Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor
From Fox News:
Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.
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Rev. Dr. Mel White
The Rev. Dr. Mel White has been a Christian minister, author, and filmmaker all his adult life. Raised as an evangelical
Christian, taught that homosexuality was a sin, he fought to overcome his own homosexual
orientation for decades in all ways available to him: prayer, psychotherapy, exorcism, electric shock, marriage
and family. That struggle and his halting, poignant steps to understand and accept his homosexuality, reconcile
it with his Christian faith, and express his sexuality respectfully and responsibly, are described in his book
"Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America," published in 1994.
Mel White founded Soulforce with his partner, Gary Nixon. Inspired by the nonviolence movements of Gandhi and Martin
Luther King Jr., White developed a program based on their principles. These principles were called satyagraha or
"soul force" by Gandhi, who based many of them on the teachings of Jesus, and White adopted them to address
the suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In 1997, he was awarded the ACLU's National Civil
Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and King to the struggle
for justice for sexual minorities.
He did graduate work in communications and film at University of Southern California, received his doctorate and
was a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary for over a decade. During this time he also worked as an evangelical
pastor. He produced, wrote, and directed 53 documentary films and television specials, focusing on stories to inspire
and inform the struggle to be human. He is also an author; among his 16 books (nine bestsellers), he wrote about
the Philippines' Ninoy and Corazon Aquino ("Aquino"), the Jonestown tragedy ("Deceived"), David
Rothenberg, the child burned by his father ("David") and talk-show host/producer Mike Douglas ("When
the Going Gets Tough").
In addition, he ghost wrote several books for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham ("Approaching Hoofbeats"),
Pat Robertson ("America's Date with Destiny"), Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell ("If I Should Die Before
I Wake" and "Strength for the Journey").
"During my junior high years, struggling with my homosexual identity, thinking myself both sick and sinful,
I joined the BSA. The Scout Master in Troop 66, Santa Cruz, California, took me under his wing. We never spoke
specifically of my sexual orientation or the terrible, lonely struggle I was having with self acceptance. But
somehow he knew that I needed a friend and he became that friend. At the BSA Jamboree, Irving Ranch, California,
I feel in love for the first time with another young man. We barely spoke but it was an amazing break through
to find a place where I was accepted without judgment. To exclude young gay men and gay scoutmasters from the
BSA would be a tragedy. Thank goodness for Scouting for All. Through their efforts we will find justice and full
acceptance by the Boy Scouts of America and until that day, we must go on."
Rev. Dr. Mel White, Executive Director, Soul Force