With the Boy Scouts now in the national spotlight, Scouts for Equality founder and gay rights activist Zack Wahls was featured on the PBS NewsHour on Wednesday night opposite Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. While intended as a civil, constructive conversation, Wahls insinuated that Land was a bigot since, for people like him, “this is about the problems you have with parents like mine.” Wahls has two moms, born to one biologically through artificial insemination.
PBS NewsHour host Jeffrey Brown did not push back on Wahls's unwarranted attack on Land’s conservative views, and seemed to have temporarily lost control of the interview. Furthermore, Wahls proceeded to attack conservative principles, in general, which he derided as “from the last century.” That's the sort of discussion we're paying for with our tax dollars.
ZACH WAHLS: Yes.
Well, today, Quinnipiac University released a poll that found that more than 55 percent of Americans support lifting the ban, and only 33 percent support keeping the ban in place. That's a massive shift over the last two years.
And so, even though, Richard, you're absolutely right, the Scouting's study found that some parents were certainly opposed to the policy, a lot has changed since them. And, further, you will see that young people overwhelmingly, people under the age of 44, more than 60 percent of us support lifting the ban.
The question that we really have to ask ourselves is, do we want boys to be raised by an organization that is still using values from the last century, or do you want an organization that reflects the values of the America that these young boys are going to grow up to lead?
People like Richard are trying to force people out of the program. We certainly aren't. It's people like Richard who are trying to say that Scouting's values simply aren't for everybody, and we just disagree.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Mr. Land, well, what -- respond to that and also to those Scouts we saw in our setup piece, the ones who returned their badges, who said, we served honorably and we want to be Scouts.
RICHARD LAND: Well, the Boy Scout have an over-100-year tradition of their core principles. They have the right to maintain them.
The majority of the people who are actually involved in Scouting still support those principles. If there are people who want to have a program like the Scout program that has different principles, this is a free country. They're perfectly free to have it, not try to impose their values on the Boy Scouts, who don't want their values.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Zach Wahls, also ...
JEFFREY BROWN: Go ahead. Go ahead.
ZACH WAHLS: It's interesting.
Richard -- Richard, do you know the Scout law or the Scout oath? I just find it hard to believe that you really care so deeply about the Boy Scouts, when you don't even know what the core principles of the organization are. And the reason that people like you are making this case is because, for you, this isn't about the Boy Scouts. For people like you, this is about the problems you have with parents like mine.
RICHARD LAND: Zach -- you know, Zach, you have a really -- an annoying habit of trying to say what other people are thinking, when they don't think that.
I am speaking for the tens of thousands of Southern Baptists who are Boy Scouts and who are participating in Scouting; 70 percent of the Boy Scout organizations are supported by faith-based organizations, and 1.1 million Scouts ...
ZACH WAHLS: Absolutely, absolutely.
RICHARD LAND: ... are in organizations that are sponsored by Mormons and by Catholics and by Baptists. And I can assure you, they don't share your values.
WAHLS: Well, I think, if the ban isn't lifted, this organization, which I hold in the highest esteem, will simply no longer be relevant to a generation that has, unlike Richard, embraced LGBT equality across the country.
As I mentioned earlier, 60 -- over 60 percent of people under the age of 45 support inclusive Scouting. And I really wish that Richard and his cohort would join us, but, if they don't, they are certainly more than welcome to leave the program. That's their choice, not ours.
So, if the Boy Scouts don’t accept gays, their core values won’t be relevant anymore? Furthermore, this ‘my way, or the highway, ‘ demeanor Wahls exuded during this interview isn’t the best way to contribute to a national dialogue on this issue. In all, it was a shameless attempt to mock conservatives, with gross insinuations that this is all about his mommies.