‘GOD-ORDAINED’: At Grace Community Church in Sun...


‘GOD-ORDAINED’: At Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, where retiring Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Robert Vernon is an elder, fundamentalist Pastor John MacArthur put away his planned sermon Sunday and characterized police as God’s representatives.

“God has ordained the family and law authority as two institutions for social control,” the pastor said. “Policemen have my sympathy” for difficult jobs, he said, “especially when society is trying to destroy their credibility.”

MacArthur withheld judgment on the acquittals of four officers in the Rodney King beating case but he was unequivocal about those who sowed destruction on Los Angeles streets.


“These people are not opposing the police, they are opposing God,” he said to more than 2,000 worshipers at the early service.

MacArthur’s strong stance on Christian obedience of government, derived in part from words of the Apostle Paul, has earned criticism in the past from fellow conservative Christians who have supported Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion movement that courts arrest by blocking the entrances to abortion clinics.

“God demands respect for those in authority,” MacArthur said. “They are not perfect, but they are essential to society.”

Asked if they agreed with MacArthur’s points, Alex Galindo and Raymond Parker, the latter one of the few black men in the pews, pointed to their Bibles and said, “Yes, it’s all here.”

BUDDHA: The major events in the life of Buddha will be celebrated Sunday by Vietnamese Buddhists in a Wesak service in Sepulveda and one week later by Thai Buddhists at the Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood.

Most ethnic traditions in Buddhism observe on one day in May the birth, enlightenment and death of Siddhartha Buddha, the founder of the religion.


Vietnamese-language services led by the Venerable Thich Duc Niem will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at Sepulveda Junior High School. The 90-minute ceremony is sponsored by the Buddhist Meditation Center, also known as the Congregation of Universal Compassion, in North Hills.

Thai Buddhists will have daytime celebrations for children May 17 at the Wat Thai Temple, 8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave., North Hollywood. Ceremonies for adults will be conducted between 5:30 and 8 p.m., a spokesman said.

RABBIS: Two San Fernando Valley rabbis will receive honorary doctor of divinity degrees Monday in commencement exercises at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles for their contributions to Jewish life.

They are Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs of Encino’s Shir Chadash-New Reform Congregation and president of the Pacific Assn. of Reform Rabbis, and Rabbi John M. Sherwood, who recently celebrated his 20th year as spiritual leader of Temple Emet of Woodland Hills.

BENEFIT: A benefit concert featuring the Tonight Show orchestra will be held next Saturday to help fund the community service programs of the Valley Interfaith Council, including its homeless and “meals on wheels” projects.

Tickets at $12 each for the 8 p.m. musical program at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch, can be obtained by calling the council office at (818) 718-6460.


News and announcements for this column can be sent to Religion Desk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311.