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Justice Prayers - July 17

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. - Jeremiah 32:17

Changing Climate Leading to Drought, Crisis in Somalia

Somalia is currently experiencing a drought that could threaten the lives or livelihoods of more than two million people by the end of summer, according to the United Nations. The changing climate in Somalia has led to widespread crop failure and a decline in livestock production, rapidly pushing communities in the worst-affected areas into food insecurity. Due to changing weather patterns and rain cycles in flux, about half of the country’s population -- nearly 7.5 million people -- require emergency nutrition assistance.

Merciful God, we are so aware of the ways this earth provides us with water, air, and food to sustain ourselves, but we also know that disasters like prolonged drought can threaten people’s livelihoods. We pray for the conviction to live in right relationship with your creation, and we ask that people in power may provide aid for our Somali neighbors.

New Asylum Rule Violates U.S., International Law

The Trump administration has announced new immigration rules ending the ability to seek asylum for almost all migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, in violation of both U.S. and international law. According to the new rules, any asylum seekers who pass through another country before arriving at the border -- including children traveling on their own -- will not be eligible for asylum if they failed to apply first in their country of transit. They would only be eligible for U.S. asylum if their application was turned down elsewhere.

God, day after day, we read of changes and propositions that are in opposition to laws put in place to protect the vulnerable from further harm. So we ask, How much longer? How long until all can see your love of the immigrant, the refugee, the widow, and the orphan? Help us find solutions, O God.

Youth Crime Rates and Number of Incarcerated Falling in Atlantic Canada

When the Youth Criminal Justice Act came into force in 2003, it was believed that overcrowded detention facilities across Canada would begin to decline in number, as the legislation instructed the courts to consider every reasonable alternative to a custodial sentence before putting a young person in jail. Across Atlantic Canada -- which includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland -- the average number of daily inmates shows a downward trend over the past five years. Young people are instead seeing more restorative justice sentences -- but they're also committing fewer crimes, as evidenced by a 2014 report by Statistics Canada saying that between 2000 and 2014, the youth crime rate dropped by 42 percent.

We praise your name, God, for the wisdom you pour out on the earth and for the thoughtfulness, decisiveness, and effectiveness of decision makers to seek redemption and restoration for people who have caused harm. God, we pray for models of restoration drawn from the Scriptures that might help us remember that each of us is beloved and is able to be redeemed.

Nearly 300 Million Indians Raised Out of Poverty since 2006

A new report from the United Nations indicates that India has made great strides in helping to bring its citizens out of poverty: between 2006 and 2016, the percentage of India's population in what's known as "multidimensional poverty" -- which measures indicators like poor health, lack of education, and the ongoing threat of violence -- plummeted from 55.1 percent to 27.9 percent. Between 2006 and 2016, 271 million Indians were raised out of poverty, with especially strong improvements in "assets, cooking fuel, sanitation, and nutrition."

Hallelujah! Our hearts rejoice with those who rejoice. We give thanks with people in India who can now send their kids to school, purchase land to farm, and live in safety that once seemed unattainable. Yet we know there is still work to do. So, God, we lament the loss of life that results not so much from a lack of resources but from greed and mismanagement in which people who are poor and vulnerable are marginalized. Create in us a commitment to strive forward in this kingdom work!

Other Recommended Resources:

Do Justice Blog
“I look across the street and see Sophia, the tiny four-year-old daughter of a Guatemalan family. I yell back the only Spanish word I know: “Hola!” writes OSJ Immigration Mobilizer Jason Lief. Read Jason’s full reflection, “The Politics of Jumpy Castles,” in Part 4 of our Seeing Beyond the Immigration Rhetoric series. 

Action Alert: Ensure Access to Nutritious Meals Year-Round
In June a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to make federal child nutrition programs more efficient, flexible, and better equipped to reach children in need during the summer months. Ask your Members of Congress to support legislation that removes barriers to healthy, accessible meals for children during the summer.

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