Nearly a dozen prominent Maryland religious leaders and bishops, including Catholic Archbishop William Lori, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, and Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane joined dozens of people of faith at the chapel at Morgan State University today to stand together in support of the Maryland DREAM Act and urge all Marylanders to vote ‘for’ Question 4.
Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore said, “We are here to support the Dream Act as a fair measure that allows young men and women who have worked hard, who speak our language and call this land home to be able to realize their full potential as God’s children.”
The faith leaders spoke about their church teachings about equality, fairness and care for all children, and called on voters to remember the dreams of all our young people by making sure all Maryland students who’ve paid Maryland taxes and graduated from Maryland high schools can pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities.
“To the citizens of Maryland, I ask you to join me in supporting these young people who have excelled in their studies and been accepted into our community colleges and universities,” said Rev. Peter K. Nord, Executive Presbyter of the Baltimore Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “To the Dreamers, we stand with you today. I believe that your hard work and determination has not been in vain. And my hope for you is that the college education that you now pursue will enable you to become full contributing members and leaders in our Maryland communities.”
The speakers referenced their faith traditions and the religious mandate to offer care and hospitality to others.
“What would Jesus say to us about the alien in our midst especially those innocently brought here not of their own doing?” said Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. “I think he would ask us to welcome them and offer radical hospitality.”
In addition to the moral dimension of the debate, the bishops and religious leaders also made a compelling pragmatic case for passage of the law.
“These kids will graduate college and give back to our society and to our state. Education is always a sound investment,” said Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane of the Delaware- Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “We make significant investments in our children beginning in kindergarten and right through high school. It only makes sense to pursue policies that make our 13-year investment bear fruit.”
The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council sponsored the press conference, the Voice of Praise Gospel Choir of Morgan State University performed, and Rev. Bernard “Skip” Keels, director of the Morgan State University Chapel, gave the opening prayer. A DREAM student named Rosalitta led the participants in a responsive prayer in between each speaker at the press event.
Additional participants included Bishop Denis Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pastor Alvin J. Gwynn Sr., President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Rev. Frederick Weimert, President of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, Rev. David Cooney, Assistant to Bishop Marcus Matthews, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback, Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference.
Following the event, dozens of pastors and lay leaders gathered at All Saints’ Lutheran Church for an educational discussion and training on the Maryland DREAM Act.
The Maryland DREAM Act would ensure that students who’ve graduated from a Maryland high school and whose families pay Maryland taxes can pay in-state tuition at our public colleges and universities. DREAM students would have to first attend a community college for 2 years or 60 credits and would be considered in the applicant pool with out-of-state students when they apply to transfer to a four-year university, ensuring no seats for U.S. citizens or legal residents in Maryland are at risk.]]>