WASHINGTON (RNS) — As the government shutdown enters its second week, some religious groups are starting to feel the pinch, and they’re also finding ways to reach out.
More than 90 Catholic, evangelical and Protestant leaders have signed a statement rebuking “pro-life” lawmakers for the shutdown, saying they are “appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” who won’t receive government benefits.
Starting Wednesday (Oct. 9), evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders will hold a daily “Faithful Filibuster” on Capitol Hill with Bible verses on the poor “to remind Congress that its dysfunction hurts struggling families and low-income people.”
Here’s how the shutdown is impacting religious groups in ways large and small:
The national parks closure has prompted a blessing for some couples locked out of their planned wedding venues. Churches are opening their gardens and doors to shutdown refugees.
First, Washington Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde invited displaced couples to wed at the Bishop’s Garden at the Washington National Cathedral. There are at least 11 weddings booked during the next two weeks, diocesan spokesman Jim Naughton said. Three have been held so far.
Then, a small church near Cincinnati, Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador in Mount Auburn, Ohio, followed the cathedral’s lead.
“We have a small garden, but it’s really nice,” the Rev. Paula Jackson told a local website. “We don’t know how long this shutdown is going to last. … This is one thing we can do for people, who have a very important moment in their lives planned.”