned in civic initiatives. They will applaud hearing from us on this issue.

Copy:
William R. Hearst III,
CEO, The Hearst Corporation,
300 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Copy:
Ms. Abbe Raven,
CEO of A&E Networks,
Century Plaza Towers
2049 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Sincerely Yours,

Rev Dr. Cecil (Chip) Murray
Cecil Murray Center for Religion and Community Engagement

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