Black leaders from eight religious denominations are planning a national telephone campaign to pressure President Clinton to veto legislation they say would dismantle welfare and Medicaid programs.
The Congress of National Black Churches, concluding a three-day conference Friday, also released a 10-point program to deal with "deep despair" among black Americans.
Republican measures pending in Congress would hand over to the states much of the responsibility for programs dealing with the health and welfare of poor people. Clinton has threatened to veto such measures.
Bishop John Hurst Adams of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, founding chairman of the leadership organization, said the programs are "essential to the wholeness and health of the nation. Nobody objects to a reasonable and rational reform. But the absurd, absurd, absurd agenda being promoted now deserves to be vetoed. It furthers the gap as it enriches the rich and devastates the poor, and we cannot subscribe to that."