Dueling clergy protests over the Trump presidency converge on Washington

They wore clerical collars and vestments, their heads covered with kippahs and taqiyahs.

Religious leaders and congregants rallied Monday in Washington to say “the soul of the nation” is at stake. Leaders from multiple faiths near the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial said it’s not about politics, but the moral corrosion of the country that they believe has become increasingly evident under the presidency of Donald Trump.

The “One Thousand Ministers March for Justice” rally, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, was one of two events led by members of the clergy on Monday in Washington — each with opposing viewpoints. They come on the 54th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famed “I Have a Dream” speech.

That dream, according to participants at Sharpton’s rally, is at stake as religious leaders said they must be public and vocal about fighting white supremacy. And while they said Monday’s rally was about more than politics, they offered blistering condemnations of the Trump presidency.

“We will not be indifferent when transgender individuals are not allowed to serve in the military,” Rabbi Jonah Pesner said. “We will not be indifferent when a sheriff is pardoned,” a reference to Trump pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday.

Vincent Herring, a 59-year-old Baptist from Maryland, said politics have turned into issues of morality, and people of faith and moral conscience need to take the lead.

“We haven’t been in the forefront of trying to get things done,” he said. “When you identify it as a moral issue, then that’s what needs to be done.”

The rally was expected to include a prayer vigil and ceremony in which leaders will “recommit to being at the forefront of social justice and civil rights,” according to a permit from the National Park Service.

“We want to convene ministers from all faiths to make a moral statement that no matter what party is in office, there…

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