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Holding tiny candle lights, a silent procession of faith elders from various religious denominations walked into Lafayette Square Thursday night and offered prayerful petitions in front of the White House to challenge President Donald Trump for policies that they charge have put the nation in a moral crisis.
“Tonight it’s not about Donald Trump, it’s about Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Jim Wallis, public theologian and founder of Sojourners, during a pre-march rally at the National City Christian Church that attracted several thousand people. “This is a moral test for the churches and the people of faith.”
Progressive people of faith who feel that their values are marginalized in the current political climate, and think the government is not doing enough in the areas ranging from immigration to criminal justice reform, organized the march.
“How many believe that both the soul of the nation and the integrity of our faith is really at stake? People of faith want to respond and not just react—I find that deeply encouraging and very hopeful,” said Wallis in a statement.
Wallis was part of a diverse coalition of church leaders and people who organized the event, which used the hashtag #ReclaimingJesus and included The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who earned world-wide attention last week after he delivered a 14-minute sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. He is one of the leaders of the movement.
The sanctuary, foyer, and steps of National City were filled as Curry spoke to a standing room only crowd.
Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network and President of the Skinner Leadership Institute offered a prayer in Lafayette Park and then the Secret Service allowed the gathering onto Pennsylvania Ave where she and various leaders prayed.
Rev. Leslie Copeland Tune of the progressive group Ecumenical Advocacy Days says, “It was very timely and very encouraging for us to come together, for us to say that we are reclaiming Jesus from those who have hijacked and distorted the gospel and for us to proclaim that it is a liberating gospel. To say that Jesus loves the poor and cares for the poor and we are not going to stand for policies that discriminate against people.”