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Justice Prayers - March 23, 2022

Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. - John 1:3-5 MSG

Fighting Continues, While Ukraine Wages Counteroffensive & Many Fear What’s Next

As Russian forces struggle to advance along front lines that stretch over 1,000 miles across Ukraine, Western nations are growing increasingly concerned about Moscow’s potential willingness to turn to deadly unconventional weapons. There is deep worry about how the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, might respond to further battlefield setbacks, including fears that he might use a lower-powered tactical nuclear weapon, whose deployment would undermine long standing atomic taboos. Russia’s invasion has been hobbled from the start by poor communication, logistical struggles and an inability to effectively link up land, sea and air campaigns, according to Western officials. Currently, the Ukrainian military is mounting an aggressive counteroffensive to reclaim territory captured by Russia in southern Ukraine, hoping to use public defiance to bolster military efforts, according to Ukrainian and U.S. officials. Those efforts are most evident in towns and cities that were overwhelmed by Russian forces in the early days of the war, like Kherson, where Russian soldiers opened fire on protesters on Monday

We pray for peace, O God. For the laying down of arms and for every actor and action to move in lockstep on the road towards peace. For all those caught in the crossfire of war, for those who protest war and risk their security, and for all those forced into fighting their neighbor, we pray. Help us, Lord. 

Worshippers stop ax wielding attacker, Threats to Religious Freedom Remain

Worshippers at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre outside of Mississauga confronted and restrained a man who was allegedly wielding an ax and attacked them with bear spray during Saturday morning prayers, police say. One worshiper knocked the ax from the man's hands, and held him down until police arrived, local media reports. A 24-year-old man was arrested at the scene in the suburb of Mississauga, and he has since been charged. "Before he could inflict harm on any worshippers, several congregants bravely were able to stop him in his tracks," imam Ibrahim Hindy said in a statement, describing the moment the attacker entered the site. Canada's Muslim community has been targeted in a number of deadly attacks, including in 2017 when a shooting at a Quebec City mosque killed six people and left another eight wounded. Last year, four members of the same Muslim family were killed after a vehicle hit them in London, Ontario, which was described by police as a deliberate Islamophobic attack.

How long, Lord, must communities have in mind both their liturgy and their safety? God, we commit to carving out the violence in our communities and world. We commit to the elimination of violence in all its forms, and we pray for a world free from terror.

SEC Proposes Rule for Companies to Disclose Effects of Climate Change

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday formally proposed new rules that would for the first time require businesses to report their greenhouse gas emissions, along with details of how climate change is affecting their businesses. Though some companies such as Apple have voluntarily reported climate-related information, until now there have not been any standardized requirements imposed by the SEC. In a statement of support for the proposed rules, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said the regulator is responding to demand from investors and companies given the increased push for information on the risks climate change-related events pose to businesses. The rules would also require companies to provide data on their own greenhouse gas emissions and also on how much energy they consume. These are known as "Scope 1" and "Scope 2" emissions, respectively. Every year, public companies in the U.S. are required to provide investors and regulators with detailed data about their financial performance and the risks they face.

God, we give you thanks for the ways that participants in all parts of our economy, politics, and world are waking up to the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach to climate change. We pray for clear and transparent sharing of information and impacts so we might be best equipped to be the solution to this crisis. 

Biden Administration Reverses Course on Immigration Policy, Argues for Predecessor’s Restrictions

While President Biden promised to unravel the “moral and national shame” of the immigration policies enacted by former President Trump, the administration has taken a markedly different stance in the courtroom. Appearing in January before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, government lawyers urged the court to let Mr. Biden enforce a restriction imposed by Mr. Trump that allowed migrants to be quickly turned away at the border. Judge Justin R. Walker, an appointee of the former president, was confused. The same lawyers had argued weeks earlier that enforcing a different Trump-era border rule would not “align with the administration’s” values. The government lawyers in Judge Walker’s courtroom were fighting to uphold a Trump-era public health rule allowing the United States to turn away migrants without providing them an opportunity to ask for asylum.

Lord, while the confusion and flip-flopping of policy and court arguments drags on, we remember and pray for all those caught in the middle of ineffective leadership and a political establishment that kicks the can of reform down the road. People’s lives are not arguments, they don’t score you points, and they can’t be bought: they are holy, sacred, and beloved by you, God.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

End the use of Title 42

Since March of 2020, asylum seekers at the border have been subject to violence and expulsion justified through the use of Title 42. There is little evidence to suggest that asylum seekers are a threat to public health or are responsible for recent pandemic surges, making these expulsions morally reprehensible and illegal. Join us in urging the Biden Administration to treat all asylum seekers with dignity and halt the use of Title 42.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2022

This event calls us into solidarity to restore, protect, and expand voting rights in the United States and to realize human rights around the world. As people of faith, we know each person to be created in God’s image, imbued with dignity and having a voice that demands to be heard, heeded, and treated justly. We arise in unity, holding up a mirror to leaders of nations, putting injustice on display and tearing down the veil of oppression that obscures the beautiful, God-born light shining from within us all. Register here for the virtual conference today!

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