Washington, D.C. — Today, during a press call organized by the Center for American Progress, U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and faith leaders warned worshippers to heed the guidance of public health officials and avoid public gatherings during Passover, Easter, and Ramadan.
Clyburn, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis as well as the Democratic Faith Working Group, said that staying home for the holidays does not mean forgoing religious tradition.
“Just as we look to our political leaders, our government officials to make the kinds of decisions that would keep us safe and secure in our homes and in our communities, we as faith leaders should do what we can to contribute to that,” Clyburn said. “One of the things that contributes to that significantly is our #StayHomeStayHoly movement. Let me repeat that: stay home and stay holy.”
Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice said, “We are rooted in this moment that feels like Good Friday, when Jesus suffered alone on the cross. But like Jesus, we are not truly alone, even if we’re separate. Together in community, we can be our better selves. We can care for those who are struggling and ill. This is our Easter lesson: being at the cross, in the suffering, knowing that it is our solidarity that will see us through. We will know the rebirth of Easter, but it may take a while. It will come if we stay home and stay holy.”
Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior rabbi of the Los Angeles-based Jewish congregation IKAR, said that as Passover begins, it is important to overcome the anxiety that comes with staying at home during the pandemic.
“To honor and abide the physical act of separation is an act of love toward our neighbors and ourselves,” Brous said. “When we abide this temporary isolation, that’s how we demonstrate that we refuse to see one another as expendable.”
Wajahat Ali, a New York Times contributing op-ed writer and senior fellow at Auburn Seminary in New York City, said that honoring Ramadan will be challenging this year because so much of the religious celebration revolves around community and daily get-togethers.
“God wants us to do the most good and the least amount of harm,” Ali said. “It is incumbent upon the rest of us to model a new type of behavior during these holy weeks and these holy months. We stay holy by staying home. And hopefully we can model that type of responsible behavior and ethical behavior that then maybe can inspire our political leadership to come up with a national strategy that puts lives above profit.”
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