Since colonial times, Maryland’s forefathers were among the world’s leaders in the movement toward religious freedom with the initial passage of An Act Concerning Religion in 1649. By enacting this legislation and continuing the fight for religious liberty and tolerance, the State of Maryland played an important founding role with the addition of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1791, which says, in part, that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Throughout her history, Maryland’s leaders have stood with the faith community to ensure equal access to the State’s civic, social, economic, health and political affairs by all Marylanders.
COVID-19: Faith-Based Advisory Group for Roadmap to Recovery
Governor Larry Hogan is reaching out to leaders in the faith community through the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives for guidance on developing and advancing a recovery plan for moving ahead as we deal with the current health emergency. The governor has released the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.
Our team at the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives is responsible for assisting with making recommendations to the governor on this plan. In order to accomplish this goal, we have identified leaders in Maryland’s faith community to work with us in proposing recommendations the governor may use to make decisions about public worship as part of reopening our economy. Governor Hogan and the working group will chart a course to support reopening public worship and related activities safely. Our goal is to provide Governor Hogan with specific recommendations and protocols that would enable safe public worship at such time the governor deems it appropriate to lift some of the applicable restrictions.
Click here to view the report provided to the governor. This report has a specific focus on near-term logistics with recommendations in two categories: tier-one mandatory procedures that faith-based institutions would be required to follow simply as a matter of reopening; and tier two recommendations for additional best practices for the health and safety of the worshipping faithful as we move through the coming months.
Building Interfaith Partnerships for a Stronger Maryland
The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives has established working relationships with many faith leaders and organizations that serve Maryland’s communities. Its interfaith director works to foster and maintain effective communications and partnerships with Maryland’s faith community and the Governor’s Office on topics including domestic violence, homelessness, prison reform, feeding the hungry, and emergency and disaster preparedness.