“End the Shutdown Now”: Washington Faith Leaders to President Trump and Congressional Leaders

by | Jan 17, 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.





The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington


Imam Johari Abdulmalik

Muslim Society of Washington


Rev. Dr. David A. Anderson

Founding & Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church


Rev. Dr. Delman L. Coates

Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church


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 Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick,

Visiting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia


Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin

Canon Missioner, Washington National Cathedral


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


Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness

Senior Pastor, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (DC)


The Rt. Rev. 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 of the 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


Rev. Jim Wallis

President and Founder, Sojourners


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