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Justice Prayers - March 20

We bring our prayers to Creator God, who both "takes up our pain and bears our suffering" and will "let justice roll down like a river."


Study Highlights Disparities in Consumption and Air Pollution

A recent study found that air pollution is disproportionately caused by white Americans' consumption of goods and services, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic Americans. Whites experience about 17 percent less air pollution than they produce, through consumption, while blacks and Hispanics bear 56 and 63 percent more air pollution, respectively, than they cause by their consumption. Disparities in income are believed to be the primary driver behind greater consumption by some, and thus greater pollution, environmental impacts, and disparate health outcomes.

God, we pray that our eyes might be open to the ways that race and class make people more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves from harm. We pray that our eyes might be open to the ways that race and class make people more able to inflict harm, even unknowingly, on others. May we find ways to repent and to change the way we live.


Prolonged Droughts Coincide with Proposals to Cut Foreign Aid

Millions of people in southern Africa are suffering from a prolonged drought that is coinciding with the United States' proposal to cut funding for food aid. In early March, the White House, in the 2020 fiscal year budget submitted to Congress, called for a 24-percent cut in U.S. foreign assistance. Data from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSN) predicts worsening drought, severe hunger, and crop failures of up to 30 percent in the coming months. These disasters destroy crops, resulting in tragic consequences for people who live off the land as subsistence farmers, and who -- in southern Africa -- make up about 80 percent of the population.

God, we pray for the people suffering in this region of Africa, and we ask that they may not be left without aid in this severe time of need. We pray that leaders in the U.S. would employ and be held accountable to just practices. There is so much suffering in the world, Lord, and there are so many ways in which North American governments can have influence. Direct the attention of all who have the power of citizenship in the U.S. and Canada toward the issues that burden your heart, so that we might be voices for justice in our advocacy.


Death Toll Climbs to 50 at Christchurch Mosques as World Mourns

The staggering death toll from the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques has climbed to 50, and the world continues to grapple with the grief and fear these incidents have caused. Among the people killed were teachers, engineers, and accountants. Some had migrated to New Zealand decades ago, fleeing conflict or seeking a better life, while others were only visiting. Many died while trying to protect others. They were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, and Egypt.

God, for the many people around the world who are grieving these tragic murders, we also grieve and offer our prayers. We pray that we might build friendships with people who are Muslim in our own communities, that we might dispel fear and myths, see your image in everyone around us, and be people who seek and make peace. We pray for an end to hatred and the false ideology of white supremacy.


Asylum Seekers at Canadian Border Could Lose Rights with Rule Changes

Canada is in talks with the United States to close a loophole that has allowed more than 40,000 asylum seekers to cross the border at unauthorized points of entry, with Ottawa proposing changes that would effectively allow officials to turn away future asylum seekers. Currently the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) means most asylum seekers are turned away at authorized border crossings, but not at unofficial points of entry. This change would allow Canadian officials to escort asylum seekers who enter at an unauthorized entry point to a designated crossing area, where they would be refused entry into Canada.

God, we pray for policies that protect the vulnerable, instead of designs that make it more difficult for people to find safe places. We pray that leaders making immigration policy decisions might deeply understand people’s needs for refuge and asylum and the causes of migration. May they have courage to protect the vulnerable, no matter the political climate they find themselves in. We pray that the church might continue to provide refuge and to speak out to advocate for policies that ensure safe refuge, so that we may be people who welcome the stranger.


Other recommended resources:

Do Justice Blog

“I often think about the kind of legacy I will leave to my nine grandchildren. . . .” Check out this fact-packed piece from Rev. Rich Killmer about the differences between 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C of climate change for heat waves, sea-level change, food production, and more.

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