Rakhine Forced Labor
Despite some positive changes in the Myanmar government, forced labor is still a large problem this nation, among other remaining issues. In recent months, soldiers in the Myanmar Army threatened ethnic-Rakhine individuals with death if they did not dig graves and carry supplies during a recent conflict with the Arakan Army in Rakhine State. This sort of forced labor is prevalent throughout Myanmar and is still being documented by such organizations as Fortify Rights.
God, we lift in prayer the Rakhine people and this stunning oppression they must endure. We thank you for all who are committed to exposing it. We pray for its end and for the dignity of the Rakhine people, and we ask that all who are being oppressed in Myanmar may be restored.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary is considering an act that would restrict abortions after an unborn child has passed 20 weeks of development. It’s called the Pain-Capable Child Protection Act. Several states have also recently signed similar initiatives into law.
For the lives of unborn babies, created in your image and dearly loved, we pray for your protection, Lord. We pray for senators who are considering this bill -- grant them wisdom and hearts of compassion. We pray for the pastors, health care providers, and family members who are the closest supporters of women who consider abortions. We lift in prayer all women and men who face the pain of unplanned pregnancies.
Indigenous Justice in Canada
The Christian Reformed Church in Canada signed on to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this past week. This declaration ultimately states that Indigenous peoples are entitled to the same human rights as everyone else. This is an important step because, although it may seem self-evident that Indigenous rights are human rights, Indigenous peoples are still not being treated as equals in both Canadian and U.S. societies. For example, in Canada the funding gap for education on- and off-reserve is 30-50 percent, depending on the province, and in the U.S. at least 40 percent of the people living on the Navajo Nation reservation don’t have access to clean running water.
God, we give you praise for this positive step toward honoring the dignity and humanity of Indigenous Peoples. We lament the ways that governments and churches have oppressed and dehumanized these peoples. We pray that this rights declaration will yield practical and effective results for all who have been marginalized and harmed by the legacy of oppressive, dehumanizing policies. For the ways in which each of us participates -- knowingly or unknowingly -- in dehumanizing people made in your image, we pray: convict us, forgive us, inspire us to change.
CRC Mourns Loss of Chicago Teen
Sunday evening, a 16-year-old lifelong member of Roseland Christian Reformed Church, Andre Taylor, was shot and killed in front of his house. The Roseland pastor says Andre was an active member of the church, a good student, and on the high school swim team. The pastor also reports that he has officiated at eight funerals in the past seven years for young men who have been victims of gun violence. Church members have been active in protesting against gun violence, advocating for common-sense gun laws, and providing community youth programs. At this point in the case of Andre Taylor’s death, no arrests have been made, and it is unclear why the shooting occurred. For more info visit http://thebanner.org/news/2016/03/chicago-teen-gunned-down
For this family and community, we pray to you, God. May you comfort your people in their season of loss and sustain their work for peace and justice. Show us how to support our brothers and sisters in the midst of their pain. Help us to feel their pain so that we may be moved to work for peace and justice alongside them.
Check Out Our New Website
If you’ve been to our website recently, you’ve noticed a whole new look — check out our brand new site at crcna.org/justice!
Looking for resources about immigration, creation care, restorative justice, sanctity of human life, refugees, indigenous justice, global poverty and hunger, and more? We’ve got them! We’ve also added a “Help, I Have to…” section with resources on leading a prayer, selecting an offering, preaching or planning worship, and leading devotions. Check out our new site at crcna.org/justice and let us know what you think!
The Challenges for the Next President Series at Calvin College
The Challenges for the Next President Series, sponsored by the Calvin Faith and Citizenship Initiative, started in February with a consideration of the environment, and now moves on to Immigration. On Thursday, March 24 at 3:30 pm in the DeVos Communications Center lobby, Luis Avila, Varnum Law, and Doug Koopman of the Calvin Political Science Department will discuss what government's role should be in reforming U.S. immigration policy. The programs are not intended to be debates, with a "right" and "left" focus, but instead to examine various points of view which will allow us to become more educated and thoughtful voters as we go to the polls on November 8.