OSJ Prayers

Broad Powers Given to Thai Army

Last week the Prime Minister of Thailand and the head of the military junta government, General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, issued an order that gives the army broad police powers. Human rights groups — such as Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, and Fortify Rights — are asking for the new law to be revoked because they believe it will lead to violations of international human rights and the rule of law. The new powers will allow the Thai army to detain individuals without arrest warrants for up to a week, possess immunity from prosecution, perform actions that are not subject to judicial review, and silence those perceived as dissenters. In practice, human rights organizations believe this will could lead to torture, enforced disappearances, and the detainment of human rights defenders.

Lord, we pray for the protection of the Thai people as this new law is put into action. We ask that you bestow on the Thai government and the Thai army the knowledge of what is just in this situation. We pray for human rights organizations that are working to bring justice to the oppressed and marginalized in Thailand, that their work will be safe and successful.

India Highway Collapse

A highway overpass in Kolkata, India, collapsed last week, killing about 26 people and injuring dozens of others. The overpass bridge has been under construction for around nine years, and although long-lasting building projects are fairly common in India, residents are now calling for the rest of the project to be taken down. Public building projects, such as this bridge, are frequently begun by politicians during elections; however, such projects often then lose priority and oversight once elections are over.

Lord, we mourn the loss of life from this bridge collapse, and we lift up in prayer all who are grieving. We pray for public officials in India, that this may be a wake-up call for the need for safe and supervised building projects. We ask that remaining issues with this project be resolved and that all who are affected may have your peace.

Elections in Latin America

A Colombian hacker, Andrés Sepúlveda, has revealed that he was hired to rig past presidential elections in Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama. He claims he played a large role in the current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012 victory. Sepúlveda is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for hacking the 2014 Colombian presidential election.

Lord, we pray for peace in these countries where the news of rigged elections has been revealed. We pray that truth will be discerned during this time. We ask that wisdom be given to those in power, that they will deal with these revelations in a just manner. We pray for future elections, that true outcomes will be honored and corrupt practices will end.

Film Screening at Hope College in Michigan

Please join us for the screening of the film Documented by Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and an undocumented immigrant. The film gives insight into the struggles undocumented immigrants experience, puts a face to our broken immigration system, and challenges us to reconsider what “American” means. Screening and conversation will take place April 8 and 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, in Vanderwerf 102. Click here for more information.

Upcoming Immigration Events in Iowa

Dordt College (open to public)
April 12, 7 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Science Building 1606

Northwestern College (open to public)
April 11, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.,
Vogel Community Room in Learning Commons

Join students and community members for a session of Church Between Borders (CBB) facilitated by the Office of Social Justice. CBB is a workshop that sparks thought and discussion for Christian groups interested in engaging immigration from a biblical perspective. Participants will learn how the U.S. immigration system works through an interactive simulation and will reflect on the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger and consider what that means in our current context.