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Prominent Faith Leaders Converge for Prayer Summit, “Jericho March” for DREAM Act

by Grace Cunningham on 12/14/2010 at 4:52pm

From Faith in Public Life:

With the Senate poised to vote on the DREAM Act before the close of this lame duck session, dozens of prominent clergy – including bishops, national leaders and clergy from numerous key states–converged on the nation’s Capitol today to press Senators to vote in favor of the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would give thousands of upstanding young immigrants the opportunity to earn legal status by serving in the military or completing a college education.

These faith leaders, who have led the faith community’s ongoing efforts to reform our broken immigration system, held an emergency prayer summit and “Jericho March” along with over 100 DREAM students, praying and singing as they encircled the U.S. Senate Office Buildings and proclaimed that now is the time for Senators to show moral courage and break down the barriers obstructing passage of the DREAM Act. This evocative event drew inspiration from the Old Testament story of Joshua, who overcame adversity with faithfulness, marching around the city of Jericho seven times and sounding trumpets until the walls fell.

Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President of the National Council of Churches, which represents 40 million American Christian:

“All across the country, faith leaders are saying ‘now is the time.’ We ought to give talented, upstanding, hardworking youth the opportunity to serve their country in the military or contribute to their country through higher education.”

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, proclaimed:

“We are here to transcend limitations and to break down barriers, the same way the walls of Jericho fell. These walls must come down!”

Via Faith in Public Life:

The march continues the faith community’s long-running, multifaceted, nationwide mobilization to pass the DREAM Act. The House of Representatives recently passed the DREAM Act, following a flood of phone calls, letters and emails from constituents in the faith community. Faith leaders and students fanned across Capitol Hill after the prayer summit and Jericho March, meeting with numerous key Senate offices and bringing their urgent plea for action on the DREAM Act from their communities to their elected officials. Less than two weeks before Christmas, leaders called on the Senate to bring hope to thousands of children for this holiday.

Sojourners founder and CEO Rev. Jim Wallis:

“We’re praying for a Christmas miracle to give advent hope to a generation of young people who are ready to become our best citizens. The dream to go to college or a commitment to public service should not be illegal- even if you are the children of undocumented parents. For the Christian community, this is Advent, a season of hope and anticipation. We celebrate a hope fulfilled, but we are praying for a hope that has been deferred for far too long.”

Rev. Troy Jackson, senior pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati, OH, spoke of Bernard Pastor, a young immigrant who wants to be a pastor, but is facing deportation:

“One of the tenets of evangelicalism is that we believe conversion is possible. Our nation needs a conversion moment… we need our politicians to be people of love.”

They write:

Clergy from Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Maine brought stories from their communities to Capitol Hill, reminding Senators of the consequences of inaction on this issue, and the tremendous opportunity they have to act with moral conviction to keep America safe, strong, and economically robust.

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