At Guru Nanak Sikh Temple: Local Civil Rights folks and Democrats show Solidarity.


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guru nanak front

On Sunday, the Orange Juice Blog, at the invitation of one of our Sikh friends, took a field trip to Buena Park’s Guru Nanak Sikh Temple.  You may have read, in the Weekly or elsewhere, that this fine peaceful temple was vandalized with “FUCK ISIS” graffiti in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  I know – hell of ignorant, huh?  Not only do the vast, VAST majority of American Muslims condemn such attacks, but the Sikhs are a completely different and peaceful religion who don’t even “seek” converts, and come from a different part of the world.  They DO wear headgear however.  And serve really good food after their services.

2 worshipers

The good news is, the 20-year old who committed this vandalism felt real bad about it afterward, turned himself in, apologized to the Sikhs, helped clean up the mess, and is not going to face charges.  I have to admit that one of my biggest reasons for showing up was to meet this kid, interview him and ask him what he was thinking when he did it and what made him change his mind.  But I just missed him.  Or else this would be a more interesting story.  I won’t mention his name here because I’m sure he’s tired of all the bad publicity (and mean things said about him on social media) but bro, if you see this and you want to talk, get in touch!

3 altar

This service was a special one, with over a dozen local religious figures, civil rights leaders, and Democratic politicians showing up to speak and express solidarity with the temple – Sikhs are often attacked when Islamophobia is in the air, and it’s bad enough it happens to Muslims.  We heard short and heartfelt talks from the Anti-Defamation League’s Mike Ruben, a couple of women from CAIR whose names I couldn’t catch, LULAC’s Ed Portillo, Muslim Iyad and Sikh Mani from the OC Democratic Party, local school board Democrat Connor Traut, and Sukhee Kang, who was the only candidate there to mention the race he was in.

Juice friend and LGBTQ activist Jeff LeTourneau talked about how honored he was to be in a room full of people who celebrate their differences, and decried both extremist Islam and extremist Christianity.  Former (and possibly future) assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced herself as a schoolteacher and talked about how her students had just sung a song about martin Luther King to their parents.  And Congressional candidate Joe Dunn pointed out that all religions preach peace on earth and goodwill to men, and stressed that we should strive for unity rather than divide ourselves into different communities.  Don’t believe me?  Here they all are, wearing the acceptable Sikh headgear and no shoes:

4 solidarity

That’s weird, I wonder why it was just Democrats there?  Did Supervisor Shawn Nelson not hear about this disturbing vandalism in his district?  Were Young Kim and Ling-Ling Chang, the opponents of Sharon and Sukhee, too busy that day?  Oh well, I am going to go ahead and assume that Orange County’s Republicans also condemn attacks on religious minorities, despite the blathering of their leading Presidential candidate.

Next Orange Juice field trip is Wednesday to Silverado, to hear the County describe their preparations for El Niño!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.