It was 17,000 miles to 34 communities with 63 public events in seven weeks: The Who Speaks for God?, Call to Renewal, and Sojourners fall speaking and organizing tour by Jim Wallis has ended. Thousands of people, from Harlem to Orange County, Seattle to Miami, heard the message of a new social movement mobilizing people of faith with a moral agenda.
Around the country, participants named several pressing issues as priorities for action.
How are states and communities going to deal with the welfare repeal bill? This legislation will be devastating to local communities. For the 500 people who attended the town meeting in Jackson, Mississippi, Gov. Kirk Fordice's plan to use as much of the welfare block-grant money as possible to build more prisons was a major concern. What national coordination and support can be brought to local and state political struggles in the coming year? More fundamentally, how do we develop new approaches to alleviating poverty?
We deeply need a new effort on racial justice. How do we move beyond simply responding to crises such as church burnings and begin to deal seriously with racism, the need for repentance and racial reconciliation, and the need for justice?
AN OPPORTUNITY TO reach common ground on some key social issues was also evident. It is widely agreed that 1.5 million abortions a year is a moral tragedy, and it does not seem likely that there will be a constitutional ban on abortion. How can "pro-life" and "pro-choice" people work together on strategies to reduce the number of abortions? Programs to better support women, to provide better health care, to emphasize male responsibility, and to improve adoption services could make a major difference.