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Justice Prayers - August 14th

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10

U.S. Rule Change Will Restrict Legal, Family Based Immigration

The Trump administration is scaling back public benefits for legal immigrants, despite an outpouring of warnings from experts and advocates of the wide-spread dangers of the change. Now, the U.S. will include many more social safety net programs (like Medicaid, foodstamps, and public housing help) in its determination of which immigrants have potential to become a “public charge,” and thus deny their greencard. The administration says the rule change “encourages and ensures self-reliance and self-sufficiency.” More than half of all family-based green card applicants could be denied under this new rule. Immigrant families with children who are U.S. citizens (and legally entitled to receive services) are already beginning to disenroll in critical programs out of fear. One out of four children in the U.S. live with an immigrant parent, and 86% of those children are U.S. citizens.

God, for families who are struggling to know whether to stop getitng the programs they’re entitled to, that they’ve been relying on to make ends meet, that bring health and wellbeing to their families, we bear witness to their struggle in prayer. We pray for justice in all the immigration changes that are happening in the U.S. In you there is hope, Lord. May we be beacons of such hope through our actions and our advocacy.

Trash to Fuel in Ontario

A pilot project in Whitby, Ontario, is using technology to give plastic waste a second life by turning it into diesel fuel and gasoline. It can convert single-use items like plastic bags and Styrofoam — items that would otherwise end up in landfills -- and the fuel produced is already being used in a company's fleet of trucks that transport industrial waste. "Five tonnes of plastic can be converted into about 4,000 litres. And 4,000 litres can drive our whole fleet of 10 vehicles back and forth every day running 16 hours a day."

God, we thank you for new ideas, for innovation, for creativity. It is a sign of your spirit within us, creating new things. We pray for this idea, and the hope it gives. Forgive us for our wastefulness, and inspire in us new ways to live so that we are using the resources of this planet in ways that honor you.

Prosecutions for Marijuana in Florida

In a significant policy change, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office announced it will no longer prosecute minor marijuana cases. And for amounts large enough for felony charges, police will now be required to get lab tests to confirm that it is actually marijuana. The change comes in response to a new Florida law that legalized hemp, a plant very similar to marijuana but with only trace amounts of the cannabis chemical that gets users high. 

God, we pray for those who are imprisoned now because of low-level crimes related to marijuana. As these policies change, which have already impacted so many, we pray that there would be justice for them. We ask that you continue to open the eyes of those in power to new ways to seek restoration, instead of retribution, for crimes committed in our communities.

Religious violence getting worse

A new report from the Pew Research Center showcases how persecution is getting worse, and becoming more widespread. Christians endured more pushback than any other religious group each year from 2007 to 2017, when they faced harassment in 143 countries (that’s one fewer than in 2016, but markedly higher than before), researchers found. Religious freedom restrictions are also on the rise. Europe saw the biggest jump in restrictions, with its score doubling over the decade of the study.

God, for those of us who are in places where we can worship freely, help us to rejoice in this freedom, and remember those who don’t have this right. For our brothers and sisters who feel afraid, whose lives are impacted because they follow you, help us to know how to pray and to advocate for their dignity. And for those in our own communities who are experience harassment, fear, or disrespect because they’re part of a religious minority, empower us to stand with them.




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