News and Views

Faith Leaders Say, 'End the Shutdown'

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NOTEFaith leaders in the Washington, D.C. region have issued a call to justice and hope in light of the ongoing federal government shutdown in an open letter to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter calls on them to end the shutdown and address the "crisis of heart and soul" unfolding at the United States-Mexico border. 

 January 15, 2019  

-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 D.C., 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 

Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling 
Washington Episcopal Area United Methodist Church 

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde 
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington 

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 Very Rev. Randy Hollerith 
Dean, Washington National Cathedral 

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 

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones 
Bishop Suffragan of Virginia, Retired 

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston 
XIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia 

Robert W. Ihloff, Bishop Associate 
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia 

The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick 
Visiting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia