Religious Conservatives Slam 'Gay Agenda,' ACLU

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Religious conservatives meeting in Washington, D.C., lashed out at homosexual advocacy groups and organizations catering to the political Left on Monday.

One participant criticized the "gay agenda," which he said calls for not only acceptance, but also "affirmation and celebration of this behavior as normal and even desirable."

The two-day conference, entitled "The War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006," is sponsored by Vision America, an organization that describes its mission as "restoring Judeo-Christian values in America." Conference participants produced a "Values Voters' Contract with Congress," which includes key elements of the conservative, religious agenda.

Based on the Republican Party's 1994 "Contract with America," the "Values Voters' Contract" lists 10 aims, ranging from legislation to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to laws guaranteeing greater religious freedoms in the workplace, prohibiting human cloning and embryo research, and guaranteeing a "right to life" to all children before birth.

Defending the family is a key goal of the so-called "values voters." The traditional or natural family is one of the targets of the political Left, said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute. He said he was proud to share the stage with "heroes in the fight for normalcy."

Peter Sprigg, the Family Research Council's vice president for policy, noted that the family "is not merely a social construct subject to infinite redefinition.

"We believe what makes a family is one man and one woman uniting in marriage for a lifetime and bearing children from that union," Sprigg stated. "We are against anything that threatens the traditional family or undermines that idea," including pre-marital sex, pornography, adultery and prostitution.

"And yes, we are also against the practice of homosexuality," he added.

Sprigg said Christians do not hate homosexuals. "On the contrary, we desire the best for them. However, we believe engaging in behavior that is unnatural, immoral and dangerous to the public health and their own health is not the best thing for people with same-sex attractions."

He noted that the FRC and similar organizations also oppose the "gay agenda," which "demands full acceptance of the practice of homosexuality -- morally, socially, legally, religiously, politically and financially.

"Indeed, it calls for not only acceptance, but affirmation and celebration of this behavior as normal and even desirable," Sprigg said.

The Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition, stated that the "gay agenda" would come to a quick end if Americans rose up in numbers against it.

However, "Christians are nice guys, and nice guys finish last," he added.

LaBarbera agreed with Sheldon's analysis. "By simply saying we oppose the sin and not the sinner, we leave the playing field to homosexual activists and their euphemistic talking points, which are 'discrimination,' 'equality' and that poor euphemism, 'sexual orientation,'" he said.

Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, said that while everyone is a sinner, homosexual behavior can have especially dangerous results. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that in 2002, 49 percent of AIDS cases resulted from sexual relations between two males 13 to 24 years of age.

While most speakers said they prefer using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay," Sheldon said he usually sticks with the term's original meaning: "sodomite."

A number of organizations were criticized for supporting the "gay agenda," though one group in particular -- the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) -- was the subject of another panel decrying its "radical secularization" efforts.

Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, noted that the ACLU has always had a subversive agenda and is the "number one religious censor in America" due to its skillful use of fear, intimidation and misinformation.

One method the ACLU uses to "chip away at the moral and religious foundation of America" is to silence the gospel by removing any references to God in the public square, he said.

However, Mat Staver, founder, president and general counsel of the Liberty Counsel, noted that since Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, he's noticed a growing reluctance on the ACLU's part to attempt appeals to the highest court in the land.

"Maybe they realize the Supreme Court isn't their social engineering friend anymore," Staver said.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said he has been battling the ACLU for decades, and is encouraged by the "great work" being done by such groups as the Alliance Defense Fund and Liberty Counsel.

Donohue said he has discovered why the ACLU files so many lawsuits to try and force communities to take down nativity scenes. "It's because there aren't three wise men and a virgin in the entire ACLU."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as the nation's "largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization," says its goal is to ensure that "all GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

"By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all," the group's website states.

The ACLU's Lesbian & Gay Rights Project brings "impact lawsuits" in state and federal courts throughout the country, according to the group's website.

"Our legal strategies are built on the idea that fighting for civil rights means not just persuading judges but ultimately changing the way people think," the group states.

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