B. Sam Hart, named by President Reagan to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Tuesday, said yesterday that he opposes the Equal Rights Amendment, does not consider that homosexuals have a civil rights cause, is against use of busing to integrate schools and agrees with the president that segregated private schools should be denied tax exemptions only by legislation, not by court or executive action.
The black evangelical minister from Philadelphia said he accepted a place on the Civil Rights Commission as an opportunity "to bring America back to a more moral position" than it took during "more liberal" administrations.
"In the area of civil rights, you're in an area where you will not please everyone," Hart said yesterday at the Sheraton Washington Hotel, where he is attending the convention of the National Religious Broadcasters.
He said Reagan is seeking to give the commission a more conservative tone, and made clear that he agrees with the president's effort.
Hart, 50, said he was first offered the chairmanship of the commission, but made clear to the White House that he was not interested if the job would take so much of his time that it would interfere with his ministry.
When it became clear to him that the chairmanship would be too demanding, he said he and the White House reached an agreement that he would simply accept a membership on the body, he said. Reagan then nominated Clarence M. Pendleton, a black from San Diego, to be chairman.
Although Hart answered questions on a range of subjects during a brief meeting with reporters yesterday, he spoke at greatest length and with greatest passion on homosexuality.
"I do not consider homosexuality a civil rights issue," he said. Hart said that all expert opinion concluded that "homosexuals are not born," but are the product of an environment. "I am black. I cannot change that," Hart said. "That's a civil rights issue."
A woman also has a civil rights cause because she did not choose her sex, he added.
Homosexuals, however, are homosexuals by choice, Hart said. "They have chosen a way of life. They have to accept the consequences." A homosexual does have some rights, Hart said.
"He has the right to live. He has the right to eat. The right to work. The right to live someplace."
In a factory, a homosexual could have no moral influence over the machinery, but homosexuals should be kept away from children in order not to expose them to the environmental factors that might make them grow up homosexual, Hart said.
In what he described as a harsh comparison, Hart said that if he should choose to become a thief he would do so knowing there are penalties for stealing. "If I become a thief and they lock me up . . . I still have to accept the consequences."
On the ERA, Hart said, "I am all for equal rights. I do not equate equal rights with the amendment. I don't see the need for an amendment." He added that he firmly believes that all people who do the same work should receive the same pay.
On busing, Hart said he supports integrating schools, but the government "shouldn't force citizens to do anything they don't want to do." A better way, he suggested, would be to integrate the communities, and that could be aided by providing lower rates of interest and guaranteed mortgages to people of one race seeking to move into a neighborhood dominated by another race.
He declined to say what his opinion is of tax exemptions for private schools that discriminate racially, because that issue will not be before the commission. He said Reagan is right to seek legislation to bar exemptions rather than letting the courts or the Internal Revenue Service make the decisions.
Hart runs a syndicated radio program,"Grand Old Gospel Hour," and owns radio station WYIS in Philadelphia. If Hart's nomination is confirmed by the Senate along with other pending nominations, Reagan will have named a majority of the six commission members.
"Those of you who love the Lord, pray for me," Hart replied when asked to make a final statement. He said he serves God first and his country second.