Bishop of Washington’s Response Regarding the Federal Government Shutdown
January 10, 2019
God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
As the partial federal government shutdown continues with no end in sight, I grieve the disproportionate burden it has placed on federal employees, contract workers, and those whose lives are in a holding pattern due to the halt in government services and agencies. While the effects are nationwide, many in our region and in our congregations are under tremendous stress.
If you are among those adversely affected, I would love to hear from you. Clergy of the diocese, please let me know how your congregations are faring. Today I am reaching out to my interfaith colleagues in the region to draft a letter to our public officials asking that they end the government shutdown immediately. I also welcome any suggestions as to how, we as a diocese, might offer our support for those experiencing the greatest hardship. Please feel free to contact me directly. The long-term consequences of the shutdown are mounting, and I will add my voice to those calling for it to end.
On the issues of border security and our immigration policy, I agree with President Trump that we face a crisis of heart and soul, though we differ dramatically in our understanding of it. Differences aside, surely it does not help to address that crisis by creating new ones. Moreover, it is difficult to see how our elected officials can come to meaningful solutions without some agreement of the facts.
Those in the church who live and work along the border tell us that the humanitarian crisis is real, and I saw evidence of it when I was at the border last month. 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. As Christians, we are called to respond with compassion, for God’s compassion knows no borders. Nor are we as a nation innocent victims, for we have helped to cause the situation we decry. God’s justice requires that we acknowledge our sin and act for the welfare of all.