The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

Pull Your Support for Boy Scouts

You see, the school board includes sexual orientation as a part of its nondiscrimination policy. By allowing a group that so blatantly discriminates against homosexuals the privileged usage of school facilities, board members found they were violating their own policy.

It's unfortunate that troops across the country are having to face the consequences of an ignorant, hateful discrimination policy passed down by their national leaders.

But the true atrocity boiling beneath the surface shouldn't be overshadowed by sympathy for scouts who no longer get to meet on school grounds. The real injustice centers around a problem all too prevalent in society: discrimination based on fear and ignorance.

And in this case, the homosexual stands as the true victim.

Let's create another scenario. Imagine the Boy Scouts of America went to the Supreme Court to demand the right to exclude blacks from their ranks -- and won.

All intelligent members of our so-called advanced society would be outraged. They would rightfully call both the Boy Scouts and the justices racist scum. Mass protests would dominate the land. Mothers and fathers would pull their sons out of the scout organization. After all, no one wants to send the children of our nation the wrong message, right?


In the Boy Scout case, individuals aren't excluded from the group on the basis of race. But the Supreme Court did uphold their right to exclude individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, with a narrow 5-4 vote.

The logic behind such a ruling is just as preposterous as it would have been if the Boy Scouts had fought and won the right to keep blacks out of their group. Discrimination is discrimination.

Any intelligent member of society should be outraged. Where are the protests? Why aren't parents rushing to pull their sons out of the Boy Scout organization? Why are we corrupting our youth by planting seeds of intolerance among them? Are we saying it's OK to hate?

In today's world, it would be unheard of for the Boy Scouts to fight to exclude members based on their race. But why are we so hung up on the notion that discrimination based on sexual orientation is any less evil?

The answer is obvious: People fear what they do not know. Just talk to someone who thinks the Boy Scouts are doing the right thing by not allowing homosexuals into their group. Maybe you think it's OK. If so, try examining why you hold these beliefs.

Could it be that you're afraid homosexual Boy Scout leaders will molest the boys they guide? Or, perhaps you're scared that all the kids who come into contact with gay Boy Scout leaders or members will somehow contract a whole new sexual preference.

Despite what some people might think, homosexuality and pedophilia do not come together in some sort of twisted combo pack. According to one study by the American Psychological Association, homosexuals are actually less likely than heterosexuals to molest children. Pedophilia, no matter how twisted it might be, is considered a type of sexual preference all on its own.

And the thought of gay Boy Scout members being contagious is laughably ludicrous. You're not going to just wake up one day and decide to be gay -- even if you are exposed to an openly gay individual.

I'm exposed to countless heterosexuals that are very vocal about their sexual preference everyday. And you can bet I'm not about to start swinging the other way.

As a child, I had no gay mentors; instead, everyone that directly influenced me was straight. And I turned out to be a perfectly normal gay individual. Once someone comes to terms with his or her sexual preference, it's not likely to change just because he or she is exposed to people with different tastes.

But bet on this: While growing up, I could have only benefitted from having a gay mentor. If I had been a Boy Scout with an openly gay troop leader, I'm sure I would have developed a better sense of confidence and security with my own identity at a much younger age. The experience would have helped me to realize that I wasn't alone and that it was very possible to be proud of myself on every level.

So, just because the Supreme Court ruled that it's OK for the Boy Scouts to discriminate against gays, don't think the battle is over. It's time for action. In fact, it's vital that we act as a collective whole right now.

If you have a son or relative involved with the Boy Scouts, get him out now. And let your local troop leaders know that you refuse to allow any organization to dictate hateful principles of intolerance to America's youth.

And if you aren't personally linked to the Boy Scouts, don't let that keep you from doing what's right. Contact local troop leaders and voice your opinion. Write the national organization. Voice your opinion through this very newspaper by writing a letter to the editor.

Let's work together to end all forms of discrimination.

Cameron Mitchell is a junior journalism and mass communication major from Burnsville. Reach him at

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