Fresh off his star-making sermon at the British royal wedding on Saturday, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry plans to take part in a candlelight vigil and protest in front of the White House on Thursday.
Curry will be joined by leaders from Christian churches who say they are concerned about a “dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches.” Those crises, Curry and the other Christian leaders say, put “the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith” at stake.
Organizers say they expect 1,000 people to turn out for a church service before the protest and for the protest itself, to be held on Thursday evening in Lafayette Square, a park across the street from the White House.
“This weekend I spoke about the way of love. As elders, we view bringing the Reclaiming Jesus declaration to the public square as a tangible example of how to live out that way of love,” Curry said, referring to a statement, called “Reclaiming Jesus,” endorsed by progressive Christian leaders who lament the rise of political partisanship and the marginalization of vulnerable communities.
The sharply worded statement also calls “America first,” a foreign-policy slogan endorsed by President Donald Trump, “theological heresy” and condemns the “normalization of lying” and “the resurgence of white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia; misogyny; attacks on immigrants, refugees, and the poor.”
“We are Christian leaders bearing moral witness to the teachings of our faith in the public square,” Curry continued. “As citizens we want our government to reflect our values. As a Bishop I believe we should follow the teachings of Jesus – who taught us to love God and love our neighbor.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Curry, the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church, lit up St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, delivering an impassioned sermon on the redemptive power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle.
Curry, who has been a pastor for nearly three decades, is known for seamlessly blending spiritual and political themes in his preaching and activism.
As a bishop in North Carolina, he supported the Moral Mondays campaign, which included statehouse protests against perceived inequality. At a rally in 2014, for example, he called for teachers to receive higher salaries and called education a “divine right.”
At the White House protest, organizers say Curry will be joined by a number of other prominent progressive Christian leaders, including the Rev. Sharon Watkins, former General Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. James Forbes, former pastor of New York’s Riverside Church, and the Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners.