The White House announced yesterday that President Reagan intends to nominate B. Sam Hart, a Philadelphia evangelist and owner of a religious radio station, to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Hart, 50, owns radio station WYIS in Philadelphia and preaches daily on "The Grand Old Gospel Hour." He is the minister of the Germantown Christian Assembly in Philadelphia and has conducted revivals around the country. He also is on the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters.
Unknown to most civil rights advocates, even those in Philadelphia, Hart, who is black, has refused in interviews to be specific about his views on civil rights.
"I don't think it would be wise to give enemies a jump on my positions," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. He did say that he placed himself in a moderate fundamentalist school "very similar to the camp Billy Graham is in." Hart said he believed that evolution and creationism should get "equal credence" in American classrooms.
Circulating among civil rights groups in Washington yesterday was a transcript of Hart's testimony in 1974 before the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. In it the evangelist, introducing himself as "Dr. B. Sam Hart, minister of the gospel," argued strongly against a proposal to guarantee homosexuals equal access to jobs, housing and public accommodations.
Homosexuals "can repent like any other sinner and God by his grace can make them anew and they can become decent, respectable citizens in our society," he said, "and I fail to see why they, a small minority, should be calling upon the vast majority of us to accept that as a standard of life."
If Hart's nomination is confirmed by the Senate, President Reagan would have a majority of the appointees on the six-member commission, which has angered the White House with its strong support of busing and affirmative action.