NEWARK — Beneath the curved wooden ceiling at Bethany Baptist Church, New Jersey’s faith leaders Thursday night vowed to stand alongside those targeted under the White House agenda — and build their own wall of resistance to President Trump’s policies.
“Not on our watch will anyone have to stand or fight alone,” said the church’s pastor, Timothy Jones. “Now more than ever is the time for people of all faiths to get together to work for the joint goal of building community.”
Faith in New Jersey, an interfaith coalition advocating for social justice, convened imams, pastors, priests and rabbis to urge action amid swift changes to immigration enforcement and health care.
“We cannot stand idly by, we cannot stay on the sidelines,” said Rev. John Mennell before more than 150 clergy members as Trump made his first presidential visit across the Hudson River before heading to his Bedminster golf course.
The Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, also addressed the interfaith gathering, sharing a poignant scene from a novel about Italian fascism.
“What keeps despots, dictators awake at night, what topples evil empires is the little person who goes into the square in the middle of town in the dark of the night and scrawls on the wall, ‘No.’ and I want to say to you, we are the ‘No’ that God scrawls on the wall,” Tobin said. “We are the ‘no’ to a nation who is heartless, who would deport people separating them from their families and their loved ones simply because they are victims of a broken system.”