The Moral Majority and other "pro-family" organizations should reach out to poor people and blacks who are victims of failed liberal welfare policies, New Right leaders contended yesterday at the Family Forum II conference in Washington.
Sen. Jeremiah A. Denton Jr. (R-Ala.) also suggested that conservatives try to work with feminists in curtailing pornography. But Denton told more than 500 conference delegates they should be sensitive in raising family issues with feminists.
"A lot of women out there have been abused by men," he said. "When we come at them with nuclear-family-this and nuclear-family-that, and they haven't got a husband , then . . . it widens the chasm."
Denton said careers for women sometimes destabilize marriages. "The guy likes to come home and get supper and a couple of martinis from a woman that is reasonably rested," he said.
A freshman senator and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, Denton drew loud applause when he argued for stricter abortion laws, saying that unwanted babies should be adopted rather than aborted. People also applauded his strong criticism of the media for distorting conservative positions.
In a keynote address on poverty earlier in the day, the Rev. E. V. Hill argued that welfare programs dehumanize recipients and sap vitality from society. Hill is one of a handful of blacks at the conference, which is sponsored by the Moral Majority and the Free Congress Foundation.
Community efforts, volunteerism and private sector initiatives, coupled with spiritual guidance, are much more effective in dealing with poverty, he said.
Connaught (Connie) Marshner, coordinator of the conference, said blacks and poor people still tend to support Democrats on economic issues but increasingly side with conservatives on social issues.
"They're a natural constituency" of the New Right, she said, "because they've been the victims of what we are against. They ought to be our friends."
Paul M. Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, said that for the first time poor people and members of minority groups are leaving their traditional Democratic fold and moving toward conservative positions. He said he is preaching in churches with mostly black congregations and meeting with black leaders to encourage this "very important change."
Conservatives at the conference say liberal policies have hurt poor people by encouraging dependence on government handouts and reducing the incentive for people to work.