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Social Justice Advocay as a Lenten Practice: MDG's and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
"Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty." -- The Liturgy of Ash Wednesday, Book of Common Prayer.

Today begins the holy season of Lent, in which the Church calls us to practice special acts of discipline and renewal in preparation for Easter. Among the traditional Lenten disciplines is a personal rededication to acts of justice and mercy for the world God loves. To help encourage acts of social justice as a Lenten practice, the Episcopal Public Policy Network will send members a new alert on each of the seven Wednesday in Lent. Each of these alerts will focus on one or two pressing concerns for justice in our world.

In 2000, the world’s leaders made an unprecedented covenant to work together to end human poverty and build a more just and peaceful world. In order to meet that challenge, the 181 nations who signed the UN’s Millennium Declaration established eight goals for the world to meet by 2015 or earlier.

The UN’s most recent report on the Goals, released last month, shows most of the world lagging behind significantly in achieving the Goals. Among prosperous nations, the United States, despite being the richest, gives the lowest percentage of its Gross National Product (0.15%) to overseas development aid. While President Bush’s FY’06 budget -- released Monday – increases funding for a few foreign-assistance accounts, nearly every program specifically devoted to development-assistance for needy parts of the world is cut even further below current levels. Click here to view the Presiding Bishop’s statement on the budget.

Despite the President’s proposed budget cuts for FY’06, the ultimate decisions about federal spending will be made by Congress. Click here to learn more about the issue and to send a message to your lawmakers telling them that President Bush’s FY’06 foreign-aid budget is unacceptable if the world is to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

President Bush’s has again proposed to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Proponents in the Congress will attempt to use the budget process to bypass normal consideration of legislation to authorize drilling for oil and gas on the coastal plain of Alaska—land sacred to the Gwich’in Nation, nearly 90 percent of whom are Episcopalian.

Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge threatens the Porcupine Caribou that the Gwich’in have depended on for survival and culture for 10,000 years, and it would ruin a pristine wildlife sanctuary for less oil than the U.S. uses in a few months.

Click here to contact your Senators and Representative today and urge them to oppose efforts to authorize drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through the FY 06 budget process and to support legislation to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge.

Your views matter! So do the views of your fellow parishioners. Share your experience being an advocate with those close to you. Let them know about the EPPN Online Action Network. Click here to send a personalized invitation to your friends.

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