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Justice Prayers - June 15, 2022

"The ancient prophecy of Creator Will Help Us (Isaiah) had finally found its full meaning.  ...  the ones who sit in darkness, where death casts a great shadow, have seen the light of a new sunrise." Matthew 4:14,16 (FNV) 

U.S. Renewable Energy Production Hits All-Time High

From January to March, U.S. renewable energy power plants generated 242,956 gigawatt-hours, which was 23.5 percent of U.S. electricity generation, both records—an increase from 19.5 percent in the first quarter of 2021, and 20.8 percent in the full year. The growth was thanks in part to more than 80 new wind and solar plants that went online during the quarter. Dan Esposito, a senior policy analyst at Energy Innovation, said the growth in wind and solar came in spite of various challenges faced by developers, including shortages of some parts and long waits to get approval to connect to the grid. The share of renewables almost definitely would have been larger without those obstacles. “It’s been a very challenging environment over the last year or two for development in general,” he said. As renewables gained ground, coal lost a little. Coal was at 21.2 percent for the quarter, down a fraction of a percentage point, both from the same quarter last year and the prior year. Natural gas remains the country’s leading fuel for power plants, with gas-fired plants producing 35.2 percent of U.S. electricity generation in the first quarter. Natural gas prices have spiked this year, but that hasn’t yet translated into a substantial decrease in the use of gas to produce electricity.

Knowing the potential chaos inflicted upon our planet and each and every one of us, this news comes as momentary relief, Lord. May we build upon the successes and efforts of those seeking to power our world with energy that doesn’t inflict great harm to our collective wellbeing. 

Supreme Court curbs ability of immigrants to challenge indefinite detention

The Supreme Court on Monday curbed the ability of immigrants to challenge indefinite detentions, ruling that U.S. immigration law does not require the government to hold bond hearings for noncitizens detained for six months. In a pair of decisions, the high court shot down claims from immigrants who entered the country illegally and asserted the law required, after prolonged detention, that an immigration judge assess whether they posed a flight risk or were a danger. But in an 8-1 ruling that brought together the conservative and liberal wings of the court, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the law is silent on the point. The court sent the lawsuit back to lower federal courts to reconsider in light of that assessment. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who partially dissented, pointed to a 2001 precedent in which the court held that immigrants could not be subjected to indefinite detention. It was Breyer who wrote the opinion for a 5-4 majority in the earlier case. At issue are immigrants who are fighting deportation orders on the grounds that they face persecution in their home countries. The process to assess those claims can take months or years in immigration courts, leaving applicants languishing in detention. 

Lord God, we pray for immigration policies that honor the humanity of all affected by such policies, the striving for equity and freedom across all borders, and ultimately that create a more just world. Amen.

Canada’s Immigration Minister Working on faster path to permanence for temporary residents

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says his government is preparing to create a program that would help to speed up the process of turning newcomers in Canada under temporary permits into permanent residents. "We are looking right now at the best path forward to create a permanent pathway for temporary residents," he told CBC's The House in an interview airing this weekend. A previous program called the "temporary resident to permanent resident pathway" — or TR to PR — was put in place last year for eight months after COVID-19 lockdowns shut the border to newcomers to prevent the spread of the virus. It gave 90,000 essential workers, front-line health care workers and international students an accelerated path to permanent status. The federal government set a goal of accepting 432,000 newcomers this year alone. Fraser said his department is ahead of schedule, despite the pandemic and the unexpected pressures of working to resettle thousands of people fleeing conflict in both Afghanistan and Ukraine. "This week we actually resettled the 200,000th permanent resident, more than a month and a half ahead of any year on record in Canada," he said. "We are seeing similar trends across other lines of business like citizenship, like work permits, which in many instances are double the usual rate of processing."

Lord, we give thanks when red tape that restricts the flourishing of your people, that fails to get things done, is removed such that the lives of ordinary people - those striving for a better life - might be actualized. May the lessons learned from this policy agenda be actualized all around us.

Efforts to Form New Government in Iraq Failing

Seven months of efforts to form a new government in Iraq were in turmoil on Monday, a day after the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directed members of Parliament who are loyal to him to resign from the seats they won in an October election. Mr. Sadr, who has become one of the biggest political forces in Iraq since emerging in 2003, has no formal role but commands the allegiance of the single largest bloc in the 329-seat Parliament. The 73 lawmakers of his movement submitted their resignations on Sunday after the collapse of months of negotiations by Mr. Sadr to form a coalition government with Sunni and Kurdish partners. On Monday, Mr. Sadr’s candidate for prime minister, Jaafar al-Sadr, a cousin of the Shiite cleric and currently the Iraqi ambassador to London, said in a post on Twitter that he was withdrawing his candidacy. The talks on forming a government broke down amid disagreements over who would be president. Under Iraq’s parliamentary system, established after a U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, the president nominates a prime minister and cabinet ministers who must then be approved by Parliament to take up their posts. His announcement culminated months of political paralysis that underscored the dysfunction of Iraq’s political system and the fragmentation of the multiple Shiite Muslim political blocs. Those inter-Shiite divisions have supplanted sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite groups in past years as a main source of Iraqi instability.

Peaceful Creator, we lament the role that western governments have played in creating long term instability in Iraq, and we anger at those both here and in Iraq who abuse people and money for their own gain. We pray for peace, for political representation, and for flourishing. 

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Tell Congress to Continue the Child Tax Credit!

Young children are more likely than any other group in the United States to experience the damaging effects of hunger and food insecurity. However, child hunger and malnutrition are preventable; evidence suggests that the Child Tax Credit is the best solution to addressing child poverty. Join us in asking Congress to permanently expand the Child Tax Credit!

Indigenous Ministry Sunday

The upcoming Indigenous Ministry Sunday (June 19, 2022) resources highlight worship music created by Indigenous peoples. Indigenous Ministry Sunday provides an opportunity for everyone in Canada to learn more about Indigenous peoples, their cultures and to celebrate the gifts and richness that Indigenous people bring to life in Canada.  See all of the resources on our website.

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