An estimated 1 million people gathered Thursday in 6,000 locations nationwide for the Town Hall for Hope hosted by talk-show host Dave Ramsey. The free interactive event also was broadcast live on Fox Business Network at 8 p.m. It will re-air this weekend.
"We're going to blast through the fear and rhetoric that is being broadcast in the news media and empower American families with hope-hope to change their families, and hope to change their personal economies," Ramsey, author of the best-sellers Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace, said in a statement.
Viewers will use Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and a phone line to submit questions for Ramsey to answer during the two-hour meeting, which was broadcast from Life Church in Oklahoma City.
Ramsey said he believes the solution to America's economy is to get people to believe again. "It's time to connect with families to instill hope and optimism in our economy and our country," he said. "We the people are the healing agents."
Christ Church in Nashville, Tennessee, is one of 180 churches in the state that are hosting the live stream of the event. Senior pastor Dan Scott said hosting the telecast at Christ Church is a way to help raise "a voice of hope for the nation."
"Fear invites darkness and a closing down of creativity," Scott told Charisma. "Fear drives out faith. Fear paralyzes precisely at the moment we need to act."
In advance of the town hall meeting, Ramsey encouraged the listeners of his nationally syndicated radio talk show to "not participate in the recession" by living in fear and looking for the government to bail them out.
"God is still on His throne," Ramsey told one crowd in a video promoting the town hall. "He is still crazy about you, and you're going to be OK."
In response to the challenge, one blogger at the Town Hall for Hope Web site wrote: "I'm unemployed. However, I CHOOSE not to be sucked in by all of the fear, doom and gloom that the news media reports on. Instead, I CHOOSE faith and hope."
Considered a personal finance expert, Ramsey had established a $4 million real estate portfolio by age 26 but lost it all within four years. He now helps people understand personal finance through his books, syndicated radio program, television show and 13-week Financial Peace University, which is used widely in churches.
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