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Justice Prayers - April 20, 2022

“We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because he holds tightly to us.” - R. C. Sproul 

U.S. to Resume Leasing Federal Lands for Oil, Gas

Last Friday, the Interior Department announced it will resume selling oil-and-gas leases on 144,000 acres of federal lands but raise the fees companies must pay on what they produce. According to The Interior, this "pragmatic approach focuses leasing on parcels near existing development and infrastructure," Interior said, vowing it will "help conserve the resilience of intact public lands and functioning ecosystems." Environmental groups are, as imagined, furious. "Candidate Biden promised to end new oil and gas leasing on public lands, but President Biden is prioritizing oil executive profits over future generations," Friends of the Earth's Nicole Ghio said in a statement. The renewed leasing comes months after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA) predicted in their Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) that crude oil prices will remain high enough to drive U.S. crude oil production to record-high levels in 2023, reaching a forecast 12.6 million barrels per day.

God of justice, we continue to push policy agendas that do nothing to protect our environment, and in many cases, exacerbate the problem. God, grant courage to those who have a seat in the room with leaders who continue to put us on a path towards catastrophe. 

Russia Begins Large-Scale Military Offensive to Seize Donbas

Russia has begun its large-scale military action to seize the east of Ukraine, the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said. “Now we can already state that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time,” he said in a video address. Zelenskiy said a “significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive”.  Vladimir Putin has declared his intention to seize Donbas, the industrial heartland in the east of the country already partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists. A senior US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s assessments of the war, said there are now 76 Russian combat units, known as battalion tactical groups, in eastern and southern Ukraine, up from 65 last week.

God of peace, we pray for interruption to violence, for a disruption to business-as-usual. We pray for the laying down of arms. We pray, boldly, Lord for the ending of this war. 

U.K. Announces Plan to Send Some Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Last week, Britain announced that it planned to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing and settlement there, becoming one of the few major powers to plan legislation that would turn away migrants without even considering their cases. The policy, if implemented, would take to a new level the hard-line immigration stance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government and align it closely with one of his central arguments for pushing Brexit, his signature initiative, which he pledged would allow Britain to “take back control” of its borders. Human rights groups immediately denounced the policy, saying it is inhumane, violates international agreements on refugees and could set a precedent that encourages other nations to send migrants to other countries, a tactic known as “offshoring.” In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Johnson said his plan could resettle thousands of migrants who cross the English Channel after long journeys from countries like Albania, Iraq and Sudan, and would apply to those who had arrived since January. He said that Britain “cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not.”  

For asylum seekers caught in the middle, we pray. For their comfort and protection, and wellbeing of all else, we pray. Help, Lord, and help us help ourselves. 

Canada Releases Roadmap to Reduce Emissions 45%; Gov’t Can’t Achieve Goal Alone

Canada has released its first real roadmap to meeting 2030 climate targets, laying out detailed plans and C$9.1 billion (US $7.3 billion) in new spending to cut planet-warming carbon emissions after years failing to meet its goals.The Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) is the first time Canada has had a comprehensive plan, rather than just a collection of policies, setting out how it will meet its international commitment to cut carbon emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada needs at least $100 billion more in annual investments to reach its goal of a net-zero economy by 2050, according to the Liberal Party’s 2022 budget. While Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s spending plan commits an additional $12.5 billion to the fight against climate change, the budget also acknowledges that the federal government can’t reach its environmental targets on its own. “On the fight against climate change alone – to build a net-zero economy by 2050 – Canada will need between $125 billion and $140 billion of investment every year over that period. Today, annual investment in the climate transition is between $15 billion and $25 billion. No one government can close that gap,” say Freeland.

God of all creation, we give you thanks for leaders who mark intent to protect what you have called good. But, Lord, words and intentions are cheap. Action is required, or else these words fall on deaf ears, as they are - without follow through - is but noise. It neglects justice and the love of God!

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Coming from Cuba

Have you read our latest blog series?  As a denomination started by Dutch Reformed immigrants in 1857, the CRCNA is familiar with the immigrant experience. But how much do we know about other immigrants who played a significant role in our denomination? Join us as we explore the history of how Cubans became involved with the CRC denomination, how Americans welcomed them, and how they contributed and continue to contribute to our denomination.

Support Continued Safety for Afghan Evacuees

Afghan evacuees deserve continued safety in the United States, beyond the year or two humanitarian parole allows them. An Afghan Adjustment Act would ensure a path to legal permanent residence for Afghan evacuees, acknowledging their unique circumstances and the safety they deserve. Urge your Members of Congress to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act today!

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