An Open Letter to Governor Larry Hogan, Jr.
From the Ecumenical Leaders Group of Maryland
Opposing the Refugee Travel Ban
February 1, 2017
The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.,
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925
Dear Governor Hogan,
The Ecumenical Leaders Group (ELG) is made up of the Bishops and senior leaders of many of Maryland's largest Christian denominations. We are writing to ask that you work to keep Maryland a hospitable place for immigrants and refugees and speak out against the President’s travel ban.
Our Christian faith traditions all have at their foundation an understanding of a Gospel that welcomes the stranger. Throughout Maryland's history, our faith communities have played major roles in the settlement of refugees and we will continue to do so. This is at the very core of our ministry. Many of our congregations are currently hosting and supporting immigrant families from war-torn places of this world, including Syria and Iraq. These families are, in turn, enriching our communities in significant ways.
Our concern predates the current crisis. In a letter to you in November 2015, we wrote:
We recognize that appropriate screening and safeguards must be undertaken, however closing our borders totally escapes the reality of the crisis of violence before us. Closing the borders of our state brings victory to those who would bring terror and fear.
Across our state religious leaders are speaking out against the President’s travel ban as contrary to our Christian values and which, according to experts, will not make our nation safer. The Episcopal Diocese is organizing a “March for Refugees” on Feb. 4th. In a January 9th article in the Baltimore Sun, Archbishop William E. Lori, called the executive order “a step backwards,” and said the archdiocese will continue to welcome refugees and immigrants and offer services to them.
As denominational leaders in Maryland we urge you to speak out clearly and forcefully against President Trump’s inhumane and misguided executive action.
The Ecumenical Leaders Group of Maryland
Reverend Denise Mason Bullitt
Interim Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference, United Church of Christ
Reverend LaTrelle Easterling
bishop, Baltimore Washington Conference United Methodist Church
Reverend Mary Gaut
Chairperson, Ecumenical Leaders Group of Maryland
The Reverend William Gohl
bishop, Delaware–Maryland Synod (ELCA)
Rev. Allen V. Harris
Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Capital Area
Reverend Barry Hargrove
President, The Progressive Baptist Convention of Maryland
Reverend Dellyne Hinton
President, Central Maryland Ecumenical Council
The Right Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen
assistant bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
The Most Rev. Denis J. Madden
auxiliary bishop, the Archdiocese of Baltimore
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
Reverend Jacqueline Taylor
General Presbyter, Presbytery of Baltimore, (PCUSA)
*The Ecumenical Leaders Group is made of the bishops, presidents, executives of Christian denominations in Maryland called together by Central Maryland Ecumenical Council. The ELG meets five times a year and we address, with one voice larger justice issues.