First Andrew Sullivan and then Julian Sanchez linked to this excellent paper by Mark E. Pietrzyk refuting an earlier paper done by Dr. Timothy Dailey (whose Ph.D. is in theology) which attempts to demonstrate a connection between adult homosexuality and child molestation. As Sanchez, Sullivan, and Pietrzyk note, the FRC study notoriously twists definitions in order to make the otherwise dubious connection.
And Pietrzyk's main points mirror what I've been saying all along.
These scientists note that pedophilia is a separate orientation from homosexuality and that the vast majority of molesters who target boys have either no interest in mature males or are heterosexual men who are attracted to the feminine characteristics of pre-pubescent males.
Sanchez offers a great analogy as well:
The key point here is that child molesters are overwhelmingly male, and the rate at which their victims are also male is higher than the rate of homosexuality in the general population. If you don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality, it's apparently intuitive to call these men "homosexuals" and conclude that there's a disproportionate amount of homosexual pedophilia. Of course, to recycle an analogy I've used earlier, this is a little like asking men who have sex with goats whether they're boy goats or girl goats and drawing inferences about the goatfucker's sexual orientation. Men who molest prepubescent children are almost never "homosexual" in the sense of "being attracted to men in general."
Thus, any study which "lumps in" men who like little boys only (almost all of whom do not identify as "gay men" and are far likelier to be heterosexual in their adult orientation and are often married) with what we normally understand as homosexual or "gay" men is tainted from the start.
So while the connection between adult homosexual attraction and pedophilia is dubious, gay men in general may be attracted to underaged teens, who are, after all biological adults. Perhaps, therefore, some concern about underaged teenage males being alone with gay men is valid. But, it does you no good to make an otherwise valid point with a spurious argument. For instance, perhaps the Palestinians have some valid points regarding unfair treatment by Israelis. But it would do them no good to begin arguing their case with "Jews drink with the blood of Palestinian children." That is a conversation stopper. Likewise, no credible evidence shows gay men are more likely to be involved with underaged men than straights are with underaged women. A more persuasive argument might start with "just as we would feel uncomfortable with an adult straight man and a teenaged girl in this circumstance...."
Finally, conflating all acts, whether consensual or not, between adults and underaged teens under the rubric of "pedophilia" or even "child rape" further muddies the issue. Again, terms like "pedophilia" and "child rape" are conversation stoppers, connoting horrible evil. As the myth goes, examples of gay men involved with underaged teens are offered (as though heterosexuals never engage in or glorify such) to show that gays are on the "cutting edge" or "chic" in deconstructing what's left of Western morality.
When the reality is, such heterosexual ephebophilia (the proper term) until recently, was so ingrained in Western morality that arguably one could assert that Judeo-Christian, Biblical morality endorsed ephebophilia, or if pedophilia is the right term, Judeo-Christian morality endorsed pedophilia, as long as it took place within the context of a marriage, which institution is indeed the ultimate "normalizer" of sexual behavior. I've offered past examples of Jerry Lee Lewis and Loretta Lynn being involved in marriages where one party was an adult male, the other, a 13-year-old girl, in the South in the 1950s (the heydey of social conservatism).
As Pietrzyk notes:
An honest examination of the historical record indicates that Biblical law and the Judeo-Christian tradition, far from condemning pedophilia, often condoned sexual relations between adults and children. The contemporary social and legal taboo against sex with children developed only gradually over the centuries, and did not become firmly established until the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. The very concepts of age of consent and statutory rape did not derive from Biblical orthodoxy and ancient tradition, but rather evolved out of the same modernist conceptions of individual rights and equality which underlie the contemporary struggle for gay rights. Thus, if the slippery slope argument has any validity at all, it more aptly applies to contemporary proponents of Biblical orthodoxy and "traditional family values" than to proponents of gay rights.
More detailed information on the sexual ethics of ancient Judaism can be found in the Talmud. The Talmud is the record of oral law and commentaries which supplements the written law of Scripture; in Jewish tradition, the oral law is part of the divine revelation received by Moses on Mount Sinai.
According to the Talmud, the recommended age for marriage is sometime after twelve for females, and thirteen for males. Marriage below these ages was generally frowned upon.
Strangely (and previously unbeknownst to me), the Talmud outright endorses pedophilia:
However, a father was allowed to betroth his daughter to another man at an earlier age, and sexual intercourse was regarded as a valid means of sealing a betrothal. The age limit for betrothal through sexual intercourse was shockingly low. According to the Talmud, "A girl of the age of three years and one day may be betrothed by intercourse."42
This age limit was apparently chosen because, according to Rabbinical discussion, the features of virginity in the young female (the hymen, which breaks and bleeds the first time after intercourse) did not finish developing until the age of three years and one day. Intercourse with a female younger than this was like "putting a finger in the eye,"43 that is, as putting a finger in the eye causes it to tear and tear again, intercourse with a female younger than three causes the hymen to initially bleed but then to grow back again, restoring the sign of virginity. Thus intercourse with a female younger than three years and one day was not a crime; it was simply invalid as a means of sealing betrothal by ending her virgin status, since the signs of virginity would eventually reappear. According to the Talmud, "When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing, for when a girl is less than [three years], it is as if one puts the finger into the eye."44
Of course, bizarre and immoral practices endorsed by the Bible or traditional Judeo-Christian morality (like for instance slavery, or the execution of homosexuals, adulterers, and those who worship "false gods") can be explained away by historical context. But if one looks to "the Bible" and traditional Judeo-Christian morality to contain the inerrant and eternal Truth, as True today as when written, one is bound to be sorely disappointed, sometimes shockingly so.