Monday, February 4, 2013

Zach Wahls Confronts Conservative Pundit Ed Whelan Over Boy Scouts' Anti-Gay Policy

Zach Wahls
ATLANTA, GA -- LGBT Equality Rights activist and co-founder of Scouts For Equality, Zach Wahls, debated Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative legal analyst who serves as President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington based right wing think tank, during a morning interview on CNN Live Monday.
During the appearance, Wahls took Whelan to task over his [Whelan's] statements made in a New York Post Op-Ed entitled "Scouting's Suicide," published last Thursday wherein Whelan had heavily critiqued the Boys Scouts Of America's organisation for their pending vote to possibly lift the ban on openly gay leaders and scouts.
Whelan had written;
"Imagine that a group of girls is going on a long camping trip, supervised by adult volunteers who are young men you barely know. Would you let your 15-year-old daughter go?"
He then further added alluding to potential sexual abuse of the boys by openly gay scout leaders writing:
"Nearly every parent, I think, would recognize the folly, even though the men might well be models of good behavior. Why should our common-sense response be any different if the 15-year-old is a boy and the possible, even if not-likely-to-be-acted-on, sexual attraction of the adult supervisors is homosexual rather than heterosexual?"
He added;
[...] "As the father of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout, I’ve taken part in summer camps, a canoeing trip in remote northern Ontario and several other overnight outings. I can attest that privacy is often at a minimum. Injecting the aura of possible sexual attraction would degrade the experience."
CNN anchorperson Randi Kaye pointed out the Whelan was making an analogy between homosexuality and paedophilia which he immediately deflected saying no, he was pointing out that BSA represented "traditional" American values and morality. He then pointed out that an earlier U. S. Supreme Court decision has upheld that BSA had a right "to maintain those values."
Wahls claimed that Whelan was biasing his opinions on a model of Evangelical and certain biblical values [fundamentalist]of morality that have only recently evolved over the last 40 years and that found a narrow point of view that was not inclusive of all Americans. Wahls also claimed that none of the activists involved in the campaign to get BSA to change its policy was "looking to exclude any particular denomination of Christianity, or even persons with Ed's point of view' rather that BSA was more inclusive.
The two sparred over perceptions that activists were setting out to strip the BSA of any meaningful sense of values with Whelan stating that he saw the activists not stopping at a policy change but looking at legal challenges that in his [Whelan's] opinion would cripple the organisation.
Wahls also pointed out:
"There's a vast difference between being opposed to gay marriage and opposing the enrichment and development of young men because they happen to be not straight. 
I think [Whelan] should understand that the Scouts is about respecting the opinions of all the people who want to be members, not just some."