Interviews conducted at Saint Luke Catholic Church in McLean.
Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Executive Director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington: “There are terrible moral issues and all of our 11 faith communities have expressed themselves very strongly in favor of family unification; that’s the bottom line. That’s one moral issue that we can’t overstep the way the policy had been written. We’ve collected statements from all of the faith communities. Pope Francis made a very powerful statement in the Catholic Church; Catholic Charities is very active in this area in trying to unify families. I would say the religious communities that we represent are unified in support of a moral open-mindedness to those from other societies. We do have to obey the law here. But there’s sometimes higher moral issues and certainly the sanctity of the family is at the top of religious moral issues for us.”
Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry, President of McLean Islamic Center: “The interfaith community has always been looking forward to help everybody in need – especially refugees; they have a special place with the current circumstances – what is happening in the world. There is so much inequality and injustice in different governments in different parts of the world, which is propelling people out of the comfort of their homes. When they don’t see any hope, they look for a place where they can take refuge. … We have to look at refuges carefully; we should assess them and we should make our best effort in the given circumstances that we don’t do injustice to the innocent children, and they should be taken care of properly. It breaks everybody’s heart when we see the children separated from their mothers when they cannot see them, and the mothers are in desperate discomfort and their children are as well. So, I think we could do better than that.”
Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville): “I think it was un-American the way we treated those families who were trying to get asylum in America. I think it’s horrendously inappropriate to separate children from their parents for any reason. But to do it to put political pressure and try to get a political advantage is disgusting and I’m really sorry that it happened.”
Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34): “What has happened is shameful and it’s really, really not the American way. We have never treated people like animals and put them in cages and taken their children from them. This is a disgrace. It’s got to change. We’ve got to fix it.”
Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein of Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church: “The Union for Reform Judaism of which our Synagogue is a part, sent a delegation to McAllen, Texas, this week to bear witness to what is happening and to show our support for the children and families that have been affected. So, it’s something about which we care deeply and which we will continue to follow and take action on.”