PBS Show Denounced as Anti-Scout 'Propaganda'
(CNSNews.com) - Time is running short for activists who are scrambling to stop the airing of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) film that targets the Boy Scouts of America policy on homosexuality.
PBS Tuesday will be showing the controversial documentary entitled 'Scout's Honor,' which chronicles the efforts of a teenage scout and a 71-year-old scoutmaster, both of whom are seeking an end to the Boy Scout policy that denies leadership positions to homosexuals, a policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
In a last minute effort to stop the film, pro-family activists are mobilizing by the way of phone calls and e-mails to both the national and local PBS offices. Opponents of the program say it offers a lopsided view of the Boy Scouts and doesn't fairly present all sides of the argument.
The American Family Association (AFA) asked its members to "politely urge the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to stop awarding taxpayer dollars to PBS without a mandate to fairness."
"American Family Association finds it most disturbing that hard-earned tax dollars are being used to attack one of America's most beloved institutions - The Boy Scouts of America," the AFA said in a statement.
Likewise, the Culture and Family Institute (CFI), an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, urged citizens to call their senators and congressman and tell them they "object to anti-Boy Scout propaganda produced with public funds."
"It's bad enough that pro-homosexual liberals are bashing the Boy Scouts," said CFI Senior Policy Analyst Peter LaBarbera. "But by offering this film, PBS is involving the taxpayers in the assault on the Scouts."
Basing on the August 2000 Supreme Court decision that upheld the Boy Scouts' right to determine its own membership, 'Scouts Honor' follows the efforts of 16-year-old Steven Cozza and Scoutmaster David Rice, the two heterosexual founders of "Scouting for All," a group created to oppose the BSA policy.
"Scout's Honor uncovers not only the history and politics of the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies in light of its own stated ideals," reads the film promotion, "but the social fault line over gay rights that cuts across one small California town."
Objective Presentation or Tool for Homosexual Agenda?
The film was financed by Point of View (POV), which provides PBS with what it calls a "showcase of independent, non-fiction films."
Scout's Honor has already received accolades in numerous liberal venues, and won the Playboy Freedom of Expression Award last year. The film also has been featured at numerous homosexuality-oriented film festivals, where it's earned high praise from the predominantly homosexual audiences.
One filmgoer, Guyla Mills, a national field director of Kerusso Ministries, based in Newport News, Va., viewed the film at Philadelphia's Pride Festival in May.
Mills called the 57-minute production "entirely a one-sided piece." The film, she said, "should anger every taxpayer in the country."
"The film has really been used as a way for homosexuals to go across the country, calling out the troops to get involved and to make a difference in their local communities," Mills charged.
But PBS denies the charge that the film is being used for political purposes.
"It's not a political film," said PBS Vice President of Communications, Tom Epstein. "POV is a showcase of films that presents a producer's perspective on an issue, and [Shepard] chose to tell it through the eyes of these two individuals."
"The POV has a long track record of editorial excellence and integrity," he added.
But LaBarbera insists that PBS has a pro-homosexual bias. "When it comes to PBS," he said, "the points of view are always on the liberal side. It's always the pro-homosexual point of view."
"PBS is now celebrating Gay Pride," he added. "That is not serving the public; that's taking one side of a hot issue. That's not the role of PBS, not if I'm paying for it."
When asked about the budget of the film, Epstein said only that it was "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."
"It is partially funded by taxpayer dollars," admitted Epstein, "but it's very consistent with our mission of presenting a wide variety of independent programs that address the issues of the day and allows the viewers to make up their own minds."
Tom Shepard, the director and producer of Scout's Honor, heads a production staff made up largely of homosexual activists, which some say lends credence to the pro-homosexual bias argument.
Executive Producer D. Stuart Harrison is cited on Scout's Honor's web site as "a major supporter of lesbian and gay film and video groups and of organizations defending lesbian and gay youth."
Story Editor and Writer Meg Moritz sat on the national board of directors for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) from 1986-1998. The film's Board of Advisors include Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and Tom Rielly, founder and CEO of Digital Queers/Planet Out.
When asked about the homosexually oriented board, Epstein said that they had contacted the Boy Scouts of America headquarters more than a half dozen times to for an official representative to appear before camera.
"We asked if they would provide a representative to speak on camera about the issues that were being raised by these other two people, and they refused," Epstein said.
The Boy Scouts of America had no comment Monday, and POV could not provide comment by press time.