Moral Majority stumps for 'traditional values' in San Francisco
The Moral Majority claims that the Democrats are ignoring a sizable conservative faction within their party. In a double-barrel counterpoint to preconvention activity here Thursday, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and antifeminist Phyllis Schlafly said pro-abortion, pro-ERA, and pro-gay-rights planks in the Democratic platform do not represent the traditional family values of rank-and-file Democrats.
Like dozens of other groups eager to get a share of the national spotlight focused on this convention city, the Rev. Mr. Falwell's conservative followers meet through today hoping to get their views on the air, if not on the floor of the Democratic convention.
''The Democrats have capitulated to the feminists and abortion advocates, they've abandoned the traditional family values,'' Falwell says, emphasizing that the ''awful beating'' the party took in 1980 should be a clue that it is out of step with the beliefs of the nation.
Family Forum III, cosponsored by the Moral Majority and the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, will also be held in Dallas next month around the time of the Republican convention, where Falwell's traditional values have been more accepted.
Falwell says he had hoped to present pro-family views to the Democratic Platform Committee, but his written requests were ''stiff-armed.'' So he says he hopes results of the Family Forum meeting will reach Democratic convention delegates.
Democratic National Convention officials did not return calls requesting a comment on Falwell's statements.
Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, also says that the ''grass-roots American majority'' does not approve of the implicit mandate of homosexuality in gay-rights platform planks, nor do they approve of the morality behind feminist and pro-abortion planks.
He cites a Gallup poll conducted for the Christian Broadcasting Network which shows an average of 40 percent of Democrats agree with Moral Majority stands on one or more issues involving abortion, school prayer, and feminism.
Mr. Weyrich admits that his group tried to gather enough Democratic convention delegates to stage a floor fight on abortion and ERA platform planks, but couldn't find enough to mount the fight.
He said this shows that the party is run by those who are ignoring rank-and-file members who believe in traditional values.
The two-day Family Forum III is being attended by 300, mostly white middle-class Bay Area Baptists carrying their Bibles through a metal detector at the meeting site.
San Francisco, a political enclave bearing nearly every liberal stripe, would not let the meeting of conservatives go unprotested. And so the expected preconvention demonstrations started early with Family Forum protest of the Democrats being protested by local gay and feminist groups.
About the choice of a woman for vice-president, the conservatives agreed it was inevitable. The Democrats may nominate a woman, Falwell said, but the Republicans are likely to be the party that would actually get a woman elected in that position because they have more women with national experience.
But he suggested that the so-called gender gap will not make the difference in this year's election because the Democrats still don't represent traditional sentiments.
''Geraldine Ferraro (who chaired the Democratic Platform Committee) is bragging about how this platform has had so much input from so many. But a distinct group was omitted from that process. What they consider all-inclusives is merely what was trendy, because there was not a single conservative voice on the platform,'' says Cal Thomas, vice-president for comminications for the Moral Majority.
Mrs. Schlafly said that Representative Ferraro's selection as Walter Mondale's running mate will be good for the conservatives because she represents the ''radical feminist agenda,'' which sees abortion as ''the No. 1 right of a woman.''
On the homosexual issue, key to San Francisco with the nation's most activist gay community, Falwell put gay rights alongside low Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and rock music as outgrowths of immoral permissiveness.