(CNSNews.com) - The contentious social issues of abortion and homosexual "rights" will continue to feed public debate and drive American politics, according to experts on those issues who addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., Friday.
While they believe conservatives are gaining ground on those issues, the speakers agreed there is still much work to be done to protect both unborn children and the traditional definition of marriage.
Alan Chambers -- president of Exodus International, a ministry to those seeking to leave the homosexual lifestyle -- told CPAC attendees that Americans have come "to depend on counterfeits." He compared the country's obsession with sex to its growing consumption of fast food.
"Fast food is a counterfeit. And it may fill you up, but a long-term diet of it will kill you," Chambers argued. "Parallel this with our over-sexed culture. More men today find pleasure from a computer screen, from magazines or movies, through fantasies and through pre and extra-marital relationships than they do lifelong, loving and committed marriage relationships with a member of the opposite sex."
Chambers, a former homosexual who now has a wife and two children, said homosexuality attracts some people for reasons that can seem logical.
"The selfish counterfeit of instant gratification is easier to attain than its real counterpart, which is healthy relationships born out of hard work and mutuality," Chambers said. "It's true that our bodies will accept bad food over no food. Similarly, we've come to accept bad love because it's better than no love at all; enter homosexuality."
The same longing for fulfillment that drives some people to homosexuality, Chambers said, pushes an even smaller minority to pursue counterfeit "marriages" with their same-sex partners.
"Marriage has become a counterfeit means of validation to the small percentage of 'gay' men and women who are fighting to co-opt it," Chambers argued. "Marriage rights mean forced acceptance and forced validation of their broken lives and broken hearts."
He concluded that homosexual "marriage," if legalized, "will not only result in altering marriage from its created purpose, to bring forth healthy children and a healthy society, but rather it will destroy those children and the world that we leave them."
Maryland Republican State Sen. Alex Mooney said homosexual activists have managed to gain legal recognition as a minority, based solely on their lifestyle choices, through so-called "hate crimes" and domestic partnership laws. He predicted that they would not be satisfied politically, even if same-sex "marriage" is legalized nationwide.
"Even if homosexual 'marriage' comes in, it's not going to stop; the radicals pushing this stuff are not going to stop," Mooney warned. "They're going to go for 'hate speech.' If you actually speak against the homosexual lifestyle, maybe from the pulpit if you're a pastor, then you're in trouble.
"Then they're going to go to the schools, to your kids in the schools," he continued. "They'll want to teach it to the children in schools."
Mooney believes state constitutional amendments defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, and steps to prevent the awarding of marriage-like benefits to those not in a traditional marriage, are the best response to the homosexual political agenda.
Matthew Spalding, who directs the Center for American Studies at the Heritage Foundation, said the momentum to enact a Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution exists at the grassroots level, but not necessarily in Congress.
"We must remember that Congress is not the sole power in beginning the amendment process," Spalding said. "The possibility of a recalcitrant national legislature not acting to address a question of this magnitude is the exact reason why the founders allowed for, indeed insisted on, a second method of amending the U.S. Constitution. It allows for state legislatures to jumpstart the process when the efforts become blocked by Congress."
Spalding noted that only six U.S. states lack some type of constitutional or statutory protection for traditional marriage. He believes an initiative by state legislatures to force a constitutional convention would trigger action by Congress.
Abortion: a 'battle for people's hearts and people's minds'
Dr. John Barrasso, a physician and Republican Wyoming state senator, said conservatives are "in a battle for people's hearts and people's minds" on the abortion issue, "and it's a battle that we are winning.
"Some of these things make perfect sense to folks," Barrasso said. "I'm an orthopedic surgeon. If a 15-year-old twists her ankle in gym class and she wants to come to my office and have me see her for her ankle, parental notification isn't good enough. She needs parental permission. So, if the same 15-year-old is pregnant and is out seeking an abortion, shouldn't the family be involved? The answer is, 'Of course!'"
Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, told the CPAC audience that judicial activism, not public support, has allowed abortion on demand to continue almost unabated for more than 30 years. As an example, she pointed to a May 2003 ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court that "a fetus constitutes a part of a woman's body ... akin to her ear, skin or tongue.
"The doctors told us in 1969 that modern obstetrics had discarded the unscientific concept that the child in the womb is but the tissue of the mother," LaRue said. "Even so, all the lawyers on Connecticut's highest court said that a fetus is part of a woman's body.
"The court ignored medical facts available to a high school biology student," she continued.
Rammesh Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review, said the so-called "mainstream" media is mostly to blame for the misinformation, upon which many abortion supporters base their opinions.
"Abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy is, according to the Supreme Court, the fundamental law of the land. There's been no retreat by the court from that position but most people don't know it. Highly educated people don't know it," Ponnuru said. "One of the reasons that they don't know it is because the press consistently misreports on this issue."
Ponnuru said members of the media also misrepresent the potential effects of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
"People think if you overturn Roe, that means outlawing abortion. The Washington Post ran an editorial about a month and a half ago speculating on whether (Supreme Court Justice Samuel) Alito would vote 'to outlaw abortions,' as if one justice is going to force local prosecutors to start taking cases they don't want to take."
LaRue hopes the Supreme Court will overturn Roe, leaving decisions about abortion laws to state legislatures and voters.
"The question of whether or not abortion ought to be a constitutional right should have been left to the American people to decide," LaRue concluded to enthusiastic applause.
"Thank God that the newest Supreme Court justice (Alito) refused to say that Roe v. Wade is a super-duper precedent beyond the court's reconsideration. Let's all pray that one day real soon it will be back in the hands of the people where it belongs."
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