WASHINGTON —A group of faith leaders in the Washington, D.C., region has released an open letter to President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McConnell, calling on them to end the federal government shutdown. They reference “the disproportionate burden the shutdown has placed on federal employees and contract workers,” many of whom are part of the leaders’ local faith communities. They write, “The long-term consequences of the shutdown are mounting, and we respectfully add our voices to those calling for it to end.”
The faith leaders also addressed the humanitarian crisis for migrants at the U.S. Southern border, writing, “On the issues of border security and our immigration policy, we agree with President Trump that we face a crisis of heart and soul, though we differ dramatically in our understanding of it.” They write that the crisis is multi-faceted and complex, and will require solutions equally diverse. “In the meantime,” they add, “people are suffering and we cannot turn away.”
A number of the faith leaders, including the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling of the United Methodist Church, will speak at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, January 17, at 2:30 p.m. on the front stairs of the United Methodist Building at 100 Maryland Ave. NE, across from the U.S. Capitol. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faith leaders will pray together and offer remarks about the shutdown and border crisis.
-Love your neighbor as yourself – Leviticus 19:18
-Do to others what you would have them do to you. – Matthew 7:12
-Allah says in the Qur’an as translated: “Fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation.” (Al-A`raf 7:85)
-“God’s grace and love can be experienced when one cares for the poor and the destitute” – Guru Nanak, Sikh scriptures
-“The entire humanity is one family”. Hindu Rig Veda – Vasudaiva Kutumbakam
Dear President Trump, Senator McConnell, and Speaker Pelosi,
As the partial federal government shutdown enters its third week, we, the undersigned interfaith leaders of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, grieve the disproportionate burden the shutdown has placed on federal employees and contract workers. We are deeply concerned for all those whose lives have been thrust into economic uncertainty due to the halt in government services and agencies.
While the effects are felt nationwide, our region is especially impacted. Many in our faith communities are struggling, as are their co-workers and neighbors, and we are concerned for them and their families. Moreover, we are all vulnerable when those whose services we depend upon are under such duress. The long-term consequences of the shutdown are mounting, and we respectfully add our voices to those calling for it to end.
On the issues of border security and our immigration policy, we agree with President Trump that we face a crisis of heart and soul, though we differ dramatically in our understanding of it. Differences aside, we are clear that inventing a new crisis by closing the government and adversely affecting so many innocent people does not help to address border security.
The humanitarian crisis at the border is real. The reasons for this crisis are many and complex, and they require a multi-faceted response not only at the border itself, but with comprehensive immigration reform, and an approach to foreign policy that addresses the rampant corruption, gang violence, and economic desperation that is causing so many to flee their countries.
In the meantime, people are suffering and we cannot turn away. Our faith traditions call us to treat one another as we would want to be treated, to respond with compassion, for God’s compassion knows no borders. Justice requires that we act for the welfare of all. Today we speak with one voice urging our public leaders to meet the obligations of their office and reopen the federal government as they continue to seek just and merciful solutions to those seeking refuge in our land.
Rev. Dr. David A. Anderson
Founding & Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church
Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness
Senior Pastor, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (DC)
Imam Johari Abdulmalik
Muslim Society of Washington
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling
Washington Episcopal Area United Methodist Church
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Rev. Richard H. Graham
Bishop, Metropolitan Washington, D. C., Synod, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Reverend Dr. Susan T. Henry-Crowe,
General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick,
Visiting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith
Dean, Washington National Cathedral
Robert W. Ihloff
Bishop Associate, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston
XIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones
Bishop Suffragan of Virginia, Retired
The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen
Assisting Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Richmond Episcopal Area, The United Methodist Church
Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig
Sr. Rabbi Washington Hebrew Congregation
Rabbi Gerald Serotta
Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington
Imam Dr. Talib M. Shareef, USAF-Retired
President, Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque
Dr. Siva Subramanian
United Hindu Jain Temples Association and Sri Siva Vishnu Temple
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
The Rev. Ed White
National Capital Presbytery
Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias
John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, The National Church of Zion Methodism
Media interested in covering the event should RSVP to the Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson, [email protected], 443-983-4112.