WASHINGTON (RNS)—Several prominent evangelical leaders have endorsed a “Reconciliation Referendum” that says Sen. Barack Obama’s recent address on race did not go far enough and pushes church leaders to speak up more about the need to address racism.
“Opinion leaders in the national media praised the speech as courageous, but the notion that simply more talk is needed will no longer suffice,” the statement said.
“While politicians like Barack Obama and the national media wring their hands over a problem that has persisted in this country nearly 400 years, they offer no solutions to the problem.”
The statement was presented to Christian leaders at a recent meeting in Montgomery, Ala., hosted by “The Call,” a multidenominational movement focused on reconciliation and revival.
More than 350 people have endorsed the statement, which aims to achieve racial reconciliation within the next decade.
Among the signers are Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship; Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Harry Jackson, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Alveda King, an anti-abortion activist and niece of Martin Luther King Jr.
The statement said the controversy about remarks by Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, demonstrates the church needs to do more to address race relations—including prayer, interracial evangelism and addressing poverty.
“The failure of good Christian people to provide a clear and convincing example of racial unity within the church has contributed to the divide between the races in the nation and it only appears to be widening,” the statement says.
“We must recognize that racism is not just a social problem in America; it is also a spiritual problem.”