The Dream Act: Will this influence our legacy?

Thirty years from now ... or maybe sooner ... the demographics of our campuses have shifted dramatically.

Perhaps most noticable will be the large Latino presence on every campus.

Reading Dr. King today has me wondering how history will see us.

Listen carefully and you can hear similar language echoing in the white evangelical church around the Dream Act that echoed around the Civil Rights Act in the 60's.

"We're about spiritual things, not politics."
"We have to obey the law of the land."
"The time isn't right for this."
Now, I never want to compare apples and oranges.  I actually wrote my dissertation on comparing apples and oranges.  So I know how easy it is to make this mistake.

The Dream Act and the American national conversation about immigration is a different conversation from the one that happened in the 1960 around Civil Rights.  I know they're different conversations.

I think the Dream Act, in theory, is a just and right thing to do.  And I think that, if we support it as a campus ministry, it would build a ton of trust with the Latino community, trust that will be significant given our desire to serve Latino students. 

But supporting the Dream Act would confuse and, perhaps, alienate some of our conservative students and Staff, who we also love and value, who have been trained to equate Republican and Christian.  Given time, we might be able to create a less costly foundation for a political stand, but this would require us to sit on the sidelines now.  Is justice delayed really justice denied?

It's a tough situation ... not tougher than the 60's ... but still tough.

But it does raise an interesting question.

When do campus ministries need to go out on a limb on a political issue?


  1. Thought-provoking.

    I would be wary of endorsing specific pieces of legislation. So often legislation is so complex that, as ex-Speaker Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it."

    I think the goals of the Dream Act, if enacted, will make society more just - which is certainly something we should be looking for.

    I should quit talking before I get kicked out of my party. Energy, gays, immigration, marijuana... I'm such a moderate hippie squish that I feel like I'm missing something in that list.

  2. Oh right, a vague squeamishness about the death penalty. That was the other one. :)

  3. Great point about squishy legislation, Sam. Although ... all legislation has problems and I think there might be good, nuanced ways support specific legislation.

    And, as I know you know, your uneasiness "in party" might be a reflection that neither party is THE Christian party. (Or that you're a secret Democrat ... maybe you should get tested)

  4. You're getting a direct message on Twitter, Steve. I have a self-deprecating joke that shouldn't be publicly available. :P