A Citizens' Movement
A few years ago Barbara Ward, a devout Christian and a well-known development economist from England, took part in an international conference of church leaders and lay professionals. It was a consultation of the Committee on Society, Development and Peace (jointly established by the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace and the World Council of Churches) on the question of Christian responsibility in a world of hunger and poverty. Buoyed by the outcome of the consultation, Miss Ward told a handful of U.S. Senators in Washington that the churches in the United States were about to build broad public support for development in the poor countries.
"I'll call you when I get the first letter," responded Senator Walter Mondale. A few years later he said, "I haven't had to make that call yet."
Where are the Christians?
Mondale's response underscores a critical "citizenship gap" -- failure on the part of ordinary citizens like readers of this book, who do care about hungry people, to express that concern on specific issues to those who decide public policy. Because the decision-makers have not heard from us, they have taken our silence to mean indifference or even hostility to U.S. policies that would help hungry people. As a result, the entire nation has moved increasingly away from the poor countries.
Attempting to change that situation is a newly-formed and rapidly growing Christian citizens' movement called Bread for the World ( 235 East 49th St., New York, N.Y. 10017). Bread for the World enlists members who in turn contact government leaders on policy matters that have a direct bearing on world hunger. It is a movement that holds promise for helping, with others, to turn this nation around on the hunger issue.