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Justice Prayers - September 25th

But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Psalm 5:7

Religious Persecution Plans Announced by Trump

Speaking before the United Nations this week, a meeting largely focused on the climate crisis, President Trump praised the United States’ religious freedom record. He announced new funding to protect religious sites as well as business partnerships that intend to uplift the cause. Seeking international consensus on religious freedom, he called out Iran, Iraq, China, Venezuela, and Nicaragua for their violations. The UN secretary-general António Guterres then announced two new UN initiatives to support religious freedom—a strategy against hate speech and an action plan to protect houses of worship.

God, we pray for people all over the world who do not have the freedom to express their deeply-held beliefs. We pray for those who feel afraid in places of worship. We pray for those who bravely stand up against powerful forces that seek to silence and restrict their worship. We pray for leaders -- President Trump, and leaders of other nations -- to seek ways to collaborate in making strides on this issue. And we pray for those who flee from persecution to find safety, and for their safety to also be a priority among powerful leaders.

Remembering the Oka Crisis

A Quebec land developer has signed an agreement with the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake to return a parcel of pine forest that was central to the Oka crisis that began 29 years ago. The developer says he acted in the spirit of reconciliation with the agreement, and plans to cede 60 hectares of forest known as The Pines to the local council as an ecological gift through a federal government program. The Oka Crisis was a violent conflict between Indigenous people and the Canadian government in 1990, sparked by plans to raze pine forests claimed by the Mohawk in order to expand a golf course. It lasted 78 days and resulted in two deaths; also, it brought Native issues into the forefront in Canada, shaping the ways treaties and land use are now managed between Indigenous people and Canada’s government.

God, for reconciliation, we pray. We pray that it begin in our own hearts, our own relationships and communities. We pray that it will sprout up where there has been conflict. We pray that we would be surprised to find evidence of reconciliation where we never thought it possible.

Immigrants Lied to by U.S. Government

Immigrants living in the U.S. who are awaiting court hearings are receiving fake court dates and times. The reason: The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that for an immigrant to be deportable, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required to put specific dates and times on notices. In order to comply with the ruling, immigration officials began sending notices with a time and place — even if they were fake. The reason, lawyers say, is because having a notice with a date and place allows the government to stop immigrants from qualifying for deportation relief.

God, we pray that duplicitous and deceiving policies like this would end, and that the damage they cause might be repaired. We pray for accountability for anti-immigrant actions and policies, whether they happen between people or by powerful government actors. We pray for those who have been made to live in fear, who have been deported and separated from their loved ones, and whose lives have changed because of these actions.

Impacts of Climate Change are Speeding Up

The signs and impacts of global warming are speeding up, the latest science on climate change, published ahead of key UN talks in New York, says. The data, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record. Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs. The WMO says carbon-cutting efforts have to be intensified immediately.

God, we continue to lift in prayer those who are powerless against rising sea levels, intensified storms, and the already-evident signs of climate change that are impacting their ability to survive and thrive in their homelands. We pray for adaptation, but also God we pray for change. We pray for a commitment to changes in economies and governments and business and our everyday lives.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Do Justice Blog - Living Surprisingly in Times of Division

"Visible gratitude for the opportunity to act as citizens for the good of our communities is counter-cultural in an age of cynicism." Read the full article here. 

U.S. Action Alert: Protect Refugee Resettlement

The United States President has 5 more days to decide how many refugees the U.S. will admit next year, so our spiritual discipline of advocacy continues.

U.S. Advocates: Ask Congress and the Trump Administration to protect refugee resettlement and oppose proposals to decimate the program. Contact them here!

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