Thousands of religious leaders march in Washington DC for social justice

by Margaret Wessel Walker

Today, thousands of religious leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds met in Washington, DC to protest social and racial injustice in a protest called “One Thousand Ministers March for Justice”. It’s the anniversary today of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic March on Washington and “I have a Dream” speech, and the protesters, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, wanted to commemorate that. They gathered near the MLK memorial and marched to the Department of Justice. Marchers said that political issues had become moral issues, and that people of faith needed to take a more proactive role in the fight for justice. “We will not be indifferent when transgender individuals are not allowed to serve in the military, said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, “we will not be indifferent when [sheriff Joe Arpaio] is pardoned.” Several Episcopal priests were there.

Speaking of the mission of the protest, Sharpton said in an interview last week, “we want to convene ministers from all faiths to make a moral statement that no matter what party is in office, there are certain moral things that should be nonnegotiable. That is voting rights, health care, criminal justice reform and economic justice.” Some reports are estimating over 3000 people were marching.

Other, more conservative, religious leaders met in a counter protest, including many who serve on advisory boards to the White House. Bishop Harry Jackson, one of the leaders of the counter-protest, felt that the original marchers didn’t actually want to work with Trump on race relations. However, some of the counter-protesters felt that the goals of the two groups were the same: Rev. Frank Amedia, who founded “POTUS Shield” a prayer group for the president, said “That’s our meeting point, changing the nation.” He and others later joined the original march as well.

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