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Justice Prayers - July 14, 2021

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans." Romans 8: 26-27, The Message

Canada Submits New Emissions Targets Amidst Wildfire Evacuations, Mass Marine Life Losses

On Monday, Canada submitted their new greenhouse gas emissions target - formally known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) - to the United Nations, formally committing the country to reducing emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The government says that when their current and recently announced policies to cut emissions take full effect, emissions are projected to fall to 468 megatons by 2030 — a decline of 36 percent below 2005 levels - thus necessitating further actions to achieve their goal. This comes at the same time as both wildfires which have forced the evacuation of residents and heat waves which have killed billions of sea creatures in and on the coast of British Columbia. 

We pray for the governments of Canada - federal, provincial, tribal, and local - to act in unison to address the severity of the crisis we face and to put in place solutions bold enough and big enough to ensure our collective future. We lament the lives lost - human and non-human - to an increasingly unpredictable and dangerous climate, and pray for conviction to continually manifest in each of our hearts to love your creation. 

Immigration Policy Change Eases Restrictions on Pregnant, Postpartum, Nursing Mothers

Late last week, the Biden administration announced a new policy that eases restrictions placed on undocumented immigrants who are pregnant, postpartum or nursing. Under the policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers generally will not detain or arrest people who are pregnant or nursing, or who had a baby within the previous year. This decision reverses an immigration policy put in place by former President Trump, who reversed a policy put in place in 2016 by President Barack Obama that called for detaining them only under extraordinary circumstances. The new policy, however, does not apply to pregnant, postpartum or nursing migrants in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Lord God, amidst such debate about immigration policy, we pray for consensus and agreement that those pregnant, nursing, or postpartum would receive immense care and protection both for their lives and those of their children. We pray for life, and for abundance. We pray for the protection of those who are fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution. We pray for their hopes, and the hopes of their children. 

Haitian President Assassinated

Last week, Jovenel Moïse, Haiti's embattled president in the midst of a tumultuous first term in office, was assassinated overnight at his private residence. In the days since, a Haitian-born doctor based in Florida has been arrested as a key suspect in the assassination, and the national police chief suggested at a news conference that he believed the suspect was plotting to become president. This comes just after the arrest of more than a dozen former Colombian soldiers who were connected to the assassination. Currently, a majority of sitting members of Haitian Parliament, which is itself in a state of dysfunction, are calling for a new government to replace the interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, all of which is adding to the general sense of unease and foreboding as an already grim situation in Haiti threatens to descend further out of control.

Lord, we ask ‘how much longer must our siblings and neighbors in Haiti suffer’? Our hearts break that in a nation already struggling to uphold institutional integrity, and increase the quality of life for all Haitian citizens, there is yet another tragedy. We pray for all Haitians working to bring those responsible for this assasination to justice, and for all those working to piece together justice and infrastructure for future generations.

Massive Protests in Cuba Call for Food, Medicine, & End to Repressive Regime

On Sunday, thousands of Cubans took to the streets in cities around the country to protest both food and medicine shortages, as well as the repressive communist government, in an uprising not seen in decades. The protests were set off by a dire economic crisis in Cuba, where the coronavirus pandemic has cut off crucial tourism dollars. People now spend hours in line each day to buy basic food items. Many have been unable to work because restaurants and other businesses have remained on lockdown for months. The desperate conditions have triggered an uptick in migration by both land and sea, as the U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted more than 512 Cubans at sea since October 2020, compared with 49 for the entire previous year. The Cuban government attributes its longstanding economic problems to the American trade embargo, which cuts off its access to financing and imports, but the pandemic has worsened conditions.

God, we pray for all those who cry out for freedom and who long to move about their homeland in security, liberty, justice, and prosperity. We pray for all those in Cuba rising up for the food, medicine, and vaccines that they so desperately need. We also pray for those foreign actors who get in the way of such freedoms to loosen the shackles of injustice.

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