Faith leaders gather near the Capitol
Michelle Boorstein reports:
Faith leaders working for immigration reform this morning turned a parking lot next to the Capitol into a sanctuary, praying responsively, singing, speaking together aloud the names of individual migrants and asking God to help them as they headed to lawmakers’ offices to lobby.
“Holy God, sit with us today on the Hill as we meet with lawmakers and their staffs, speak through us God with words that reach past arguments,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for the progressive evangelical group Sojourners. “Let my people go!”
Harper was among several dozen clergy and faith activists in Washington who met outside the United Methodist Building – across from the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol – for a prayer vigil and then press conference.
Women and men wearing clerical collars and various brightly colored liturgical scarves sang in English, Spanish and Swahili: “We are marching in the light of God.”
Many have worked for years on immigration reform, and said even with the distraction of budget impasse fights and government shutdown, now might be a window to pass something substantive.
“I think there is a sense of urgency. If we don’t pass something now, we won’t get a vote until after the next election,” said the Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church, as she walked to the Capitol building after the prayer service. Her adopted son came from Columbia when he was an infant, she said, “and he’s had every single opportunity because I was the one who brought him.”